In Paris, I kept having “this-is-real” moments.
You know, moments where you force yourself to stop and realize that this is really happening.
It happened as I walked down the dark aisles of Notre Dame. It happened when I spotted the golden gates of Versailles. It happened as I floated above the city on the Eiffel tower.
But these moments increased ten-fold in the Louvre.
We did a death march through the Louvre. Lesa and I had a plan. Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, Venus di Milo and then anything else we happened to see.
We sprinted to the Mona Lisa and entered a room with one wall with a huge painting that probably took a life time to paint. On the wall opposite hung a little 8 X 11 painting. The crowds were in front of little painting.
“This-is-real” hit real hard. There was the Mona Lisa. It actually existed. I’ve heard that it existed and there it is right in front of me.
Then the moment ended.
It’s a little picture, not that attractive, of a woman, who’s not that attractive.
Lesa and I spent the next half hour discussing why this particular painting had caught the public’s imagination. Is it because Leonardo di Vinci painted it? Is it because of her expression? Or is it just good PR?
Whatever the reason, I was excited to see it, but not because I loved it. I was more excited when I saw Winged Victory the other statues in the Greek wing.
I also loved the fact that the Louvre was filled with familiar pictures that I see every year on Christmas cards. And I was overly pleased with myself when I was able to identify a portrait of King Edward the IV without reading the plaque.
And all the while I just kept thinking “I can’t believe this is real.”