Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Never Take Your Own Advice

We are literally a three minute walk from one of the world's eminent museums~~the Louvre; I am ashamed to think I suggested in my pre-Paris primer, skipping such an important place.

My mind shift came when Tony suggested we buy a pass, so we could visit multiple times instead of the dreaded one day run-through to catch all the great works of art. It's the kind of exploration I detest: fighting crowds for a three second peek at the Mona Lisa, and equivalent to the European traveler's curse I learned from my friend Suzanne: ADC--another ________cathedral. The first cathedral, the first art, is exciting--the last is torture.

So we headed for the Louvre in the early morning to become Friends of the Louvre--annual pass holders. While contemplating which line to wait in, an American couple asked us if we'd like two premium tickets. His company had bought the tickets and these were extra. One cannot resist even if one is about to buy a year long pass. Besides, it would get us in via the short priority line opposite of the mega line in front of the glass pyramid. We were overjoyed. Hoping we wouldn't need to use the tickets, we could then pass them on to another unsuspecting "jackpot recipient" of free Louvre tickets.

We found the office for Friends of the Louvre in an out-of-the way, underground corner. The beautiful and gentille young woman was remiss to inform us that the fantastical internet price of eighty euro for a one year family pass had gone up almost 50% since last offered in January. Tony hesitated with two free tickets in hand, but I was already sold on the idea of a leisurely, pleasurable stroll through the Louvre each day in Paris. He reached into those deep pockets and pulled out the necessary commerce to make his wife happy.

The young woman proceeded to tell us all the perks for becoming Friends of the Louvre in the coming year. The perks no longer mattered once I became a card carrying associate of the Louvre. I was now Madame and Tony--Monsieur.

We spent our first morning absorbing completely the Winged Victory of Samothrace. Instead of racing past the ancient Greek treasure, I studied the folds of its marble, the ship, the ledger to the right with copious notes of its history. I could also enjoy one of the other marvels of an international museum: the people.

And those free tickets? Well, I actually prayed to know who to give them to. Yes, I take pretty seriously two free tickets to the Louvre; it had become a stewardship. As I approached the ticket line, I got a warm fuzzy feeling knowing I was in the right place. I handed them to two young American women almost next in line. I knew she was dedicated to visiting the Louvre and somehow, I knew she was on a budget. Her jaw dropped and she said "Thank-you."

Tuesday morning we wake up, ready for our dalliance with the Louvre. We pull out the brochures to discover which exhibit to visit today;  Tony lays out the map which he will have memorized in a short time--alas, our plan is thwarted--the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays.