I tried, I’m sorry, I really did try not to make a play on the word ‘Louvre’, but they just kept coming to me and in the end I felt it would be tantamount to dishonesty not to share at least one of these with you.
Just the one. Now that’s self control. Feel free, however, to share as many as you like in the comments, cause who can’t use a little corny to kick off a monday morning?
Yesterday, after over eight months in Paris, we finally set foot in the Louvre. Not just the one foot, either. Louis walked a lot of it in fact – little legend in his monkey gumboots and funny ‘pardon my french’ top.
We discovered that pushchairs are allowed (hurrah!) and so there’s no reason to avoid it anymore. (Sure, there were all those stairs in the metro, and plenty in the museum, but Luuk and I are able-bodied adults, and we’re both trying to loose a few pounds. Hours of walking and the regular weight-routines of carrying a pushchair and another child up a stair case isn’t entirely unwelcome.)
Having a pushchair meant we got to jump the security queue – which is the famously long line outside the pyramid. Inside, we took a spacey (as in something out of a space ship) elevator that seemed to float in the middle of the room, down to the basement level, where there were dozens more queues.
The elevator is in the center of the spiral staircase, at the bottom.
But these ticket lines moved more quickly. Luuk and Louis lined up while I fed Elena. And then it was 11.30 and we were getting peckish, so we had lunch – before the rush.
And we thought, how sneaky! We’ll go see Mona Lisa when everyone else is having lunch.
So much for that. But I can make something of this…
We then explored the rest of that floor, of that wing, of the museum. Which is a lot.
The Louvre, c’est grand. Duh, and no less so if I say it in French.
Louis led us around at an often alarming pace, but he was stopping and looking at paintings nearly as often as he was stopping to play with the barrier fences.
Unfortunately, playing with the fences too vehemently sets off an alarm. Just a little alarm, but an alarm nonetheless.
This one (of the great and not horrific category, I think) jumped out at me because it sums up my life… well, some of the time.
While others sleep, I feed a baby. (I also like scarves and going barefoot.)
Louis crashed hard just as we got to the English artists section, right at the far end, and just wanted to play on staircases. So we let him do that while we saw the last of that room, and then we did a bit of a rearrange with the kids. Elena, till now, had been in the buggy. It was Louis’s turn for that so I strapped Elena to my front and buckled Louis in, and off we went to find the Egyptian relics.
Louis nodded off before we found them. And we only got a little bit lost. You have to take circuitous routes to use the elevators sometimes. My respect for people in wheelchairs is increasing every time I take a pushchair into Paris.
En route we discovered hallway upon hallway of greek and roman sculpture (and other stuff that looks greek and roman to the untrained eye – which is the only kind I have… year 13 classics only takes you so far.)
Artemis, I think. (Above)
Now that’s something to aspire to: create art of such value that in centuries to come, when they can only salvage a bit of a chunk off the side, they’ll still mount it on the wall and put a frame around it.
We also walked through this exhibit showing the excavated remains of the Chateau de Louvre – basically the fortifications of a moat. That fat pillar in the middle, that’s where the draw bridge would go down. Yes, I feel like I’ve stepped into a fairy tale.
We also stumbled upon some really old stuff. Surprising? Not especially, being in a museum and all, but these examples don’t look their age: 13-11C BC. BC!
And then there were the Egyptians…
It’s just like in The Prince of Egypt. Wait on.
All the way through I kept thinking how much artefacts and art remind me of books and films, which made me think of that line,
“So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around.” – Kathleen Kelly, You’ve Got Mail.
She puts it nicely I think. Some things, like hieroglyphics and sphinxes and anything over 3000 years old, takes on such mythology that it becomes like fiction – in a powerful and meaningful way – it seems like it’s part of an epic story.
We’ll have to go back, of course, but Luuk was threatening to fall asleep (and at this point he was carrying Elena, so we couldn’t let that happen) and my legs were getting wobbly. We couldn’t see any more and maybe, at a generous estimate, we saw a third of the museum. Even baby-free, after a few hours surely anyone will start to get input overload, and aches and pains. Fortunately, we can go back.