Day 2 in Paris…A short walk to the bus, and on to the metro station…today, we are going to try the metro, and take it to the Musée du Louvre. This museum is probably the world’s most complete and impressive art museum. We would have enjoyed it all, but it is just too large and has so much to take in for a days visit. I guess the real star in the museum, if there is a “star”, is the painting of the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. Some of the other works of art we saw included, Rubens, Raphael, Titian, and Rembrandt to name a few. Well, we did see it, and it was impressive, but the negative, is the crowd that it draws around it…you have to give back what you are given, in getting to the front…push, punch, kick, in that order… just kidding, but it was a tussle. I guess I should step back a little and tell you about the museum itself. In overall area covered (ground), it’s not as big as “Hotel National des Invalides”, but it makes up for that by having more square footage of rooms to fill with all the “art” and artifacts. The building architecture is a mix of “very” old and new. The metro delivers you directly into the lower floors and, as you exit, you find yourself walking a shopping mall. Most of the items for sale are related to what you will find in the floors above (the museum). As you walk the long corridor to the end, you find a large glass inverted triangle. Just around the corner from that, you enter the museum itself. Once you have your ticket you are ready to walk the beautifully ornate rooms that hold all the museum pieces. The structure, since 1682, was once the palaces of the kings of France, and is one of the largest palaces in the world. In 1793 it was officially opened to the public as a museum.
It was a full day in the Louvre, but we had one more stop. We boarded the metro again and headed out to see “La Défense” of Paris. This is a largest modern architectural development of tall buildings in Europe. All stand on a large, circular, raised concrete pedestrian slab, with roads, parking and subway below. This “community” of ultra-modern towers was established to take the development pressures off of Paris and it’s historic preservation. The one structure that I wanted to see for myself, was the “Grande Arche”. This is an office tower in the shape of an open cube. It is enormous !!! It just happens to be the same width as the Arc de Triomphe and completes the long series of monuments extending from the Louvre through the Arc de Triomphe and on through to the Grande Arche La Defense….all, in one long line following Champs Elysées Boulevard.