Let me start off this post by saying: I have the best sister in the world.
For my birthday last year, which I share with her, she and her boyfriend Robby gave me vouchers for an overnight stay at The Farm. She knows how much Jim and I have been wanting to go there and she got me the best gift ever when I wasn’t even expecting anything! Of course I had nothing for her because I’m such a crappy sister… Hahaha joke lang, I’m the best in other ways naman (I hope) but oh my goodness I felt terrible. That’s because birthdays have never really been a big deal for me – I really have to drag myself to celebrate it with friends and family. It wasn’t right of me to assume everybody else doesn’t care either. I swear I will step it up this year.
Maxx, take note: DON’T GET ME ANYTHING THIS YEAR PLEASE. Gift mo na sa akin na makabawi ako hehehe. So we booked our overnight stay this week to celebrate our wedding anniversary a few days earlier (our anniversary is tomorrow, January 24).
The Farm is a wellness resort and spa located at San Benito, Batangas. Maxx and Robby got us a Narra Pool Villa similar to the one they stayed in last year. The moment we stepped inside, I said to Jim, “we are not worthy.” Hahaha. Look at how beautiful the place was.
We did a lot of walking around The Farm but we didn’t come close to exploring all of its 50 hectares. The place has been around for 15 years and its been open to the public for 12. On our first night we got a skin kayud treatment at their healing sanctuary, about a 7-minute walk from our villa.
Then we had dinner at ALIVE! restaurant where they serve all vegan meals. My favorite is the mushroom broccoli pasta – make sure to try it if you find yourself at The Farm. I don’t think I could ever become vegan but it was nice to experience it for 2 days.
The next day we had a very yummy set breakfast. First we had a huge seasonal fruit platter, followed by granola cereal, and our choice of main course.
Both were VERY delicious, Jim even said the quinoa pancakes were the best pancakes he’d ever tasted. I had a bite and I can’t disagree.
We took a nap after breakfast. I woke up 2 hours later and I saw Jim working on his laptop. I said, “Uy, grabe, solid ng nap ko!”
“Oo nga eh grabe ka mag-snore.”
“What?? Oh my gosh, sorry!”
“It’s okay. Soothing naman ang sound ng whale eh.”
HAHAHA THAT BASTARD!!! I asked, “DID YOU JUST CALL ME A WHALE??” and he hugged me and answered, “No, I said you SOUND like a whale.” Hahaha. I love this guy.
We took a dip in the beautiful temperature-controlled pool.
Of course I said, “HELLO, YOU HAVE TO TAKE PICTURES OF ME!!”
We went back to the healing sanctuary to get a their signature Filipino hilot massage
I’m in love with their petal arrangements
Had a late lunch before checking out
We enjoyed our stay immensely especially with the helpful staff and crew. They were always smiling and they seemed to really love what they do. Who wouldn’t be happy to live in such a paradise? We’ll definitely make plans to go back. It was an amazing retreat and we want to try more of the treatments they have to offer.
We don’t know about you guys but our collective favorite season is the one that gets us all sweaty and sunburnt. It’s far from summer time right now but that’s exactly the point of Cheats’ latest single called (you guessed it) Summer. Being around a certain person transports you to your favorite season! It’s a love song which is an unusual theme for Cheats. In other words: this is a big deal, people. Haha!
I’m sure you guys know somebody that reminds you of summer. They make your palms (and kilikili haha) sweat, you want to grab ice cream with them, nothing else matters when they’re around, you feel free, the similarities go on. But what do your crush and the hottest time of the year most have in common? There’s a big chance of getting burnt by them but the experience is almost always worth it. That’s why the chorus goes: so much more, what you waiting for? We’re literally reminding you guys to take a stab at it!! You two could be so much more!!! Yihee!
We shot our music video at Resorts World Sentosa Singapore under the direction of Weave. It was my third time there but visiting the resort always feels like the first time.
Here’s a photo of Jim and I with Evac back in 2012 (we were pretending to be Sam and Mikaela LOL)
Here’s a photo of us just last October when we shot our video:
Anyway, before I keep babbling on, I’d like to present our music video for Summer:
It’s an understatement to say we had a blast shooting the video at Resorts World Sentosa Singapore. Can you imagine, we got to Universal Studios at 6AM – that’s 4 hours before the park opened! It was an unforgettable experience.
The video shows Jim and I trying to enjoy a romantic day at Resorts World Sentosa Singapore. Little do we know, our band mates are also there and they pull all sorts of pranks on us. This is art imitating life, actually. Hahaha! Jim and I keep trying to ditch our friends in the video but in the end we realize we could also enjoy the day just as much with our best friends around. Just like RWS can be enjoyed by a couple or a big group. If you ask me, I think I would even be able to enjoy it if I were by myself! I know you can skip a lot of lines if you’re by yourself, actually. Haha! Still, the more the merrier.
So what you waiting for? Hehe. Head on over to rwsentosa.com/ph for SO MUCH MORE!;)
Hope you guys are having an awesome new year so far! I’m in Singapore right now celebrating with the Bacarros. It’s Jim’s and my first year as a married couple and we geared up for the “Jim & Saab Rockin’ Family Tour” way ahead of time as you can read from my previous post. Haha! I love family trips!! It’s always a riot.
My favorite family trip has to be when Jim proposed to me in front of my mom and siblings in Ueno Park, Tokyo. We’re going back to Tokyo in February with the Magalonas and the Bunagans (a.k.a. Michael V’s family – he and tita Carol are my parents’ BFFs. Can you say #squadgoals??) and I’m sure it’s gonna be epic. Epic? That term’s so 2012. What’s a hipper term for epic? It’s gonna be as-monumental-as-star-wars-the-force-awakens-opening-day. Okay, maybe not quite but close enough.
You guys know what going to Japan equates to: I AM GONNA PIG OUT ON JAPANESE FOOD. As if I don’t do that enough locally hahaha but hey, iba pa rin sa Japan. I can’t wait. And for that exact reason, I am SUPER excited for #NationalTempuraDay!! Yep. It’s a thing!! Every January 7th, people from different parts of the world feast on this deep-fried seafood as they satisfy their cravings for prawn tempura.
I know Thanksgiving has long passed but THANK YOU, Tokyo Tokyo, as they will be bringing #NationalTempuraDay to the Philippines!
“We wanted to start the year right especially for our loyal fans. Our own take on the National Tempura Day is our way of extending our gratitude to them for loving our signature quality prawn tempura,” said Harvie Sering, Tokyo Tokyo Product Manager. “On this day, they can enjoy and fill their appetites with their favorite Prawn Tempura for only P25 per piece. That’s 50% off on our prawn tempura add-ons!”
The National Tempura Day 50% off promo applies on prawn tempura add-on and is valid for dine-in only. It’s #TempuraTime!!
Early this month, Cheats flew to Singapore to record a music video. We had the best time going around Resorts World Sentosa Singapore! As I share some behind-the-scenes photos, I’ll give you a rundown of things you can do as you spend your holiday at Asia Pacific’s best integrated resort.
Things To Do In Resorts World Sentosa Singapore
Meet the Minions and your other favorite characters at Universal Studios Singapore
Race your best friend or crush (or both) down a huge water slide
Pretend to be under the sea in more ways than one
Float down a river surrounded by marine life
Make believe you’re royalty as you visit Lord Farquaad’s castle
Eat so much yummy food at the celebrity restaurants around the resort
Join the Autobots and be a freedom fighter
Trip out on sea jellies and other sea creatures
Best of all…
Annoy your friends by being all lovey-dovey with your partner
Hahaha!! Resorts World Sentosa Singapore can be enjoyed with your significant other or with your family or with friends! I’m going back to Singapore to celebrate the New Year, so I suggest you plan your year-end trip as well!!
Can’t wait for you guys to see our music video!!! Will post it as soon as it’s done!:)
We took a 4-hour train from Rome to Venice. The Rome train station was pretty chaotic for newbies like us. Planning to take a train from Rome? Here’s a tip: If anybody approaches you without a proper ID or uniform, do not listen to them. Stick to the guides you’ll see on the screens all around the station. If you get really confused, like we did, ask the customer service desk for help. Apparently, we couldn’t find our platform number on the screen because we were there too early. It shows up just minutes before.
We arrived in Venice past noon.
From the train station, we only had to walk a little over 5 minutes to get to our hotel where we were to meet the rest of Jim’s family who flew in from their trip to Prague.
When we all reunited, we agreed to take a gondola ride to the most famous public square in Venice, Piazza San Marco.
Jim initially just wanted to take one of his jumping photos near the pigeons but some guy grabbed his hand and put bird seeds in his palm
Right after we had this fun (apparent in Jim’s face LOL), the guy came up to Jim and demanded for 20 Euros. 20 Euros?! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?! For bird seeds we didn’t even ask for!! We said no, and he kept insisting, even calling his friend to scare us into paying. Of course we wanted to stand our ground but these guys looked like they could stab us. Not being a racist or anything but they were acting really aggressive!! We gave 10 Euros and quickly walked away. Beware of scammers.
At least the place was so beautiful, we forgot about the incident soon after.
We ate at Al Chianti and I must say, it’s the best restaurant of our entire Europe trip. It trumps Dar Poeta in Rome. I’ll leave you with photos. Sorry to make you hungry.
Walked off all the carbs by going around the plaza some more
Grabbed some dessert and coffee before heading to bed
The next day we woke up early to catch a water taxi to the Venice port where we’d embark on our cruise!
A quick gelato moment LELZ
And then we arrived at the port. It was my first time aboard a ship and I couldn’t comprehend how HUGE it was!! Our ship was called the MSC Musica.
Because we had been in Europe for a whole week and because we really missed rice, we pigged out in the Japanese restaurant aboard the ship.
It was a perfect first night on my first cruise :)
For our second day in Rome, I arranged for a Best of Rome tour. Our guide, Daniel, picked us up with a car at 8AM. We learned that a typical Italian breakfast would be a croissant and a coffee so we grabbed some before leaving.
Our first stop was the Pantheon, the best ancient monument that’s still in continuous use up to this day. It’s been around since 127 A.D.
The Oculus is the Pantheon’s only source of light and there is no glass whatsoever up there. I was puzzled and I asked what happens when it rains? Simple: the rain comes in and for that reason there is an ancient drain right beneath the oculus.
As almost everything was under renovation and closed off for cleaning, we couldn’t go up the Spanish Steps. Daniel took us to what he claimed was the best view of the city up on Pincian Hill. We were not disappointed.
The Spanish Steps from below. Hi, James Bond!
We went to The Colosseum, and Jim was beside himself with excitement.
It was erected by the Roman Senate to commemorate Constantine I’s victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312. Dedicated in 315, and the latest existing triumphal arches in Rome, it was also the only one to extensively reuse major sculpture from earlier monuments. The Arch of Constantine is also the biggest triumphal arch. The arch spans the Via triumphalis, the way taken by the emperors when they entered the city in triumph. (via Wikipedia)
Sadly, I haven’t seen the movie Gladiator but Jim filled me in on what he picked up from the film and others similar to it. He said the emperors had gladiators fight so that his people would be entertained and forget that they were starving. They didn’t have noontime shows and teleseryes back then.
Even with its brutal past, this is where the Pope leads the Stations of the Cross every Good Friday.
Although, it’s nice to know that the Colosseum is now a symbol of the global campaign against capital punishment.
As a gesture against the death penalty, the local authorities of Rome change the color of the Colosseum’s night time illumination from white to gold whenever a person condemned to the death penalty anywhere in the world gets their sentence commuted or is released, or if a jurisdiction abolishes the death penalty. Most recently, the Colosseum was illuminated in gold in November 2012 following the abolishment of capital punishment in the American state of Connecticut in April 2012. (via Wikipedia)
Then it was time for lunch. We went to La Soffita Renovatio and the food was DELICIOUS!!
We went straight to The Vatican after eating and we couldn’t wait to walk off all the carbs.
We visited the Sistine Chapel as well but as everybody knows, photography is not allowed. And if you talk louder than a whisper, you will be shushed by the guards.
We missed him by a day, actually. We were there on a Thursday and apparently there’s mass every Wednesday. You can click here to check his schedule in case you plan to go.
The Holy Door is sealed with mortar and cement from inside. It is opened every 25 years and next year it will be opened for the Jubilee year of Mercy. Everyone who passes through the Holy Door will be “cleansed and forgiven.”
The tour was done so we headed back to our place to rest a bit before having dinner. We ate at Rossopommodoro recommended by friends.
Both ingredients had “DOP” beside their names on the menu. This means Denominazione di Origine Protetta (literally “Protected Designation of Origin”). The ingredients are locally grown and packaged.
Walked back home and passed by a complex in Torre Argentina, where Julius Caesar was famously stabbed to death.
Walking back to Trastevere, we spotted a Reggae performer singing his heart out. Only a few people were watching him when we got there. But in just a few minutes, the place was packed, and people were dancing. Some of them even joined him on the mic to sing a few Bob Marley classics.
The following day, after exercising (Jim jogged and I couldn’t take the cold so I just did yoga indoors… Masabi lang na nag-exercise lelz), we walked back to the area of The Colosseum to visit the Roman Forum.
In light of the recent attacks that happened in Paris, I’d like to invite everyone who reads my blog to say a quick prayer for all the people who were affected by the senseless act of violence. Despite everything, I hope my succeeding blog posts will serve as a reminder of how lovely Europe is. Thank you.
Woke up early on a Wednesday to catch our flight from Paris to our next destination: Rome. Nothing much happened except the handle of my Rimowa broke when the Uber driver carried it. I heard that I can bring it to any branch and they will fix it. I really hope they do.
FIRST STOP: get some pizza. Found a restaurant nearby that had rave reviews on TripAdvisor. It’s called DAR POETA and that’s where I learned that people in Italy actually ordered 1 pizza each. My kind of people.
We had the rest of the afternoon to just walk around and discover the city.
We were starving by dinner time and I asked Jim if he wanted me to check out TripAdvisor. I wanted to check out reviews of nearby restaurants. He said we should “take a risk” by entering a restaurant at random.
This isn’t going to be that helpful because I can’t remember the name of the restaurant we ducked into. It had started to drizzle so we just entered the nearest decent-looking place. I hate to tell Jim “I told you so” but that was the worst restaurant we went to for our entire European trip. Hahaha. The food was SO bland.
We learned later on that some restaurants really don’t serve whole basil leaves on their Margherita Pizza. I really think they should, though, because that’s the Italian flag right there: red (tomatoes), white (cheese), and green (basil).
More photos of our second day in Rome when we booked a full-day tour! That’s coming up!
For our last day in Paris, I booked us a private tour in Versailles via Localers.com once again! I was super excited but our tour didn’t start until 1pm so we had time to go around.
And then we passed by Champs Élysées, famous for arguably being the most beautiful avenue in the world. It’s lined with luxury shops and restaurants.
Parang kailangan ko ng ibang lipstick
Then we met our tour guide Jonathan and we took a train to Versailles!! It was about 20 minutes away.
All the gold you see is ACTUAL gold that been hammered out and turned into what’s called “gold leaf”
He ruled as the king of France from 1643 until 72 years and 110 days later when he passed away. He was 5 years old when he reigned and died just days before his 77th birthday. He surpassed his sons, grandsons and was followed by his five-year-old great-grandson, Louis XV. Ang babata, noh? Nakaka King Tommen Baratheon.
He’s the guy responsible behind the big wigs worn by men in France. He was 17 when his hair started thinning out and he wanted to hide it. Whatever the King did, people followed so it became the trend.
The cost of wigs increased, and perukes became a scheme for flaunting wealth. An everyday wig cost about 25 shillings—a week’s pay for a common Londoner. The bill for large, elaborate perukes ballooned to as high as 800 shillings. The word “bigwig” was coined to describe snobs who could afford big, poufy perukes. (via MentalFloss)
The Hall of Mirrors was literally just a hallway for people to cross the palace. But it’s not just any hallway. Picture beautiful arched windows overlooking the majestic gardens and on the other side of the hall are similar arches full of mirrors to reflect the scenery.
As soon as Jonathan told me, “many kings and queens have looked upon these mirrors,” I had to take a photo of myself
Then we entered the King’s bedroom, built in 1701. This is where Louis XIV lived until he died in 1715. It’s where the Royal Rising and Retiring ceremonies took place.
Every morning at 8AM, the king’s valet would wake him. The chief physician, the chief surgeon and Louis XIV’s childhood nurse (a.k.a. yaya) would enter together and his yaya would kiss him good morning. The night chamberpot, full of his piss and God knows what else, would be checked by the physician (“ah, brown poop! Good!”) before being removed from the room. At 8:30, the privileged people (mostly nobles) would enter the room and watch the ceremony. The grand chamberlain would present him with holy water, the servants would take off his nightshirt and present him with his day shirt. This is the moment the nobles could give the king their requests but in as few words as possible. The king would be given a liturgical book and a brief prayer would be said. This happens. Every. Morning. You can read more about the ceremonies online if you’re interested. Here’s a link to a day in the life of Louis XIV from the official Palace of Versailles website.
Then we visited the Queen’s Chamber, and I totally got emotional.
This is where Marie Antoinette and many other queens gave birth for the public to see.
When the palace was invaded by the rioters on 6 October 1789, Marie-Antoinette managed to escape from them through the little door on the left of the alcove, giving onto a corridor which gave access to the Queen’s internal apartments, a dozen small rooms reserved for her private life and her servants. (Via Chateau Versailles)
The Antechamber of The Grand Couvert
It was in the Queen’s antechamber that the public meals were held, whose sumptuous ritual attracted a large crowd. Only the royal family could take their places at the table and before them, seated, the duchesses, princesses or high-ranking persons who had the privilege to sit on a stool, then, standing, the other ladies and persons who, due to their rank or with the authorisation of the usher, had been allowed to enter. Louis XIV subjected himself to this performance almost every evening; Louis XV often preferred intimate suppers; as for Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, a testimony from that time reports that: “The Queen sat on the King’s left. They had their backs turned to the fireplace […] The King ate with a good appetite, but the Queen did not remove her gloves and did not use her serviette, which was very wrong of her”. To counter this boredom, Marie-Antoinette asked for there always to be music in the Grand Couvert and for that purpose a platform was set up for the musicians in this room. (Via Chateau Versailles)
When we found out that there was a branch of Angelina’s in the palace, we were pretty surprised. Obviously it’s expensive to maintain the palace and even with the millions of tourists that visit the place yearly, it only covers about 40% of the costs. That’s why they have to allow commercial tenants. I think there are only two shops in there?
Now it was time for a tour of Les Jardins Musicaux (The Musical Gardens). My heart!!!
I changed from my booties to flats. I predicted my feet would get tired from all the walking so I brought a pair with me and a tote to carry my heels. Thank you, Jim, for carrying the tote ❤️
There are a total of 15 groves in the garden and for some of them, classical music was being played to set the mood
I learned that temporary exhibitions of contemporary art have been held at Versailles for years already. I wasn’t aware that famous contemporary artist Jeff “King of Kitsch” Koons started it back in 2008 when his work was displayed inside Versailles. Our tour guide told us that he believes that the higher ups had connections with these up-and-coming artists and displaying their work at Versailles would make them a lot of money.
The exhibition we chanced upon was the controversial works by Anish Kapoor.
But I’ll dive more into that later.
Up next: the best exhibit in the world.
It was such a beautiful day
More by Anish Kapoor. Most of his works feature holes, interpreted by many as a yonic (as opposed to phallic) symbol. The most controversial one (which I failed to take a photo of), Dirty Corner, has been dubbed “The Queen’s Vagina” by the press.
BTW, my flats were the worst choice for the garden. They’re not completely closed so the pebbles kept going inside. Just FYI if you plan on going — wear sneakers! It slowed us down a bit but we had loads of fun anyway.
The Mirror Fountain was magical!!! The fountains danced along to Jean-Baptise Lully and Marc-Antoine Charpentier. This happens every 10 minutes from 10am to 6:30pm.
Took more fun photos before ending the tour
You can barely make out Kapoor’s Dirty Corner in that last photo but it’s there behind the fountain. We weren’t able to visit Marie Antoinette’s Estate because that would take another day’s tour and separate tickets according to Jonathan.
It was really a day to remember, I’m SO happy I booked the tour. We went back home to rest before heading out again to a famous cool live music spot in Paris, Point Éphémère.
I researched it back in Manila — oh the wonders of the Internet. We got tickets to watch indie local band Great Mountain Fire. We had sandwiches and a couple of beers while waiting.
Ooooh do you like that little pa-hip artwork I made?! That’s from the little Christmas lights by our AirBnb bed. So pretty. Paris in Flames is a reference to an old song by one of my favorite emo bands in high school, Thursday.
Our second day in Paris was dedicated to an 8-hour tour I booked thru Localers once again. We took a shower, dressed up, and set off to find our meeting point.
I know that when most people hear “PARIS,” the Eiffel Tower comes to mind. I’m the same, yes, but when it pops in my head it’s always far away. Just in the background. I’ve never had a longing to touch it or climb it like I wanted so badly to enter the Louvre and Versailles. That’s why I’m glad I booked a tour with Localers because we only went to the spot where we could best appreciate it — far from all the other tourists that would have just kept pushing us aside.
In 1889 there was a World Fair to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille which played a huge role in the French Revolution. The Eiffel Tower, named after the engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, was built to serve as the fair’s entrance. It took 2 years to finish it and just like the Louvre pyramids, its construction was protested by many at first. Today it’s the most visited paid monument in the world. It was originally supposed to be torn down after 20 years but it proved helpful to scientific experiments and communications during war that the government didn’t continue its plans of demolishing it.
Then we went to the Arc de Triomphe which was built to honor the people who died for France during the wars.
Something very interesting that I had no idea about is the Axe Historique (which the Arc de Triomphe is a part of) — I learned about this when we were at The Louvre standing by the smaller Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. If you stand at a certain spot, you will see all the amazing monuments exactly lined up. You can click here to see a photo of it. How amazing is that?
The tomb of the unknown soldier sits under the Arc. It has a flame that is re-lit every morning by a war veteran. The tomb is for all the soldiers who died and were left unidentified.
The slab on top bears the inscription ICI REPOSE UN SOLDAT FRANÇAIS MORT POUR LA PATRIE 1914–1918. Translation: “Here lies a French soldier who died for the fatherland 1914–1918″ (via Wikipedia)
Then we visited the Tuileries Garden where we took lots and lots of photos because DUH
Next stop was another controversial art installation: Les Deux Plateaux, created in 1985.
People play this game of trying to get their coins to the center of the column for their wish to come true.
We just kept walking around while getting to know each other. We were a group of 8 tourists, 2 Hawaiians, 4 Americans, 2 Filipinos.
Our bubbly tour guide Marie (who’s gorgeous just like our guide from the previous day) told us that their Mayor has been trying out different fun stuff for the city like just last September she banned the use of cars for one whole Sunday and it greatly lowered pollution. I know she also mentioned that the museums and malls had to stay open all night for one night, I don’t know if it already happened or if it’s just about to happen. I can’t seem to find anything on it online so maybe I heard wrong haha. But I’m pretty sure I saw posters for it too – just can’t seem to remember the name of the event.
We stopped for lunch at this tiny, cozy restaurant where we had the best onion soup of our lives.
We walked off the busog hehe
Next stop: NOTRE DAME!!!
I had no idea that Christ’s Crown of Thorns is believed to be kept in Notre Dame. I only found out through our tour guide and she explained that it’s brought out every first Friday of the month for people to touch. The rest of the time it’s kept in this container and displayed in a corner of the church.
There’s an angel and demon in the middle and you will have to pass between them on judgment day. Look at the detail of the dark side. That’s haunting AF.
We had a snack at Odette, a quaint pastry shop along Saint-Michel.
Right across Odette is a famous pub called La Guillotine. Underground the pub is a small jazz cave called Le Caveau des Oubliettes (the cave of the forgotten).
I was so happy to see a couple of Invader creations!
Our last stop was Marie’s friend’s wine shop where we did a bit of wine tasting. Good ending after an 8-hour tour!
I found this site called Localers where they claim to help you explore Paris like a local. I highly enjoy museums and I know that The Louvre is one of the most famous ones in the world that’s why I had to dedicate ample time for it on our trip. I booked a 2 and a half hours private tour with Localers for our Sunday afternoon in Paris. It was very easy to book it even if there wasn’t an available schedule for Sunday at 3:30pm. I simply sent them a message via their website and they quickly accommodated my request since it was a private tour after all.
Like I said in my earlier post, I exhausted my camera’s battery from our walking tour. UGH. I tried my best to only take necessary photos but I took a few with our phones as well (they’re mostly square in case you want to tell which is which). I learned a lot from our beautiful tour guide Marie Claire.
Don’t underestimate her, though, she’s been an art historian for years! I learned over the next few days that most of the tour guides from Localers have had years of experience under their very-tiny-because-they’re-all-so-slender-and-fit belts.
The Louvre was originally a fortress in the 12th century. In the 14th century, Francis I started collecting a sizable amount of artworks and slowly turned the palace into the museum that it is today. From the pictures you see, the original fortress was just a fifth of its size. It’s where the royal family used to reside until Louis XIV moved to Versailles in the 15th century.
The now-iconic pyramids weren’t loved by everyone when they were first created. It was a very controversial time because most people couldn’t understand why the president (François Mitterrand, 1984) would allow something so modern-looking to be at the center of such classic architecture.
Aesthetics aside, it was mainly built to create another entrance to help ease in the hordes of visitors.
Our first stop: Napoleon’s Apartments
We went to the other parts of the museum, like the basement where we were able to see the actual stones of the original fortress. I wish my camera had battery 💔
I got to take shots of some of the incredibly beautiful sculptures, of course.
The fascination with the famous Venus de Milo, aside from the fact that she is utterly gorgeous, is the mystery behind what her arms were doing before they were broken.
The Venus de Milo is an accidental surrealist masterpiece. Her lack of arms makes her strange and dreamlike. She is perfect but imperfect, beautiful but broken – the body as a ruin. That sense of enigmatic incompleteness has transformed an ancient work of art into a modern one. (via The Guardian)
Another famous broken beauty is the Winged Victory of Samothrace a.k.a. Nike (greek for Victory) of Samothrace. Our tour guide said that it was the inspiration of the brand Nike. See how the wing looks like the swoosh sign?
Prior to the tour, I was clueless about Cupid’s love interest Psyche. I had no idea such a character existed. Yeah, I know, I skipped Greek mythology in high school – apparently when I moved schools in 2nd year, they’d already covered it in 1st year or something. Same reason I’m bad at Geography. LELZ. I’ve read up a little bit on her since and she’s actually very interesting.
There’s a painting of them by François-Édouard Picot that I found really beautiful, you can click here to see it.
I learned a fun fact about this painting (The Coronation of Napoleon). It was originally placed in the Palace of Versailles but moved to The Louvre.
Napoleon’s official painter, Jacques-Louis David created this huge painting. Click here to see the whole thing. You’ll see on the left, the 5 sisters of Napoleon all in white. A year after the painting was finished, he was commissioned to make an exact replica of it (taray diba?! I mean it’s ONLY 33ft x 20ft…). He finished it 14 years later and I saw it in Versailles days after seeing the original. I noticed not all the sisters were in white anymore. The second from the left was wearing pink, totally standing out. Research shows that it’s because she was Napoleon’s favorite sister. But Napoleon wasn’t the one who commissioned the second painting, that’s why I believe what our Versailles tour guide told us: the painter changed her dress color to pink because he fell in love with her. AWWWW.
We were VERY lucky there were only a few people when we visited The Louvre.
EDIT: Took some photos outside The Louvre. Forgot to post them here!
That’s how close we stayed from the museum. Awesome location, right? We had some wine and charcuterie and we watched people walk, bike, or drive by.
Jim started playing with GarageBand on his phone and we covered La Vie En Rose over and over to the dismay of the other diners sitting outside in the cold with us. Hehehe. I would post the videos but they’re too embarrassing, we were tipsy and off-key (at least I was). It was a very very lovely first night in the city of love.