My time in Paris is almost over. I saw the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Versailles, and the Pere Lachaise Cemetery. Other than that, I walked around the city like it was my job. Actually, since I’m unemployed walking could very well be my job. I could be like the walking version of Forest Gump. It’s a fitting description, since I have a tendency to stumble onto things around which other people would plan their day. For instance, my first night in the city I decided to check out the Eiffel Tower, since every one raves about it. So I hopped on the metro and hopped off at Trocadero. I hadn’t planned it out much more than that so when I was back up at ground level I just started walking. (And for those of you who are concerned, yes it was dark so I decided to play it safe and hitch-hike down some poorly-lit alleys and collect strange looking needles while I was there. Calm down!) I had just started to get a sinking feeling that I was getting farther and farther away from the tower when I turned a corner and BAM! There it was, the top of the tower looming above another building. Things like the Eiffel Tower are infinitely more exciting when you aren’t expecting them.
I stumbled across the Louvre in a similar fashion. In fact, I felt a little bit like Forest Gump the whole time that I was at the Louvre; I was in the presence of greatness and yet I had no clue what was going on. Now, I’m not completely uncultured, but it’s safe to say that I have little understanding of good art. For instance, there was one large Italian paining that had a small crowd in front of it. It was a nice painting, but I didn’t understand it at all. From what I understood, it was a portrait of babies holding a disco ball. Now, I’m fairly certain that the babies were, in fact, cherubs but I remain quite unsure of what the disco ball was.
While I’m on the topic of great art, let me pause for a moment to reflect upon La Joconde. While I understand that much of the intrigue surrounding her is based on the ambiguity of the subject, I don’t understand what it was that makes herds of people wait in line to get a front-row view of her. I couldn’t help but wonder if the museum is playing a joke on the public with the juxtaposition of the tiny Mona Lisa with The giant Wedding at Cana on the opposite wall. Perhaps this is why DaVinci’s girl smirks: the thousands of people every year who flock towards her and likely miss out on other worthy pieces. However, before I sound too pretentious, let me be the first to remind you that when I look at great art I see babies shakin’ their tail feathers with a disco ball.
While I’ve enjoyed the city and appreciated (though not always understood) it’s cultural offerings, it’s time for a change of pace. Tomorrow I leave Paris and head to St-Malo for a few days.