Travel Photo Thursday: The Louvre

Mona Lisa paparazzi
Mona Lisa paparazzi

When we were at the Louvre, I almost skipped going to the room with the Mona Lisa. I had read about how small the painting is and god knows we have seen reproductions aplenty.  But at the last minute, I dashed up the stairs and into the room, while Ken waited outside.  I’m so glad I did.  I laughed out loud at the desperate snapping of digital cameras and cell phones.  Now I know the meaning of that smile–she’s amused by the paparazzi.

Since this picture shows only about 1/4 of the crowd, here’s a wider shot.

Mona Lisa crowd
Mona Lisa crowd

These photos are the property of Vera Marie Badertscher, all rights reserved.

These photos are my entry into the weekly Travel Photo Thursday sponsored by Budget Traveler’s Sandbox.  Visit that site to see many more travel photos from around the world.

Have you had travel experiences where the crowd reactions were more interesting than the object or site you went to see? Tell us about it.

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About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, or recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons . She has written for Reel Life With Jane, Life is a Trip and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

31 thoughts on “Travel Photo Thursday: The Louvre

  1. Yes, i was only reading once again on another blog the other day as to how small it is. This photo really brings it home, and is at the same time a wonderful take on photographing this masterpiece!

  2. In the Forum I was watching a guide explain to an American couple, with operatic flourishes, some dark/bloody/lurid/grand historical incident that took place on some particular spot. He was apparently so successful in conjuring ghosts out of the air that as they moved on the lady took a photograph of what was essentially an empty space.

    1. Davis: That is a great story. Wonder if she got one of those (questionable, in my opinion) foggy spots on the photo that ghost busters say count as spirits?

      1. There are ghosts of all sorts resting in the dark recesses of Rome, but they do not pose for tourists, and certainly not for reality television. When they venture abroad in daylight they go disguised as cats.

  3. Holy Smokes! That is incredibly silly. If you go to see the Mona Lisa, it’s really to get a feel for what it’s like in person, the texture, the size, the way the natural light touches it. To take a picture of it seems ridiculous. There are probably many millions of pictures of it already, all lacking the in-person feel of the thing.

    People are nuts.

    Except you… you aren’t nuts. 🙂



  4. I actually think the Mona Lisa does a good service in the Louvre – it leaves the other 99.9% of paintings and even whole rooms quite free from traffic and gives visitors a chance to enjoy the overwhelming collection of art that the Louvre offers. Like many I was surprised how small the painting was but it does highlight the wondrous use of light that Leonardo used centuries before other artists understood such subtleties.

  5. That’s amazing! I had no idea the crowds would be anything like that. I was in Paris when I was a teenage. Easter weekend, and nothing was open. We took a bus tour, so I got to see only the outside of the Louvre. Paris is on my “must return list”. Now that I am a grown up..haha.

    1. The crowds in general are pretty awesome at the Louvre, but with the thousands of magnificent artworks there, somehow everyone thinks they have to see the Mona Lisa, so the mob scene is there. Definitely, you must get INSIDE the Louvre, Nancie.

  6. Please don’t let the size or crowd keep you from seeing this masterpiece. We made sure we were at the front of the line when the Lourve opened and raced to the room. We only shared the room with about 5 others for a good 15 minutes. It was worth it because having the oportunity to really take a look and from several angles at that, we understood the importance of the work.

  7. It’s a shame the crowds take the focus off the masterpiece. I’ve seen it so many times (in books, etc.) but I have to admit that seeing it in person at the Louvre was still thrilling, albeit for the crowds.

    1. I just was amused by the crowds..did take time to look at Mona, however, I was not thrilled. There are plenty of things to thrill in the Louvre. Something for everyone.

  8. I was at MoMA in New York over Thanksgiving weekend and wandered into the room where Monet’s Waterlilies triptych was hung… crowds of people milling about, sitting on benches, chatting, making plans – but not a one was looking at the paintings! It was like a cocktail party in someone’s home. Hilarious and sad.

    1. Oh dear, now that IS sad! I saw the Monet Waterlillies in the setting he had created for them– at the L’Orangerie, and believe me, everybody was as silent as church and taking time to drink in the loveliness.

  9. You’re right about the frenzy. I thought of seeing it but couldn’t take the crowds.
    Also, as a former art gallery director, I hate the idea of mindlessly snapping photos of paintings when, to me, their real value is in their contemplation.

    1. And the irony is that tourists pretty much see the world from the other side of their I-phone, smart-phone, or camera viewfinder rather than actually looking at the scene they are capturing for bragging rights on Facebook.

  10. I like your humorous angle on the Mona Lisa photo frenzy. I was one of those people. I think I took about 8 or 9 photos of the painting, and none of them are very good. 🙂

  11. Would be fab to hide in a cupboard until after closing time and have a nice, long look at it all on one’s own, though, wouldn’t it?

  12. That’s exactly what it looked like when I was there years ago! Our family is going to Paris in March and I’ve been explaining to my 8 year old how small the Mona Lisa is because I don’t want her to be disappointed and she is adamant that she is going to see that painting – she may have to see it from her dad’s shoulders. I will definitely show her your photos so she can understand better what the crowd will be like.

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