The 3rd day started with a visit to the Musée du Louvre. The Louvre is the world's largest museum and believe me even a week is not enough to see it completely and appreciate the things on display there.... We reached there early around 9 am and proceeded the tour... when you enter the museum campus the first things that catches your eye are the glass pyramids...
We entered from the glass pyramid and got our tickets (8.5 Euros) and took hold of the maps at the reception and started with the tour. The Louvre has 3 wings - Denon, Sully and Richelieu, and 4 floors on each wing... It’s HUGE! It's like a treasure house with long corridors and a maze of rooms. A minimum of six hours just to cover the basics. and if u r among the more artistically inclined be ready to spend you whole day here.
We started with the Denon wing, coz thats where Monalisa is... While going towards Mona Darling (as roomie S refers to it, jokingly) we came across the famous statue of Winged Victory of Samothrace. Also called Nike of Samothrace, it is a marble sculpture of the Greek goddess Nike (Victory), discovered in 1863 on the island of Samothrace. It is situated at the staircase intersection of the 2nd floor, I guess.
Next we kinda breezed through the chambers and reached Monalisa. Also known as La Joconde it is probably the most famous creation of Leonardo da Vinci and perhaps the most famous, most discussed, most romanticized, celebrated, or reproduced piece of art.
Since it was early there werent as many people there and I got a chance to oogle at the Monalisa for about 10 minutes... Its amost 2.5 feet X 2 feet. An enigmatic smile, and eyes which seem to be looking straight at you no matter from where u r looking at it.
BTW Photography is not allowed in most places in this wing and there are two guards standing at the Monalisa, who’s behind a bulletproof glass which also prevents the light from deteriorating the painting. From what I heard, Napolean hung this painting in his bedroom and was obviously smitten by it, much to the discomfort of his queen Josephine who had it removed from the bedroom.
6000 European paintings including works by Leonardo da Vinci, William Turner, Thomas Gainsborough, Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer, Peter Paul Rubens, Jan Van Eyck, Raphael, Veronese, Eugene Delacroix, Ingres... It also shows sketches and drawings made by some of the aforementioned artists, and others.
The next wing which we saw was Sully and here we came across Venus de Milo. Aphrodite(called Venus by the Romans), the Greek goddess of love and beauty and the statue describes just that... Pity its dilapidated, much like the Nike
There is a whole section which tells you the story of Louvre. From the time it was just a regular chateau to the time it became this museum...The construction of Louvre began in 1190 when the then King of France, Philippe II Auguste, build a fortress to protect Paris. When the Renaissance came, it became unfashionable for a King to live in a defensive castle built in the Middle Ages. The Louvre was continuously expanded by later kings until Louis XIV moved the capital to Versailles and in 1793 the Louvre was opened officialy as a museum. The glass pyramid designed by I.M.Pei, was finished in 1997.
Lotsa Egyptian items and statues in the Sully and Richelieu.
Well to tell you very frankly I am not all that artistically inclined so I had listed out a few things which were a must see for me like the Monalisa, Venus de Milo, Nike of Smothrace, the glass pyramid etc... so I stuck to a skeleton plan of covering these things but for someone who has a taste for art and is more knowledgeable, this is the place to be... But it was such a great learning experience... I dont think I have the caliber to appreciate the art or vast sea of ancient items but if a person like me is left with an indelible impression then it sure is gonna please the more knowledgeable ones… One small grudge I hold against the museum people is that noithing is written in English. Every painting sculpture has a small card with little description, but all in French. I guess the impression of French being snobs isn’t all that unjustified.
I enjoyed writing all the above coz I did a lil bit of my own research for the links and coz of that came to know of so much things which even after visiting the place I was unaware of. One more suggestion - M sure u wd have read the Da Vinci Code but if u visit the Louvre then go back n read it again.. The book will be so much more fascinating.
After Louvre we went to Montparnasse Tower which is the tallest building in Paris, 59 floors, 180+ mtrs. From here Eiffel looks the best. The ticket for going to the top is about 8 Euros. At the time of construction, it was the highest building in Europe. The 56th floor has a restaurant from where u can enjoy the view.
But the best view is from the terrace. We reached there at 4:30 but waited there till 6:30 for darkness. To see the city of lights . And it was worth the wait. Some more Eiffel pics from The tower.
After this we went to see the Arc De Triomphe and Champs Elysees. These are the places which look completely different during day and night so I suggest you pay them short visits just to adore the beauty in the evening and night.
The biggest (and perhaps the only) disappointment of the Paris trip was Moulin Rouge. They have jackets n tie compulsory. DAMN!!!! Sirf bahar se hi dekh ke aana pada. You can also attribute it to the lack of enough planning:-( So people dont forget to pack the necc stuff in case u planning to go to Paris and intend to see the Moulin Rouge. Had to console myself by the thoughts that somethings should be left for the second trip.
Paris, la Ville Lumière - The City of Light, Heart of Europe, Romantic City, the City of art and culture. Where artists got inspiration and recognition. The city which has stood the test of time. Where lovers walk hand in hand on the banks of Siene.
All I can say is "I'll go back some day."
Complete Paris Album