Friday, April 12, 2013

The Louvre, Part Deux

"Keep good company — that is,
go to the Louvre."
~ Paul Cezanne

We woke up to rain this morning. Again. For the fifth or sixth day in a row. Okay, I thought. I can deal with this today because we're going to the Louvre. We won't even have to step outside in this mess.

"I can't believe this crappy weather," I said to Mike. "Does this city ever dry out?"

"It's okay," he replied. "We're going to the Louvre, so we'll be inside and dry most of the day." I rolled my eyes because he always says what I think.

After putzing around a few hours, we headed to the Metro around 11:30. A couple of guys got on the train at the same time, and they immediately starting playing music on their trumpets and saxes. When we got off of the train, we walked to the exit and heard someone playing a string bass down the hall. I took a photo looking down the hall in her direction, and she was on me in a split second

"Pleez let me see zee peec-chur schou tek." She was not happy.

"No," I said as squirmed out of her grasp.

"Delete zat peec-chur oaf me," she insisted.

"You don't know she took one of you," Mike said. "And, it's in public, so we don't have to.

"Pleez delete zat peec-chur NOW."

"Look, no peec-chur," I said showing her my camera view screen.

"I don' bee-leefs schou." She pushed me against the wall, but Mike got between us and pushed her away so I could escape through the exit.

"Yikes," I sighed once we got into the long mall area leading to the entrance of the Louvre. "She was something else."

                           One of the HUGE tapestries

"She probably thought you were going to turn her in for playing there," Mike reasoned. "It will be okay."

We entered the rotunda where we had waited forever the other day while the "general assembly" of Louvre workers decided to strike. Surprise! There was no line to get into the Louvre if you already had a ticket which, of course, we did thanks to the Tuesday debacle.

  Note the arthritis in the toe joints of this sculpture

We're both taken with sculpture, so we headed to that area immediately. As we climbed the steps from the first level to the second, the sun came out (It figures.) and cast beautiful light on the marble and bronze pieces in the collection.

We're quite amazed that the sculpture (and paintings) are so accessible in the Louvre. There are signs all over advising patrons not to touch anything, but there are really no barriers between visitors and the art.

I won't bore you with every little detail about the five+ hours we stayed at the museum today. We walked every floor and salon spending more time in some areas than in others. We both marvel at the detail in the sculpture.. Some have such defined muscles and joints. If you look at the close-up photo of the foot, you can see the arthritis in some of the toe joints.  We also cannot believe the size of some of the work.  I asked Mike to stand by a few of them just to give some perspective on how big they are. (Below)

Mike and two of the HUGE paintings

Of course, life with us is never boring, especially if we're traveling.  We like to kid around a lot.

"You're the only one who appreciates my sense of humor," Mike said to me at some point today.  I couldn't respond because I was laughing too hard.

A little backstory:  After we moved back to Las Vegas a few years ago, we were walking around the Forum Shoppes or Fashion Show or something, and Mike posed with one of the mannequins so I could take a photo of them.  It's now our practice to do it wherever we are — store, mall, museum, etc. — just to have a little fun.

So, back to the Louvre.  As you can see from the photos below, Mike posed with a few of the statues at the Louvre.  For the record, he did NOT touch any of them.  We were by a girl who did touch one piece of marble, though.

"NON TOUCH!  NON TOUCH!!" screamed the not-on-strike museum worker.  "NON. NON. Non."  He was angry, and she was scared and embarrassed.

About three hours after we entered the museum, and shortly after I took a photo of Mike and one of the stone-heads, a loud alarm sounded, and huge steel doors closed off hallways from the center atrium.

"GOBBLEDY-GOOK.  GOBBLEDY-GOOK. GOBBLEDY-GOOK.  GOBBLEDY-MERCI."  An  announcement in English followed the French announcement, and this time we understood.

"Attention, please.  All visitors are asked to go to the nearest exit and follow the directions of the museum workers. Thank you."

We walked toward one of the hallway doors and asked one of the museum workers what to do.

"No Een=glish," she said and pointed us out of the atrium.

Once downstairs, we asked a security guard what we were to do since there were people still buying tickets and milling about the area.

"Go oot.  Ootside," she demanded pointing us to the exit.  We followed others whom she directed that way and entered the courtyard just as, you guessed it, it started to rain.

Not anxious to stand in the cold and drizzle, we headed to lunch across the street.  We didn't know what was going on, of course, but we speculated that a fire alarm may have gone off since the steel doors closed off different parts of the  museum.

"Maybe they're striking again," I said.

"Youf-d bean heere loong eenoof, toorist," Mike said. "We strike a-gain."

"Eet eez rainin' a-gain. Times to leafs know."

"Avril fooools!"

Just as we were finishing lunch, the skies opened up, and the rain battered the street.

"It figures," I moaned. "I'm not going out in this."

"We'll wait a bit," Mike replied knowing darn well he would have to carry me out of the cafe kicking and screaming to get me into that weather.

When the rain finally slowed to a drizzle again, we left the cafe and went back to the museum where, once again, we walked right in. We headed back to the sculpture exhibits that we had missed the first time we were in the museum.

"Let me take my coat and scarf off before we go up," I said to Mike, and we walked over to a bench where another couple was sitting.

Hearing us speaking English, they knew we were from the States and asked where we were from.

"Las Vegas," we replied simultaneously.  "How about you?" Mike added.

"We're from a small town in Tennessee," the man said.  "You've probably never heard of it.  Centerville."

         Douglas & Molly Bates with us at the Louvre

We informed them that we did, indeed, know where Centerville was since we'd lived in Nashville for 14 years, and we talked to them for the next 15-20 minutes about Nashville, Tennessee, Xavier, Cincinnati, Paris and the Louvre.  Douglas and Molly are also the ones who told us that the alarm that sounded was a fire drill.  They knew that because some PhD student from the Sorbonne was standing next to them when the alarm went off.

"He told us to just ignore it," said Douglas, "so we did. No one made us leave."  Of course not.

Mike and I spent another two hours or so going through the museum, and the sun decided to show up again for the late afternoon.  By 5:00, we were both a little tired of all that culture, and we decided to head home.

As we bought our Metro tickets, we heard the sounds of that string instrument wafting our way.

"Holy crap! She's still here," I said. "Do you want to go the other way?"

"Just walk on the other side of the crowd," Mike replied.  "She'll ignore you."

Staying on the edge of the crowd, we hurried past the bassist and toward the trains.  She either didn't notice me, didn't remember me, or didn't want to lose any possible tips by chasing me down again.

As we climbed the steps back at our subway station stop, we noticed that the sun was shining.  That, however, didn't last long.  By the time we got to the corner, drops of rain dripped on us.

It figures.

No comments:

Post a Comment