What’s New at the Louvre

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The Louvre is in the news this week, but it’s more about what’s happening outside the museum than what’s inside.

First, the water. Following weeks of rain, the Seine peaked at 20 feet above normal Saturday morning, the highest level since 1982, and museums took emergency measures to keep their artwork safe. Both the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay closed, and employees moved works from lower to upper floors. No damage was done, the river has since receded, and museums are making arrangements to reopen. Scary, nonetheless. Here’s a good NYT article.

Second, the optical illusion. International street artist JR, who has been covering public walls with photographs for 10 years, and most recently transformed the outside of the Paris Pantheon during its renovation, has changed the appearance of the Louvre Pyramid. Normally, JR uses giant photographs of people, but this time, by plastering the Pyramid with a gigantic B&W photograph of the museum, he has created an optical illusion. Stand at just the right angle, and the controversial glass pyramid seems to disappear. “JR at The Louvre” runs outside Musée du Louvre from May 25 – June 28

Paris Haiku—The Seine

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I’m writing from Paris, where I’m leading two group tours. The Artists’s Paris starts today, and Gardens of Paris begins next Monday. The coming days will be fueled by good food, dynamic conversations, and full-on discovery.

So—while I’ll be able to collect impressions for Paris haiku, I won’t have time to sit quietly and compose poems. For the next few weeks, I’ll share favorite haiku that weren’t written about Paris…but could have been.

The first time I read this poem by American Modernist Robert Boldman, I immediately thought of the Seine.

 

walking with the river
              the water does my thinking

 

I love Boldman’s sense of one-ness with the river, his effortless way of being in the world around him. The poet may well be alluding to a rural scene, but I imagine central Paris.

I see the Seine on a blue sky day, its banks laced together by graceful bridges and lined with elegant street lamps. Willow trees and 17th century buildings are reflected in the current, and a steady stream of walkers, joggers and cyclists pass, each cultivating his own relationship with the river.

What are your impressions of walking along the Seine?

I’d love for you to share them here—or leave a Paris poem of your own!

Photo credit: Charlotte Albers.