Archive for November, 2011
I don’t know about you, but this is one of the nicest shots of the Eiffel Tower we’ve ever seen.
Millions of people flock to see her and they know not why. An ineffable something compels them to see her, and many endure long lines and crowded spaces merely to catch a glimpse of her. Once they see her they are probably underwhelmed because the idea was more grandiose than the real thing.
We might as well have been referring to the rich heiress who has recently been usurped by the Kardashians in tabloid fame, but, alas, we’re actually referring to another young lady whose fame has endured centuries, the Mona Lisa. And, despite this long-lived fame, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who could explain to you exactly why she is famous. It’s her enigmatic smile say some, or her curiously eyebrow-less visage, or perhaps the geometrical composition of the painting, or even the controversial identity of the subject.
It’s actually much simpler (via a comment by wisard on Reddit):
- Leonardo Da Vinci painted it. He is the foremost Renaissance artist. Artist’s credibility adds to the paintings popularity.
- Napoleon Bonaparte hung the painting in his master bedroom in 1800. This – I think – was the first tipping point of making the painting one of the most popular paintings in the world.
- 1804, Mona Lisa is hung in the Louvre – and others can now glimpse at the painting that Napoleon slept with.
- But the real tipping point for the paintings popularity only hit in August of 1911 – when Mona Lisa is stolen. Stolen from heavily secured Louvre which experts said was impossible. No one knows who stole it or how. Conspiracy theories abound. The painting is talked about in every newspaper.
- After 2 weeks of much fan fare, Police arrest Guillaume Apollinaire on suspicion of theft. He is the only person they have arrested. Apollinaire implicates Pablo Picasso. The rumor of Picasso stealing the Mona Lisa adds in a lot more fuel in making Mona Lisa very very popular.
- Picasso is questioned and released. Guillaume Apollinaire himself is released after 5 days. Everyone is still clueless as to who stole the painting. But conspiracy theories abound.
- Two years after the theft, the Mona Lisa is finally found when an employee working at Louvre tries to sell it to an art gallery in Florence for $100,000.
- When the Mona Lisa is returned to the Louvre, it draws massive crowds. People visit the Louvre only to see this one painting.
- And then it hit the Paris Hilton effect. Its popularity added to its popularity. So much so that most people don’t know why it is popular in the first place.
That’s just about the best explanation ever. Why do you think the Mona Lisa is famous?
If treasure hunting is your idea of a good time, don’t miss the last two days of the Antiquites Brocante this weekend at the Place de la Bastille. Visitors can stroll through hundreds of vendors filling an indoor space and lining up on both sides of the Port de l’Arsenal outside.
The events boasts a variety of objects for sale including crystal, art, pottery, lace, furniture, and toy cars. There are also several food vendors with seafood, foie gras and cheese to choose from.
When: Through November 13. 11 a.m.- 7 p.m.
How much: €8
Visit official site here.
Photos by Leslie Hansen
The city of lights isn’t always easy on the wallet, so it’s good to keep an eye open for free events. Many museums offer free admission the first Sunday of the month, as mentioned in a previous post.
One museum that may not be on your list is the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine. This museum offers an arching view of French architectural history from the Middle Ages to present day. One of the exhibits currently on display focuses solely on the townhouse, including a reconstruction.
Visit the official site here.
Practical information here.
We’re happy to announce version 2.0 of our iPhone app, Paris M&M. It has everything version 1.0 did, with the added feature of offline maps. While visiting Paris from another country, many people don’t have their phone connected to the internet. This is in order to avoid those insanely expensive international data roaming fees. Version 1 of our app relied on Google maps, which required your phone to be connected to the internet, but version 2.0 features offline maps which work regardless of whether you have wifi, 3g or no connection at all. Now you can explore the city and its great cultural attractions without worrying about expensive charges.
For the those of you who downloaded version 1.0, the update is free. For first-timers, we’re offering version 2.0 for only 99 cents. Considering the extensive database of museums and monuments, plus the unique feature of current exhibition listings and the offline maps, we think this a very fair price. We hope you do to, and we would love to hear feedback from you on how to make Paris M&M even better.