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Today was possibly the most pleasant day I've spent in Paris, due to the companionship of two wonderful and funny Americans from Texas. We met up at the Louvre early in the morning, and dashed to see La Joconde, or the Mona Lisa. What a treat! We got there just before the rest of the crowds showed up.
Yes, she has a mysterious smile!
After the Mona Lisa, we wandered through halls and halls (and halls) of Renaissance paintings. You could spend a whole week in here, looking at all the paintings. I saw several Raphaels, and some by lesser known artists, such as Ghirlandaio and Vasari. I’ve said this over and over, but the thing that really stands out for me is the vibrant and beautiful colour of the paintings
We got lost somewhere in the Asia and Africa sculptures section before making our way to the sculpture section, where we beheld Michaelangelo’s "The Slave," the sculpture “Psyche and Cupid,” and the ancient “Venus de Milo.”
“The Slave” was the most intense and dazzling of the sculptures, I thought. This slave had his shirt almost pulled up to shoulders, and his body is contorted sideways – in agony? in ecstasy? Who knows? He’s now immortalized by Michaelangelo. If this is what Michaelangelo can do, I’m looking forward to Rome.
The Louvre can really handle crowds. The rooms themselves are masterpieces of art, with long cream-coloured stone archways.
The best part of the day was our walk down the Jardin de Tuileries, from the Louvre, all the way to the Obelisk at the Place de Concorde. Strolling past formal French gardens with sculptures made me feel quite stately. We stopped for chocolate crepes near a children’s carousel, then nabbed some chairs and sat by one of the Tuileries fountains while we ate. The birds were singing, the sun was shining…and we agreed, if we’re ever lucky enough to live in Paris, we would have to visit the Tuileries garden and eat chocolate crepes EVERY day.
I parted with my newfound friends. I had a great time with them yesterday at Versailles, and it was wonderful to hang out today
Monet’s Waterlilies cover two full rooms, and it was fantastic to just sit in the rooms and look at the violet, blue, green and gold of the water and the pink and red lilies. It felt like I was being submerged underwater. I spent an hour there.
The lesser known part of the Musee De L’Orangerie are the paintings downstairs by Renoir, Cezanne, Picasso, and Modigliani. The Renoirs were especially impressive. (I snuck a photograph of my favourite painting, Renoir’s Two Girls at a Piano). You could get up close to the paintings, unlike at the more crowded Musee D’Orsay.
And that concludes my wonderful trip to Paris! I’ve missed some sights, notably Sacre Coeur in Montmartre, but since my airport shuttle to Paris Orly leaves early in the morning, I headed back to the hotel.
While downstairs in the hotel, I overheard a young couple having a whispered argument, with the boyfriend accusing the girlfriend of "wanting everything," and the girlfriend saying that the boyfriend "wasn't listening." I've had moments where I wished to have a partner on this trip. But I guess one of the benefits of travelling without a partner is that I don't have to worry about having a lover's quarrel in Paris! (Yikes, of all places, right?!)
Bye bye, Paris! I hope to come back!