Julie Lyles Carr: Old Friends, New Friends

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Old Friends, New Friends

mansart
As 1 of 8 and I made our way to the grounds of the Louvre after our cautionary pickpocket tale, I saw him.

My dear old friend.

Up there in the top photo.

Jules Hardouin Mansart.

I heart Mansart.

It's not the lion-like mane of powdered wig hair or the flowing robes.

Nope.

I love this guy for his brain. And genius. And creativity.

He is the architect behind many of my favorite buildings in and around Paris.

As in the Grand Trianon.

And the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles.

And the Royal Chapel at Versailles.

All that gorgeous vision packed into one man.

Mansart.

My old friend.

I spent a lot of time at the Louvre this trip, hours inside the galleries and more hours trolling outside, taking in the architecture and moldings and carvings and arches.

And while my heart thrilled to many of the sights, it was this one that soothed a tired homemaker's heart...

window cleaning louvre1
Yep. People who clean the windows of the Louvre. Windex and a big pole. So it's not just me trying to fight unending crowds at my house smudging up every reflective surface. It happens at the Louvre, too.

I feel more connected somehow. Not as alone in the world.

window clean 2
I actually took several pictures of this guy. I was mesmerized by his technique.

I've decided he's one of my new friends in France. Different kind of genius than Mansart. But a genius I can apply to my everyday life.

exhibit1
This was part of an exhibit in the main courtyard of the Louvre. I'm not sure I fully grasped the vision of the design. But I liked the clean steel lines of I.M. Pei's Louvre Pyramid through the cragginess of the stacked stones.



And above so many of doors and arches and pediments were things like this...


nap 3 crest


This is the Napoleonic crest from Napoleon the Third, nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte.  He was considered both the president and monarch of France and had the good sense to move back into the Louvre during his tenure.  He added all kinds of little flourishes with his monogram all over the Louvre.


Seeing that he was the heir-apparent/emporer/president/monarch guy and all.


The French had a little trouble getting themselves all reorganized after the French Revolution.


In so many nooks and crannies of the exterior of the Louvre are jewels, gorgeous carvings that can be lost in the immensity of the place.  It pays to look and look closely in the corners and crevices of the arches and windows...


pediment louvre1


Sigh.


eagle louvre1


Of course, someone has to clean all this stuff.  Hence my appreciation for the Pyramid Window Washer.


And for Mansart.

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