Today began with an excellent start – I had a REAL breakfast consisting of an omelet, bacon, 2 cappuccinos, and 3 croissants. I am so excited to be back in the land of delicious, buttery bread (and maybe on just a touch of a sugar high right now)! I have a full schedule today, so it is good to load up for the day. I spent the day at the Musee de Louvre, as all good tourists on their first trip to Paris do. It was fantastic, but I didn’t realize how HUGE it is! I spent most of the day there and was kicked out when the museum closed before I could see one entire wing of the building. Originally built in the 12th century as a fortress and palace of the king, the Louvre was converted to a museum in the 16th century and has been continually added to over the years (it changed names briefly, however, under Napoleon’s rule to Musee Napoleon…..what a little narcissist!). The Louvre now houses over 35,000 objects in the vast 600,000+ square feet of the building!
The museum has an astonishing collection of everything from Egyptian artifacts, to Syrian and Iranian artwork, to the Mona Lisa (of course I made sure to view that one 4 times!), to Napoleon’s apartment of antique furniture, to modern day contemporary pieces. I love how they have laid the museum out and the curators have put quite a bit of thought into how the artwork is displayed in such a manner that compliments the unique characteristics of each room. It is probably a good thing I missed seeing a third of the building because my head was swimming through statues and oil paintings by the time I left at 6pm. I also had to haul ass back to the other side of the city in time to see a concert for the Orchestre de Paris with special guest Violin Virtuoso Akiko Suwani. (Don’t you love how I arranged a trip to Europe in order to get my homework done for school? I do!)
But, before going to the concert, I made sure to eat at a lovely French restaurant with a rude waiter serving pureed vegetable soup. By the way, the whole Parisians are rude rumor is absolutely true! I have never seen so many people surrounded by such beauty, art and tremendous architecture look so miserable in my whole life. People – you live in an artistic and cultural mecca – smile every now and then?! (or maybe they are worried their face will crack from the dehydration…hmmmm…)
The symphony was 3-1/2 hours long because the audience was so elated with her performance that we demanded no less than THREE encores (at least the Parisians can muster showing some enjoyment at the symphony). She played her little ass off (actually she is quite tall, so what am I talking about… little?) – broke a string on the violin and everything. The best part was she traded out instruments with the 1st chair violinist of the orchestra and rocked his violin too! I don’t think he knew that it was capable of hitting the high notes with such clarity and softness until she schooled him. The conductor was just as much fun to watch too, he was colorful, lively and dramatic with his direction of the orchestra. I left the concert hall at 11:30pm again full of such creative zeal and vigor that I practically danced all of the way back to my hotel, humming the works of Mendelssohn and Berlioz all the way.
Thankfully, the next day was cold and cloudy so that I could take a day to absorb all of the terrific artistry from the day prior. It worked out well, since I couldn’t seem to get into a museum due to massive lines at ALL of them. The Parisians have a day off this week and they are finally getting out and having some fun! If they don’t smile and find some gratitude for their delightful culture soon, I may have to kick their unpleasant asses.