Notre Dame Cathedral: impressive, beautiful windows, remarkable intersecting arches, and too many people! You would think they could respect the request to keep their big mouths shut for whatever length of time they spent in the cathedral. It looks like it is finally going to get the cleaning it needs on its 850th birthday.
Palace of Versailles: opulent, extravagant, enormous, wonderful grounds. We went to the gardens first and Marie Antionette’s smaller palace and “hamlet,” the Hansel and Gretel fantasy of life in a country cottage. Or as William put it, Disneyland. It was lovely and peaceful; no wonder she tried to stay there as often as possible. We tackled the main palace around 3 pm when the mobs hit the gardens; it was still crowded and we didn’t try to linger and absorb, we just walked through and got a taste of it. I saw where Huntington and Hurst got their ideas, but their places look so small in comparison! I particularly loved the long rows of different trees and the wildflower meadows.
Our last full day here we tackled the Louvre. After the experience of the National Gallery in London, I realized the importance of making a plan and focusing on a part. I chose three self tours: the highlights, Dutch still lifes, and the female goddess figures of Mesopotamia, which I modified so we would not be zigzagging our way across the museum. I saw Brueghal’s The Beggars! It was much smaller than I imagined. I saw Rembrandt, Vermeer, the Winged Victory, Mona Lisa, Ingres, Delacroix, and Gericault. The smaller Romantic and Dutch paintings were not crowded, but when we got to the really famous, massive paintings and the Mona Lisa, it was impossible, and this after the museum had cleared out some!
One comment about the idiots in front of the Mona Lisa and I shall say no more. Most people crowded to the front of a massive room and took turns having their pictures taken with Mona Lisa in the background. Then they left! They did not even look at the painting!!! In fact, many people did not look at the paintings any longer than it took them to photograph them.