T. took the advice of the guidebook to heart. It said to pick a period or so and then pretend that all the rest of the stuff is in some other museum across town where you can’t look at it right now. That is one good way to make the daunting collection suddenly manageable. We chose to look at the medieval Louvre, including the foundations of the original donjon and various artifacts that were unearthed while the archaeologists were excavating the old castle:
We also checked out the Egyptian antiquities, my favorites being the pens and inks of the scribes. T. liked the boat models and found himself impressed with the two rudder-oars on them.
I have wanted to walk from the Louvre through the Jardin de Tuileries, past the obelisk, and down the Champs-Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe since I first learned about the city of Paris from Mme. Kulstein when I was in middle school. Today I got to do it. The garden part is lovely. I’m not big into fancy designer everything, so my heart did not pitter-pat to see the swanky boutiques (the longest line we saw all day was at Abercrombie and Fitch!!!! I think the world is ending. Plus, they don’t sell the naked men in their ads, just some dumb clothes.), but I was amused to see McDonald’s and Starbucks right in there with Cartier and Louis Vuitton.
T. would like his own personal Arc de Triomphe. He also wouldn’t mind having an obelisk. The part about the major military triumphs and the stealing cultural objects fair and square doesn’t seem to be too problematic to him so far, so consider yourselves warned.
Surprisingly, T. decided that he did in fact want to see the Musée d’Orsay after all, so off we went. He’s a Van Gogh guy. As a result, I now know that it was the left ear that Van Gogh cut off. I like the dancers of Degas better. The current special exhibition is Manet’s work. I might like it better if I didn’t have to see it with thousands of my new closest friends (I have become spoiled after years of going to museums during the week when I mainly have to contend with avoiding school groups). Perhaps one of the most interesting things about the visit for me was comparing the pieces I had seen recently at the DeYoung with the whole collection. Cézanne was severely underrepresented in San Francisco, for example.
Having had sufficient art, we walked back along the river to Notre Dame to get some good Gothic architecture. It is such a beautiful building. I took lots of pictures, but I offer only this one, of the detail of the door:
My feet were falling off at this point. T. also needed a break. We stumbled into a lovely dinner. The restaurant is all about fresh local ingredients, so naturally the food was awesome. However, there is also a brisk business in cocktails. Here is a sample of the, ahem, direct names of some of the drinks:
Time to crash. And I’m too tired to put links in.