Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Disneyfication of the Louvre, And Yet I Am In Love With It

I visited the Louvre for the upteenth time today, and it’s dramatically changed from when I was here a few years ago.  I love the Louvre with a passion.  The last time I was in Paris, I spent 2 consecutive days there, blissfully happy and still only covered a smidgen of it – there’s over 35,000 works of art in its permanent collection.  Heaven!  

Today, I decided just to focus on just its Egyptian Antiquities department:  I am obsessed with Egyptology.  I blissfully headed off to the Louvre and per a useful guidebook, entered through the “Carrousel” of the Louvre in its basement.  First time there.  It is basically a strip mall complete with an Apple store and a food court area with a McDonalds.  I was a little sad about that until I saw…Laduree.

Thanks to the advice of one of my good friends with great taste – thanks, Nic! –  I immediately purchased 4 tiny, beautiful macaroons and proceeded to wolf 3 of them down, giving the last one to a little girl nearby who was eyeing them longingly.  They melted in my mouth like pats of sunshine.  

Another change is that instead of audioguides, the Louvre upgraded to Nintendo 3D gizmos:

Here I am geeking out on my 3D audioguide next to some awesome mummies.  I’m pretty happy (blurry picture *sad*).

Notice the skinny jeans and flat sandals?  Oh yeah, I’m fitting right in, this would never happen in San Diego.

The 3D audioguides are better in that there are more commentaries than ever, 35 hours in total.  Flipside is that they only have 2-3 hours worth of battery power, you have to walk all the way back to where you got them and get another set.  For those of you who know how sprawling the museum is, that’s kind of a pain.

But.  It’s the Louvre, the greatest museum in the world.  I was so happy to be there, wandering the treasures of the ancient world.  There is something magical about artifacts that have been around for thousands of years.  I would touch stone and wonder if someone from ancient times had also touched the same stone before me…This sort of revery is a luxury I haven’t given myself in many, many years.

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