Time to get crackin.
Our apartment was just two streets down from the Louvre. Can you believe it?
Tim left early this morning to try to get our museum passes but came back empty-handed because he said the line was way too long. He also told us that people were already running, literally running, to get in line to get inside the Louvre. Tim didn't bother getting in line or anything to hold our spots prior to the Louvre opening when he saw all this because he figured it would die down by the time we got there...
So, of course we hurried along to the Louvre and to our amazement when we walked up to the Louvre the line was 100x longer than when Tim saw it last! I think all of our mouths dropped when we saw the line it was that long. As we walked down to try to find the end of the line I noticed a sign near the end that read "5 hour wait". "Is that for real?" I thought, "No way..".
We got in line anyway while Tim left to see if this really was where we are to be, etc. when a lady who worked for the Louvre stopped me right when I got in line. In broken English she tried to tell me to go somewhere else. She pointed to my buggy with Natalie in it and said to turn left and go toward the pyramid, and made a pyramid sign with her hands. haha I may be American but I'm not dumb. haha
Anyways, I was a little hesitant to listen to her because I didn't want to lose my spot in line if she was wrong or if I was misunderstanding her all together. Boy, was I wrong and was she right. We literally walked to the front entrance of the Louvre where they have a separate entrance for those visiting with buggies. No line whatsoever. We were so confused at first. Is this for real?
We walked in, a man took us down the lift, and we were now inside the Louvre! Voila! Just like that.
Thank you, stroller. And thank you, baby Natalie. And thank you to me for having a baby. haha
Yes, we just passed 5 hours of waiting in line. Here is a picture inside the Louvre of all the suckers waiting outside. Just kidding.
And we also realized that another reason for the loads of people is that every first Sunday of the month all museums are free. Double score! I totally forgot that my friend Jana had previously told me about this when we first moved here.
The Louvre was spectacular. It is massively spectacular. Food for thought: Did you know that if you spent 3 seconds at each painting or sculpture/piece of art in the Louvre it would take 3 months day and night to see it all? Crazy!
Of course, our first stop, Mona Lisa.
I hate to burst everyone's bubble, but seeing the Mona Lisa is a slight let down. I was warned about it before hand, which I am glad. When you enter the room that holds the Mona Lisa you first see a huge crowded crowd with cameras and many flashes going off non-stop, it looks like a mad house. I should have taken a picture of the scene. And when you turn to face the wall where she hangs, she is completely encased in a glass barrier and.... quite small.
Nevertheless, it was neat to be staring at something so well-known.
I wasn't going to wait in the unorganized line to take a good picture of her so I literally snuck and squeezed my way to the very front and center in a matter of seconds and took my pictures. Being petite has its advantages.
A few of the highlights we saw at the Louvre...
The Wedding Feast at Cana, Veronese,
The Winged Victory of Samothrace,
Napoleon III Apartments,
We figured out that all 5 of the Wayne Hart kids plus their spouses and all 16 grandchildren and THEIR future spouses, plus Grandpa and Grandma of course, would fit at the dining table above. Sunday dinner at the Louvre anyone?
Aphrodite, known as the "Venus de Milo",
Funny story: I've always heard of French men to be flattering toward women. Or maybe that has always been my perception of European men. Either way, I asked a gentlemen who worked at the Louvre where the "Venus de Milo" was. He responded by a big smile, opened his arms, and in a heavy French accent replied, "She is right here! Venus de Milo! No need to look. She is here!" haha If you need a self-esteem boast, talk to a French man.
And lastly we saw, Gabrielle d'Estrees and Her Sister.
Yes, that picture about is an actual piece that is highlighted in the Louvre brochure. When Tim saw it he immediately shouted, "I have to find this picture for my sisters! I want to take a picture of me by it and title it, 'Me and my sisters at the Louvre'". haha So we searched and walked for a long time mind you to find this stupid painting. So there you go Kari, Carin, Janna, and Sara!
I had to keep telling myself all morning, "You are at the Louvre. You are at the Louvre." for my surroundings to register. Finally, after walking through the museum and staring at it from the outside forever it registered.
I AM AT THE LOUVRE!
Next stop, Notre Dame Cathedral. My only regret is not taking a picture of the flying buttresses from the back. It is the icon for Gothic style architecture! Oh well.
We were able to witness a live mass during our tour inside and while I walked around to rock Natalie to sleep in her buggy Marisa, Tim, and the GPs sat down on one of the back pews to take in the sound of Gothic church music playing, prayers that sounded like hymns, low lights, colorful mosaic windows, and candles burning at various alters around the room.
After dinner at a restaurant by the Seine River we hopped on a sunset cruise tour down the Seine River! It was a fun way to end the day seeing one end of Paris to the other. Eiffel Tower to Ile Saint-Louis.
Marisa took lots of pictures with "Daddy's new iphone" as she says and this one was so cute to me. Do you think she's having a hard life overseas?
Natalie is such a turkey. She likes to pull faces when I take pictures of her. It was a relaxing scenic boat ride for all of us. The girls were sure wiped out after today. And the trip has only just begun...