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Posts Tagged ‘Paris’

 

My Favorite, the Winged Victory of Samothrace.

My Favorite, the Winged Victory of Samothrace.

Last November I was planning a weekend trip to Paris. The idea of a weekend trip suggests flying in Friday night, two full days then leaving late Sunday or early Monday morning. In an ideal world I suppose this is true. For those of us on a tight budget it meant flying in Friday late and night and then leaving midday Sunday. This should have given me at least a few hours on Sunday to walk around. Except for one unexpected problem: transportation strikes. I barely made it out of the airport.

So we were reduced to one full day in which to explore and take in Paris. I really dislike traveling with such time constraints, but there we were (the we was my then girlfriend and I for our two year anniversary). One of the big items on our agenda was the Louvre. The Louvre is a rather large museum. I could have spent several hours a day for five days there. Managed it in an hour and a half.

Of course with only a limited slot of time and a large museum some cuts had to be made to the self guided tour. Essentially all of them. The first thing I did was pick up a map to find out where to go and in what order. The first stop was the Winged Victory of Samothrace, quite a nice statue and very impressive. From there we wound through corridors of paintings to reach the Mona Lisa. To be honest it was a lot smaller then I anticipated. It also did nothing for me, I like the gigantic painting directly across from it. Then again I have never like portrait painting.

At this point I tried to get a shortcut to the next stop, the room with the (I believe) Crown Jewels of old France. I got a bit mixed up so a few superfluous corridors were viewed. The room of King Louis the Something is a very posh room, with the gold and the shiny things. The chairs looked uncomfortable though. With that off our list we had to wind our way across the museum to reach the Venus de Milo.

Back through the main corridor housing the Winged Victory and many flash photographers, up some stairs towards seventeenth century flemish art and down a hallway of oil paintings, only to find that the staircase I want is currently blocked off. Back down the oil paintings through some landscapes and a short stroll through sarcophagi finally found us in the greek statue room. The sandstone of Egypt gave way to the marble of Greece and another flash photography crowd. And there was the Venus de Milo. I liked the Winged Victory better.

Finished with the main three women of the Louvre we grabbed a snack, scoffed at the two euro postcards and emerged into the winter air of Paris.

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Notre Dame

 

Not much to do on top of buildings, aside from thinking.

Not much to do on top of buildings, aside from thinking.

I was not expecting it, in fact I did not know it had happened until it was over. Lucky I did not know else I would not have been able to remain calm. I just thought it was something that happened to other people – mimes.

Oh, it started innocently enough a few laughs here, a chuckle there. I thought it was mild street entertainment. We all did. Some in the line thought nothing of it and with mild politeness ignored him or looked the other way. He was not dressed as a mime, there were no white painted faced with black make-up. No black and white striped shirts. No gloves.

This mime was no country mime, he was subtle. I was in line to go up to the top of Notre Dame, it would have been a long wait in line without the entertainment. He silently stalked passerby’s while wearing a Quasimodo mask, he followed them closely, they turned around startled then laughed. There were many variations on this including following and then holding their hand, creeping up at waist height and draping arms over shoulders. All of this was aimed at us in line. We laughed, we chortled, in short we were amused.

All of this was in silence. Everyone approached thought it was funny: local parisians, americans and other tourists. Except the british. They responded by yelling for him to go away then walking away quickly. I guess it is a cultural memory of the one hundreds year war.

I was lucky. As the line progressed forward it forced me to leave the scene and climb up to the gargoyles on the roof. When I came back down after peering over the city the mime was gone. It took me months to realize that it was a mime, I quail at the thought of how close I came to mimedom.

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