Whither Must I Wander


La Musee Du Louvre

When you’re already in Europe, the temptation to travel elsewhere is heightened when you hear that Londoners frequently jet to Spain, Portugal or France for the weekend. A two hour flight for less than $100 CAD? Hell, yeah! So we thought, “We’re already here, let’s take one little side trip,” and we chose...Paris.

Of all the cities we visited, Paris was the place I am sure I could live and be very very content. Despite the language barrier, of course. Less junkfood than London, just as picturesque if not more so, and so many beautiful men in suits it made me want to cry. Seriously. We arrived at 9:00am, after a 5:00am flight, so we were completely knackered, but we sucked it up and tried to make the most of our three days.

First stop: La Musee Du Louvre. We arrived on a Monday, and the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays and we were leaving late Wednesday morning, so our time was limited. We hoofed it over to the musee as soon as we were able, after a quick breakfast/lunch of chocolate brioche. Mmmm...Paris. Due to the early flight, exhaustion and general stress of trying to get around in a non-English speaking country, The Pants and I were a little short with each other, to put it mildly. We decided to split up at the Louvre, which is probably the best thing we could ever have done.

I'm not an art aficionado by any means and I have little to no skill in that area. I do, however, appreciate art immensely, so the Louvre was #1 on my list. I'd been previously on my erstwhile trip many moons ago, but all I remembered really was the Mona Lisa, that tiny postage stamp, and the crowd gathered around it. We only had three hours, which is peanuts compared to how long we really wanted to stay, but I think we did well.

As it was early afternoon, the museum was horribly crowded. Once I entered Italian Sculpture, I began to mildly freak out, so I decided to hightail it to a less crowded area to calm down. I went to the top floor to the French painters and it was much less frantic, only a handful of people. I also had the brilliant idea of plugging in the Ipod to drown the noise. Turns out Rufus Wainwright's "Want Two" is the absolutely perfect soundtrack for the Louvre, particularly the song "The Art Teacher".

Theodore Chasseriau - Self Portrait. I loved his paintings and de facto realized that I love portraits. We saw a bit more of his work at the Musee D'Orsay.

Georges De La Tour - The Card Cheat, I believe it's called. This is before I had the brainwave of actually photographing the name plate. Half the time it didn't matter as they were all in French, anyway. I did have a very art-proud moment on this floor. I looked at a painting and thought immediately, "that must be a Goya," and I was surprisingly correct. I think that's the only time it happened, but, hell, I'll take what I can get.

This is me being ever-so-sneaky in the 'cameras forbidden' section. This furtive shot is Bacchus by our friend M. Da Vinci. I tried to blend in with the Asian tourist group and look like I understood the lecture in Mandarin in order to take the shot. This painting was tres interesting what with the weird smiling face and the pointing finger you can somewhat see in this blurry rendition. Weird because next to it was a similar painting of John the Baptist in the same finger-pointing pose. Odd. Either Leonardo was lazy or maybe...maybe there's a secret hidden within the paintings. That would make an excellent storyline for a poorly written novel. Hmmm. Oh, and suffice it to say I was most irritated to be in Paris and the Louvre during the week that a certain movie starring Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou was set to release. There were posters EVERYWHERE. My favorites were the ones that said "Ian McKellen es Teabing". I kept repeating that in a bad French accent, to The Pants's delight. I was going to skip The Madonna of the Rocks and ol' M.L., but thought better of it and did a quick run-by. Still tiny, still crowded.

I really wish this picture properly conveyed the sensation of standing at the bottom of these worn marble stairs and the light filling the hall, sculpture a-glow. I was somewhat overwhelmed at the Louvre at times. Heaven forbid I go all maudlin on you, but is it possible to be so moved by beauty? I almost teared a few times. Very strange as I'd never experienced that before.

Michelangelo's Cupid and Psyche. I love this picture because it makes it look like I was in the Louvre by myself, which was certainly not the case. And kudos to me, I had to be extra quick on the draw to take this picture without anyone in it because so many people (read: morons) kept posing. Do you really think you're more attractive than a marble sculpture? Really?

So, whilst on the top floor, wandering the various rooms, I walked through one doorway and found myself looking up at this painting, La Tentation du Christ. It's actually over 20ft. high and it took up the entire wall facing me. I don't know if it was the exhaustion or stress or malnutrition, but I was very overwhelmed by this enormous work of art. The room was mainly roped off so you could only stand at the back, so I couldn't even get the name of the painting and had to search online much later.

I don't know what it was exactly that made me react the way I did. Perahps how Satan is depicted completely in shadow, which reminded me of the Ordo Virtutum where he is denied any music, and the contrasting light of Christ...I don't know. It was strangely overwhelming and perhaps put me in the frame of mind I'd been too busy/frazzled to pursue the previous few weeks. It was welcome, regardless. Odd how you can find peace in the most unlikely of places.

C'est la Louvre. I plan to one day have the means to spend a month or two in Paris and visit the Louvre pretty much every day. Dare to dream...

Next: More of Paree


  • Well done on the blog, dear cousin. I am very excited to see Paris after your description. I can´t wait to see you again and compare our accounts of our visits. We are quickly running out of funds, so I hope we can finish the journey. Keep in touch.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:09 AM  

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