L’Opera Garnier and le Louvre

That is what we saw today.  After eating some yummy breakfast/lunch of quiche lorraine and cafe au lait, we headed out to see the sights.  Our feet were rested and we were rested, having slept in until late :)  The opera house was amazing.  It was really really fun to see, and best of all we were yet to find out, it was not that crowded. Hmm, I guess it’s not on every tourists’ must-see list.

On to the Louvre.  OMG. It was disgustingly crowded.  Seriously, we walked in and almost walked right back out.  It was the equivalent of walking into Disneyland in the middle of summer.  Ugh. However, we braced ourselves and pushed on.  We made it this far, might as well go all the way, right?  Well, unfortunately with that many people in one space it just impossible for you to enjoy yourself.  Now, I can imagine the Louvre on a winter day, non-tourist season and having a whole space almost to yourself to get lost in….oh man, that would be lovely.  This was not.  However, I will try to be positive…The architecture of the place was gorgeous!!  That was about the only thing I enjoyed. The building itself is amazing piece of artwork.   We went and saw the Mona Lisa….woohoo! It was this small picture, encased by heavy, heavy glass, with a HUGE crowd around it all taking pictures WITH flash.  Oh yeah, that’s another thing we simply could not believe – they let you take pictures in there. FLASH pictures!!!  We couldn’t believe that.  Needless to say, we did not spend a whole lot of time in there.

I just figured out what bugged me about the whole thing.  Phil and I aren’t really that interested in art history.  We were not all the excited about seeing the Louvre b/c visual art just isn’t our thing.  However, there was this unspoken pressure that since we are in Paris, we just have to go to the Louvre.  What is it about it that has made it a must-see?  So that is why we went and that is why there were so many other people there. Doing the same thing as us.  So I watched all these people filing past and not even enjoying the art, or just pretending to.  There is no way you can even take in the whole place in one day. It’s huge.  It would take months and months of recurring visits, in my opinion, to really soak up the whole thing.  So the Louvre, which really is this amazing place of rich beauty and art history, has been turned into this Disneyland art museum and that really disappoints and almost disgusts me.  The Louvre is not being appreciated for the beautiful place it is, but instead is being used for tourism and money.  Sad. Ok, off of my soap box and on to other things….

After we emerged into sunlight and fresh air we were starving.  So we plopped ourselves down at the nearest cafe and enjoyed a pretty american meal at a french cafe (well, what do you expect? we were in a high tourist area)  But it was tasty.  But note to self: don’t eat by the tourist areas mostly b/c you’ll get americanized french food.

We headed back to our hotel exhausted after only 5 1/2 hours of sightseeing and took a long nap.  We stayed in for the rest of the night, except for when I ran out to get us a baguette and wine for dinner :)

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Jenny Cain

Spunky musician, artist, seamstress and horticulturalist. More about Jenny...

3 thoughts on “L’Opera Garnier and le Louvre”

  1. i heard there is something around the E Tower that is a canal, lake, or stream, or river (something with water) that is really good. i hope the rest of the trip is much more awesome!

  2. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy the Louvre! It is certainly the most impressive collection of art/history in the world but you really have to spend a lot of time there to soak it all in (and you have to like art…). As far as the crowds, you are there in PRIME tourist season and that is one of the top tourist spots in the world, so there you go… When you go back to Paris, try visiting outside of June or July and it will be a much better experience. Another tourist spot just outside of Paris is the Chateau de Versailles – castle. However, that one lives up to the hype (unlike Louvre and Eiffel Tower). It is amazing and I definitely recommend making the day trip if you have time. It is truly beautiful. I also thought the Notre Dame Cathedral was pretty neat. It is not far from the Eiffel tower or Arc de Triomphe. Sounds like you are having fun and your simple French meals of baguette, cheese and wine bring back incredible memories – I’m jealous!

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