From Paris, With Louvre

Friday morning I finally made it to the Louvre! I waited in line for only twenty minutes (it can take hours!) before I entered the pyramid and descended into the museum itself.

The Louvre is huge!  While I was once intimidated by the size of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, frequent visits have made it manageable.  But the Louvre is like the Met’s giant older sibling. Looking at a map, it seemed like I could navigate my way through all of the galleries by early afternoon.  But after passing through various crowded galleries, I realized that a full run of the Louvre in a single day would be impossible or at least highly unpleasant.

I started with the Napoleon III apartments, lushly decorated rooms that could easily fit two or three of my four-bedroom East Village apartment inside.

From there, I wandered through the European paintings, recognizing various artists and artworks from art history classes.

Throughout my time at the museum, I constantly heard visitors ask guards in a variety of different accents, “Where is the Mona Lisa?”  While I know this is one of the artworks the Louvre is known for, it was almost unbelievable that a person could be surrounded by such wonderful, skilled, detailed artwork from all over the world and had their sights set completely on visiting a single portrait.

At the Mona Lisa, crowds of tourists elbow each other for a chance to capture Da Vinci’s painting on their iPhones.  It’s totally overwhelming: especially considering the painting is covered by a thick layer of glass and protected by a wooden railing that prevents viewers from walking within four feet of the painting.

After seeing the highlights of the museum, I headed out to the Jardin de Tuileries, mainly to check out La Fête Foraine, or the summer carnival.

There’s nothing sadder than walking around a carnival by yourself.  The friends I was supposed to meet were missing. Only later did I learn that Orange, the main cell service provider for Paris, was down for the day.  It took hours before I figured this out.  After hours of not receiving texts, I’d just assumed I was extremely unpopular and doomed to carry out a lonely existence. In New York, if cell service went down for an hour, the city would be frantic, and it certainly wouldn’t be a secret.  Maybe it’s just my lack of understanding of French, but I was shocked to learn that a major city was without cell service for a day and I had no idea.

Similar to every other day in Paris, it started to pour, so I made myself comfortable at Jour, a fresh salad bar reminiscent of the USA, where I wrote the afternoon away…