Sunday, 25 May 2014

Third day in Paris Getting into the Louvre

Well this was my last free day before the conference would start and I would have to take things a bit more seriously. So it was off to the Louvre.  There is always a long line there, but perhaps because the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays and it was now a day later or more likely because it was rainy and thus a good day to be inside in Paris. I truly believe I would have no problem getting my spousal unit (who is an avid chess player) to the Louvre because a very famous chess player named Vladimir Kramnik leaves nearby and says he likes to go there. (Of course the lines were long, the weather was cold and miserable and there was no way he would ever have to stand in a line any way, so the odds of seeing him were negligible, but I still kept my eyes open.)

Here is the famous "new" pyramid outside the entrance to the Louvre. (The fact that the pyramid was started in 1988 and finished the following year tells you how long it had been since I had visited the museum!)

As you can see the lines are very long (and this is the short part of the line. This is the line  along the edge of the building that then continued along a second  identical courtyard.

There were 10 rows of  serpentine lines with those ropes near the pyramid and it ended up taking almost two hours to get into the museum.

For those not familiar with the Louvre (probably from the planet Mars) I should note that the building was originally built in the 12th Century as a fortress by Phillip II.  It became a royal palace and ws used until Louis XIV decided to move to Versaille in 1682 and leave a bunch of mostly Roman and Greek art in the old palace.  The museum itself opened in 1793 as a place for the newly liberated citizens of the revolution to see art confiscated from royalty and the church for absolutely free. It opened on August 10 an anniversary of the the removal of the King. In succeeding years they started stealing, er bringing in art from various military campaigns and so they managed to acquire lovely pieces from the Vatican and elsewhere. (Like the Laocoon - which I did not see this time around).

Here is a closer view of the upper operation of the main cupola.

The exterior is ringed along the second story by sculptures of famous and significant Frenchmen. (Except for  Liberty and such allegorical figures I did not see any women portrayed).

From left to right on this facade you will find, Jacques Lemercier (an architect of the 1600 hundreds who worked on bridges, the Cardinal (Richelieu's) Palace and planned expansions of a little hunting Lodge in Versaille) René Descartes (the philosopher), Ambroise Paré (a barber and surgeon of the 1500s who is considered to be the father of forensic pathology). Cardinal Richelieu, Michel de Montaigne (the great essayist and thinker) and Jean-Antoine Houdon (a painter and sculptor famous for having portrayed Washington, Rousseau, Franklin, Moliere and many others.)

Here's a closer view of Descartes and Montaigne.

 I'm not sure what this guy is doing there, but he isn't French! (It's Johann Wolfgang von Goethe!)

While in line waiting there was nothing to do but feel cold, watch the pyramid washers and get to know one's neighbors.  As you can see they have a special way to keep the pyramid clean.

My neighbors were very kind. There was a lovely gay couple from Argentina in front of me who were all smiles and happiness and an equally kind and cheerful family from India behind me.

I gather the daughter (on the left) who was a homeopathic doctor had organized the trip for her family and she was bound and determined to see the Mona Lisa. That is her mom and dad on the right and aunt and uncle in the middle of the frame.

Eventually we did make it inside and get to see the art. The interior of the pyramid was actually very stunning.

and then it was time to try and decide what of the 35,000 objects to see.  I'll do a post on some of the 1000s of works of art in the next blog entry.

(For you DSR!)


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