Lots of good, a little not so good.
13.05.2011 - 13.05.2011 25 °C
Today was the day for the Louvre, and as it's open late on Friday nights, I decided to go to the Musee d'Orsay first, just across the river. It's much smaller than the Louvre and more modern inside. Among others, I was thrilled to see Monet's Blue Waterlillies - a real stand out which blew my mind (I even had tears in my eyes!), the colours are so true and vibrant and it's bigger than I thought it would be. It's such a shame they don't allow photos to be taken there, though probably for the best considering what happened to me later (read on to find out). I spent about an hour and a half there, but was itching to get to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa in particular.
The Louvre is E-NOR-MOUS!!! The largest museum in the world, and obviously so.
After being sent in the wrong direction for the special entrance for Paris Pass holders, I found where to get in and headed downstairs, under the glass pyramid. It was really hot & I felt like a hothouse tomato, but it's pretty spectacular. I was disappointed that there isn't a flat area like in the Da Vinci Code where you can stand on the glass & look down. Perhaps it is there, but I couldn't see where it could be. I headed straight for the Grand Gallery, where the Italian paintings are displayed, including La Jaconde (the Mona Lisa).
The Grand Gallery
I had read that she (I can't bring myself to call this painting "it") is hard to find, in a side room off the gallery - she is in the side room, but (this sounds a bit nutty, I know) it was like I knew exactly which room she was in. There were a lot of people gathered round her, taking photos (no flashes allowed) & jostling for the front so they could see her up close. Of course you can't get closer than a few metres, with a rope in front, and wooden railing, and she's behind glass, and there are 2 or 3 security people there. Not a snowball's chance of running off with her unfortunately. The painting isn't large, as you can see from the photo, but there's something special about her. Perhaps it's that we've learned so much about her over the years.
Of course there were so many other recognisable and beautiful paintings, too many to mention. I took ages to see all those in that part of the gallery, and headed for the antiquities section. Then realised I didn't have my camera with me!!! It seems I put it down when I sat down for a rest and walked off without it. I ran around looking for it & checked with the information desk 3 times, to no avail. Southern Cross Travel Insurance won't pay out because I didn't take "due care" & they need a police report anyway. The French police won't take the complaint because it was my negligence, so I'm out one camera. Bugger. At least I had downloaded everything from previous days, and had only taken a few today - most of which I re-took with my iPhone. It did put a dampener on my day and I left earlier than I had intended.
Heading for Orly Airport tomorrow morning to pick up the rental car, so will have a look at the duty free cameras there. It's not exactly in my budget, but...
It's time to start packing for the morning & I will try for an early night tonight so I'm ready for the drive to Avallon/Vezelay.