Tuesday 10 February 2009

The Louvre at Night

Monsieur le Curateur has kindly offered
a private tour of the Louvre at night.

The lights in the galleries are low
which creates a dreamlike feeling
as we follow his stooped figure.

Monsieur le Curateur is immensely courteous.
He murmurs 'Bon soir' to the gallery staff
and laughs apologetically at their surprise
because he does not often take tours.

In contrast, Monsieur le Curateur's wife is animated
and enthusiastically points out the greatest of the masterpieces
so that we do not miss them as we walk past.

Here in the heart of the Louvre
is the Mona Lisa.

Monsieur le Curateur knows her only too well;
he has taken her to Japan.
Such terrifying responsibility.

I don't want to give the impression that we are alone...
on Friday nights there is free entry for the under 26s
and so we are surrounded by groups of students.

As we walk past the tall windows
there are glimpses of the Seine
and, in the distance, the two towers of Notre Dame.

Gradually the galleries empty of visitors,
leaving us alone with the marble statuary
and the Great Masters of Renaissance Art.

We end the evening with a meal in the restaurant.
Monsieur le Curateur shakes his head when we thank him
and says that it was just a small sample,
there is so much to see,
we must come again.

We leave at midnight
and the great reception hall is completely empty.

It is the end of an unforgettable night.


Lynn said...

Ah, this post made me happy, happy, happy. As it did Papa S, who was reading over my shoulder. You outdid yourself with the photos -- my faves were the ones of the spectators. Thank you for carrying us away!

BreadBox said...

Wow! Beautiful....

I guess that you had a good time....

A time to dance said...

I couldnt believe how small the Mona Lisa was when I saw it....your pictures are lovely...I have to say I ound the hall of sculptures rather spooky with all those shadows...too much watching/reading of the Da Vinci code....

Anonymous said...

Oh you lucky, lucky thing. I remember being in complete awe when I visited the Louvre on a school trip many, many years ago. I could have spent every minute of our 4 days in Paris in that one building. Completely captivating. Thank you for taking me back there.

Unknown said...

What a wonderful experience - and the Mona Lisa is so little - I've not been to Paris so I'm not sure what I expected

driftwood said...

goodness me Alice, you do have some astonishing experiences xx

Gina said...

How wonderful. I could sense the magic through your photos and words Alice.

dottycookie said...

How? How did you manage this? And can I hide in your suitcase next time?

I've only visited the Louvre once, and like everyone else, was very surprised to see how small the Mona Lisa is. Poor lady - she must get really fed up with people standing in front of her silently thinking 'Is that it?!' - until of course, you can get close enough to really see her, and then begin to understand what all the fuss is about..

Melody said...



The Coffee Lady said...

how lovely - lucky, lucky you.

I remember my mother standing me forcibly in front of the Mona Lisa when I was about 10, and hissing: "LOOK AT IT! This is what we've come all this way to see!"

It was quite a stressful introduction to Great Art

Anonymous said...

As soon as I see the photos I am transported back to that very place. I can see it, smell it, feel it in my mind.

I would have loved to have seen it at night as you did. I can only imagine the magnificence of the place when it is not crowded with people.

Anonymous said...

Wow Alice what a dream come true! I have always wanted to go there, being the Art History nerd that I truly am! And to have it almost all to yourself? :)

It looks like you had a wonderful time on holiday.

silverpebble said...

What a wonderful privilege - even more exciting at night somehow. One of the most exciting shots for me (apart from the overwhelming art, of course) is the delicious plate of food.

My thoughts are with Australia too. My sister is just a few miles from the fires. In the city she's fairly safe but my heart goes out to those who aren't.


Anonymous said...

Yes, your evening at the Louvre sounds splendid.

However, we got to experience something you probably did not get to do while in the Louvre at night...and that was to get completely turned-around and miserably lost.

There's nothing like seeing the Egyptian treasures 47 times, while back-tracking and arguing. It was magical.


RW said...

I too, am amazed at how small the Mona Lisa is. How did I not know this detail. But, now I do, thanks Alice.

ginny said...

have you been whisked away for a romantic holiday?
enjoy x

Unknown said...

How wonderful, thank you for giving us a little taste of your evening, it was a very evocative post.

Jackie said...

You lucky thing!
IOt must have been good to see the ML ithout the huge crowds. And am I mistaken..doesn't it no photographs? (I took one too....well..everyone else was doing it!)
I once accompanied a Cezanne to Copenhagen..with my husband. It was a tremendous responsibility believe me!

Anonymous said...

Oh, Alice!

(I liked the picture of the Mona Lisa that was actually of the spectators. Although perhaps I was getting the captions wrong. Still, I liked it.)

dragonfly said...

Wow - you lucky thing. I've never been to Paris, so thank you for sharing.

JuliaB said...

Wow that sounds amazing!! And more exciting than the DaVinci Code!! xx

Anonymous said...

now I'm jealous.

I was fine five minutes ago. Now I'm a strange shade of green.