Bastille Day

Trip Start Jul 07, 2010
Trip End Jul 25, 2010

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Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I woke up early which wasn't difficult since I practically passed out the night before from all of the walking I did. I headed straight to le Louvre to watch the fly over and military procession for Bastille Day. The weather was a bit overcast when I got to le Louvre. I watched the fly over and tried to take pictures of every formation. I managed to get some nice close ups with the 200mm lens I rented from Borrow Lenses. After the fly overs were done everyone was waiting for the military procession to get to our end of the parade route. Probably less than ten minutes after the fly overs the clouds started to let loose and by the time the military procession got to le Louvre it was absolutely pouring. There was barely enough covered areas for all of the spectators and I had to use my lens cloth as a raincoat for my camera. I took pictures of nearly every military vehicle and when the procession was over I went to stand in line for le Louvre since the rain had slowed to a drizzle. Unfortunately, when I was standing in line it started to really rain. Everyone scattered to get out of the courtyard and get under cover. The rain became so thick a few times before it abated that I found it difficult to see across the courtyard. Eventually the rain stopped and I got back in line. I was pleasantly surprised to find that admission was free due to the holiday.

I was only able to spend around five hours looking around so I barely saw the entire Richelieu wing. I was still rushing just to see that much. The artwork was magnificent. The supreme realism of the Greco-Roman sculpture was spectacular. Each marble sculpture was perfectly proportioned unlike the exaggerated proportions of neoclassical sculpture. The majority of the Roman sculptures were of major politicians and warriors. I also spent a great deal of time looking at works of the early and late Renaissance. The progression from flat precise painting to realistic shaded painting is easily discerned. Each of the painters had their own little quirks. The paintings by Raphael were easily some of the most precise lines I have ever seen. Some of the paintings by other artists looked as real as a photograph with every bit of light accounted for. One artist was so skilled at using soft lines that you could swear the subjects were alive. I also saw la Gioconda which was interesting but not worth the huge crowd in the gallery.

Because of the free admission the museum was packed and it became quite difficult to take pictures at times. But even the museum itself was gorgeous since it was previously a palace. Every room was decorated with intricate gilt woodcarving and murals on the ceilings. The only areas that weren't explicitly decorated were the basement areas that were once servant quarters, storerooms, and kitchens. In the basement were some of the most incredibly interesting artworks. The artwork was mainly from the Medieval period and included a wooden sculpture nearly a thousand years old. I think next time I am in Paris I will be visiting le Louvre everyday for a week, at least.

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