Friday, August 2, 2013

July 19 - Quarante-huit!

I am in awe of Parisian women.  How do they do it?  For the last two days I’ve observed chic women moving briskly all over Paris in heels.  I’m not talking about ridiculous, 6” stripper platforms a la the Real Housewives of fill-in-the-blank.  Just sensible 1" - 2” kitten heels.  But they are out day after day pounding the pavement & looking fabulous in the process.  I tried my best.  Yesterday I had on what should have been perfect; a low cushioned wedge.  But after all those hours I feel like the bottoms of my feet have been pounded with baseball bats.  Now I have no choice but to wear my orthopedic Bjorns today, oh the shame...

Now that we have rested and returned to our senses, we realize we ought to be guillotined if we come all this way and skip the Louvre.  We make the smart decision to ONLY go there.  

We’ve always heard you can’t see the entire Louvre in a day, TRUE.  I don’t imagine a week or even a month would be enough to truly process all that this repository for French art & treasure holds.  We are so glad to have purchased the Museum Pass as we are skipping what looks to be an hour long wait in the regular line.

The suggestion is to pick an area or two to focus on.  Today is my 48th birthday so I get to be the decider!  I pick French Sculpture & Napoleon’s Apartments (not THAT Napoleon, but a distant nephew.)

Sculpture is probably my favorite art form and this appears to be the best of the best.  The central galleries flooded with natural light are a perfect space to show it off.  There seems to be hundreds of satellite galleries that just go on & on filled with gorgeous work.

 Then we make our way up the ornate staircase into the apartments, OMG!!  Who lives (lived) like this?  French royalty apparently as the building served as a palace before it became a museum.  This is over-the-top opulence.  I am craning my neck at every turn ogling the mouth-watering moldings and murals in each 20 foot ceiling.  The furnishings, the fabrics, the chandeliers, too gorgeous!!  Each room is more fabulous than the last.

Scattered throughout the museum is an exhibit by Michaelangelo Pistoletto.  Interesting to see this contemprary work juxtaposed with the more classical Louvre collection.

We break for lunch then head into another wing to see the Mona Lisa, the most famous painting in the most visited museum in the world.  We pass through Roman sculpture, some of which was on view at OKCMOA  Winged Victory is here. Then down a corridor off to the right, there she is - or at least I’m guessing that’s what the mass of flesh has crowded around.  I begin a slow push to insert myself for a few moments in her presence.  I’ve heard for so long the, “she’s smaller than you think” that she’s actually bigger than what I was expecting.  She is behind bullet proof glass after several incidents where she was stolen and vandalized.  I hope the glass has some sort of light filtration too as the flash photography is going off like a strobe light.  I get a few of my own shots before rejoining Ernesto who has opted to observe from a distance. 

By now we have been here 5 hours & while the museum will be open well into the night our brains are saturated & we need a break.  The Tuilleries Gardens are just across the street so we meander over there to cleanse our mental palates. 

We return to the apartment to rest before our scheduled dinner cruise on the Seine.  I am pretty worn out but feel like there is still so much to do & see and I feel a smidge of guilt at wasting any precious time here.  Still my body can only take so much & I’m still on the tail end of this cold.

We head over to embark at 8:00.  We have great seats up front in a window.  Soon our 3 course meal begins and we begin gliding up the river taking in the beautiful sights.  All along the shores Parisians have come out with their picnic dinners to enjoy the evening and sunset.  We cruise up and down and as it gets dark we pass by a small version of the Statue of Liberty, given to Paris by American expatriates living here.  The big highlight of the cruise is a light show at the Eiffel Tower that happens nightly.  It’s spectacular but I can’t help but feel the tower’s elegance has been compromised with these tacky lights.  The salsa music is an odd choice as well.  I guess globalization has made it here as well, sigh.

Soon we are returned to the dock to cap off this special day with one more bit of decadence, a taxi ride to our door!

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