When it comes to museum size the Louvre holds the distinction of being the biggest. It is also the most visited museum in the world. Why? Well Chrl and I were about to find out.
I continue to wake up early in the morning. I try to fall asleep again but it just doesn’t work. I end up tossing and turning ruining my disposition. Instead of fretting about it I out it to constructive use. Having discussed this with Chrl the day before she permitted that I go and visit Notre Dame in the morning by myself. She really wanted to get a good nights sleep. She couldn’t really sleep before our trip to Paris as she was so excited about getting here. Now that she’s here that anxious energy turned into exhaustion as we walked quite a bit the day before. The cathedral is only a ten or fifteen minute walk from the hotel.
I found an open coffee shop. The good ol’ American chain didn’t let me down. With my americano in hand I meandered over to the square. The streets were empty except for a few people. The street cleaners were out hosing down the sidewalks transferring the waste to the street. They didn’t come near me as I took a different path from them. Cafè’s were just beginning to set up shop. Chairs and tables were neatly arranged in front of the establishments maximized for the number of people and not necessarily space.
The space in front of Notre Dame was littered with crowd control barriers and police were visible even at this early hour. There weren’t many people out here. The others that were here were here to enjoy the space before the throngs of tourists come. These tourists with their lack of manners and pushy attitude. Hardcore tourists in groups with matching jackets or shirts to help them be distinguished or to make them feel like they belong to something.
I made a choice regarding the kind of of lens to take inside. I wanted to capture the interior as best as I could. It’s hard to really know what I’ll see when I get in there. The place is quite old having been finished in the mid 1200’s. It’s construction began much earlier and work on improvements continues even to this present time.
Lighting is an important aspect in photography. Without light there is no picture. No image to display of what was there to be seen. Fortunately the weather has been great. When I checked earlier it was supposed to reach high 20’s today with no clouds to disrupt the sunshine. The sun rose and began its ascent and it was beginning peak over the buildings illuminating the streets below. The angle of the shadows telling me how high the sun is in the sky.
Inside the cathedral light is enhanced through modern means. It adds to the natural light that enters through the giant stained glass windows. It must be glorious in here at noon or at whatever the right time is when the sun is directly facing the front of the cathedral. It is intended to be this way. The light illuminating the altar directly behind. In the old days people responded to such sights. Their spirit was lifted by the majesty of design and circumstance.
As I thought about this history and how it must have felt like I heard a loud fart. This immediately brought me down to earth. “How rude.” I thought to myself as the woman just continued along as if nothing happened. She wasn’t Catholic I assumed based on her appearance. It’s sacrilegious to do something like that. But I would react the same way if I was walking behind her on the street. It was just so loud.
Back at the hotel Chrl was just waking up. We had an hour before we had to be there. It would be wise to get some food and a coffee before the Louvre. My terrestrial orientation application calculates that it should take us 18 minutes to walk there. Fortunately Chrl didn’t need long to get ready. We had our coffee and breakfast from the conglomerate coffee franchise soon after and we enjoyed consuming our breakfast soon thereafter.
The queue for tickets was long ours allowed us to bypass this wait and proceed directly into the deapth of the pyramid in the middle of the courtyard. It’s a pretty big structure and inside it allows a lot of sun to get in illuminating the giant space underneath. The vastness of this space is captivating. It is also a very functional space too. One can begin at any one of the three areas that have their unique displays within.
The latter I read about while in Stoke working away. According to the online knowledge repository the technique and the resulting sculpture is a marvel. Seeing it in real life was nice as it said something to me. It has some meaning. In retrospect I should have admired it a bit more instead of just waiting to photograph it. It doesn’t take long however to appreciate the aesthetic beauty of the piece though. I had to fight for my turn to get a picture with no one there. I pushed a lady with her kids out of the way and swung at the husband. The scene scared others away. -jk 😀 There was a queue with unspoken rules of conduct regarding turns. I waited patiently for others ahead of me until it was mine and those behind me gave me that courtesy.
Venus was a different story altogether. Here a holding pen of sorts funneled each photographer forward as others left having captured their masterpiece. All those selfies being taken as well as high powered cameras. I have a fixed zoom lens and have to therefore get a certain distance away in order to frame things right. This space resembled a bit of a mild mosh pit where a kind of free for all existed. This is a bit of a precursor for what’s to come with the Mona Lisa. I understand why this statue is so revered. When we talk about aesthetics and beauty we have a sense of what it is and back then these statues represented the idealized female form something that we manipulate now as well with our imagery. Beauty like good music is timeless and hence this sculpture still holds as aesthetic that many would aspire to.
Men are likewise represented here. Evolution has graced us with a musculature that when strong and taut looks a certain way. A strong body has a certain look muscles signifying the capabilities possible in combat. Combat being an important part of life back then. During the Renaissance when Ancient Greek and Roman thought was being rediscovered the literature of those times was brought to life through sculpture. Mythical creatures from those stories were reimagined and realized in marble. Gods and goddesses were allegories of the human condition and the myths metaphors of life.
We were hardcore #touristing a term we developed to describe what we have been doing. To “tourist” means to go to a popular destination and experience the destination with thousands of others at the same time. The crowds are an important part of the equation. Human biological needs need to be taken care of so after three hours of crowds we decided to take a break.
Finding and seeing the Mona Lisa was the final straw. The crowds were really thick in that pit. I realized quickly that I would never get close enough for a good shot. I know that smile though having seen the image countless of times in various forms. Just to be in the same room was enough… Seeing it with my own eyes became a climactic experience. We enjoyed the experience with so many others.
Outside the weather was hot. We sat there after eating contemplating our next move. The museum is truly massive. To walk through all of the rooms housing the exibits would take you on a twenty-six kilometer odyssey through time and space. It is too much for one day. We wanted to find the Three Graces a favorite theme in Chrl’s art appreciation and to find the rest of the Da Vincis. Chrl has been keeping track of where we’ve been on the map. With access to the interwebs we were able to plan the course of our assault. We were close to some of these pieces but just got distracted and moved in a different direction.
When we got to where the the Three Graces were supposed to be we found out that it is no longer there. For some reason the statues were moved somewhere else to another museum. We then turned our attention to the Da Vincis which were in a room adjacent to where the Mona Lisa was. We just never walked through that hall.
We were reaching that point where there is no more appreciation for what is in front of us. A lot of this stuff housed in here is spectacular. The scale of some of these pieces is huge producing a certain sense of grandeur. It’s hard to imagine these pieces being anywhere else. The rooms that house them are just as wonderful as the collection. All that time and effort that went into decorating these spaces is worlds away from how modern art is shown and displayed. Mind you the art that is created and displayed now is much different from then.
We left the Louvre and ate something at the amusement park that was right by the museum. It had toilets nearby. The shade and must carried from the fans cooled us from the baking sun. We were going to walk along the Seine and find a spot to chill at while Chrl does some work. It would be nice to chill for a bit. We touristed hard today.
We found a spot but it became very clear very quickly that it wouldn’t be comfortable for Chrl to work in these conditions. We decided to go to a conglomerate coffee franchise for this purpose. This allows us to be out while focusing on the interior things that we needed to do. I have this and Chrl has that. We work as a team. One finds and holds a seat while the other gets the provisions. This team effort works for us. It allows us to do more than if we were individuals doing this trip.
Chrl was quite productive over the next couple of hours. I was as well. I wanted to catch up with all that was happening with us on our adventure together. After we got to the hotel we dropped off our stuff and went out to explore a bit of the neighbourhood and get ourselves a crepé. The area is teaming with people enjoying a night out. We walked as couples do close to each other sharing the moment soaking it all in. The next day has more in store for us.