Friday, June 21, 2013

Two Louvre Visits in One Week? Heaven.

On Wednesday we met at the Sainte-Chapelle on the Ile de la Cite. The cathedral was much smaller than any other we've seen so far because it's use was intended only for a very small group of people. Despite it's size the inside of the cathedral is covered in color, gold, and stained glass, making it look like the inside of a glittering jewelry box.

After finishing up at the cathedral, we headed down to the conciergerie which has been used in the past as both a dining hall for soldiers and the jail in which Marie Antoinette was kept before her execution. We walked through the long dining hall and examples of jail cells before heading back out into the world.

The brightly lit dining hall

An example of what essentially was the janitors closet for the jail

We had about a 5 hour break between the conciergerie and our next class at the Louvre, so we voted to head back to the apartment for some grocery shopping, lunching, and napping. After some much needed rest, we headed up to the Louvre, at which point it of course started to pour. For some reason it seems like there's not a very good draining system in Paris, maybe the land is too flat or there just aren't enough gutters, but every time it rains absolutely every piece of ground turns into a very deep puddle. So, once we'd sloshed through the puddles from the metro to the pyramid entrance we damply rode down the escalators into the Louvre. We first headed to an exhibit of the remnants of the medieval wall, which we were all very excited to touch. Who know's who's touched that wall before?? Probably people with a lot of germs.

Then, moving on to the Renaissance, we worked our way up to the French sculpture rooms where we looked at a lot of angels and tomb sculptures.

A classic dragon fight

The scariest tomb marker I've ever seen...

Thursday, we went over to Chateau de Vincennes, an insanely gorgeous estate with a cathedral and a full on castle. Obviously, we all got overwhelmingly excited about the fact that we were visiting a castle, and once we were given free-reign over the area we immediately climbed up to the battlements for the fantastic view.

The stray, and very fat, cat we discovered inside the castle walls

The cathedral was just as amazing as the view, all tall windows and clean white walls.

Today we returned to Notre-Dame in the morning (we spend a lot of time there) in order to walk around and look at the different architecture on each side. There were even larger crowds than usual around the cathedral, so we were all excited to walk around the different facades in order to get away from some of the masses. We also got to pass through the gardens/playground around the cathedral which had beautiful roses in every color and the biggest poppies I've ever seen.

After Notre-Dame we took a quick lunch break and then we were off to the Renaissance and Baroque collections at the Louvre. There, we saw our first paintings of the trip. Up until this point we've been focusing more on architecture and relics, so I was thrilled to get to look at some of the works I'm more familiar with.

The Rape of the Sabine Women (which I studied in Art History this year)

A sculpture of Voltaire (whose work I read in English this year)

I like to play this game when I walk through museums where I look at all the expressions and gestures of people in paintings or sculptures and look for the people doing weird things. For example, this was my favorite of the day:

I giggled at it for a solid minute before I could move on to the next room

After leaving the Louvre we sat outside in the Cour Carrée enjoying the sunshine that had been absent earlier in the day. AND THEN THE BEST THING EVER HAPPENED.

Dramatic pause.


I honestly doubted myself when I first saw him because what if he was just some normal French kid who happened to look like Kid President? But oh no, it was him. Obviously I was very awkward about it and just sort of stared at him in all his awesome, inspiring glory, but I wish I'd gone over to tell him how great I think his videos are and what a difference he's making. Kid President, if you read this, keep up the good work.

To wrap up the week, I'm about to leave for the Eiffel Tower to say goodbye to two friends from America who are unfortunately heading home tomorrow. Believe it or not I haven't actually seen the Tower up close yet, so I'm pretty pumped to see it lit up and glimmering the first time I see it.

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