Monday, June 01, 2015

Day 14: Part II of my Louvre Tour

I walked through the Salle Henri II, created by combining the King Louis XIV's anteroom and dressing room, and into the Bronzes Room. This room has been used for royal audiences and was once used to house the antiquities collection of the Marquis Campana, purchased in 1863 by Napoleon III.

The bronzes there now are very interesting. I hope I get to see them again, I'd love to spend more time in this room.

This scale has lovely weights shaped like heads.

A "groupe dionysiaque".

View of the Cour Carree of the window next to the Escalier Henri II. The Louvre is HUGE and has many wings and interior courtyards.

The Escalier (staircase) Henri II was built by Lescot and is said to be one of the finest of the Renaissance. The barrel vault ceiling decoration was made in the workshop of Jean Goujon between 1551 and 1555. It has the monogram and crescent moon emblem of Henry II as well as references to the goddess Diana. One side leads down to the Salle des Carytatides and the other up to the room of French paintings.

The next fourteen (yes, fourteen!) rooms kind of ran together. The first four are the Salle du Conseil d'Etat. They used to be courtier apartments and later, the offices of the Council of state. The rooms were begun in 1639.

Then I went through nine rooms called Musee Charles X that were formerly the queen's apartments.

The great thing about taking the Louvre as Palace tour is that it isn't crowded. So many fantastic things to see, in comfort.

Portrait of Louis XIV.

The ceilings are intense!

The Salle des Boiseries was built between 1668 and 1678. In 1831 a committee decided to install rooms inside to showcase wood paneling and ceiling decor from the former drawing room of Henry II and bedchamber of Lous VIX in the Palais du Louvre and from the Chambre du Conseil in the Queen Anne of Austria Pavilion at the Chateau de Vincennes. The paneling and decorations were lovely but what I was really interested in was the Egyptian stuff housed in there.

One of the gorgeous ceiling decorations.

Off limits part of the palace. I wish I could have gotten out there and checked out the view.

The Galerie Campana was rebuilt in 1863 after Napoleon III purchased Marquis Campana's collection of Greek ceramics. In this wing, I was the only person there for room after room after room. There wasn't even a security guard. Just me, alone. It was great.

Out of the window I could see the river Seine, the Pont des Arts and the boat that we took wonderful dinner cruise on, Le Bateaux Calife (the blue boat moored at the far bank).

Completely alone in the palace!

I got to see Victory of Samothrace again (I love her!) as I sailed through to the Salles Percier et Fontaine and the Salle Duchatel (I think that's where the ceiling painting below is).

I didn't know this on my first visit...on this tour, I found out that The Salon is in the Louvre. THE SALON. The official art exhibit of the Academie des Beaux-Arts where Academy members' art was shown. Wow! It's the Salon Carre', and was redecorated after a fire in 1661. In 1725 it was used by the Academie Royal de Peinture et de Sculpture for exhibits. It used to have a glass roof, but from 1849-1851 it was decorated with stuccoes by Simart. Today it houses Italian Renaissance masterpieces (my favorite). I think the ceiling stuccoes are super creepy.

This is one of the Italian paintings in there...I took this photo on my first trip. When I didn't know I was in THE Salon.

Then I went into the Grande Galerie, a long hall that was built between 1595 and 1610 to connect the Palais du Louvre to the Palais des Tuileries (which was burned down in 1871 by the Paris Commune). Today it houses Italian art. Much of it gruesome.

I'll have one more post about my tour of the Louvre as Palace. Next time, we start out with a celebrity: Mona Lisa.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Day 14: Part I of my Louvre Tour

On 03/27, we visited the Louvre. Found out the hard way that when you take the metro directly to the underground entrance to the Louvre, they don't have an entrance there for the Paris Pass. Only an entrance for people who need to buy tickets. And it was LONG. We had to find our way out of the ginormous underground mall (more difficult than you'd think) and make our way to the main entrance at the pyramid to the Paris Pass entrance (no line).

Once inside, we immediately made a beeline for the cafe to fortify ourselves. This entire trip, we missed lunch every day due to being inside museums. And the self guided tour I wanted to take would last 3.5 hours.

I found out during our Arizona trip last year that I really like ruins. In England, I found out I like castles, Roman ruins and seeing where people lived. So this year in Paris, I opted for the Louvre self guided tour that shows you the place as a palace, as opposed to the art itself. One of the advantages of this tour is that it's off the beaten track, no huge crowds. Mitch and I went our separate ways (he likes to wander).

My tour started in the guts of the Louvre, underground. There is a medieval moat and a vestige of the main building of King Philippe-August's fortress, circa 1230-1240. I had to laugh when I saw tourists getting their photos taken with a model of the fortress, and completely ignoring and charging past the actual ruins of the things. Snap photo with model, charge past real thing at full speed without a glance.  Not me! I've seen this section before and was glad to see it again.

I was interested to see clay pipes in the Louvre, like the pipe stems that Mitch and I found on the exposed beach of the Thames.

Next was the Salle des Caryatides, built 1546-1550. The caryatides statues support the musicians' gallery above. From 1692 to the Revolution, this room housed the King's Antiquities.

Marble statue of Eros.

Proof that kids through time have grabbed hold of animals and squeezed.

I waved to the Venus de Milo on my way past (she was surrounded and I saw her last time). 

When you're in the Louvre, always remember to look UP.

And always remember to look DOWN. This is in the summer apartments of Louis the XIV's mother, Anne of Austria. Built in 1655 to 1658 and has six rooms. Today it houses the Roman antiquities collection. The mosiac floors are gorgeous.

The Cour du Sphinx (once called the Queen's Court) is an enclosed courtyard with a glass ceiling housing a beautiful mosaic from a Roman villa in Antioch (Turkey) dating from 4th century AD.

On the Escalier Daru, I waved at the Victory of Samothrace (my favorite) and left her to the tourist hordes (I spent a lot of time admiring her on my previous visit).

I made my way to the Rotonde d"Appollon, which was originally Louis XIV's audience chamber. The ceiling depicts the Fall of Icarus by Merry-Joseph Blondel. 

Then I was pleased to be back in a room I liked from my first visit, the Galerie d'Appollon. So fancy!
The ceiling decoration depicts the path of the sun - the King's symbol. I admired some crown jewels.

Then on to a room that was originally the king's study, next to his bedroom. Under the Restoration, it housed the museum's collection of precious objects and was decorated with a painting by Jean-Baptiste Mauzaisse depicting the finding of the Venus de Milo.

The Salon des sept-Cheminees was named for the seven chimney flues that led into this room. This was the King's apartment. The original apartment decoration has been relocated. The current decoration was created by architect Felix Duban and sculptor Francisque-Joseph Duret celebrating the French artists of the nineteenth century in stuccos. I think it's creepy. When Napoleon Bonaparte reopened it as a museum in 1851, this room housed the French painting collection.

Views out of the windows:

I'll have two more posts about my Louvre tour. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Day 13: Picasso Museum, Pompidou & Jazz

On 03/26 we went to the Picasso museum. It reopened this year after a 5 year renovation. Even though we had the earliest advance tickets to get in right when they opened, we still had to stand in line in the rain.

If memory serves, the museum was three stories. As we made our way up, we saw the many styles of Picasso. Realistic stuff, cubist, statues. Wonderful.

A self portrait...

On the top floor of the museum, I looked out of the window and this is what I saw. When we exited, we went over to this building and goggled at it. Trompe l'oeil?

For a snack, we went to the Marche des Enfants Rouges and had a socca. A socca is a chickpea flour crepe. We lucked out that Alain made us one...his booth was closed for the afternoon but he took pity on us. Another group who walked up while ours was being cooked were turned away. Thank you Chef Alain and miam miam! The socca was unfilled, salted and peppered, and very hot. He cut it into strips and gave it to us in a paper cone.

We headed over to the Pompidou Center (modern art) but were disappointed to find out that the main collection is closed until summer. What they did have on show was a let down meh. Luckily, admission was included on our Paris Pass. I would have been really aggravated if we had paid extra to get in.

At least I did get this nice photo from their observation deck.

For dinner, we ate at a restaurant across the street from our hotel named Le Relais Gascon. I had a ginormous Salade Gourmande. It's a  Salade Nicoise (with tuna, egg, green beans and more) topped with a large amount of fried potatoes.

After dinner, we walked down Rue des Abbesses and found Le St. Jean, where we had a cheese plate and listened to an excellent jazz trio with jazz drummer Philippe Rinino to close out our day.