This time I wanted to spend a whole day in the Louvre, leisurely enjoying what I loved and exploring what I hadn’t noticed before. I had chosen one of the two days the museum stays open till late in the evening.
I am very familiar with the museums in Washington and I have visited extraordinary museums in Berlin, Amsterdam, London, Tokyo, Rome and Tel Aviv. The one in Cairo has a special place in my heart. But in sheer magnitude and quality of display, no museum can hold a candle to Louvre.
I began with the sculptures, a section I had neglected earlier. Giant statues of kings and generals, of the four seasons, of legendary characters. In my prejudiced view, far more impressive were those of writers such as Moliere, Corneille and Montaigne, with paper and pen in their hands rather than swords and scepters.
I walked out of the Louvre into a bright, breezy evening, my heart full, my eyes still dazzled by – not the famous Giaconda smile – but by the incandescent, seductive smile of Madame Drouais, sculpted by her husband, enough to set the sturdiest heart aflutter for a lifetime.