Today I had a complete immersion in Art. I spent 3 hours at the Louvre and then walked across the street to see the Museum d'Orsay. Now before this trip I was not much of an art appreciator. I have a better understanding of craftsmanship. Tiny stitches in a Tapestry, minute carvings in a jewelry box, etc. I like pictures that are pretty and perferable realistic. I totally do not understand modern art. I still remember the giant dead palm tree at the Tate Modern in London and I am still baffeled as to its artistic value. However, it is my mission on my trip to Europe to learn about art. According to my guide book, art "is more than just painting reality. It gives us reality from the artist's point of view, putting a personal stamp on the work. It records not only the scene--a camera can do that--but the artist's impressions of the scene." Like impression of a dead palm tree?
I promise that I am trying to keep an open mind, but mostly I just took pictures of things that were pretty or interesting. Sorry.
In any case, the Louvre itself is a beautiful building that
used to be a palace. I took some pictures of the ceiling paintings; there were a lot of them. It is supposedly Europe's first public museum, founded in 1793.
I found the Mona Lisa, there are very helpful signs positioned everywhere so you can find it. The Louvre has three other Leonardo da Vinci paintings. I liked Madonna of the Rocks
After the Louvre I walked across the bridge to the Museum d'Orsay. It is housed in a former train station. It has a train station look to it. It has almost exclusivly 19th century art. It has a complete room dedicated to Van Gogh, my new favorite painter. I took some pictures, but they don't do the painting justice. You'll have to see them yourself to appreciate them, sorry!
Also, they have an impressive Monet collection. Now there is an artist who appreciated pretty things!
After the museums I had a yummy ham and cheese crepe! Ordered in french. I am quite impressed with myself that I remembered the french for ham and cheese. I guess I can add that to my repertoire.
After that I walked from the Place de la Concorde, (formerly known
as place de la Revolution) the sight of the guillotine during the French Revolution which has been replaced by an Egyptian Obelisk.
The Champs-Elysees runs from the Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe. It is mostly filled with overpriced tourist goods and high end department stores. I bought a bottle of water for 1,20 Euro. There are a few movie theaters playing movies in English with French subtitles.
The Arc de Triomphe was built by Napoleon to commemorate his victory at the battle of Austerlitz. Its 40 meters by 50 meters; overwellingly huge. I went up to the top with my museum pass, but it wasn't very impressive inside. There are 12 bolovards that converge in a giant circle around teh Arc. There are no lines on the road, and I heard that there is an accident there every 8 seconds. Its pretty scary.
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