A couple of months ago we met Jack. Jack comes with owners.  Those owners come with extended family. That extended family was visiting Germany, and her name is Cerina.  This week Cerina turned 18 and her dream was to go to Paris. Like most of us, Jacks owners work.  They asked me to accompany Cerina to Paris.  It is very hard to say no to a trip to Paris. It is even harder to deny anyone their dream.  Off to Paris we went!

With Dane still in school, I had only two days to squeeze out of my schedule. Luckily there were seats left on the TGV (bucketlist!) and our trip to and from Paris was a breeze. A very, very fast breeze. At one point I saw the screen hit 304 kmph! The train ride was just long enough to work out a rough plan for all the important sights to see in Paris, and get to know each other a little better.  The number one wish on both our lists was The Louvre. In all my visits to Paris, I’ve never convinced any of my travel companions to visit The Louvre.

I am still speechless. The outside alone is imposing. The sheer size is overwhelming. The beauty of the architecture alone could keep me busy with staring, reading, learning, photography, happiness. Inside every step you take there are floors, walls, ceilings and art to admire. There are not enough hours in a lifetime to truly see The Louvre.

Our number one goal was to see the Mona Lisa. Simply finding the way to the Mona Lisa was both challenging and awe-inspiring.  Every step. Every stair. Every hallway was filled with new wonders, ancient art, history, stories. My imagination skipped generations, people, religions. I imagined myself in other lands, times, cultures and people. It was a day of beauty and a day filled with love.

We finally stepped foot inside the room in the Denon wing (officially on the 1st floor, Mona Lisa room, Room 6), filled with vibrant paintings, including one of my new favorites Le Couronnement de la Vierge (coronation of the virgin, photo below).  Of course the crowd in the from of the Mona Lisa was, well, crowded.  We stood at the back, and slowly shuffled our way forward. Shoulder to shoulder with people from around the world, all patiently waiting for their turn at the very front to see this famous, beautiful, unifying painting.

It is said the Mona Lisa is small.  She is, but not absurdly so.  I feel she is the right size for a portrait.  As I stood in front of her, and my eyes met hers, the room around me, the bodies pressed against me, time stopped. Faded. Reversed. I imagined sitting there, posing for Leonardo da Vinci (Leonardo da Vinci!) and I wondered what she thought.  Who she really was. Not just a wife surely, but a person of her own. Living a life of her own. Never imagining that one day I’d be standing across from her, that we’d be meeting and she would touch my heart with her beauty. Her composure. That standing in front of her likeness would bring me to tears.


The famous pyramid, the entrance to the Louvre.


My beautiful travel companion: Cerina.


Hallway number 1, in wing 1, out of too many too count.


The ceilings alone are worth the trip.


I admit, I did not know Venus de Milo was at the Louvre. What a fantabulous surprise!


This is Venus’ view. Every day.


I am getting closer! My excitement is welling up inside my chest.


The Madonna and Child in Majesty Surrounded by Angels (detail) by Cenni di Pepe c. 1280.


Jacopo Robusti, dit Tintoret: Le Couronnement de la Vierge, dit Le Paradis. Venise, 1518 – Venise, 1594. Vers 1580.


Another hallway. I cannot capture how beautiful these are. How filled with amazing paintings they are. But it is breathtaking. Every step I take.


I am in thrall of Egyptian history and art. I also snuck myself in with this picture. Where am I?


Bucklist wish full-filled. The Mona Lisa.


The Winged Victory of Samothrace C. 190 BC Provenance: Island of Samothrace (northern Aegean).


The new galleries of the Department of Islamic Art opened to the public on September 22, 2012. Some 3,000 objects are on display, spanning 1,300 years of history and three continents, from Spain to Southeast Asia.


Up more stairs, another hall of amazing, historical art.


I am again distracted by the ceilings. The capitals topping the columns are each unique and stunning. It is amazing!


This sculpture beat Venus. Beat the Mona Lisa. It beat everything. Created hundreds of years ago, this mother and child could be me and one of my sons. They all loved to wear Daddy’s helmet when they were small. I feel connected to this woman. This woman from so many years ago. A woman just like me.