The first thing that struck me was the size of the building: Clearly, the French take their art seriously; the place is HUGE!!
Yes indeed, "Art" was everywhere, from the design of the doorways and vistas to the giant, glass pyramids in the courtyard, to the handicapped and stroller elevator (more on that later)...
We also decided to splurge on a few Nintendo DS audio guides, which promised child-friendly tours of Egypt as well as a "Masters" tour which included the Mona Lisa.
I find the work itself underwhelming (I can't help but wonder why, in a museum with so many impressive pieces of art, do people flock in droves to a rather small painting of a woman's head?) Don't get me wrong, I mean, it is geometrically a pleasing piece and all (did you know that her left eye is exactly centred on the canvas, for example, and that she was one of the first portraits without a "barrier prop", thus creating a more intimate feel with the viewer), but it is not -- in my opinion -- worth the rush past the vast body of works that surrounds it (both in Danen, and the other halls of the museum).
The largest painting in the gallery is also nearby; it depicts the miracle of the water turned to wine at the cannanite wedding (though comissioned for the rectory of a monestary, the painting shows signs of having been painted by an artist of the upper class, as evidenced by the noble princes and their ladies to the left of the painting, for example, and the setting itself, which does not at all resemble the cananite country side!)
People-watching is perhaps the most interesting pastime at the Louvre -- the boys and I spent considerable time just sitting on a bench watching people go by, and see who's engaged vs who's just rushing through the museum so they can check it off their list!
I found the arch of her wings rather impressive, and was drawn to this piece; I stood looking at it for quite a long time.
The other neat thing was the snail shell-esque elevator surrounded by spiral staircase, in the main lobby. Reserved for strollers and wheelchairs, it transports people up and down in the middle of spiral staircase on demand.
(Click on the photos below to enlarge.)