Thursday, October 1, 2015

Paris Day 2 - Musee du Louvre

This quote echoed my feelings throughout our trip.  Sometimes, when asked where we were from, I felt a little silly saying "little 'ole Oklahoma".  But even though I do occupy a tiny place in the world, I aim to explore the corners far from me whenever possible.

We have since returned from our European vacation, but the absence of WIFI on the majority of our trip prevented me from posting.  So I'd love to catch you up on all we saw during Day 2 in Paris.

Our 2nd day in Paris led us to the Louvre.  The Louvre is massive, displaying more than 37,000 pieces of art within 675,000 square feet of exhibition space.  We read somewhere that if you considered each piece for 2 minutes, it would take you nearly 2 months to see it all.  We used Rick Steve's audio tour on our cell phones to narrow it down to the biggies, then explored on our own.  In all, we spent 7 hours there.

Chris standing in the Grand Gallery

The inverse pyramid viewed from below in the Carrousel du Louvre shopping center, where we entered.

View from within the pyramid

The famous Venus de Milo, carved in 120 BC

My favorite: The Winged Victory, which depicts the act of descending from Olympus.  It was a very emotional piece.

The Mona Lisa by Da Vinci.

Chris examining The Wedding Feast at Cana by Veronese

The Coronation of Napoleon by Jacques-Louis David.  Napoleon stepped on the toes of the pope and crowned himself, then placed the crown on his wife Josephine.

The Slaves by Michelangelo
The museum itself is beautiful.  Stunning, really.  There are ornate carvings, majestic ceilings, intricate marble floors, beautiful courtyards, and of course tons of people.  Our feet were so tired at the end of the day!

We stopped for lunch in a cafe within the museum and were blessed with a fantastic view!  The food was great too!

St. Michael Vanquishing Satan by Raphael

You always hear the Mona Lisa is small, but it's quite striking how small it is.  In a huge room, it is swallowed by a glass pane, wood barricade, and the sea of people swarming around it.

The Raft of the Medusa by Gericault
Me next to Joan of Arc at the Coronation of Charles VIII by Ingres

This is me touring the apartments of Napoleon

In one of the glorious courtyards

Hey look!  We found an American!
The massive Lamassau

Chris next to Muse Melpomene
We returned to the hotel and rested, then got ready for our dinner reservations: Le Meurice.  This restaurant is a 3-Michelin Star rated establishment, guided by chef Alain Ducasse.  For those who aren't familiar with Michelin Stars, 3 is the highest rating.  In the USA, there are only 4 restaurants with this distinction, 3 in New York and 1 in Chicago.  The meal was THE BEST food we have EVER eaten.  Creative, beautifully presented, flavorful, rich.  It was an experience that just lit our fires.  (We're foodies!)  Chris ordered the chef's tasting menu, and I ordered lobster.

The room was extravagant, the service was spectacular (we had no less than 6 waiters, and the maitre-d appeared several times), and Chris tried about 40 types of cheeses.   A perfect evening.

Worn out and with a box of truffles in our hand from the restaurant, we returned to the Renaissance for some much-deserved sleep.  Tomorrow, The Musee de Orsay. Eiffel tower, Opera Garnier, and Seine river cruse!

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