Yesterday I finally parked myself at the end of an obscenely long line to get into the Pyramid. How I detest lines, especially to get into museums, which is a significant part of the reason I have so many museum subscriptions. I meant to secure mine to the Louvre the first few days of my stay, but the warm weather beckoned, so under a brilliant yet partly cloudy sky I stood this day.
The purpose: to become one of the “Amis du Louvre” and thereby bypass all lines for the rest of my stay. The office is no longer fancy but a windowless room tucked behind the Pyramid ticket stands. I was so, so happy to announce, when asked, that no, this wasn’t my first time—and to my surprise, they pulled up my old photo, number, and information. Clapping! They print off the cards right there, and mine sports a younger picture. Ah, how much difference a few years make, especially stressful ones.
With the card in hand, I can sweep in via the side Richelieu entrance and stand within the sculpture courtyards within seconds. I can take the escalators up to the third floor and find my precious Watteaus at the end of a long, long circuitous journey around the Sully portion (this is the same as before, meaning a hall has been under construction for over four years!). And I can do this every single day, if I want. I can also cross under the Pyramid, take the steps to Denon, and stand in front of Michelangelo’s Dying Slaves in two minutes flat. Even after four years away, my feet went directly there as soon as I had the card in hand. Then I swept up the stares into the hall of Delacroixs and Gericaults and promptly had to control my eyes from bawling with joy.
I spent some time darting around, catching sight of this and that. Pieces I remember, pieces I forgot, pieces moved for the first time in twenty years, and pieces new to the museum collection. And then, one of the grandest sights of all: the view of the Louvre out of the hundreds of windows. It was absolutely stunning in yesterday’s light.