Monday, May 21, 2012

On the Streets of Paris . . .

My first impression of Paris was this:

Men in scarves.

Straight men in scarves.

Straight men in scarves hugging each other.

Now, give me a little slack. My mind was hazy with the jet lag and the hunger and the unexpected rain. Maybe its forgivable that my eyes somehow glazed over the brilliant, golden dome of the Hotel des Invalides and alighted instead upon a handsome, dark haired man in a long, drape-y, baby blue scarf.

However, be assured I've recovered from my initial impression and have even taken to wearing a scarf myself. It's hardly Paris if you're not wearing a scarf.

The flat where I am staying is charming. It is on the fifth floor of a building built in 1800s with a wrought-iron balcony and a view. There is a beautiful old piano and the wood floor creaks at the least provocation. The lady who owns the flat has a strange taste for goddess artwork, however. There are busty nudes basking in their feminine power all over the apartment. The goddess artwork may inspire its own post at a later date. I haven't decided yet.

I think the most amazing thing I have seen so far (besides this woman's impressive collection of nude
 statuettes) is the Louvre. If they took all the beautiful art work out of it and the building just stood by itself, empty as could be, it would still be utterly, completely amazing. I've never been so stunned by the beauty of ceilings in my life.

A ceiling painting of Icarus falling

What feels like miles and miles of palace, with every inch of ceiling as marvelous as the treasures it houses.

Besides the amazing ceilings, I also loved the sculpture, ancient and otherwise.

There's Spartacus looking studly.
I had to crop the picture, though.
He was looking a little too studly.
Winged Victory

I've always loved this statue.
It was even more amazing in person.

My token picture of the Mona Lisa.
There were better things to look at
than a chick with no eyebrows and a mysterious smile.

My other favorite thing was the top of a pillar from Darius I's palace. Two huge bulls, carved from stone, kneeling to support even bigger wooden beams. It took up its own Louvre room all by itself and it was only the very top of a pillar maybe five times the height of the pillar decoration. And Darius had about twenty of these things.


  1. LOL Spartacus... And who did the Artemis statue?

    1. Leochares around 300 BC. Humanity somehow managed to lose the bronze original though. The one in the Louvre is a Roman copy from first or second century.

    2. Also, in case you were curious, Blogger has detected the Frenchness of my internet connection and is all in French. I can't tell how to change it back. I wonder if it would do the same if I went somewhere else.

    3. Ha! That's amazing that Blogger went all French on you... I bet it adds a nice touch to the immersion experience. ;)

      And we have lost so much art that it's painful to think about... Back in the day, Rome had massive, massive statues all over the place(colossi, I think was the actual term)--but we only have ONE left today. And we only have it becuase it got hit by lightning on the night of its unveiling and the Romans freaked out and buried it.

  2. I love Paris, though it's been years since I've been there. I traveled with my aunt, and we ran through the Louvre since we had about 30 minutes before it closed. :-) I was actually mesmerized by the Mona Lisa...not her face, but the almost eerie desolation of the background--as if she survived a nuclear winter and yet smiled that secretive smile.

    Great post! Thanks for sharing.

    1. I didn't get close enough to get a good look at the back ground. I'm going back this week, though. I'll have to go look at her again.

  3. Wow, what an experience! Sounds amazing. :) Have fun!

  4. Hey now, as a straight man who also wears a scarf I take issue with the first part of this post. Now I may not be the huggiest person around, but it is as cold as the ninth circle of Dante's hell about 99.3 percent of the time here in Oregon, a scarf is basically a necessity. In fact, I do some of my manliest things (fishing, camping, chopping down trees, cooking food over an open fire, etc.) in a scarf.

    Other than that, great post and awesome pictures! :)

    1. Lol Peter. Insulating scarves and fashion scarves are very different things--though I am definitely okay with anyone wearing either.

      And I greatly appreciate your Dante reference. Such things are much welcomed on this blog. :)

    2. I have no issues with men wearing scarves to keep warm. I have no issues with men wearing several, colorful scarves to keep warm. Men hugging each other wouldn't even have stymied me (Susan and I go to a school where it gets very cold and the guys do hug each other). My mind only boggled at ALL the men wearing brightly colored, silk scarves and hugging each other. In case you didn't know a French hug includes a kiss on each cheek. THAT was startling.

  5. I've heard the Mona Lisa was small, lol...but I didn't think it was that small. I'm not sure I've ever really wanted to go to Paris...I think it's lower on my list of places to visit than most peoples. I'm sure it was absolutely wonderful, though!