London, England

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Paris in day!

It's rather surreal.  I woke up in London, spent the day in Paris, and am going to bed in London.  All in about 20 hours of time plus and minus the time change between the two cities.    Our professor warned that parts of the day would be like National Lampoon's European Vacation and it certainly felt like it. 

We had two hours to spend at the Louvre.  Yes, only two hours.  When we arrived, after making our way through bag check and security, I got a map in English.  Museum maps were available in at least six languages and the English version was very popular.  The map was extremely useful, because not only are the rooms labelled so I knew if a room was French painting or Egyptian statuary, but also the most popular works were pictured and labelled on the map.  Therefore, I immediately knew that Hammurabi's Code was on the Ground Floor and the Mona Lisa was on the first floor, but not in the same gallery as Winged Victory.  (The musuem has four floors and each floor is divided into about 50 rooms or galleries.)

So, how to make the best use of two hours in this enormous, world-renowned museum?

Quickly, I developed a plan.  I looked at the major works and figured out which were priorities for me, being sure to include the three works that my Uncle suggested (Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, and Venus).  Then, I looked at the names of the other galleries and decided which I was most interested in and plotted a route, starting upstairs, since ground floor was packed with large tour groups.

And, it worked!  Or at least, I saw those highlights that I chose at the beginning and I don't know what I did not see, so I am not complaining about missing anything specific.  Highlights of Louvre for me included Winged Victory, the Italian sculpture, Hammurabi's Code, and the Egyptian gallery.    Of these, I was awestruck by Winged Victory and it made the single biggest impression on me.

Hammurabi's Code

Why Winged Victory?  Winged Victory is colossal.  So much larger than I had envisioned.  It's a powerful statue depicting the Greek goddess Nike.  The detail on her wings is amazing and her clothing seems to blow in the wind.  You can see movement, even though it is a marble statue.  The statue is approximately 2200 years old and incredibly well-preserved.

Winged Victory

Unfortunately, the statue is known worldwide and it seemed like a third of the people in the Louvre were crowded on the steps surrounding the statue.  (Another third was surrounding the Mona Lisa, leaving one-third to populate the rest of the building.) 

Our class also took a bus tour, a boat trip, stopped at the Eiffel Tower, saw Notre Dame (from the outside), picked up lunch at a Patisserie, browsed a little during our 45 minutes of free time, and had a wonderful dinner together at a restaurant that specializes in serving groups.

Paris is certainly a city like no other that I had ever visited before.

No comments:

Post a Comment