Paris Part Two (continued): Who goes to the Louvre and skips the Mona Lisa? That would be me.

15 Feb

After leaving the Tower we had lunch at a little café and walked to the Louvre. Now, chances are if you are reading this you now know that I love my museums. I spend hours in them, wandering around and taking pictures of just about everything. The last time I was in Paris our Louvre tour guide told us that if you were to spend just one minute at each piece of art in the Louvre you would be there for about three years. So you can imagine how time constraints in a museum that large would affect my plans.

Hello, giant museum... I will gladly spend days wandering your labyrinthine halls.

Not as large as the Arc de Triomphe, but the different-colored stones and copper horses make it an outdoor work of art. The carvings are unbelievably detailed.

The famous glass pyramid entrance. To get into the museum you ride an escalator through it. It's pretty darn cool.

Like I said I have been to the Louvre before (in 2005) and on our tour we hit what’s known as the “Big Three”: Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, and Aphrodite. Here’s the thing: The Mona Lisa is cool and all, but you only need to see it once. It’s smaller than the average magazine and –spoiler alert!—it looks exactly like it does in all the pictures and recreations of it. She’s got that smug look on her face just like you expect. No eyebrows. Eyes glancing at something to the left. Even she knows there are more interesting things to look at…

See? This is her in 2005. I'm guessing she looks the same now. She hasn't aged a day since da Vinci put the brush down.

So while the gaggle of girls I was with wanted to “hit the Mona Lisa and then leave” I knew I wouldn’t be okay with tagging along to do that. I’m a nerd. This is a well-known fact. I love museums. I love Greek and Roman sculpture. That is what I wanted to see. So I went off on my own in hopes of finding some interesting statues…

Here are a few of my favorites…

Hermes is one of my favorite Gods in terms of sculpture. I love his helmet and winged ankles. They're always a tremendous amount of detail in the wings.

Lemme tell you a secret!

Hercules fighting the Hydra

Oh no I forgot to get dressed again...

Winged Victory. I will say, it's quite majestic. There's reason for it to be a part of the "Big Three"

Zeus cradling baby Hercules

An angel and a maiden in an embrace.

A woman crying over her lost love.

Early boxing match, my money's on the guy on the left. He looks burlier.

This statue looks just like my brother. Seriously. When he doesn't shave for a few weeks, he looks identical to this guy.

Aphrodite, the last of the "Big Three." I love the scene in Hercules where he skips the rock and it wrecks a statue... and it's this one.

As much as I liked the crown jewels, this diadem is more my style.

Hermes and Psyche, twirling around.

Hercules fighting a mini-hydra.

A room full of statues, just waiting to be opened... Sadly, I couldn't find the door. And I'm sure the guards would have loved to arrest the nerdy American who tried to break into a closed exhibit.

Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt. This is probably my favorite depiction of her. It's elegant and yet she is poised, ready to fire off some arrows.

Where Lady GaGa got her inspiration...

Quite similar if you ask me... Plus, I love GaGa. And I love statues. So I will find ways for the two to correlate.

One of two sculpture rooms lit almost entirely by natural light. I swear they knew I was coming.

A warrior resting before battle.

Battle helmet with a seashell on it, must belong to Poseidon.

Drug dealer? Homeless person? Hades? Source of laughter?

The Frisky Satyr?

A baby wrestling a duck. Or perhaps it is a goose. Either way... Uhm... What?

And I'm thinking... Where is she gettin' the money from?

I really hope that portrait is of her husband. She must like playing "My New Boyfriend" as much as I do.

So many babies! It's like the Angelina of Ancient Greece.



And here’s what you were waiting for, the most awkward of the bunch:

#5: "Wrestling"

#4: Om nom nom...

#3: After a long day being an immortal god, sometimes you just need to lounge around.

#2: I think he might be a little old for breast-feeding...

#1: A circle of men staring at their manhood. There are four of them. Men I mean. Well, and I guess manhood (menhood? manhoods?), too.

And a close-up is necessary.



And how can I forget all of my new boyfriends?

A strong nose always melts my heart.

This guy comes with room for an herb garden.

A dead ringer for Zach Galifianakis, aka Alan from The Hangover.

He has wavy locks and a fabulous stache, plus his pose is worthy of Fabio himself.

The facial expression... The facial hair... Who wouldn't want to come home to this fellow every night?

And for the days when I just can't decide, we have the Wheel of Eligible Bachelors.



Even though I only had about two hours in the Louvre, I made the most of it. There’s nothing like walking around a museum alone. Even on a Saturday, when the place is packed full of tourists and people with small children who clearly were just dying to go to a museum for the day. Without worrying about other people you can fully appreciate every aspect of the museum: the art, the layout, the displays, the building itself, and your fellow nerds, the ones who stroll through the halls with Nikon cameras attached to sniper lenses, taking expert photographs. I was sad when I had to leave but I know that the next time I’m in Paris it will be on my own time and on my own terms, and I can damn well spend two full days at the Louvre. Let’s hope I learn French by then so I can read all the signs. (Audio guides are your friend in foreign museums; unfortunately I didn’t have enough time)

The last section of my tour was in the garden:


The Minotaur (and Theseus slaying it) is never not awkward and giggle-inducing.

A centaur carrying some girl off to who knows where....

More Lord of the Rings ghost army warriors! (To me at least)



I left the Louvre and, using my city girl street smarts, consulted my map to find the nearest Metro station. The nearest station was the Musee de Orsay stop. Musee means museum. I was sad to see it was closing in five minutes. The Musee de Orsay is the impressionist museum; it is home to quite a lot of van Gogh and there were some interesting statues outside:

A majestic horse

I headed into the station and from there I successfully approached the ticket booth where I had this conversation:

Me: Bonjour! (SMILE!) Parlez-vous Anglais, sil-vous-plait?

Attendent: (Unintelligible mumble).

Me: …Anglais?

Attendent: (yelling) Lee-tall!

Me: Ah! Yes! (points at map) Gare Austerlitz?

Attendent: Platform two.

Me: Ticket?

Single-word conversations are often the most effective. And when in Paris, the more you smile the better. No one smiles in Paris. If you smile at someone, they become confused, and then they are less rude.

Ads for Euro Disney make me smile

So I successfully made my way from the museum to a Metro station, from the Metro to the station across the river from my hotel to my hotel.

And I made a stop at a market, because I was in serious need of a baguette and over-priced beverage.

I finished the day with a half a baguette, dinner at an Italian restaurant (yes, I had a margarita pizza in Paris. I’m ok with it, it was delicious), and an early night’s sleep in preparation of visiting Versailles in the morning.


One Response to “Paris Part Two (continued): Who goes to the Louvre and skips the Mona Lisa? That would be me.”

  1. Mary Blanchard February 15, 2011 at 1:27 am #

    I am thoroughly enjoying reading your blog! It’s as if I am there! I must say that the statue you said looks like Mark, really does!
    What a wonderful experience! I don’t need to say enjoy because I can see and read how much you are.

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