le Musée du Louvre, the most visited museum in the world.
It seems like every time I travel, I have a moment where I get really emotional because it suddenly hits me: Wow, I'm really here. Last year in Japan this happened when I went to Todaiji. And here in Paris, it happened in le Louvre. Even as I had to brace myself against pushy people in the crowd and my view was obstructed by flashing cameras and people taking selfies, I was greatly moved while looking at La Joconde. And the exact same thoughts were going through my head as when I was marveling at the daibutsu in Todaiji. I can't believe I'm seeing this. This is so beautiful and magnificent, I feel like I don't deserve it. Who am I to be able to be here, in this city that only some people get to visit, looking at a masterpiece that only some people get to see in person? God is so awesome. I was incredibly humbled, to say the least. After taking a few minutes to appreciate La Joconde I walked around to look at other paintings, but I couldn't keep myself from getting teary-eyed. Wow, I'm really in Paris. In le Louvre. This is unbelievable. And I just kept hearing Jonathan McReynolds's "Cannot Tell It All" over and over in my head. Being in that museum had a more powerful effect on me than I'd anticipated.
I ended up spending a little over three hours in the museum viewing La Joconde, La Vénus de Milo, the Italian paintings, and the French paintings. My last stop was the collection of art from Africa, Asian, Oceania, and the Americas. Which, I might add, is one of the smallest collections in the museum and is considerably difficult to find (you see how they do us?). And oddly enough, my favorite painting wasn't La Joconde by DaVinci, but Scène de déluge by Girodet. It's a heart-wrenching portrayal of a man who can't bring himself to give up his future or his past, and desperately tries to hold onto both at the same time. All in all, my visit to Le Louvre was more rewarding and refreshing than I'd expected, and despite the massive crowds it wasn't nearly as stressful as I'd thought it might be. I'm proud of myself for not being too intimidated to go on my own and cross such a big Paris "must" off my list.
Click here for part 2!
Bread and Butter [Paris] photos