Lovely Ladies of the Louvre

by Jessica on March 9, 2009

Paris greeted us this morning with a gray and rainy day. Being in Paris in the winter didn’t give us the best impression of the city. I would love to return to Paris when it is green and lovely, and see that side of the city.

The rain wasn’t too much of a trouble, as we planned to spend the morning at the Louvre. The Louvre is iconic, both inside and out. The Louvre is a must see for a first time Parisian visitor. The Louvre is an art lover’s paradise. And also, the Louvre is overwhelming. Even for an art lover, the sheer size and magnanimity of the Louvre is too much to take in all at once. Ideally, I would have loved for us to view the collections at the Louvre over two or ten visits, but had just one day, so we made the best of it.

To my heart’s great delight, my boys enjoy art museums, and are quite engaging little art critics once they reach a certain age. One of challenges of traveling with children with a wide age gap is finding a way to engage all of them in all the activity choices. For the Louvre, we did not expect Aidan, who is 3 ½, to be able to sit still and quiet for the length of time that we wanted to explore. A new trick was in order. Gary loaded several Little Einstein (very arty) cartoons onto an I-Pod, and gave them to Aidan with a pair of headphones. He was delighted to kick back in his stroller, and enjoy the cartoons while we enjoyed the museum.

The Lovely Mona Lisa

The popularity of the Louvre makes the lines long even on a weekday. We proceeded straight through security, and started on a trek to see the “Ladies of the Louvre.” The Mona Lisa was the first stop, and although I knew it was small, I was surprised by the small stature of the famous lady. It is not hard to find the most famous pieces in the Louvre. You simply need to look for the large crowd standing shoulder to shoulder with cameras firing wildly. 

The crowds around the Mona Lisa

Being a proper Southern woman, I usually prefer to smile sweetly, and say excuse me. But, at the Louvre, a little pushing and shoving is necessary to see the most popular paintings. If you wait quietly for your turn, your turn will never come, so be ready to be a little pushy.

Winged Victory of Samothrace

As such, we pushed our way to the front of the group and checked out the lovely lady. Ryan stood and sketched for a while, and then we pressed on to the next big group of people and famous lady. The Winged Victory of Samothrace was easier to view, as she was perched at the top of a staircase , and she could be seen from afar. This time we opted not to press through to the front of the line, but viewed the statue from up above.

Venus de Milo

Our last famous lady was the Venus de Milo, also crowded with people. Again, we sketched and moved on fairly quickly. After hitting the must sees, Aidan was still content with his movies, so we slowed down our pace and wandered aimlessly from room to room of larger than life paintings. We saw some great works of art, and especially enjoyed looking at the pieces we had studied in school. The boys sat willingly and discussed several of the paintings with me.

My favorite-The Oath of the Horatii

After a while, the paintings began to run together and although the paintings were classics, we began to slip into an art induced coma.  A little lunch in the cafe was just the thing to clear our art saturated brains, as we discussed our favorites of the day.   Both of the older boys agreed that the Mona Lisa was way too small to be that important.  They discussed the two famous statues for a while, but Aidan said those gave him the creeps because they were missing their arms and heads.  I sat back and smiled.  Little boy art crtiques are nothing if not entertaining.

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