One of the items on my bucket list is to come face to face with madame Mona Lisa, an experience I was able to check off during a visit to The Louvre when I traveled to Paris with my Contiki group.
That morning, our visit started with our tour manager telling our group that he would be showing us a secret entrance to The Louvre known only to a few. This, he said, would help us skip a lot of the longer lines. He of course had also pre-purchased our tickets. True to his word, we were able to get in without a hitch.
The Louvre, we found out, was originally intended to be a castle but eventually determined not to be extravagant enough to serve its purpose. (This is the reason they built Versailles, which I wrote about in a previous post.) The museum itself is so large that if you would like to be able to see all the collections, you would need to dedicate a few days (maybe even more). We did not have a lot of time in Paris, so we rushed to see the Mona Lisa and a few other notable pieces, all in a span of a few hours.
When we finally found her — Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa — the piece that has got to be the most visited in a museum with thousands of works by renowned painters and sculptors from different eras, what was striking was the contrast between her and the other paintings in the room. With her widely publicized mysterious smile, she has a grand spot in an equally grand corner. At any given day, she is surrounded by people most of whom traveled the world over just to see her. And yet, in this huge room she is small, the scale made even more obvious by a painting — which I could only estimate must have been ten or twenty times her size — hanging on the opposite wall.
I could definitely say that our time there was a blur and I would love to go back someday. Given the chance, I would take my time and enjoy every masterpiece.
Below are some more photos from our visit to The Louvre.