Day 3: Paris, Part 2 – Montmartre and the Louvre


More playing with the selfie stick

Wednesday got off to a normal start finally – up at 5am, worked on the blog for a couple of hours then went downstairs for breakfast to finish it. I either didn’t realize or had forgotten that I picked places that included breakfast – for some reason I’ve been envisioning having to go out every morning. Glad that hasn’t been the case, will see if that continues!

Breakfast area off the lobby
Breakfast area off the lobby
It was a simple array of food, similar to Cologne
It was a simple array of food, similar to Cologne

The coffee wasn’t quite as good though 🙂

Lamarck-Caulaincourt Metro stop
Lamarck-Caulaincourt Metro stop

I discovered that Montmartre has its own museum about its history so you know I had to check that out. I left around 9:45. My hotel is on Rue Lamarck; Rue Caulaincourt is a larger street it intersects. I will use this metro (subway) stop later but for now I just walked up the steps and crossed Caulaincourt to make my way to the museum.

Montmartre Museum
Montmartre Museum

The museum’s focus was the development of Montmartre as an artists community back in the late 1800’s. Renoir, among others, lived in this house and did some of his paintings here. It was turned into a museum in 1960.

View of a vineyard and Montmartre from the museum
View of a vineyard and Montmartre from the museum

This was definitely a niche museum, probably more appreciated by other artists who were familiar with the works of those displayed here, many whom I didn’t recognize. There weren’t any Renoirs!, who I do like, and much of what was here wasn’t of great interest to me. Still, some fun things I recognized. I probably haven’t thought of the Cancan since high school but they had a little thing on that, since it was born at the Moulin Rouge.

The Cancan
The Cancan

They had a little video running of a movie from the 50’s of the same name. I took a little clip of it here, you will undoubtedly recognize the music, just may not have known where it came from.

Early poster of the Moulin Rouge
Early poster of the Moulin Rouge
The garden, and a swing which appears in one of Renior's paintings
The garden, and a swing which appears in one of Renior’s paintings

The Swing by Renior is on display at the D’Orsay, so maybe I’ll see it when I’m there later today!

Suzanne Valadon studio
Suzanne Valadon studio

Much of the story of the museum was told from the perspective of Suzanne Valadon, a French painter and artist’s model who lived here for many years. This was her studio. She was the first woman painter to be admitted into the National Society of Fine Arts.

Walking back to my room
Walking back to my room

It’s a beautiful neighborhood. I went back to my room and actually took a micro-nap, I was feeling very tired for some reason even though it was only about 11:30. And I was surprisingly hungry, so decided to take the subway and head to a place my friend, Jalena, recommended. It was in a part of Paris I hadn’t been on the other side of the Arc de Triomphe.

It was about a 30 minute ride with one transfer
It was about a 30 minute ride with one transfer
Some of these subway tunnels are really long!
Some of these subway tunnels are really long!
Definitely a new part of Paris for me, haven't seen big, modern buildings before
Definitely a new part of Paris for me, haven’t seen big, modern buildings before, with the exception of that mall the day before, certainly nothing this tall!
The restaurant - Le Ralais de Venise (The Relay of Venice)
The restaurant – Le Ralais de Venise (The Relay of Venice)

This place has an interesting approach. There’s essentially only one thing on the menu: steak and fries. When seated, the waitress asked me how I wanted my steak prepared. I paused thoughtfully then said “rare.” She smiled as if that was the correct and only appropriate response.

My preference is almost always to sit inside due to the smokers
My preference is almost always to sit inside due to the smokers
Salad first
Salad first

A little salad to start off with, with walnuts and a dressing that had a mustard base which was a nice change. And bread of course.

Steak and fries
Steak and fries

This doesn’t look all that appealing but it tasted good! The sauce was like an au jus but also had something like brown mustard in it which is where the look comes from. This was an all you can eat place so they will just keep bringing you as much as you like. I had a similar helping to this after and I was done. (Thanks, Jalena, for the recommendation!)

A sorbet for dessert which was really nice
A sorbet for dessert which was really nice

Something light for dessert was in order.

I didn't order this but happily took it
I didn’t order this but happily took it

Those are chocolate covered coffee beans.

The Louvre
The Louvre

From there I made my way to the Louvre. I was about an hour early for my 3pm reservation but they didn’t seem to care. Having the reservation got me in quickly though so it was definitely worth doing the day before. This is the main entrance from Rue de Rivoli. I remembered this entrance from my first day in Paris in 2014, because we had wandered in this way just looking around.

A teaser from the entrance
A teaser from the entrance

So I knew I would come across this – in fact the fast track line I was in was right next to the glass, making this an easy shot. When I first saw this in 2014 I was enthralled – it was the most beautiful museum display I’d ever seen, before or since I believe. When we came to the Louvre on that trip several days later, we never made it over here – we got sucked into Egyptian Antiquities and then courdln’t find our way out! – and ran out of time. I was determined to find it today.

Under the pyramid
Under the pyramid

I have grown to appreciate the pyramid. On the last trip I went from what I thought was at a minimum tacky if not full on monstrosity, to this place of: it’s an interesting juxtaposition of an ancient symbol constructed modernly in a medieval setting. From there I could live with it and I actually like it now. And I do love the natural lighting that it allows into the visitors center.

My only plan was to stay way from Egyptian Antiquities 🙂 Seriously, the thing that makes the Louvre special is its enormous collection – over 35,000 objects in 8 different departments. It’s definitely the largest museum in the world on physical size, but also on collection size I believe as well. So you have to go in knowing you ain’t gonna see it all 🙂 That said, I did want to see some things I knew I’d missed the last time.

The ceiling above the staircase in the photo below
The ceiling above the staircase in the photo below
One of several grand staircases
One of several grand staircases

Try to look at those photos as one, although I didn’t get the angles quite right. The lovely thing about being in the Louvre, for me anyway, is even if you don’t care about the art in the section you’re in, you’re still in a palace! So the building itself is often more interesting than the art.

This was the section that staircase led to
This was the section that staircase led to
A Michelangelo
A Michelangelo

I seemed to be focused on sculptures while I was there this time.

I came across lots of variations of Mercury; this was the first
I came across lots of variations of Mercury; this was the first
I just thought this was beautiful
I just thought this was beautiful

Many of the artists names I didn’t recognize and I decided I didn’t need to get bogged down in details of every piece! So I didn’t take notes, sorry…

A fun glimpse of the outside
A fun glimpse of the outside
One of the more famous pieces in the collection
One of the more famous pieces in the collection

This is the Winged Victory of Samothrace, part of the Greek Antiquities collection. She sits on a huge pedestal on the landing of a staircase that leads to the hall of Italian paintings (one guess what you might see there). All that to say, it is difficult to get this shot without people in it 🙂

The mob in front of the Mona Lisa
The mob in front of the Mona Lisa

I really had no intention of seeing the Mona Lisa again but somehow found myself headed in that direction. I remembered that we’d left shortly after we saw it in 2014 and I never went through the rest of that long hallway which this room is off of. So while I was passing, I decided to amuse myself by viewing the chaos. It really is ridiculous. There’s a ton of beautiful art in that exhibit hall that no one pays any attention to.

Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione, by Raphael
Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione, by Raphael

And looked what I missed: a nice Raphael. This was in that hallway I mentioned earlier, which you’ll see a couple of photos down.

A David & Goliath that I really liked, same hallway
A David & Goliath that I really liked, same hallway
Experimenting with the selfie stick, trying to capture how long that hallway is
Experimenting with the selfie stick, trying to capture how long that hallway is

The Louvre is organized by 3 wings, if you were looking at it’s upside down U shape from above would be Richelieu on the left, Sully across the top, and Denon on the right. I’d been in Denon so far, stayed out of Sully (as far as I know – Egyptian Antiquities is there!) and had never made it to Richelieu the last time. And I knew those rooms I saw from the outside were there, so I went in search of. You navigate all of this, by the way, through tunnels that meet under the pyramid.

Found it!
Found it!

This is part of the French sculptures collection. I love this room and spent a fair amount of time in it. The lighting is spectacular, and everything about it just strikes me as stunning. I loved most of the pieces in here but tried to limit the photos!

I saw lots of variations on this theme throughout the museum
I saw lots of variations on this theme throughout the museum
More playing with the selfie stick
More playing with the selfie stick

I also decided to see if I could get a 360 video of the room using the self-stick. This was my first attempt, before I realized the shutter button on the stick would work on the video as well. Duh.

One of several pieces I liked in the gallery in the adjacent room
One of several pieces I liked in the gallery in the adjacent room
Another hunter
Another hunter
I liked both the painting the staircase it was in!
I liked both the painting and the staircase it was in!
There were two rooms like this!
There were two rooms like this!

At some point I was looking back through my photos and looked closer at the one I’d taken from the outside when I first arrived. I realized after studying it that it was NOT the one I’d taken the video on. There was another! It was across the hallway, tunnel really,

A man and a lion. The man doens't look like he's faring too well.
A man and a lion. The man doens’t look like he’s faring too well.
Like I said, I was in a sculpture mood...
Like I said, I was in a sculpture mood…
The room I saw from the entrance, just from the inside
The room I saw from the entrance, just from the inside
A boy in bronze
A boy in bronze
Another Mercury I believe
Another Mercury I believe
Another hunter
Another hunter

I kept being drawn to these sculptures that also had some movement to them – where the figure was in action somehow, or about to be.

Visitor sitting, drawing the painting in front of her
Visitor sitting, drawing the painting in front of her

I saw a fair amount of this throughout the museum, too.

There were many hallways of huge tapestries like this
There were many hallways of huge tapestries like this
A collection of nobleman's cloaks
A collection of nobleman’s cloaks
There was a pretty large section dedicated to art of French royally, including furniture
There was a pretty large section dedicated to art of French royalty, including furniture
Another French room
Another French room
Column from the Mesopotamian era
Column from the Mesopotamian era

This and the few photos that follow reminded me of things I saw in the Pergamon museum in Berlin two years ago, which was my first exposure to this period and region. You don’t see stuff from Mesopotamia, Persia, etc., too often, at least not in Europe.

Eight frames of ancient tiles depicting - hunters again? Looks like it.
Eight frames of ancient tiles depicting – hunters again? Looks like it.
I don't know who the guy is :)
I don’t know who the guy is 🙂

Lesson #1: if you wait for people to get out of the way you may never take any photos! But I liked that he was there to show perspective – that archway has got to be 20-25 feet high.

This was the opposite wall
This was the opposite wall

What impresses me even as I’m putting this together is the diversity you find as you move through the museum.

Isn't he cute?
Isn’t he cute?

This is probably my favorite find of the day: a statue from ‘Ain Ghazal, a region that was found in the 8th millennium BC and prospered for 2000 years. At 9000 years old, it’s the oldest object in the museum.

At about the mid-way point of my visit I gave up on the map and just decided to wander. I did come across Medieval Louvre, which I was happy about because when I’d seen it on the map it looked interesting to me. This took you through the history of the building – originally a fortress for the city, then a royal residence (castle), then the fortress aspect was dropped and it become a palace, and continue to be added on by various rulers until it became what it is today (minus the pyramids of course). It’s been a museum since 1793.

Original castle wall from the 1100's
Original castle wall from the late 1100’s

Some of the original construction is still in tact. This area that we’re walking in would have been the moat!

Model of original castle
Model of original castle

This model of the original castle sits on a diagram of the complex as it is today, so you can see where it is in relation and also how it’s changed.

I was about done after this section but thought my feelings wouldn’t be hurt at all if I ran into Greek Antiquities on my way out, but I didn’t feel like going in search of. As I came up the staircase out of the medieval section, there it was on my right. Score!

Greek columns in the shape of women holding up a balcony
Greek columns in the shape of women holding up a balcony
Sculpture of an old man carrying a small child
Sculpture of an old man carrying a small child
A woman and a small - deer? Something with antlers.
A woman and a small – deer? Something with antlers.
A cherub riding a centaur
A cherub riding a centaur

I loved this!

Venus de Milo
Venus de Milo

 

 

 

I missed her when I was here in 2014. She is one of the more famous residents of the Louvre, thought to be created around 100 BC. And now it was time to go 🙂

One of the pyramids inverts downward, which I encountered on my way out
One of the pyramids inverts downward, which I encountered on my way out
There's a full shopping center there as you exit; this is all underground!
There’s a full shopping center there as you exit; this is all underground!

Time to come up for air. I exited at the very far end of the complex. I’d hoped to come out somewhere around the pyramids but had lost all sense of where I was. But when it’s time to go, it’s time to go. It was nice to be in fresh air again.

I’d thought about taking some photos of the complex before I left but suddenly a different thought occurred to me. My first attempt at a talkie here gives you a 360 degree view of it. I think I like it!

It was approaching 7pm and I was definitely hungry. I went in search of food and stopped at something far enough away from the Louvre to not feel like a tourist trip. The other patrons certainly appeared to be locals to me.

Cafe Dalayrac
Cafe Dalayrac
My dinner
My dinner

I had the veal (with no apologies!), which came with a small salad and an amazing mushroom risotto. The salad has a mustardy dressing again and I swear that dark stuff was chocolate based! Forgot to ask about that.

And a creme brulee for dessert
And a creme brulee for dessert

I warned that you might be seeing this a lot! Skipped the coffee though.

After this I took my time wandering some more around the central district, then took the subway back to the hotel. Despite using the subway a fair amount today, I still managed to somehow walk 9.8 miles today according to my phone. I was shocked. At least 1/2 of that must’ve been in the Louvre! I honestly don’t know how that happens.

Hotel de Flore
Hotel de Flore

I finally remembered to grab a shot of the hotel. This is a great little place, I would definitely recommend it if you’re ever in the neighborhood.

That’s a wrap for day 3. See you tomorrow….

 

12 thoughts on “Day 3: Paris, Part 2 – Montmartre and the Louvre”

  1. Well maybe the 14. something miles had to do with this: “I was feeling very tired for some reason even though it was only about 11:30”. Lovely day at the Louvre. I couldn’t agree more with you perspective on the Mona Lisa.

  2. Steve, I really enjoyed your tour of the museum! Didn’t realize it was that huge! Your video was a nice touch at the end!

    1. Hi, Therese! So glad you enjoyed it! Yes, the size is impressive, kinda jawdropping actually. Glad you liked the video, still playing with it but I was happy with the way that one turned out.

  3. Oh, Steve! I loved the museum tour. Thank you for that. So glad you’re having a wonderful time. Have fun, be safe and can’t wait for the next installment. ((hugs))

    1. You’re welcome, Suzy – so glad you enjoyed it! Having fun and feeling safe. More tomorrow. Hope you like Impressionists 😬

  4. Fun day. It’s neat that I’m sitting in the United Lounge at SFO as I read this, getting ready to head East. See you in NYC soon!

  5. Love the video talkie! Thanks for taking me back to the Louvre and showing 2 of my favorites: Winged Victory and Venus de Milo.

      1. Ohhhh….something by Claude Monet of course…surprise me with a favorite of yours…and some of your other favorites. I don’t think you can disappoint me.

I'd love to hear from you!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.