Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010: Crown of Thorns

(Karannina) Weather was not so fine this morning as we got 'snowed' by blossoms from a tree :) We get tickets for the underground metro and on the tram we go with our baguettes. We walk to the Louvre. It is an enormous building partially under ground and over ground. At one time it was the largest connected palace in the world. Over a period of 400 years, the kings each contributed to the collection of paintings and sculptures, beginning with the Mona Lisa in the 17th century, and extended the halls in which the collections were displayed. It has been a museum, especially for the rich, since the display of the Mona Lisa. Each room had so many things to see, that you had to look in all directions, including the ceilings, which were each displayed, even in three dimensions. I was surprised to find the Mona Lisa was a bit larger than what I read and was told to expect. I overheard many viewers say "Look, how small it is!" She is probably the most photographed mysterious woman photographed in the world. We also saw the famous picture of Napoleon crowning himself, from a general to a self-proclaimed emperor. Even the Pope, who came all the way from Rome (the Vatican) looks on with disdain, because he was the one who should have crowned Napoleon. On the way out we passed by the Paris Apple Store. In the Orangerie, where Claude Monet's largest in length canvas paintings were displayed, including our favorite and his famous one, the Willow Trees in the Lilly Pond. On our way to the Sainte Chapelle, we noticed a woman 'walking' a dog in a stroller. Must be the Parisian way. The Sainte Chapelle was small, yet grandeur on the inside. It was built in five years, whereas the Notre Dame was built in 200 years. King Louie IX had this built to hold the supposedly 'crown of thorns' that was put on Jesus' head, a relic that he paid three times as much as the amount to have the Chapelle build. The Chapelle is more of a fortress than a place of worship, with its thick walls and heavy doors, surrounded by the tall palace walls which is now the Court of Justice, which has high security and houses criminals. On 15 huge stain glass windows, there are over 1000 stories, mostly from the Bible displayed. On the way to a Boulangerie, we passed a Pest Control shop and discovered stuffed rats hanging from various different kinds of rat traps in the window, which immediately reminded me of the movie Ratatouille. It seems like the movie was filmed here, with the same colour backdrops and the trap props or at least the ideas came from this store. Walking underground to our Metro stop, we came upon a very large group of musicians playing on of my favorite piece: Vivaldi's Four Seasons. On the subway Alex and I did some subway surfing (see video). We finished our journey by passing under the familiar Red Elephant arch and enjoyed the special treats from the Boulangerie.

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