On Sunday it seemed like Mother Nature decided to give us a little sneak peak of summer; the weather was absolutely gorgeous (I guess it was in the high 60s but it felt warmer) and as a result every spare patch of grass was occupied by smiling tourists (and even some Parisians!) lounging in the sun. This also happened to be the day of the Paris marathon, which, as a someone who never voluntarily runs anywhere, was strangely enjoyable to watch. Maybe running amidst this kind of scenery wouldn’t be so bad…
I got over my urge to take up running very quickly however, because I was on a mission to see the new Barbie exhibition at the Louvre’s decorative arts museum. Despite the fact that the museum was free – this was the first Sunday of the month – I barely had to wait 5 minutes to get my ticket, which was amazing!
For the price I thought the exhibition was great, it gave a nice overview of the history of Barbie, her family tree (I didn’t know she had cousins!), and her influence on fashion. I had completely forgotten about how much I liked my Olympic gymnast Barbie, it was so funny to see it on display in a glass case at a major French museum!
I think some of the displays could have been a bit more innovative or critical in their approach, but for a lighthearted exhibit aimed at Barbie fans it was a fun 30 minute experience. And for all the criticism that Barbie gets for presenting a highly unrealistic vision of the female body, I did learn that her creator (a woman) wanted to create a doll that would allow girls to envision a life for themselves beyond being a mother (apparently most dolls up until the 60’s were babies, not fully grown women with careers). While this isn’t particularly revolutionary by today’s standards, I suppose at the time this was a positive step forward.
The best part of the exhibition was definitely the display of Barbie clothes in a giant ombre-rainbow formation. I guess the floor of my childhood closet – which essentially looked like what was happening on these walls – was really a work of art!
There’s was so much more to see in the decorative arts museum; like the Louvre itself it seems to go on forever. I probably saw only 20% of its other rooms, including the secret vault-like jewelry gallery and a special exhibition on “wallpaper through the centuries” – which, shockingly, I found sort of interesting! It was a good reminder that I should try to look for the beauty in the every objects that surround me, because one day they might end up in a museum!
When I walked outside the line to get inside the museum had ballooned to at least a hundred people, so my timing was excellent!
Later in the evening I did a pub quiz with some UNESCO friends at a bar by the Pantheon – which had really delicious banana bread beer – and we won third place! And since the third place prize was free shots, in a sense we really won the whole thing. 😛 It was a great way to end a perfect summer day in April!