Sunday, May 23, 2010

Day 8: Mona Lisa Overdrive

Today we went to the Louvre. Here again the Museum Pass was great, allowing us to bypass the long line and go right in. We went to the Mona Lisa and Italian & Spanish painting section first, and then moved on to the Greek & Egyptian antiquities. People are quite crazy about the Mona Lisa, pushing others out of the way to get to the front of the crowd. It's a lovely work, to be sure, but there is no need for rudeness. :P

The highlight of the Louvre so far for me has been seeing the Victory of Samothraki. Very beautiful and impressive sculpture. I also enjoyed the Greek and Egyptian antiquities, particularly the Greek pottery and Egyptian sarcophagi.

After a few hours of museuming, we had lunch at the Cafe Richelieu on a terrace at the Louvre. It was sunny and lovely, except the staff were typically Parisian - which is to say that sit-down meals here will usually take you 2-3 hours.

After lunch, we walked through the Jardin de Tuilleries to the Musee de l'Orangerie, where Monet's famous water lilly paintings are displayed in natural light, the way the artist apparently wished. They were quite lovely. The bottom floor of the museum also contains Picassos, Mattises, Renoirs, and Cezannes, which we very much enjoyed. The nice thing about this museum is that it is small enough that you can easily get through the entire thing in roughly an hour without rushing, so you don't feel like you have to miss things, the way you do at the Louvre.

Me at l"Orangerie. Photo credit Huma!

Next we walked from the l'Orangerie all the way along the Champs Elysee to the Arc de Triomphe. It was a little further than expected and extremely crowded due to the Biodiveristy expo, so we rested for a bit with some ice cream before climbing the 280 steps to the top of the Arc. The views were fantastic!

Arc de Triomphe

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