Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Louvre

It was on Tuesday when I previously visited Paris. The Louvre was thus closed. So this is the first time to visit the world's most famous museum.

Following the piece of advice by Time Out City Guide Paris, I enter the Louvre from the Cour des Lions entrance (at the south-west corner of the Louvre building) to avoid the queue for buying an entrance ticket. This allows me to enter immediately. The cost of doing this, however, is to get lost.

I've never been to any museum that's so hard to navigate. I want to follow a self-guided tour suggested by the Louvre website. But this document assumes that a visitor enters the Louvre from the Pyramid. It takes a while to arrive at the room of Mona Lisa.

And the way Mona Lisa is displayed is a huge disappointment. Even though the painting is rather small, visitors are not allowed to get close to it. You can only gaze at it from at least five meters. And there are tons of people taking picture of it. I wanted to see why this painting has got so famous. But with such a setting for viewing the work, I cannot.

Forget about Mona Lisa and turn around. There is an excellent painting entitled The Wedding Feast at Cana by Veronese, which is more entertaining than Mona Lisa.

This self-guided tour includes the famous painting of Delacroix, Liberty Leading the People, the one that appears in perhaps every country's European history textbook. It's still not clear to me why the woman representing the concept of Liberty has to be topless. Perhaps it was the way to promote liberty to every man. When new technology appears, it's always porn that contributes to its eventual prevalence. Think about the Internet. Porn websites certainly contributed to the initial expansion of Internet users.

After museum fatigue kicks in, I have late lunch at the museum restaurant near the main entrance. Since it's already 3 pm, most warm dishes are run out even though they display those dishes. Every customer asks the lady serving food which food is available. She's apparently in bad mood. And the food is not very pleasant. These days, museums reinvent themselves so they often serve good food as well as nicely decorated cafes and interesting museum shops. But the Louvre, with its horrible direction signs, seems to be still part of the old generation of museums.

(This is the sixth blog post on the weekend trip to Paris in 2010. Click here to the next post.)

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