Chasing the Reflected Light at the Musée du Louvre- Paris, France

One of the most exciting things about deciding to visit Paris, apart from the joy of getting to meet a new friend in person, was knowing I would be visiting the Louvre. If you’ve followed this blog for a bit or know me in real life then you know, I’m a gigantic lover of museums. Some people might even say that’s an understatement, given how much I can nerd out in those kinds of places. Museums, mountains and ghost towns- those are my top three favorite types of places to visit.

The Louvre, established in 1793 and located in central Paris, is the worlds largest art museum and annually ranking at the very top (if not at number 1) of most visited globally. The museum is located in the Louvre Palace, which used to be a fortress up until it was converted to the main residence of the French kings in 1546. In 1682, when King Louis XIV chose the Palace of Versailles as his new household residence, the Louvre was then used primarily a place to display the royal collection. The Louvre was officially opened in 1793 and now houses a collection of 380,000 objects and 35,000 works of art, which should give you an idea of how long you could spend inside and still never get to see everything.

I visited on the last full day of the trip, and while I had big plans for the day- waking up early to visit the Eiffel Tour and then taking a leisurely long walk down the Champs Elyseès, i of course overslept and didn’t end up waking up until almost noon. Considering I had been traveling pretty much non-stop for the past two weeks by myself though, I can hopefully be forgiven for being dead tired and in desperate need of some rest. The Eiffel Tour and all the rest would have to wait for a return visit ( which I’ll be making in March btw- more on that in a later post though!).

I bought a skip-the-like ticket with audio tour through Viator which I really do think was a great idea since the line to get in was very long when I arrived and I’ve heard it can be even worse in the summertime/peak seasons. I didn’t really use the audio tour guide that I got though, because it mainly highlighted how to get to the most popular sights- namely the Mona Lisa. I was really more interested in the Near Eastern Antiquities, Islamic Art, Sculpture and Decorative Arts collections than diving into yet more paintings and I also really didn’t want to get swallowed up by crowds just to see a painting that had never been a favorite. Still though, if you’re keen to see it and other popular items like Winged Victory of Samothrace, do budget your time around them.

So, with no real guide or map, I just kinda wandered through hallways and corridors and honestly that was a ton of fun because I never knew what was going to be around the corner, what new world of beautiful items I would stumble across.

Its hard to overstate exactly how beautiful and wonderfully curated this museum is. The space is illuminated by light streaming in from all the many windows and refracted across the floors and that day I visited turned out to be a gloriously sunshine filled day so it was even more luminous inside.

Of course I did pass through plenty of areas that displayed some really beautiful and interesting paintings, but the stuff that really made my brain light up was still to come.

-to be cont,d in part 2

~ m

Mineral, Meteorite and Gems in the Museum of Natural History- Manhattan,NY

Petrified Wood in the Natural History Museum

The first floor of the Museum of Natural History is where I spent most of my visit, wandering the dimly lit and softly illuminated areas with moderated steps, pausing slowly at every display, camera set to capture everything I could with the least amount of disruption and a heart open overfilling with loveliness.

in the Museum of Natural History In the Hall of Gems These lovely things in the Museum of Natural History Look Closer- Hall of Gems Exploring in the Morgan Hall of Gems In the Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems Lovelyness in the Natural History Museum Exploring on the first floor of the Museum of Natural History

Walking through the Spitzer Hall of Human Origins to fall into the Ross Hall of Meterorites, it all started to blur together in a dizzying way into the Guggenheim Hall of Minerals and the Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems.  I wouldn’t even know these names if not for the helpful map I was given after paying the voluntary entry fee. When you’re actually there, it’s a fantastic journey of just following the pathways, circling around and back and sitting down for long moments of contemplation and just marveling at the beauty you’re sitting in the middle of.In the Hall of Minerals- Museum of Natural History These Lights, First Floor Look Closer, Hall of Minerals First floor of the Natural History Museum I Could Spend a Decade Here Minerals and other natural things Wolframite and others

There’s something very much like peace and euphoria that came over me in the time I spent in this part of the museum. Not just from the sheer beauty contained here, but also the history embedded in every particle of items displayed. The phrase, “Be humble for you are made of earth, be noble for you are made of stars ” that I see almost everyday overused on my tumblr dashboard has honestly never felt more relevant than when I was here.A Study in Minerals Lets Study Gems and Minerals yes? These are inspirations Number 14 a shock of green Bury me here, just a little Guggenheim of Minerals Standout GreyScale in the hall of Minerals Details in the Natural History Museum

Too much? At least I didn’t post my notebook pages filled with notes, notes and more notes. I really can’t wait to go back,  it surreal how much I enjoyed the time I spent here, truly.

~m

The Museum of Natural History- Manhattan, NY Pt. 1

the Grand Gallery in the Natural History Museum If there was one place that could convince me to move back to NYC for good, it would be the Natural History Museum. Yup. If someone bought me a membership, I would be like “well, I mean, you can’t let a membership go to waste can you?” , pack my bags and find some willing roommates to rent a crappy apartment with and spend any extra money on pizza and egg rolls. I imagine I would be very unhealthy if I moved back.

The third day of me and Kats stay in NYC (or technically second, considering we didn’t cross into New York till after midnight that first day ), we woke up to rain rain and just so much rain. But thankfully we had anticipated that, and planned to visit museums instead of trying to walk around sight seeing. We decided to go through a list of museums to visit and pick one to devote the day to and since the Cooper-Hewitt Museum was at the time closed for extensive repairs, coupled with the fact that I geek out over anything to do with minerals and space, and given that Kat loves anthropology, it was easy to settle on the Museum of Natural History as our destination of choice.

Queuing at the Museum of Natural History Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda View The Natural History Museum Youth Quote Teddy Roosevelt Teddy Roosevelt quote in the Natural History Museum Manhood quote in the Natural History Museum Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda

Because of the rainy conditions of the day, it wasn’t too surprising the number of people waiting to get in when we arrived. Lines wove in and out, around and around, and while for a second there we considered turning back, we steadied ourselves and got in line. We queued for about 45 minutes, which seems slightly insane, but I can say with certainty it was  really, really worth it. I know i’ve never waited in a more beautiful area, the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda being a sight in and of itself.

Imagining Tech Hall In Natural History Museum One Is Born, One Dies, The Land Increases Exploring in the Museum of Natural History African Peoples Exhibits In the Natural History Museum Arrow Heads displays in the Natural History Museum Pottery Displays in the Natural History Musueum Exhibits in the Natural History Museum Entering Stout Hall of Asian Peoples Samurai Display in the Natural History Museum in Stout Hall of Asian Peoples exploring in the Natural History Museum

Me and Kat stayed on the second floor (which is where you enter from the main entrance on Central Park West ) for a good while, but as I was eager to see more, especially the Guggenheim Hall of Minerals we split up to meet up later.

cont. in pt. 2