Day 2 Paris Trip: The Louvre and the Marais

January 20, 2008 at 2:44 pm | Posted in France, General, museum, Out and About, Paris, photos, Tourism, Travel | Leave a comment
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One of the big plusses of coming to Paris at the beginning of the month is the free museums. On the first Sunday of every month many of the city’s top museums are free. Going to the Louvre was a clear choice for free entry and a good way to spend a rainy and windy day. Check out the comparison between Saturday and Sunday in the below photos.

Louvre (2) Louvre (12) Louvre (35)

Perhaps because of the weather the line to get in was quite small, which was handy given the sheer size of the Louvre. My Time Out guide to Paris helpfully suggested only trying to see 2 collections. Presumably this is to get the most out of the art but a momentary flash of stubbornness and a tourist’s desire to see everything meant I was pacing through it all.

Tiring but rewarding.

Personally, I found the statues across all periods and places the most interesting with the life like and epic proportions fascinating. Although the enclosed garden in the Greek/Roman section was the most well organised. By the end it did feel a little disquieting with thoughts of the White Witch from Narnia abounding in my head.

Louvre (14) Louvre (18) Louvre (31)

With the exception of the occasional sword the Decorative Arts collection was the least interesting. While the intricate work is commendable there is really only so many plates, cups and upholstery I can look at without completely switching off.

What about the paintings? Well, there are a lot of them. I took a mercenary approach to most of the galleries and walked quickly through each section, glancing at most of them and only looked in depth if it was a striking piece. I realise this means I haven’t truly appreciated the artwork but sadly with limited time and only a passing interest in art this method seemd to work. Although I may not be any wiser for it.

Louvre (26) Louvre (28)

Perhaps I’m just a Gen-Y who needs instant gratification?

No, it’s probably the no knowledge of art reason. This is pretty clear after seeing both the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. I wasn’t awed and I don’t understand why these pieces are valued so significantly above the others on display. Perhaps someone can tell me?  

Louvre (30) Louvre (33)

I was going at a medium pace and this slowed to an amble in some sections either due to other patrons or where there was a worthwhile piece of art.

Obviously if you’re like me then a quick pace around might be an option, if you’re more interested in the art then hire an audio tour or go on one of the tours and if you love art then there’s a good chance you’ve already stopped reading. If not you may want to devote quite a bit of time so everything sinks in.

After the Louvre I had lunch and rested up for a while before heading over the Seine.

Seine (6) Seine (11) Seine (10) Seine (12)

Unfortunately, while I’d beaten the queue at the Louvre this wasn’t the case at the Musee d’Orsay.

Seine (14) - Musee d'Orsay Seine (15) - Musee d'Orsay

Considering my earlier overdose of art, the weather and the line I opted to walk back through Paris, to the metro and the district of Marais.

Marais is located within walking distance of the Hotel de Ville in the centre of Paris or on the Metro. A well known Jewish and gay district it is filled with a host of bakeries and cafes but very few of these had internal seating and the weather really prohibited strolling and eating. I did end up eating a bagel at one of the larger cafes and while I wasn’t a fan there were lots of people inside who presumably would disagree.

Paris 358
(taken on my last day – hence the slightly better weather)

Paris 359

Now with the bulk of day two done I returned to the Grands Boulevards, grabbed a quick bite and caught up on some sleep.

Onwards to day 3.

Photos on Flickr.

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