08 August 2013

Le Louvre, part 1

I didn't go into the Louvre when I was in Paris in July, but I did walk through the Cour Carrée and past the Pyramide as part of my 10 km trek July 26. The weather was just too beautiful for me to want to spend time inside that day. Here are just a few pictures I took at the Louvre as I toured central Paris on foot.

One of my earliest memories of going to the Louvre must date back to 1970, when I was a student in Aix-en-Provence and spent my two-week spring break in Paris. It was all new to me, and the size and diversity of the city was fairly intimidating. I thought I ought to go to the Louvre, so I did. I remember that I wandered all around the exterior of the building, but I couldn't find the entrance! It turned out to be a non-descript door (for the Louvre) with only a very small sign.

That was obviously before the Pyramide du Louvre was built in the 1980s. Now, you can't miss the entrance — there is almost always a long line of people waiting to get in. Back in March 1970, the weather was gray and gloomy, the buildings of the Louvre were gray and grim, and there were few if any people waiting to get into the museum. The courtyard where the Pyramide now stands was actually a parking lot for employees of the Ministry of Finance, which occupied nearly half of the buildings that make up today's Louvre museum.

Even if you don't go inside the Louvre to study and admire all the artwork in the museum's collections, there's a lot of artwork to see on the outside of the buildings. Here are just three photos showing some examples.

On another subject entirely — Saint-Aignan — I should say that our weather has turned gray and cool again, after a very hot and sunny month of July. We have, however, been spared the violent storms that have dropped large hailstones all around France, causing great damage to roof tiles, cars, and crops — especially vineyards.

First it was Vouvray, then Burgundy, and now Bordeaux and the Dordogne region. Here in Saint-Aignan, we've been lucky. The storms have mostly passed west, north, or south of us. We did have more than an inch of rain night before last, with some thunder and lightning. We needed the rain, actually, and we suffered no damage. The roof over the kitchen did not leak.


  1. Glad your roof didn't leak...
    looks as though your tiler knew his stuff...
    We've had 14mm in the last 24hrs... of which I am also glad...
    means I don't have to go awaterin' avery evening!!!
    Touch wood, we've also been spared the hail... I hope it stays that way... please!!

  2. my one and only louvre visit was in july 1970. I still have my photographs from that day.

  3. I remember the parking lot where Mr Pei's pyramids stand now. I used to go to the Louvre once a month for a long time so I got to know the Louvre really well. The Paris of yore is so pretty. Better to go off season though. (Europe has been having some wacky wild weather lately. I've been seeing some incredible photos of tennis ball size hail on Facebook and there was a beautiful photo of the bridge of Millau surrounded by lightenings).

  4. Great to know that your kitchen roof area did not leak :)
    Ken, these are AMAZING photos. Wow!
    I remember that they were working on "the dig" while we students were there in '81-'82-- la Pyramide sure has changed the landscape and entry for the Louvre. I love it!

  5. Good to know that you were spared from the hail storm. It has not been a good year for France this year , especially the vineyards and agricultural farming.

  6. glad your roof is sealed finally....we had 4 inches of rain yesterday !!

  7. My first visit was in '61, remember the Venus and Mona and vastness of it all still.

    Yay, for your roof. It's had a few tests already.

  8. There is another entrance just across from Saint Germain de l'Auxerrois.

  9. I went for the first time in 1982, and could not find the entrance either. I eventually started following people around, and followed someone to an entrance that did not look like an entrance.

  10. The one time I visited the Louvre, summer 2001, I entered from the subway and avoided the lines. Rick Steve's guidebook came in handy! The guidebook even gave suggestions for which art work to spend time with, a little information about those works, and even how to locate each one. I thought it was funny how people raced past fabulous works by renowned artists and clustered around the Mona Lisa.


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