Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The LOOOOOOOvre, Part 2

Advisory notice:  once again, this blog post contains pictures of nekkid stachoos, so cover the children's eyes and proceed with caution.

Apparently this statue is quite famous; it's on a lot of the Louvre merchandise.  This is Psyche brought back to life by the kiss of Eros.  And hey, the naughty bits are pretty well covered.

Here's Artemis (Diana); the moon is one of her symbols.

Here's Hermes (Mercury), and I have to say I wonder what's up with that cherub upon whose face he's stepping.  Lee wondered how he could possibly fly with one itty-bitty wing on each foot.

Lee:  "It's the world's first quarter!  It was a pain to carry around in your pocket, though."

The lighting in this room was such that all my pics came out much more yellow than it really was IRL.  Here's Aphrodite (Venus) and her son Eros (Cupid), little boy is trying on Mama's armor.  Which kind of cracks me up because a.) she's the goddess of love, and she has armor? and b.) I, for one, would *not* go into battle naked (though it might frighten my enemies).

Here's Thetis, who was the daughter of Nereus, the Old Man of the Sea.  So she's a sea nymph.  There was a prophecy that the son of Thetis would eclipse his father in greatness, which was enough to deter Zeus, but it also made it hard for her to find a husband at all until she married the mortal Peleus.  Their son was Achilles, one of the great heroes of Greek myth, and I had to look up his dad's name so I think that prophecy came true.

Here's Hera (Juno), who was Queen of the Universe before me.  (Bwahahahaa!)

The Three Graces on a ceiling panel, leading into the room where we saw...

The Venus de Milo, another of my personal Top Three Things to See at the Louvre.  (Lee:  "Dude, Venus got some abs.")  It wasn't nearly as crowded around Venus as it was around Ms. Lisa or Ms. Wings.

A statue of Athena with the face of Medusa on her chiton.  Which usually is on her shield, but I kinda like it.

I think maybe this is supposed to be Athena too, she often wears a helmet.  But what's wrong with her lips?  Our theories:  a.) she let her kid sister put lipstick on her; b.) she ate something that caused an allergic reaction; c.) someone socked her in the mouth.  What's your pick?

The Ancient Greek & Roman statuary is next to the Ancient Egyptian exhibit, so we did that next.

And we went downstairs and saw the medieval foundations of the palace, and this is where I was really impressed with how much French I remembered 'cause they had a sign (only in French) and I was able to tell Lee that people used to throw things in the moat, like everyday items that got broken, or the remains of whatever they had for dinner that day.  When they dredged up this whole area, they found all kinds of stuff that gave an insight into the daily life of palace inhabitants in the 1400s.  Kind of cool.

Most of my Egyptian pictures didn't really come out, but I got this one:  kiss my ankh!  After that, we figured we were Louvre'd out, so we headed back to the giant pyramid.

And now you know what it looks like from the inside.

There's the underground courtyard where you get the tickets after a hugely long line, or pick which gallery to start with.  If we go back, I think we'll check out whatever is opposite the Denon Wing since that's mostly what we saw.  We wandered through the Louvre gift shops (LOTS of books, and one that sold reproductions of the artwork), and then discovered there's an underground mall like right there that had restaurants and stuff so that's where we ate lunch.

On the way we passed the inverted pyramid, which Lee had to take a picture of because he read The da Vinci Code.  So did I, but apparently he remembers it better.

And one more view of the Louvre from near the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel.  Hope you enjoyed this little tour of one tiny piece of the Louvre!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The LOOOOOOOvre, Part 1

Today it's all about the artwork 'cause on our second day in Paris, we went to the Louvre.   Fair warning:  there are pictures of paintings and statues featuring women in deshabillee, but it's art, not just nudity.  Hey, it's my first advisory notice for a blog post!  Won't be the last, I know there's at least one more batch of Paris pictures which will get an advisory notice.  Anyway, we took the Metro over there and when we walked up the stairs we saw this:

I think this was on a building that faces the Louvre, but it might be part of the museum itself, I can't remember.  However big you think the Louvre is, it's *bigger* than that.  Seriously huge.  On the boat ride the day previous, the recorded tour guide dude said that if you spent just 1 minute looking at each piece of artwork in the Louvre, it would take you over 4 months to get through it all.  Without sleeping or travel time between artwork.  And having been there, I can totally believe that statement.

So anyway there's a sign for the museum just 'cause I thought it was cool.

Speaking of cool, I lurve the art deco-style Metro signs.  Not all of them are cool like this, but quite a few are.  Some of the other ones are just giant yellow Ms which made me think McDonald's, not Metro.

And here's the famous pyramid over the underground reception area.  And Lee!

One side of the building surrounding the pyramid courtyard.

This is a smaller triumphal arch, the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, built to celebrate Napoleon's victories in 1805 according to my oh-so-handy guide book.  And now I have the sudden urge to watch Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.

You know how I like statues.  This is Louis XIV I think.

We didn't get our act together in time to buy Louvre tickets online before we left (all the sites seem to be the type that they send you a hard copy ticket, you can't just print out your own e-ticket) so we got tickets from the concierge at the hotel.  Yes, it cost us 5 euro more per ticket (they're 10 euro at the museum) *but* we got to skip the really, really, really long line to get in.  I think we went in a priority/handicapped entrance and no one said anything about it, so we just strolled in and had our tickets scanned to go into the Denon Wing, easy peasy.  Of course we decided to look for the Mona Lisa first, but on the way we spotted another of my Top 3 Things to See at the Louvre:

The Winged Victory of Samothrace.  So.  Cool.

So the Louvre was a palace for a number of centuries before it became one of the world's most preeminent art museums, and even the ceilings were decorated to within an inch of their lives.  Metaphorically speaking, of course, because ceilings are generally not alive.  Unless they have mold growing on them, which I'm pretty sure these didn't.

View down the gallery; it's longer than you think and this is just ONE wing of it.  (Did I mention this place is seriously huge?)  We were following signs to the Mona Lisa and still missed the turn to see her so we had to backtrack a bit, but then we found her.

That's about as close as I got.  All our pictures of her turned out a little blurry, what with the giant crowds and the rules against flash photography (which people ignored willy-nilly, but I adhered to) but you know what she looks like.  She's probably smiling because she thinks it's amusing how many people squish in to look at her.  You know everyone says she's smaller than you'd expect?  Id heard that so many times I'd just about made up my mind that she was postcard-sized, so she didn't seem extra small to me.  I knew she had to be fairly portable since da Vinci carted her around with him when he traveled, but still, not as tiny as you might think.  In case you're wondering what else she has to look at when the museum is empty, it's this:

This is the largest painting in the Louvre, and it's set on the wall opposite Ms. Lisa.  I wonder if Waldo is in there anywhere.

This painting is in the same room as Ms. Lisa and Where's Waldo; it's Aphrodite and her son Eros (I like his wings).  I liked this one till Lee asked me if Eros was like stabbing the doves or something.  I don't think so, since those are Aphrodite's sacred birds, but they do a lot of violence in Greek myth so who knows.

That gives you an idea what it's like walking towards the Winged Victory.  After we saw the Mona Lisa, we decided to give most of the paintings a pass and go look at the Ancient Greek and Roman statuary 'cause I like that stuff.  Plus we saw paintings on our way to Ms. Lisa...we didn't see da Vinci's other works though, maybe I'll look for those if we go again.

This one looked *just like* the guy who played Poseidon in Clash of the Titans!  The original one, not the crappy remake.  Can't believe it got a sequel.

Hey, it's me and Ms. Wings!  So we went down the stairs to another long gallery with the Greek statuary in it and saw this on a chair:

I like him.  He's cool.

There's Lee checking out the details on the carving.  More statue photos in my next post, as soon as Mom leaves me a comment so I know she saw this ; )  TTFN, peeps!

Friday, May 18, 2012

A Cruise on the Seine

Thought Mom might like to see some more Paris pictures : )  So after we climbed up the stairs at the Eiffel Tower and had a serious case of jelly-legs, Lee and I decided to go on a cruise on the river, which luckily left from pretty much right next to the tower.  The best part?  We got to sit down the whole time.  But of course the first thing we took a picture of was the tower:

'Cause we don't have enough Eiffel Tower pictures yet.  See all the clouds?  We actually got rained on a bit during the boat ride, which means we didn't get quite as many pictures as we would have otherwise, but it cleared out again right after we got off the boat.

That's a replica of the flame in the Statue of Liberty's torch, a symbol of friendship between France and the United States.  Nowadays it's also an impromptu shrine to Princess Diana since she had her fatal car wreck in the tunnel close to this.  I remember when that happened, Mom and I stayed up until like 3 in the morning watching the news reports while we stitched.  I don't remember what I was stitching though...

Pont Alexandre III and the front of the boat we were on.  It's a flat-topped boat so there's a place you can sit inside or the upper deck out in the air, and since we wanted an unobstructed view we opted for the upper deck.  Which also meant getting rained on but whatever, it wasn't as cold in Paris as it is in England.  (Seriously, it's the second half of May and I'm still wearing two layers of long sleeves.)

Ornamentation on the bridge.

And the statues on the end of the bridge.

And more schtuff on the bridge itself.  This has to be the most highly decorated bridge in Paris.

I forget what this building is, but it's the one that was used as inspiration for the White House in America.  Only the White House is 8 times bigger and, y'know, white.

The Luxor Obelisk in the Place de la Concorde as seen from the river.  With a zoom lens.

France's National Assembly.  You know, in the Percy Jackson books, they talk about how Western civilization is passed from one great power to another and how much architecture is still classic Greco-Roman style.  And it is, think how many places in the States are this kind of architecture.  Things that make you go hmmm.

This is the Musee d'Orsay (another art museum), which houses a large collection of Impressionist art in addition to other things.  The building is a converted train station and I love the looks of it.  We didn't go there at all this trip, so maybe next time.  Because of *course* I want to go back again.  It's that whole "if you give a mouse a cookie" thing.  Next time I wanna go to Versailles too!

Remember the part in National Treasure 2 when Ben and Riley go to Paris and fly the helicopter around the Parisian Statue of Liberty and then Riley gets a ticket for it?  Voila the Statue of Liberty with the Eiffel Tower in the background (as if you couldn't tell what that was).

Just 'cause I liked the stormy sky in this one.

And then I liked the little bit of blue skies in this one.

And here we are on our way back to the Eiffel Tower and more stairs, 'cause after the boat tour we went over to the Palais de Chaillot, climbed a lot of stairs, and got yet more pictures of the Eiffel Tower.

Tolja the weather cleared out again after we got off the boat.

Lee got some really beautiful shots of the tower, though he swears that it's crooked or something as he had a hard time getting a nice straight picture.  I kind of wonder if there's something up with our camera itself that's making us take crooked pictures, because it seems to be a more recent development.

And it's not just us, see?  We handed off the camera to a very nice gentleman who took like five pictures of us and they all lean.  Lee fixed it for that first Paris post that I did but I haven't messed with tilting pictures on the Mac and it's late on a Friday night so I don't want to learn how to do it right this minute so just tilt your head to the right on this one.  So after climbing all the stairs at the Eiffel Tower and all the walking we did, I was plum tuckered out (remember, I was just getting over a nasty virus) so we called it a day right after this.  Then we found a crepes stand and got crepes with Nutella and that was YUM, and then we went back to the hotel and I totally conked out for the night.

I think I'll go downstairs now and watch tonight's NCIS episode (we're behind the States a bit, but once they start playing a series we don't have any mid-season breaks like you guys do) and then go to bed.  Have a great weekend!