The World's Greatest Museum

SEPT. 5 – PARIS – As we prepare to depart for Italy, I reflect over the wonders we've seen here in Paris: monuments like the Arc de Triomphe and Versailles, religious sites such as Notre Dame and Sainte Chapelle, oddities like the Catacombs. Then of course there were the uniquely Parisian scenes, such as narrow, cobblestone streets, quaint little restaurants tucked away off the main roads, beautiful parks along the Seine. Picking a favorite is like trying to name your favorite flavor of ice cream.

I have to say, however, for all its immensity and consequent lack of intimacy, the Louvre won me over (photo). It's like no other museum I've ever experienced. It's the "onion" of museums; you can peel away layer after layer and find new and interesting things each time you visit. Can you imagine going to a museum and being satisfied by simply walking around the exterior? That's how immense and impressive this former palace is. And once you get inside, the magnificence of the myriad galleries will astound you.

In fact, if every work of art was removed, it would still be an amazing place. What impressed me most about the Louvre were the many galleries with ornately painted ceilings. I found myself wandering through hall after hall, gazing up at the ceilings and completely ignoring the paintings on the walls. We only scratched the surface of this grand museum on the two visits we made, so I look forward to going back when return to Paris at the end of our trip. For now, however, it's on to Italia!

Next: A Train Ride to Remember

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