The Louvre

When I arrive in a new city, the first thing I want to do is check out their museums. I'm a little nerdy like that. That was doubley true in Paris, home of one of the greatest museums on Earth, The Louvre.

I arrived an hour before they opened. That's why I'm taking a picture of the line from inside rather than standing in it.

Under the glass pyramid

And again before leaving. You can see the weather significantly improved.

Of all the must see items at the Louvre, the Mona Lisa is on the top of most people's list, so I went their first to beat the crowd. Although a crowd had already formed.
I'm laughing a little right now because I caught that bald mustachioed man taking selfies of himself all day. I didn't know I got a photo of him taking one here. 

I can't quite figure out what I like about this picture. Maybe the way they seem to be glaring at the dude.

And there she is. Quite impressive.

The Mona Lisa wasn't my favorite painting in the Louvre, though. That goes to a painting back out in the hall, Death of a Virgin by Caravaggio, painted in 1604- 1606. 
By the time you've walked around the Louvre all day, you've seen hundreds of devotional biblical scenes filled with iconography and holiness, the dead not dead, angels flying around above their heads. The subjects are often emotionless, unrealistic, and well, kind of boring after a while, like bad over-actors in dramatic movies. So the realism of this one stood out to me. Not only Mary's lifeless body with her feet spread apart and arm hanging limp, but also the sadness expressed by the apostles, and especially Mary Magdalene. It's empathetic and humanizing. For all of these reasons, the commissioning church hated it and chose not display it. 

This is Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss, by Antonio Canova. Cupid's mother, Venus, demanded that Psyche bring back a flask from the Underworld, which she was forbidden to open. Psyche's curiosity got the better of her and she breathed in the fumes and fell into a deathlike sleep. Cupid awakens his beloved by touching her gently with the tip of his arrow to see if she was dead. This depicts the moment that follows.  

And speaking of Venus, the Louvre is also home to one of the most famous statues in the world, Venus de Milo. Or more accurately Aphrodite de Milo since it was found in Greece and it was the Romans who called the goddess Venus.

The back wasn't as detailed, so it is presumed to have been intended to stand against a wall.

Another famous statue in the museum is this wood-carved, Saint Mary Magdelene, attributed to Gregor Erhart in 1502 - 1503. This statue was originally suspended from the vault of a church and held up by carved angles. 

Another one of the most famous sculptures in the world is this one of the Greek goddess Nike, called the Winged Victory of Samothrace. It is estimated to have been created around 200 BC.

At one time, this was one of the most famous paintings in the Louvre, The Lacemaker by Johannes Vermeer. 

Of course, the building itself is as impressive as anything inside it.

Napoleon III Apartment

And dining room

If zombies destroy the world and I'm one of the few survivors, I'm going to move in here and eat my cereal at that table from one of the ornate bowls in the Roman antiquities department.

Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel with the Louvre in the background. 

The other side at sunset

Oh, I can see the Eiffel Tower from here... I thought that a lot in Paris. 

I can't say I love the glass pyramid, because it just doesn't fit the architecture around it, but it's very photogenic at night. I knew this because it was on the cover of my Algebra textbook in the ninth grade. I didn't care for it then either. I walked to the Big Ferris Wheel at Place de la Concorde and back waiting for the sun to set then took these photos.