Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Louvre

August 28th it was Paris to Ghent, Belgium (via Brussels) day. But first, the Louvre. Zeroth, the metro. According to the map the metro would take us to the Louvre in just a few stops from quite near our hotel. It failed to specify the station would smell like pee but it's kind of expected in an underground light rail facility so perhaps this can be forgiven.

The ticket machine had an elegantly simple interface. Roll the select-o-wheel and press affirmative or cancel.

The metro failed to have incident so we reached the Louvre gardens in short order.

A *huge* line led into the main entrance pyramid, near the lost luggage rhombus and the information octagon.

Luckily we knew of a secret entrance where supposedly tickets could be purchased from a shorter line. Sadly when we found this brilliant door it had a sign saying it was closed and that we should proceed to the main line. The main line although very long also moved along quite quickly so in no time at all we were inside, had learned that the Louvre was once a legitimate fortress, and that remains of the old fort were underground near the neon tubing exhibit.

Our audio tour, a Nintendo 3DS XL based system, featured location awareness so it would announce the next step based on you actually arriving. This worked quite well so we started with the "highlights" tour. First a sphinx.

Then a statue that is nice. Athena, known as the Pallas of Velletri (

And then the first true highlight, Aphrodite aka "Venus de Milo" (

Along the way we passed *many* things not deemed highlights. A Diana (there are many).

The Torment of Marsyas (

The three graces (


And that's within 15 minutes of entry following the tour. It is very easy to get side tracked from the highlights tour :D

Even ceilings are fairly staggering.

More statues! But no, that's not the current route!

Next highlight, a particularly impressive winged victory. The Victory of Samothrace specifically (

I heard you wanted some ideas for a fancy ceiling?

Mona, alas, is behind glass and a bloody WALL of tourists and is well lit in a way that dooms one to reflections. 6'4" helps see over at least. And probably means you get jostled less. Some places flow you past such things so everyone gets a good look and nobody can just stand there for ages blocking you. The Louvre, IMHO, would benefit from doing this for Mona.

Girodet's Deluge, although not a highlight per the tour, is still awesome.

Another favorite, Napoleon crowns his bride as his mother in law watches over as guest of honor. Except in reality she didn't approve and didn't attend; Napoleon ordered her addition to the painting according to the audio tour ( It also bears mentioning this painting is *huge*; approximately 6x10 meters.

Onward! To, it turns out, Michelangelo's slaves, Dying and Rebellious (

And on again. Done the highlights tour, we explored on our own! The old fisherman (aka Dying Seneca; he's had many interpretations it seems) was quite cool.

And bam! Some Egyptian stuff!

A crocodile!

A woman sealed in carbonite.

And much, much more; the Louvre has a LOT of stuff. Paintings, enormous rooms full of slightly boring mosaics, a sandwich shop ... it's all there. There is some evidence that by the time we were done the initial statuary section I was tired of taking photos. Overall it feels like a more curated display might be nicer. Or maybe a curated section and a "here's everything else for those who want to see all 73 variants of the fourth major design for the Egyptian beetle flipping fork".

All too soon it was time to leave. A quick and painless train brought us to Ghent, Belgium. An extensive walk in circles following highly misleading signage in the dark took us on several laps of the train station looking for the tram to get downtown. Eventually we got there, discovered the main square was light on street signs, wandered around impressive buildings and bridges over canals for a bit and by luck more than navigation reached our hotel. Ghent downtown is small so coming from Paris we kept misinterpreting map distances as being vastly longer than they actually were.

Our initial room in Ghent was ... sad. The window was missing a handle so we were issued a new one which fit but wouldn't stay in place. And we had a broken mirror. And the next morning we discovered our shower somehow caused water to come out of the tiles in all areas of the bathroom. Luckily they moved us to a much nicer room in the new building of the hotel. More about Ghent (which is awesome) soon!


Ugly said...

So much marble!

Ugly said...

Also, why is it that for each of these hieroglyphs there isn't a translation handy so you can see why that crocodile has a line of 25 people behind it... Is that just a menu?

Tonight's meal in the cafeteria, Eagles wearing hats and Alligator tails. Please line up in an orderly fashion.

You'll need a tray.

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