Rue de Rivoli, le Carrousel du Louvre and waiting for Mona Lisa

Traipsing along pedestrian-friendly rue de Rivoli, en route to the Louvre, the shopaholic in me was compelled to place my pink sneakered foot into each and every tacky and touristy souvenir shop that littered the promenade near the Carrousel du Louvre.  No matter that this was my 5th or 8th sojourn to the City of Lights, the glint of the shiny mass-produced trinkets never failed to mesmerize my inner scavenger, leaving me several Euros poorer, my satchel brimming with Eiffel Tower key chains, “I Love Paris” T-shirts, Paris-logoed caps, bags, pens and postcards.  So what if I wouldn’t be caught dead sporting a T-shirt or baseball cap and if all of my friends, family and colleagues had already received an abundance of these exact same souvenirs from my previous Parisian excursions?

Rue de Rivoli runs parallel to the Louvre, roughly an hour’s walk from Notre Dame Cathedral, depending upon how quickly or slowly one meanders along the promenade and stops to linger in the cafes, ice-cream parlours and designer shops along the way.  Pawning everything from high-end fashion to low-end reproductions of the Mona Lisa, this lively and bustling passageway is a must-see tourist attraction all on its own.

My 12 year old niece was growing increasingly impatient with my acquisitive shopping habits, annoyed (as only a pre-teenager can be) that I might end up squandering the remainder of the day sequestered in the shops, leaving minimal time in which to amble along the corridors of the Louvre.  It was already approaching mid afternoon and the kid was anxious to finally come face to face with the Mona Lisa.

My niece was a voracious reader, eagerly devouring biographies of long-dead royals, Marie-Antoinette being her current favourite.  A couple of months shy of her 13th birthday, her reading material of choice was the same as mine, historical non-fiction.  Disneyland Paris would have to wait.

I’m embarrassed to admit, but neither of my pink sneakers had traversed the hallways of this magnificent former 12th century medieval fortress.  I had been too busy scurrying outside the grounds of the Louvre, snapping digital memories, having devoted the majority of my leisure time to languishing in cafes, sipping vino, fully immersing myself in Parisian cafe society.  Oh… and rummaging for knickknacks and one of a kind treasures.

Avoiding the long line-ups to gain access to the Louvre, we instead chose to use the lesser known “Carrousel du Louvre” entrance, where a multitude of shops lay hidden below in the ground level of one of the winged sections of this world-famous museum.  In addition to harbouring somewhat pricey shops, a food court, water closets and payphones, the bottom portion of the inverted glass pyramid is also located in this mammoth edifice.  It also boasts an impressive exhibition hall, which is home to the annual “Paris Photo” exhibit.  One could easily be content to wander around the “Carrousel du Louvre”, pose in front of the inverted pyramid, take in the exhibition of the day and shop till you drop. And, we hadn’t even reached any of the four main wings, all of which house well over 35,000 priceless masterpieces!

 The entrance cost to both the permanent and temporary museum collections was 15 Euros for adults, and since I had squandered away most of the day scrounging for trinkets, leaving barely any time in which to absorb and appreciate the history and architecture of this colossal gallery, I succeeded in convincing the kid that we would return the following day.

 Admission is free to those under 18 years of age and also on the first Sunday of each month.   Since we were here mid-month, we would not be able to take advantage of that awesome deal, unless of course, we extended our sojourn an extra couple of weeks!   Hmmm.  That might not go over so well at my place of employment or my dwindling bank account!  And the chances of trying to pass myself off as a pink-sneakered 18 year old are pretty much slim to none.  

Meandering along the pricey shops of the Carrousel, I spotted a watch with the likeness of Mona Lisa imprinted on the background.  All for what seemed to be the fairly reasonable price of 17 Euros. Reaching into my limited edition bronze Carolina Herrera satchel, I came close to plunking down my Euros but my “wise beyond her years” responsible niece informed me that “Auntie Nora doesn’t need it”. Smart kid, as I happened to stumble across the exact same watch for the bargain basement price of 7 Euros, while later browsing in the tacky souvenir shops that lined rue de Rivoli.

Having now saved 10 Euros, I thought it only fitting to treat the kid to some well-deserved crème glace, promising her that “demain” (tomorrow) we would devote a full 12 hours to discovering the “magnifique” wonders that are housed in this colossal warehouse of knowledge.

Yikes!!  My pink-sneakered feet had better get a good night’s rest, as tomorrow they will be sprinting around the corridors of the Louvre, awed by the talent and creativity of the artistic visionaries whose masterpieces continue to inspire generation after generation.

Come rummage for “one of a kind” mass produced shiny trinkets on rue Rivoli…come appreciate artistic genius and the Louvre with us…

Note - I'm having technical difficulties uploading the remainder of my photos to this blog post and was only successful in uploading one picture. Since I always post new blogs on Wednesdays, I wanted to be consistent with my weekly posting. I'm going to have to contact the Kid for technical advice on how to solve my photo uploading issue. In the meantime, stay tuned, I hope to have the Louvre pictures added to this post soon.

Update - I've successfully uploaded my pictures to this blog. After a bit of research on the web, I found out that Blogger has been having some photo uploading issues and one of the recommendations was to download Goggle Chrome, which is what I just did and voila!, it worked like a charm! And all along, I thought that it was me and my lack of computer technical ability. Yikes!! I really did think that my laptop was on the fritz and needed major repairs but it turned out that it was just a glitch. This blogging thing really is teaching me a lot. In the meantime, enjoy the post and the pictures. 

Next post – The Kid and Mona Lisa

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