After last evening’s inspiring tour, I had just 1 day in Paris left.  I was now finally ready to see if the Louvre was as incredible as everyone says.

In a word, yes.  I calculated that in my 4-5 hours there, I went through maybe 50% of it (some of it twice, as you can get quite turned around).  I’m not saying I saw 50% of the collection, as most was just in passing.  Truthfully, I was often more interested in the surroundings – the various halls, each from different time periods.  Here are some random highlights:

I entered from the north side through this passageway.  From across the street, I first panned my camera left, right, straight, and up.

Walking through the passageway yields this view into one of the inner chambers

Once through the crush of people milling to get in, I chose one of the entrances at random and found myself in the Egypt section.

By dumb luck, one of the very first things I stumbled upon was musical instruments. These are harps from 1000-2000 years B.C.

This one is amazing and extremely important.  In fact, there are copies of it in other museums.  A very recent, playable copy was even in the special Carlsbad Museum exhibit I blogged about in March (you can see it in the first photo).

“Clappers,” made from hippo ivory

2 sistrum (sacred bronze “rattles”)

A pristine 1000 B.C. image of a harpist

One of many dozens of hieroglyphic tablets

A double row parade of sarcophagi…

…each more beautiful than the next

Yes, there were mummies, but I was mostly drawn to the macabre animal section.  These are cat mummies.

Adorable baby crocodile mummies…who knew?

Just the Egyptian halls alone went on and on (look into the distance)…and on and on.

Somehow I found myself in a crowd of Venus de Milo spectators…

…as the rooms became more ornate

This long hall of statues led to the view of…

…the incredibly dramatic Winged Victory statue

Up close, exquisite

Here’s that “Grand Hall” I kept reading about.  It truly was like something out of Harry Potter…the more you walked, the longer the room seemed to get.

Off this hall one comes across a crush of people…it could only mean…

…I had to zoom to get this close.  Seemingly every tourist in the country was in front of it – like a mosh pit – each one having to get their photo with it, as in “Dude!  I’m hangin’ with Mona!”

Nice doors, though most were open or absent

Looking out a random window yielded this panoramic view of a goodly portion of the museum’s opposite “wing”

A small temporary African Art exhibit yielded two instruments: a stunning carved ivory trumpet…

…and large slit drum in the form of a buffalo.

Mr. Easter Island Head was very cool

Original rooms of every size and description from previous tenants through the centuries…

I took several pics of musical instrument paintings, most “still lifes” of real instruments.

Ergo, I was fascinated by the detail of a pinky rest on this lute.

More beautiful, if over-the-top, rooms, all now to house over-the-top “collectibles”…

Original ceilings, walls and floors

None more ornate (gaudy, yes, but mind-blowing) than the Apollo Gallery, “built (from 1661 to the 19th century) to glorify King Louis XIV”

Now housing assorted crown jewels and other bric-a-brac

OK, I had finally reached (well, surpassed) sensory overload.  So time to get some fresh air…

…with one last walk past Notre Dame.  The sun was out and it was finally the perfect day…

…with just enough dramatic clouds for my final gargoyle shot!

After a trip back to the hotel for rest and shower, it was time for my last meal in Paris.  I had asked an ex-Brit shopkeeper about a good place…

…and he recommended the Polidor restaurant, “a place Hemingway might have hung out at.”

And maybe he did.  Certainly Woody thought so…he filmed part of his charming Midnight in Paris movie here.

Charming indeed.  Decent duck, a nice (but not fabulous, Philippe) liter of Cotes du Rhone, and I was ready to stagger back through the streets much as I imagined Hemingway must have (though I picked fewer fights).

Despite my initial trepidation, I was already nostalgic and not ready to leave this fascinating city.  But I was only halfway through a frantic trip!

Next: Le Mans and the first meeting for the Festival International de Harpe-Guitare!

(But first, I think I’ll sneak in an unrelated piece that’s been waiting in the wings…)