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.