Last week I took a week off from Liverpool and went away to Paris for a few days ( thanks to Alex- she bought me the tickets for christmas), a brilliant idea and a deserved break I think. As we set off, the majority of Europe was experiencing what might likely be called “a cold snap”, the canals were freezing in Amsterdam, snow was falling on London and a few cities further east like Budapest and Sarejevo were shut down completely. So a nice warm time to visit.
However, if anything the cold weather just allowed us to get to places quicker and without the customary long queues usually present at the city’s favourite attractions. So heres a bit about what Alex and I learnt in the City of Lights.
1) The Louvre is very easy to get lost in and lose track of time in.
We visited The Louvre during their late opening hours on Wednesday and went back for seconds on Thursday. I can highly recommend going during these late hours as you get to see the pyramid lit up fantastically, it also means that you can get up close to some of the more popular objects such as La joconde (the mona lisa), the venus de milo, and lots of the more popular paintings for large groups to view. We visited these works as well as other amazing artefacts such as the Hammurabi Code and Napoleon III’s appartments- I shall be decorating my flat in a similar decadant fashion!
The Egyptian collection of the Louvre is fantastic, the collection was built up (on top of the existing royal collection) firstly by Napoleon as a result of his expedition to egypt- which resulted in the production of Description de l’Egypte. As such, one wing of the Louvre is named Denon after Vivant Denon, the first director of the Louvre- who is buried in the Pere Lachaise cemetary not too far away. The collection was then expanded under the orders of Charles X, this included acquisitions from Auguste Mariette, Bernadino Drovetti, Andre Durand and Henry Salt. So there is a great variety of artefacts from a wide period of Egyptian History. (Sadly on this visit the Coptic Gallery was closed for refurbishment). The collection is split into two galleries- a thematic and a chronological. It is amazing and as such it is difficult to describe all of it, I will write a few shorter blogs in the future about some of the collection.
As always it is difficult when looking at so many pieces to spot the one object that you know to be housed within the museum you are in, after all it may be in storage at the time anyway. So on our way to find the exit, which is always easier said than done in the Louvre which has a Labyrinthine nature to it, I saw a small Ostracon in a cabinet marked “Magie” so I bent down to look at it. It was in fact O. Louvre 698- A Letter to the Dead written by Butehamun. This formed a large part of my MA thesis, I have never seen a photograph of this object, there is none published! So despite there being many other pictures from the Louvre, this is the one I have chosen to show here. Not only because I have a bit of a personal attachment to it but also because this small artefact was walked past by most people and its content is amazing! Again a future blog WILL be on this artefact, I promise.
2) Paris will cause you to fill up your camera’s memory
Much like Berlin, Cairo, Rome and New York, Paris is a beautiful and wonderful city. Also, due to my Mum’s influence when I was younger, I now love taking photographs. Paris has spectacular views though my favourite is the one below–>
This is the view of the Place de la Concorde from the end of Rue de Rivoli. The obelisk is around 3000 years older than the EIffel Tower(Dating to the reign of Ramesses II), and used to stand at the pylon of the Luxor temple. If you walk up to the obelisk, you also get a view through Le Jardin de Tuileries to the Louvre, and in the opposite direction down the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe (which has some reliefs of Napoleon’s Egyptian Expedition high up as well).
3) Egyptologists get everywhere!
Just to show this, the most unusual place I think I have found an Egyptian tomb relief- Disneyland
It was in a small attraction about the art of animation. It seems to be an unusual composite of the Ani Book of the Dead kept at the British Museum and the Beni Hasan Wrestling reliefs in the tomb of Baket III. I may be wrong, but it is unusual none the less. Sadly, I didn’t get chance to ask Mickey Mouse about his views on the current state in Egypt.
There is obviously lots more to say about Paris, the Louvre and there is lots of pictures to show you all as well.They may make it into a future post on here. But for the minute there are a few links for you:
(get there if you haven’t been already, even if you have, go again! Also under 25’s get in free)
http://www.parispass.com/ (one good part of this is the Museum pass which saves you time and money)