During our visit to Paris in 2017, we went to the Louvre Museum to take a selfie with Mona Lisa!
Actually, a group of seven of us sat together during morning breakfast and planned an itinerary on how we should spend our free day. We were on an official three day trip and had limited time at our disposal. ‘Louvre Museum’ was the unanimous choice and we thought of covering it by lunch.
The second shortlisted site was the ‘Lock Bridge’ as a husband had promised her wife that he will be attaching a lock on the bridge for her and even click a picture as proof.
(For years, there was a tourist tradition of attaching padlocks on the ‘Pont des Arts’ a pedestrian bridge over seine river. It was considered to be a symbolic act of affection and sentimental value. But in 2015, the Paris city council ordered to stopped this ritual citing concerns over degradation of heritage property. At one point, the count of padlocks had increased to over seven lakhs which added weight on the bridge. It was felt that the practice of love locks was a risk to the Parisians and the tourist. So the authorities removed a major chunk of the locks and started discouraging this ritual).
There was another girl in our group whose marriage was fixed for later half of the year so she too wanted to put a lock for her fiance.
A third person who didn’t accompany us for the trip had handed over a lock to me with a message for his wife. This way Lock Bridge became our second most priority destination.
Whenever one travels abroad, families and friends set expectations of getting gifts once we return. Therefore, husbands had to shop for wifes, wifes for husbands, girls for boyfriends and boys for their girls and family. Considering this to be an important obligation, we shortlisted ‘Primark’ to fulfill our shopping needs.
Finally, a trip to Paris would be incomplete without visiting ‘Eiffel Tower’.
Our ambitious impractical plan –
- Louvre Museum by lunch
- Lock Bridge before tea time
- Shopping at Primark by seven pm
- …Get ample spare time for Eiffel in the evening.
We arrived at the Louvre around 11.30 am and commenced with our rushed up, half hearted tour. Given the size of the museum, we were sure of not covering it in couple of hours. Hence, we hurriedly visited two floors than directly moved to the painting gallery hall. Although the hall was quite big, majority of crowd was squeezed up near Mona Lisa’s painting.
The painting of Mona Lisa is world’s most popular and talked about in the history of art. The emblematic piece of artwork by Leonardo da Vinci carried out in the 16th century is a key point of attraction at the Louvre. The Louvre was once a Royal Palace before it was converted into a museum by the end of 18th century.
During childhood we had read about Mona Lisa’s painting in our history textbooks. The school days memories made us curious to get a close sight of this marvelous portrait. We felt this might be a big achievement linked to our travel tales and academic records.
For a brief period, many tourist had surrounded the wall on which the painting was mounted. They were continuously clicking pictures and having a discussion amongst themselves. We tried to move ahead in front but the constant flow of crowd just didn’t permit. Besides this, other tourists were quite tall making our attempts to get close even more difficult.
Boys being boys… we proudly took a selfie with Mona Lisa and moved ahead to make our next quick visit at the Lock Bridge.
Some more pictures taken during our visit:
Author: Vijay Malhotra, Mumbai