Sunday, September 18, 2011

Paris: Day 2

It's another long one! Get ready... We reserved all of day two for the Louvre, and it almost took us the whole day to get through half of it. The Louvre is huge! It used to be the main palace during Napoleon's time. I don't really get the pyramids, but I guess it is kind of cool. There is an inverted pyramid inside too.

We went in through the side entrance to avoid the long lines in front. It was a breeze! The best bet for what we wanted to see in Paris was the Paris Museum Pass. We paid 50 Euro each for the pass and it got us to the beginning of the lines for most museums, plus Versailles too! For what we wanted to do and see in Paris, it was awesome. Plus it saved a bunch of time. Score!

Once we got through security and grabbed a map, we went straight for the holy grail. That's right - the Mona Lisa! 

It was AMAZING! I have to say, I think my expectations were really low at first because everybody I had talked to told me it was so small and unimpressive. So when I saw it, I was really blown away. I can't even explain it, but it is a beautiful painting. There is something about it (obviously!) that makes it stand out. I loved it.

Here's some more of the Louvre highlights...

The Winged Victory 
The Wedding Feast at Cana

I loved all the detail on the ceilings.

Venus de Milo

There was a special exhibit where a photographer took pictures of both people and paintings that highlighted the eyes in each picture. The lighting was amazing in each photo and all the pictures were lined up with the eyes at the same level. It was really cool.

Time to see France's crown jewels! Who's excited?! Not as impressive as England's, btw (but nonetheless, still pretty sweet).

The Intervention of the Sabine Woman

The Consecration of the Emperor Napoleon I - Turns out the lady sitting in the middle is Napoleons mother and was not actually at the ceremony, but Napoleon had her added to the painting afterwards.

The Raft of the Medusa

Captive (The Dying Slave) by Michelangelo

Psyche and Cupid - I didn't know this before hand, but apparently Cupid fell in love with Psyche, who was a human. There is more to the story too, but I forget. Kind of interesting, and seemed like something I should have known. Should I have known that?

St. Mary Magdalene - This whole statue is made out of wood!

I can't remember what this one is called, but I really liked it.

Surprise. Another painting of Napoleon. Haha.

Napoleon's throne. He wasn't as little as you would think... about 5'8'' or so.

Emerald Diadem. I was drooling.

Napoleon's Apartments were one of my favorite parts of the Louvre. They were some of the most decadent and gaudy rooms I have ever seen.

Wouldn't it be interesting to sit in a couch/chair like this? Who do you talk to? Someone sitting in another chair? The person to your right? I'm confused and fascinated.

After a long day at the Louvre, we kept on truckin' and went on to another museum nearby after taking a quick break at the pond in the Jardin de Tuileries. This guy rents small sail boats for the kiddos and they run around the pond with these sticks and when the sailboat comes close to the edge, they push it back out again. Fun!
On the way to the Musee de l'Orangerie, a guy tried to scam us! We were walking along, looking at a map and out of nowhere he came up to us and asked us if a gold ring he "found" on the ground was ours. Luckily (although I probably wouldn't have fallen for it anyways), I had read about this scam in the good old trusty Rick Steeves book. The guy kept asking if we dropped the ring and then started examining it and saying that it was real authentic gold (oh my!). We just kept saying No! No! No! but the guy was persistent. Finally he left us alone. I'm not exactly sure how the scam works, but I think they guy would eventually try and sell us the "gold" ring after explaining how authentic it was for more than what he got it for. I'm not sure who would ever fall for it. 

Monet's Water Lilies - He custom painted the water lilies for the Musee de l'Orangerie. I'm not a huge fan of impressionist art, but they were pretty impressive. Pun intended.

After that, we walked up Champs Elysees and grabbed some dinner.

Then when back to our neighborhood to meander around.

We got crepes and wandered over to Notre Dame to people watch. There was a fire dancer/flame thrower. He was entertaining, but he had burn marks all over his body... so... yeah.

We walked through the pedestrian only side streets in our neighborhood. So much fun to see all the people and walk around and see how the little cafes and shops light up.
A long second day, but so much fun!

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