Back to Paris
Our main reason for including Paris on our itinerary was that the last time we visited we didn’t get to see the Louvre – I know right! It was a Tuesday when we were in gay Par-ee and the only day the Louvre is shut is, yes, on Tuesday.
This time we were determined to see it. I naively thought, the line won’t be that long but oh my goodness it went on and on and on.
Thankfully we did our research and booked a skip the line tour with City Tours Paris.
We arrived for our tour in the nick of time and greeted our guide Josephine. She was lovely, originally from Hong Kong, she came to Paris to study literature and then married a French man. As it turned out the other attendees did not turn up so we got ourselves a private tour – woohoo!
In preparation for our grand day at the Louvre Steve and I watched ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and ‘Angels and Demons’. Okay, so not strictly in the historic theme but it certainly gave us a sense of the size of the place.
Josephine led us through the history of the site as we made our way inside. She explained why the French do not like the glass pyramid structures…they are new/modern (1980s) compared to the other structures surrounding which are not, not, not. The architect of the structure was a Chinese American. Included in the design under the Louvre are shops which the owners are now making money from on the site. So funny!
According to Josephine, the project went way over budget during construction, not really their fault I think.
During the clearing of the site, foundations of an ancient medieval fort were discovered. The fort was built to protect Paris from Viking attacks. Of course this has been excavated and we got to walk through what would have been the moat. We also got to see the freemasons marks on the stones. It is grand and amazing.
There was an overwhelming amount of things to see during the tour. Apparently if you were to spend 30 seconds in at each exhibit it would take 12days to see everything.
Highlights for us were Zeus’ daughter Athena, the Patron Goddess of Athens; Venus de Milo or Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love; and the Winged Goddess. The sculptures were divine in their intricacy. We are amazed by the artistry, what it would have taken to create these pieces by hand with only the most basic of tools.
Of course we saw the Mona Lisa
It was a very busy section with people wanting their piece of her, their photo or selfie.
Personally I didn’t see what all the fuss was about. Yes, it’s old and created by a famous artist. The only reason it was famous was because it happened to be stolen and thus the focus of world-wide attention as the art world searched for her. She was lost for two years and found again when the thief tried to sell her.
I found the student’s reproduction of the work more appealing as it lacked the layers and layers of lacquer that Da Vinci coated his work with because it was painted on wood.
The works of art, sculptures, collections, jewels and history of the Louvre is astonishing.
After our three-hour tour, which turned out to be more than four hours, we were completely overwhelmed.
We had intended to spend the rest of the day wandering around but even after sitting and eating we were pooped and called it a day.
I think if we ever re-visit Paris another tour of the Louvre will be on the cards.
A definite highlight.