Early Saturday morning rain fell on Paris. We woke to the sounds of it on the roof. A good day to keep inside, touring museums. We fixed a quick breakfast in the apartment then walked five blocks toward the Louvre. The gray clouds were swept away with a moderate wind and the temperature was around 47 F.
As we approached the vast museum, we saw a camera rig, filming a car driving. Not sure if it was for a film, or a commercial. One of the many trucks behind the Louvre said “En Location.”
Our Paris museum pass let us by-pass the growing long line to buy tickets and proceed fairly fast into the museum. Like most spots we’ve visited, we had to go through a security check, including a bag scan. Then down the escalator and under the tall glass pyramid.
I’ve been in many museums but never imagined the enormity of the Louvre, until we started walking toward the room that held the Mona Lisa. Our guidebooks told us to stop there first since crowds increase as the day goes by. The room was already half-filled. The Mona Lisa is beautiful and serene, but her protective glass filters any real clear view. Sad. Still, I’m glad I saw her.
We walked on through gallery after gallery of magnificent paintings, stopping mainly at favorite artists, or periods of art. Periodically, we had to consult our maps to re-orient ourselves. I enjoyed seeing artists studying the masterpieces, learning from them through sketching and painting the works. Like a musician learns by playing, and a writer learns by reading others’ work.
After a late lunch at the Louvre Cafe, we walked outside and through the Jardin de Tulieres toward L’Orangerie, a museum that houses Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works. In the vast gardens, we strolled by statues both classic and modern, and by beds of flowers still in bloom. The air was crisp, breezy, and approaching cold. Everywhere we heard the sounds of a multitude of languages.
In his last years, Claude Monet was losing his sight but he planned one final series of paintings from his gardens at Giverny. Eight huge paintings are hung on curved panels in two rooms at L’Orangerie. As we walked around the rooms, we found ourselves awed by the timeless beauty of these works.
Downstairs in this museum are other magnificent works by Monet’s contemporaries and friends — Manet, Degas, Cezanne, and Renoir. Magnificent!
On a long stroll “home” we window shopped at the fine shops along Rue Saint Honoré. At some point we decided to eat in, to just relax and unwind in the apartment. We stopped at a shop that sold deliciously prepared items and enjoyed a quiet evening.
Sunday brings a day trip to Versaille!