Tag Archives: Unicorn

The Loofah and George Clooney

Randy likes to use some mnemonic devices with the French words. Now try to figure out what the title means.

When we got back to Paris from Marrakech we weren’t sure what to do. I suggested perhaps we go see the Louvre (hint hint for the title), because we were going to go meet Jeremy in a few hours, and that way we wouldn’t get overwhelmed by the vastness of the museum. I am quite susceptible to museum head…you know, the technical term that describes how you feel when you’ve been at the museum too long. Your ears start buzzing and your eyes glaze over because you’re brain is overstimulated.

We managed to find The Louvre fairly easily from Jeremy’s apartment; it was just a quick 15 minute walk (I was determined to keep up the walking trend we’ve had on this trip). Well, let me tell you, the Louvre is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! For whatever reason I’ve never been in any of my previous trips. I’ve usually been across the river, and I feared the ginormous collection of artwork that the museum contains. I mean, just walking around outside can become a whole day affair! The architecture was so beautiful and ornate, it even made Randy speechless!

The Louvre and the pyramid.

Close-up on the pyramid. Weather wasn’t too shabby…

Inside the Galleria of the Louvre.

Since it was a Friday evening around 5 when we got there (it’s open ’till 9:45 on Fridays) we only had about a 10 minute wait through security and into the belly of the beast. While we waited to get our ticket from the automated machine (just like at American movie theaters) an older woman gave the people in line in front of us her 2 tickets and said she couldn’t use them anymore but someone should enjoy them. We were so close to a free entry!

We went in and spent a lot of time in the Greek and Roman sculpture section, and decided to try to find some of the works of note. They were doing an exhibit on Cesar which Randy was pretty excited about. After that we went to find the Code of Hammurabi, King of Babylon; Winged Victory; Venus de Milo; and of course, since we happened to be in the neighborhood, the Mona Lisa. There were crowds around the more well known pieces, but nothing incredibly frustrating or unmanageable. The biggest crowd was at Mona Lisa, but you could make your way to the front in about 3 minutes, 1 if you were feeling especially pushy. I took lots of pictures of sculptures, but not really any of the paintings. I guess you’ll just have to take my word that we saw the Mona Lisa!

Woof! Man’s best friend.

Egyptian lion. Roar!

A boy and his duck. Quaaaack!

Modern art installations throughout Napoleon III’s apartments.

Winged Victory

Just to point something out, our lack of a crowd was probably directly attributed to the time of our visit. We wanted to pick up something at the gift shop Monday morning before we left. We got there about 930a. The line was circling the courtyard. At least a 1/1.5 hour wait to get in and then probably some more time to buy tickets. No telling what the wait for the popular exhibits would have been. Good idea to think about wait time before you plan your visit.

The other museum we hit up was The Cluny (There’s your other title hint!). I wanted to go here because it houses unicorn tapestries! Just like at The Cloisters! How exciting! It’s pretty similar to The Cloisters museum, with a medieval building housing medieval works. It’s the National Museum of the Middle Ages, so that all makes sense. The tapestries were all I could have hoped for, and the other stuff was pretty cool too.

So many Unicorns!

A girl and her Unicorn.

poor monkey!

Stained glass at the Cluny.

Pretty staircase.

These were two great museums to hit up, and I think we did them in a smart way. We didn’t let the huge one overwhelm us, and we chose a smaller museum for the other choice. I beat the museum head!


The Cloisters

The Cloisters

Right now my family is enjoying a little European vacation. I’m extremely jealous, to put it mildly. So, I thought I’d write about the closest I’ve come to Europe in the past month: The Cloisters. It’s a castle-like building in northern Manhattan, built from 12th-15th century materials. Inside there are tons of cool castle-y artifacts and treasures. The grounds are beautiful too, just try not to pick a day when the wind can blow you right over. It’s run by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the entrance fee is ‘suggested’, so pay what you want.

Exterior, The Cloisters

Face details, The Cloisters

Exterior, The Cloisters

Exterior (and Hudson River), The Cloisters

For someone who loves castles, it’s exceptionally fun to just walk around the building. All the architectural elements have been brought over from real European castles, so it’s all authentic. There are different courtyards as well, so there are some sheltered outdoor areas. One of the aspects that I most enjoyed was the different elements. Columns didn’t match, decorative moldings were different at each doorway. It was a nice eclectic twist on the medieval castle.

Weathered carving above a column.

Mismatched columns.

Sculptural herbivory in a courtyard.

Being a museum, there are tons of artifacts as well. These date from the 9th to 16th century. The centerpiece of this museum is a unicorn theme (can’t beat a legitimately unicorn themed museum!) There are a bunch of beautiful tapestries depicting themes centered around unicorns. I can’t remember exactly, but it has something to do with christianity, and I don’t have time to look it up right now. I’ll pay better attention next time…

Unicorns! This is the most famous tapestry.

Capturing a unicorn.

Besides the whole unicorn theme there are a lot of other cool things. Like the first playing cards, and a treasury. There’s also a neat hallway with some cool stained glass circles depicting different scenes.

First playing cards known to exist. Crazy suits.

Medieval sarcophagus. Or whatever they would have been called.

Huge fireplace.

Besides the castle there is a nice big park to walk around in, and some other buildings and a restaurant. We didn’t have time, or heat capacity (it was chilly) to explore the rest of the grounds, but I guess that will give me an excuse to head back some time.

It’s a great trip for those who are craving a European adventure (because their family ditched them, ahem, ahem), but can’t afford the price tag or vacation time.  You can always follow it up with a night out at a french bistro or british pub to round out the experience!