View From Le Sofa – The Last Full Day.

860a777bbf2ea61043f769ddf868cba2So yesterday’s attempt at seeing the Hokusai exhibition was a bit of disaster.  We decided at the time that we would get to Grand Palais on Sunday before opening time and make sure we got to see it.

Except, when we got there, the queue was even longer than it had been yesterday.  Resigned, we stood in the ludicrously long queue.  About thirty minutes later, a woman arrived and let the queue know that tickets had sold out for the morning and at the very least, there would be a three hour delay before the queue started to be allowed in.  We were about an hour down the queue.   There was no way, in 1 degree weather, that we were going to stand around – on a walking stick, I might add – for four hours.  So, reluctantly, we abandoned the idea of seeing the Hokusai, hoping that the exhibition would come to London at some point.

Miserable, we wandered back towards towards the Carousel for coffee.  We hadn’t a clue what we wanted to do but knew that walking wasn’t a good idea as it was so cold.   We wanted to stay in the warm.  The obvious thing to do, as the Carousel is part of the Louvre complex, was to stay in the Louvre.  Now the Louvre is a bewildering place. Quite apart from being colossal, it’s sectioned off in such a way that is virtually impossible to navigate.  You find yourself switching between floors because of the layout and ending up nowhere near where you expected to be because the floor plans are so confusing.

I marvel at people who say “Oh yeah we did the Louvre on Wednesday Morning”.   You bloody didn’t!  It took us two around eight full afternoons over the course of three years to see the whole thing.  And we’re not actually sure we have seen all of it.  It is HUGE!   This time, we decided to see one of the temporary exhibitions, “Medieval Morocco” which was simply sublime and if you are anywhere close by, do go and see it. It completely blew us away!

Post-lunch, we decided to go to the Denon Wing to see some of the Italian paintings.  This was a tactical error.  It turns out that on this particular day, the Louvre was free to enter. It was horrible. I mean words simply cannot describe how horrible it was and of course we had decided to go to the wing where the Mona Lisa is housed.  Oh boy.

I find gallery goers tough going.  I don’t mean people who enjoy art and go to look, study and learn.   I mean those collosal arseholes who run around, shouting, screaming and photographing everything, looking only to see if their shot is in focus.  I don’t understand.  If it means that little, why not just buy a book?   Do you really need to take a picture?   IS it that important to be able to say “I took a picture of a well known painting I didn’t bother to stop and enjoy”?

The Mona Lisa room was…unbelievable. I have to be honest and say that I really don’t rate the Mona Lisa.   Technique?   Fine.  Subject?   Pedestrian. Overall?   Take it or leave it.   There are far better pictures on display . . . and far worse ones, too. So the scenes of mayhem in that room baffled me beyond believe.   The picture is hung against the far wall of a room that is bigger than most peoples houses and yet the room was an unruly scrum of writhing bodies all desperate, not to look at the picture , but to take a photo of it.  The flashes, the jostling, the indignant screams as some steps in front of their shot and the sheer ugliness of the behaviour was astonishing. The noise and camera flashes just made it look like there was a storm going on in that room. People were raising thei cameras above their heads to takes photos and leaving without actually having seen it with their own eyes.   Why not just buy a fucking book, morons?  I mean what is the point of travelling to Paris to take a picture of something you can see clearer in a book? Is randomly waving a camera in the vague direction of a painting any substitute for actually seeing it?  Is it such a status symbol to be in the same room as an okay picture that you have be be rude, aggressive and not actually see the damned thing? Is it so important that you have to knock me out of the way of the door and kick my walking stick from under my hand causing me to crash to the floor, when I wasn’t even gong to go into the room and thus deprive you of taking a half arsed blurry photo of a shit painting ? You, the crowd at the Louvre yesterday, are colossal ass-hats.   You don’t deserve to live, let alone be given access to art.

This was probably the only time I had a bit of an agoraphobic wibble.  I find people difficult to deal with at the best of times, but this was horrific.  I could feel the panic riding and Andy knew that he had to get me out of there and swiftly!  Lesson learned.  Never go to galleries on free entry days. . .

Anyway, after seeing some paintings better than the Mona Lisa, we walked to a metro stop and took a train back to the hotel.   It was 5 ish. We decided that the walking we had done was enough to see us through to next January and we really needed to rest.  We grabbed something to eat and spent the evening in the lounge, reading.





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