connect!

no tulle at the louvre!


Let me start this post off with a confession: a dark, dark secret that I have keeping from all of you for years now. I have to just come clean with it. So I have lived in Paris for over four years and up until last week, I had never been to The Louvre. I repeat, up until last week, I had never been to The Louvre.

What kind of Fauxrisienne am I? I'm not even a proper tourist!

Okay, so here's the thing: I have been to the Musee D'Orsay, Rodin, heck, I've even been to the Musee de la vie Romantique! It's not that I have an aversion to museums in Paris per se, it's that I have always found the Louvre to be extremely intimidating; the crowds, pickpockets, which day of the week to go, when to avoid a three hour line, what to see, what to wait to see until the second visit. It all seemed so overwhelming!

So what made me suddenly decide to pop my Louvre cherry after all these years? Being on school vacation, I decided to take advantage of having my early evenings free and finally signed up for a treasure hunt at the Louvre hosted by THATLou

And you know what? I get what all of the fuss is about. Along with the hunt, The Louvre is pretty amazing. I know, duh, but still.

In observation of Halloween, the theme of last week's hunt was death. With it taking place on Hallow's Eve Eve, I felt it appropriate to get into the spirit with a Halloween-inspired getup. With my hair slicked in a tight Wednesday Addams braid, my orange tights peeking through the layers of my black tulle skirt, a dark wool cape, and running a bit late, I hightailed it to The Louvre on a moody October night in Paris. What I really needed was a lantern and a few bats flying around me, you know, to really add to the already dramatic scene.

At the meeting point under the Louvre Pyramid, the founder Daisy - uber-adorable in her pumpkin orange corduroys and rocking a pointy witch hat - greeted us hunters with team packets and team announcements. 

To explain how the hunts work, I took the description straight from the official THATLou site because I don't feel like I could explain it any better. Actually, I know I couldn't, so here goes: "THATLou is quite simple: teams consisting of 2 to 4 people compete, following a list of clues that lead them to works of art – or “treasures” – in the museum. Team members photograph themselves in front of as many works of art on the list as possible, earning varied points per treasure. Sometimes bonus questions are embedded in the accompanying texts – either requiring silly poses for photos."

Pretty cool, right?

With our map in hand, team jobs allocated (I was the photographer!), and our tricked out team name "WITCHLou" (Witches In The CHateau de Louvre) we headed to the entrance to get this party started. Well...the guard collecting tickets, looked at us in what I interpreted as distaste and informed us that we were not allowed to enter the museum with our costumes on. Sylvia who was wearing an elaborate deep purple witch hat embellished with black tulle was asked to check her hat in the coat room. Refusing, she offered to stuff it in her bag, which I thought was a fair compromise to his ridiculous request. He didn't.

After some persuading, he gave in and we proceeded in. But not so fast! He then noticed my "costume" and wasn't sure if he could permit me to enter. For real? I had nothing on my head, no crazy makeup, just a tulle skirt that I actually wear in real life (if any of you saw my Househunter's International episode, that one). Unlike Sylvia, I couldn't just stuff my skirt, the bottom portion of my outfit into my bag and walk around the museum in tights. As Blair Waldorf says, "Tights aren't pants!" In utter disbelief, I stared at him, waiting for him to come to his senses, but he did not seem to be budging.

"Sir, I would like to see where, anywhere, it says no tulle at the Louvre." I said evenly. 

As suspected, he had no response to my challenge but at that point we didn't wait for his permission, handed him our tickets and walked right past him. We had no time for his drama, we had a hunt to win. 

Speed walking (along with tulle, there is also no running in the Louvre!) through the museum, I got a flash experience of as many rooms as we could get to in under an hour. It was invigorating being on such a mission that separated us from clusters of international guided tours.

The "offensive" hat.

Bonus point shots!
Point at the art! Group shot with the doves on the ceiling!
These little exercises got us some major points...or so we thought.
As funny as the shot of the girls posing like the dogs in the
"Wedding Feast at Cana" oil on canvas which got us 50 extra points,
I don't think they'd appreciate it being published.
So I didn't.

Tallying up the scores at a nearby restaurant over wine and charcuterie, Daisy announced the winners with WITCHLou, sadly coming in at fourth place out of the five teams. Four out of five? Ca va. We did however, win the best team name, which I was extra proud of.  WITCHLou? THATLou! It still makes me giggle. (I'm doing it now.)

It's taken way too long to experience Paris' most celebrated museum, but I'm going to say that it was so worth the wait to see through the spectrum of THATLou. Now that I've seen the speed tour of the museum, it's clearly time for the extended, I'll just be sure not to wear damn tulle.

49 comments:

  1. How bizarre! And yet how would he have reacted if you tried to enter sans skirt?

    Are the doves on the ceiling part of the permanent collection? I've never noticed them and now want to find them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, I think they're by Braque and somewhere near the Grand Gallery if I remember correctly ??

      Delete
    2. Thanks! I'll go on my own scavenger hunt...

      Delete
    3. I don't know who he would have reacted if I just pulled down my skirt! I can only imagine! I may have been penning this post in jail!

      Thanks Gwan for answering her question in regard to the doves. I actually don't remember where exactly they were. I was hunting, remember? : P !

      Delete
    4. What a HILARIOUS idea - what would he have done if Ella just dropped her skirt? Mooned her orange tights! I wish I had the nerve to do this experiment.

      The Braque doves are on the 1st fl or Sully, room 33, right next to a room with Cy Twombly ceilings (and yes, permanent). Have a look, both are great ceilings!

      Delete
  2. Oh wow, that sounds like the best way to explore, outfit and all! Should ever get there (like you I've done the D'Orsay), I shall consider my outfit carefully :oD

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Katy, be very careful in what you wear. It's serious business! You don't want to offend the Louvre's fashion guards. Geez, man.

      Delete
    2. She looked divine. I say he was just jealous.

      Delete
  3. I've been inside the Louvre twice, and I'm not a big fan. I don't like that sort of fine arts, and there are always just too many people! But a Halloween scavenger hunt would be an interesting way to discover it!

    And wow. Really with the skirt? I've seen quite a few French girls sporting tulle recently.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. On this particular night there weren't that many people. Enough, but not what I had imagined. Wednesdays are their late nights that apparently not many people know about. The hunt was fantastic! I highly recommend doing one next time you're in Paris. She does them at the d'Orsay as well!

      I don't what his deal was with the tulle. I did look a little goth but not enough to be denied entry into the museum! N'importe quoi!

      Delete
    2. And even if you were 100% Goth with black nails and white powdered face who is he to ban you? France has a law about religious headgear, NOT TULLE!

      Delete
  4. Sounds like fun! I need to go back to the Louvre. I went for that manuscript exhibition with MK last year, but I've only visited the whole museum once, way back in 2005 on my first trip to Paris.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was so much fun! Next time you're in Paris and have the time, try and book a hunt. Daisy is a hoot as well! Wait, have you met her?

      Delete
    2. Actually I don't think we have met, but would love to - THATLou or not. Gwan next time you're here please do look me up, would love to have a drink!

      Delete
  5. I went once, way back in the year 2000, and I'm not in any rush to go back any time soon. Like Shannon I'm just not interested that kind of art. I never tire of seeing the pyramids, though.

    The scavenger hunt sounds like fun!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The pyramid especially at night really was magical. Leaving the museum, I resisted the urge to take a photo and just absorbed it. It really was a moment...

      Delete
    2. yeah, I have the same love of that pyramid. In day or night, from under, on the side or above. Even the inverted one as I'm scuffling back to the office from a lunch-break thatlou I love it.

      So funny to think how hated and controversial it was considered when IM Pei finished it in 1989. Now it's a poster child of our lovely city nearly equal to the Eiffel tower.

      Delete
  6. What the what what? What was his problem with tulle?! Weirdo. (him, not you)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He was so not digging my goth look. Clearly not a Cure fan in high school.

      I wear all black like three times a year, I wasn't going to let him ruin my moment! Weirdo, indeed.

      Delete
  7. Ah the randomness of Parisian meaness. I have to love it...and you for not giving in!!! Woot woot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right, so random! I was like, sir, this is fashion, now excuse me while I go hunt in the museum. There was no way I was backing out of a treasure hunt at the Louvre! No way.

      Delete
  8. You haven't been to the Louvre until recently :O Blasphemy!!!! *giggles*

    That's an awesome idea "ThatLou" especially around Halloween and i love your name WitchLou...

    That guard obviously wasn't having a happy pre-pre Halloween, if it wasn't for him you guys may at least came third :-p

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know Mlle. Petit! Quelle horreur! I really thought I was going to actually offend some of you here. You should see the face that people make here when I used to admit that I had never been. Well those days are over!

      THATLou is so much fun! It's definitely a Paris must-do! Thanks! I was super proud of our name WITCHLou. : ) I still am! I know, I'm such a dork...

      Delete
    2. Hi Mlle Petit, thanks, thatlou's been loads of fun to build up! I'm trying to make them for every holiday (for thanksgiving the theme's food + wine in art).

      As for WITCHLou, it's by far the best damned team name I've come across to date! And no surprise that you concocted it, clever coquine!

      Delete
  9. Power trip much, museum guard?!

    I understand that you would find the Louvre intimidating. Plus, when you live in a city, there's no rush to see everything. I didn't go to Versailles until my 13th trip to Paris, I think! Really wanted to go, but there was always something else! Visited the châteaux de Vincennes and de Vaux-le-Vicomte before I made it to the big V:) This Christmas will mark my husband's 9th visit to Paris, and still no Louvre. And he's in no hurry to go, preferring the smaller, quainter museums instead.

    Your fast-track visit was reminiscent of that of the German tourists in "Musée haut, Musée bas" (a completely ridiculous French movie from a few years ago with the "gratin" of French cinema:)) And of Polly-vous français, who used her annual 60-euro "Amis du Louvre" membership pass to take her daily walk in the Museum when the weather was bad (to the horror of her French friends, who thought this was irreverent - I think it's a great idea, personally;))

    This year, I'd like to finally go to the Musée d'Orsay.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Duchesse, he was so annoying! I was like, you're kidding right?? There was a point when I didn't think he was going to let me enter. We just had to be pushy and go in at that point....at it worked. Phew.

      That's a fantastic idea, to use the Louvre to power walk when it was raining (I'm sure she went quite often)! I love it! I'm going to search her blog to read that post! Genius!

      I felt more "Bande à part" zipping through the Lourve. I have seen that scene in the Goddard film and an homage to it in "The Dreamers" that it was fun to sort of do it!

      Musée d'Orsay is lovely. I hope you make it this year. You'll be in time for ""Masculine / Masculine. The Nude Man in Art from 1800 to the Present Day." ; )

      Delete
    2. Nude man in art?! It's as though they knew I was coming!;)))

      Delete
    3. wow! that's just GREAT (the power-walk-when-it's raining idea). I wish I could do that, too (wish my office or home were just across the road). You'd soak up so much pleasure by just using it as your gym.

      Will look for that post, too.

      Delete
  10. Funny, after I read the first few sentences I was going to recommend ThatLOU! We did the hunt with Daisy last year with 20 kids and a lot less adults. Crazy fun! So, this Sunday we took our kids to the d'Orsay (first time for my hubby and kids in two years - sigh) and there was a middle aged guy there dressed in a short blazer. quite see-through tights and patent ankle boots. Nothing else. Certainly got the attention of my ten year olds, but maybe he'd just had his tutu confiscated?!!

    If you do go back to the Louvre, try the Early French galleries, there's some beautiful stuff in there and hardly any visitors. I've also been to the lovely Musee de la Vie Romantique and today I went to the National Archaeology Museum in Saint-Germain-en-Laye. So much better than I expected. I'd definitely recommend :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh how great that you did a hunt with Daisy! What was the theme of yours?

      The guy at d'Orsay wasn't wearing pants??? Oh yeah, his tutu was CLEARLY confiscated! LOL!

      I'll check out the Archaeology museum. I'm on the site now, it looks great. Thanks for the reco! And I just love the Musee de la Vie Romantique. It was actually the first Paris museum I went to back in 2009 and make it a point to go every few months. I really love that place.

      Thanks for your comment!

      Delete
    2. Hi Nicky! I love seeing you on Mme La Coquine's site here. Yes, thanks for the recommendation, I've only been to St Germain en laye once and missed the Archaeology museum. Will go, too.

      Delete
  11. If it makes you feel better, I've lived in Memphis for 15 years and haven't seen Graceland or Sun Studios. I know, no comparison to the Louvre, but I get it.

    I did spend a little time at the Louvre when in Paris, but your treasure hunt sounds wonderful. Love the title of your post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Madeleine! That does make me feel better! I thought I was going to get a slew full of comments shaming me for not having ventured to the Louvre after 4 years. I have to say though, I am glad I've done it and look forward to checking it out again. I'm also a New Yorker who has never been to the Statue of Liberty, so it makes sense that I would hold off on one of the biggest attractions of the city.

      I have ALWAYS wanted to go to Graceland! If you ever manage to go, please let me know how it is. It's sounds like so much fun. Have you ever been to Dollywood? That's also on my list!

      Delete
    2. Mademoisella Coquine,

      No, I haven't been to Dollywood. I don't like country music or amusement parks, but if I happen to ever go there I'll let you know! I've been thinking that it would be nice to visit Graceland while it's decorated for Christmas, so maybe I'll actually do it this year.

      Delete
    3. I know lots of people who've never been and think that no one should be a shamed of this. I haven't been to the top of the Eiffel Tower since I was 12.

      Delete
  12. You certainly have some catching up to do.... on our trip last September, did a whole bunch of homework before visiting. Advise that worked - use the Carroussel entrance off Rivoli or M1&7 Palais Royal-Louvre connection which gets you to the Apple Store/Ladurée lobby (Pyramide Inversé) and entrance to the Louvre; the security line ups here are shorter than McDo at the food court (-:;
    this youtube video; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmT-djHyo3E was a great help to take away the mystery. We did not try to see everything at once. Had a 6 day pass so came back 3 times.
    The Italian galleries except for the room with Mona Lisa are literally empty with great paintings that most people miss out on. Just need to go left or right along the corridor rather than following the crowd.
    We visited on a Friday evening 6-9pm, we literally had the place to ourselves. Exiting via la Pyramide at night is worth doing at least once.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Conrad! I actually did take the metro line 1 and used the Carroussel sortie. I was certainly not expecting there to be a mall down there! That was a shocker! One I got to the Pyramid, I only waited in line for four minutes or so. Wednesday nights are a good time to go, so I have been told.

      With the hunt, I went into rooms (many empty, like you said) that I probably wouldn't have gone to had I went to the Louvre by myself. It was a fantastic way to see the museum for the first time. When I go back, I know exactly what I would like to revisit and explore -- the Mona Lisa room will not be one of them!

      Friday nights, eh? Good to know! Thanks for the tip!

      Delete
    2. yes and for anyone under 26 it's free after 6.30 on Friday nights. Love it there at night as it feels like it's all YOURS - except for the asshole guards, of course!

      Delete
  13. Yes I am with you. I have reluctantly visited the Louvre several times and find it completely overwhelming.. The best time was with a Pariswalks tour and that was the only one I enjoyed. We also went on a Thursday evening when it as quiet and they explained the main attractions. This sounds like fun too, especially for children.

    Far from being a "must see" it took me about eight visits before my husband dragged me to see the Mona Lisa. and it would not have changed my life if I'd never seen her. I have very little appreciation of art, especially Italian Renaissance's stuff.

    The Musee d'Art Modern is much more my bag.

    Love Denise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Denise! I'm so glad that I am not the only one! I thought I was going to get grilled here. I never wanted to admit it because of the shame! Quelle honte!

      I did however enjoy my Louvre visit, thanks to THATLou.Next time you want to venture to the Louvre, check out one of her hunts. It really is such a blast! She does hunts at the D'Orsay as well.

      And yeah, I passed the Mona Lisa and found myself less impressed than I had expected.

      Delete
    2. yes, Mona Lisa's totally overrated in my book!
      And I wish you hadn't been embarrassed as it's far from a crime and it's totally overwhelming. xx

      Delete
  14. Having spent three weeks in Paris this past July (my first visit) I spent a leisurely Sunday afternoon in the Louvre and saw the all the biggie pieces plus a lot of pieces that it seemed no one was interested in. Several rooms we had to ourselves. We visited several museums and my least favorite was the Centre de Pompidou, I love art and appreciate the talent and time to make it but, I just can't get my head around the art in Pompidou. Sadly, "modern art" just doesn't do it for me. I could have missed that whole museum and not been disappointed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rob! Thanks for your comment!

      Not everyone loves the Pompidou, I can see why it wasn't your favorite. I have only gone when there was an exhibit of interest, but otherwise, it's not one of my picks either.

      Other than a disappointing visit to the Pompidou, I hope your trip otherwise was a success and you saw what all the Paris "fuss" is about!

      Thanks again for your comment!

      Delete
    2. Hi Rob,
      Your visit to Paris sounds great. And what a treat that when you spent some time at the Louvre that you were able to thread off from the throngs of people. It's so rewarding when you get to actually BE with the art opposed to clawing your way through the crowds.

      I'm not particularly one for modern, but the views of Paris from the pompidou are truly divine.
      Kind regards,
      Daisy

      Delete
  15. Hilarious Lisa!!! I wish someone had filmed you saying to the guard that you didn't see any sign stating tulle wasn't allowed. Brilliant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes, it does smack of cinema - would've been good if Noel thought of getting his phone out to video the whol eexchange!

      Delete
  16. And last but not least THANK YOU MY LOVELY THING for your great great great story telling prowess and write up! I LOVE WITCHLOU!!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Oh this is hilarious. I would have loved LOVED to see his face when you questions the tulle rule. I managed to get to the Louvre only on my third visit to Paris. You're right, it's an overwhelming beast, best attempted in costume. This sounds like a ridiculous amount of fun.

    ReplyDelete