Top Ten Things Not to Do at the Opening of the Louvre Museum in 1793

Top Ten Things Not to do

 

This week marks the 227th anniversary of the opening of the Louvre Museum in Paris in 1793. Of course, we want to be there for all the festivities and to view the 537 paintings and 186 objects of art that made up the original collection. As always, we must take a list of things not to do so we don’t cause a tear in the time continuum. Grab the list and a box of snuff, and let’s be off.

Top Ten Things Not to Do at the Opening of the Louvre Museum in 1793.

10 If you go, do not ask if Louis XVI is going to cut the ribbon. If you do, at best, no one of importance will hear you. At worst, the state police captain will hear your question. (You see, Matteo, Louis XVI was imprisoned a year ago, and all the art in the royal collection was declared a national treasure. The captain thinks you might be a royalist. Why is he talking to Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, the inventor of the guillotine? Yes, they are pointing at you.)

9 if you go, do not resist Tiny the WWF champ when he offers you a glass of champaign. If you do, at best Tiny with think you are ill. At worst, Tiny just missed three weeks of group sessions on self-esteem issues and thinks you don’t like him. (Never mind that you never laid eyes on Tiny before now, Mack. He has a very fragile ego, and it looks like you may have shoved him over the edge. Don’t worry, you’ll eventually get the feeling back in your limbs. It just takes a few minutes after Tiny releases the “sleeper hold.” Yes, you have to say, “uncle.”)

8 If you go, do not ask a guard for directions to the Mona Lisa. If you do, at best, the guard will not know what you are talking about. At worst, you’ll ask a secret service member. ( The Mona Lisa was not installed in the Louvre until 1804, Mauricio. Prior to that, Francois, I displayed the Mona Lisa in a semi-public art gallery at Fontainebleau, his favorite chateau. Napoleon had the Mona Lisa hung in his bedroom from 1800 to 1804. You better think fast as to why you asked the question.)

7 If you go, do not ask to see the André-Charles Boulle collection of forty-eight drawings by Raphael. If you do, at best, the person you ask won’t know. At worst, you’ll ask the fire marshall of Paris. (It so happens, Markus that the forty-eight drawings were consumed in a fire in 1720 before the Louvre being opened to the public. Not too many people know that, and now the fire marshall wants to see how you knew. Telling him you read it on a blog isn’t going to help you.)

6 If you go, do not touch any of the paintings. If you do, at best, the guard is looking the other way. At worst, you will be caught red-handed, so to speak. (The guard has now alerted the staff, Marty. A couple of huge guys are headed in your direction. I don’t think they want to talk.)

5 If you go, do not ask for a croissant to go with your coffee. If you do, at best, someone will think you sneezed and will tell you à tes/vos souhaits (“to your wishes”). At worse, the chief baker will call the police. (The croissant was not invented until 1839 by August Zang, who founded a Viennese bakery (“Boulangerie Viennoise”) at 92, rue de Richelieu in Paris, Morton. So now how are you going to explain your request? Also, you are lucky that coffee was introduced in Paris in 1669.)

4 If you go, do not ask for the gift shop location. If you do, at best the person you ask speaks no English. At worse, you ask the museum director who immediately draws up a contract and makes you sign it. (Congratulations, Murdock. You are now the curator of the gift shop. No, you can’t introduce Slushies.)

3 If you go, do not ask a guard the time. If you do, at best you’ll get a strange look. At worst, the guard will wonder if you are suffering from some kind of mental problem. (The point is, Matianio. There are over 66 churches, 92 chapels, 13 abbeys, and 199 convents, all of which rang their bells for regular services and prayers at regular times of the day. No wonder the guard thought you had a mental problem.)

2 If you go, do not expect to buy a Croque monsieur sandwich anywhere. If you do, at best you’ll have to be satisfied with bread and cheese. At worst, you might try some sweetbreads with cheese and wine. (In 18th century Paris very few people could afford meat, Marcello. The diet was made up of mostly bread and wine. Occasionally some mutton or internal organ meat became available. Of course, you could buy some leftovers from a patrician’s table which were sold by merchants. Watch out for that leftover toothpick in the mashed potatoes.)

1 If you go, you do not buy any water from a vendor. If you do at best, it will be from a clean well. At worst, it will be pulled from the hopelessly polluted Seine. ( There are a couple of brothers named Perrier, Mikel starting a business delivering three million liters a water a day using steam-powered pumps at Chaillot and Gros-Caillou. Maybe they are on to something.)

99 comments

  1. That diet would have suited me fine. Bread and wine, lovely; maybe an odd bit of blue cheese?

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    1. There you go. 😂

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  2. Think I’m hung up on one thing. Napoleon had secret service? Didn’t realize the concept was around that time. Maybe I’m just stuck on the word usage though.

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    1. Don’t forget this is fiction. 😂

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  3. See, this is why I stick with PBS. I’ll let Ken Burns take the time tours and give me the details after the feeling returns to his arms, and the parasites are gone from his system. I was going to ask about the Mona Lisa.

    Thanks for the history lesson, John. I hope your week is drawn from a good well.

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    1. Oh, I like that saying, “drawn from a good well.” Thanks Dan. I hope your week is delt from a lucky deck. (okay so I tried)

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      1. Haha – I’ll take that.

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  4. Lots in interesting historical tidbits in this one!

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    1. Thanks, Liz. This was a tough one. Had to read a lot about the Louvre and 18th century Paris. 😊

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      1. A very edifying endeavor, I’m sure!

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  5. I would love to have attended the opening of the Louvre, John. Actually, to visit it at all would be good.

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    1. I have been fortunate to have visited the Louvre. It is a very enchanting place. Not a fan of the I.M. Pei pyramid though.

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      1. A wonderful experience, John.

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      2. It was. A bucket list item.

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  6. “Telling him you read it on a blog isn’t going to help you.” LOL! Good one. I enjoyed this amusing history lesson, John. Happy Monday!

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    1. Thank you, Jill. A very interesting part of French history. 😊

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  7. Can I ask Tiny what the art work costs to buy? or get the artists’ autographs? 😉

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    1. You can ask. The real danger comes when Tiny doesn’t know the answer. 😁

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  8. Very much enjoyed this amusing bit of history – have a good week 🙂

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    1. Thank you, Sarah. Have a good week too. 😊

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  9. Gwen M. Plano · ·

    Poor Tiny…he has so many problems or at least is blamed for many. 😀 As always, I learned a lot from your countdown. Thank you for the morning brain-teaser!

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    1. There is a lot to 18th century French history. Picking out bits is a fun project. Thanks, Gwen.

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  10. Can we have french fries and french toast in my giftshop?

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    1. Yes and a French Twist as well.

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      1. Maybe some Lego Guillotines? Too much?

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  11. 1793 – Wow, that was a minute or two ago. Yes, the age-old admonition – don’t drink the water! 🙂 Thanks for sharing, John!

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    1. Especially if it is brown. Thanks, Jan

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  12. This was a fun trip, John — thank you! I can just see us all browsing through this striking building with all the fancy folks in Paris. Poor Tiny — he really needs some self-esteem-boosting sessions, doesn’t he?!

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    1. He does need some help. Thanks, Debbie.

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  13. D.L. Finn, Author · ·

    Some interesting facts I didnt know about the Louvre:) Its on my bucket list.

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    1. I loved the visit there in the 90s

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  14. My head’s spinning from all the bells ringing! Great history lesson, John! 🙂

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    1. Maybe a bell every minute. Thanks, Lauren

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  15. I REALLY LOVED THIS…Had no idea the Mona Lisa arrived the same year Hamilton got shot. That’s the kind of info that tickles me to death, no pun intended. And you’re right, you sure didn’t want to lose your head, by even intimating, you might be a royalist. I mean, you’d be smart not even being seen eating cake, if you know what I mean.

    This is one of your bests. 🙂

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    1. Thank you, Susannah. I’m glad you liked it.

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      1. I did, a lot, and the Louvre is like the Met with more gravitas, in my opinion. Your imagination every Monday, is always impressive.

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      2. 18th centruy France is a very interesting time. I think it would have been a super time to live there. (except for the water of course.)

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      3. After the Reign of Terror would have been the best time. I can hardly read about that. When I think they imprisoned Lafayette, it throws me for a loop, and George W. his biggest fan, didn’t want to interfere so, he wouldn’t help him. I hope I’m wrong on that score, but it’s pretty cemented in my memory. History isn’t always pretty John, is it. sigh…however, the Louvre sure is, a great thing that she survived all she’s witnessed and gone through. If Mona could only talk.

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      4. You are so right. Lafayette was head of the National Guard who had responsibility for the protection of the king. He was seen as a royalist and when the guard opened fire on a mob that was the last straw. He fled to Austria and wanted to use his honorary American citizenship to gain passage out. The Americans did not want to get involed in European affairs especially since the French and Austrians were not getting along so there was no offical protest regarding his imprisonment. The good news is afte five years n prison Lafayette returned to French politics and served until his death in 1835 in his 70s.

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      5. I know the story well. How his wife insisted on joining him in that awful prison, with the children, and more or less, saved his life. Hers, on the other hand was shortened because of it but…but all and all, love had the last say.

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      6. Which I hope would be the condition always. (love had the last say) 😁

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      7. I’m here humming…All You Need Is Love…everybody sing…:)

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      8. Since I have trouble staying on key. I brought some friends to help me out. https://youtu.be/_7xMfIp-irg

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      9. You’re so funny John, plus a tad sweet. 🙂

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      10. I think a tad is just about the right amount of sweet. 😁

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      11. Like sugar in one’s coffee. 🙂

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      12. There you go. Excellent analogy. ☕️🥐

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      13. I’m pawin tje ground with my foot. 🙂

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      14. Hahahahaha. (I know easy laugh)

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      15. I do a mean Seabiscuit. God knows I’ve read it enough times.

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      16. Seabuscuit is a great story. I always paw the ground when coffee is near. A croissant would be heaven too.

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      17. Me too. coffee and a Biscuit, if you will…doesn’t get much better than that. I LOVE COFFEE!!!

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      18. I love coffee too. I have an espresso machine that makes a perfect cup of the hot, steaming stuff. One of the reasons I loved NYC was the deeply flavorable coffee that you could get almost anywhere. I lived in the mid-west for a time and folks there like their coffee very weak. It was always refreshing to get to the city for a decent cup of coffee.

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      19. I love strong coffee too. Now I want a cup. Damn you John.

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      20. Yup. Devil John. Heh heh heh

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      21. Devil John would be a great name for a biker.

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      22. I can see the vest patch now. Need 40 pounds, long beard, dew rag, and of course, a Harley.

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      23. Yes, that Harley is a must.

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      24. OOPS…that should have been THE.

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      25. I got it the first time. 😁

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      26. You’re a gent. 🙂

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      27. I just looked up gents…it said after gentlemen…it’s what the British call a public restroom. 🙂

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      28. For men I assume?

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      29. Now who is the easy laugh? 😂

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      30. I am. I look for it like a buoy in the water.

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      31. Great image. Paddling like crazy, sputtering, near exhaustion and there it is. Ding, ding. 😊

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      32. PS I think we could have done better by him, considering what he did for us. My two patriotic cents.

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  16. Wow! Never realised it was so old!
    Excellent list and I shall hold back from asking for the croissant… better for my figure anyway!

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    1. Ah you can handle a croissant easily. 😁

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      1. Okay… Maybe one. 🥐💗

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  17. Pass me the Perrier water and my snuff box! I love the detailed research you do with all of these great posts, John. (I’m sending Tiny the name of a disreputable therapist) They’ll get along just fine. 😁

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    1. I hope the disreputable therapist can bench press 1000 pounds. Otherwise Tiny and she will have nothing in common. Thanks, Soooz.

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  18. Geez, none of the good food was invented yet. What’s the point in even going then?

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    1. Here take this nice mutton leg and jug of wine.

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      1. Only if the wine has four X’s on it!

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  19. “… 66 churches, 92 chapels, 13 abbeys, and 199 convents, all of which rang their bells for regular services …” I live in a town that rings a bell in the clock tower on the hour every hour. Not too bad, kinda nice. But having to listen to all those other bells would drive me to drink.

    On another note: If you were standing outside the Louvre in Paris on the morning of Aug. 21, 1911, you might have noticed three men hurrying out of the museum. The men, three Italian handymen, had just stolen the Mona Lisa. It was not returned until 28 months later.

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    1. That was an amazing heist. Thank you Andrew. The painting was hidden in a false bottom trunk.

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  20. So inventive, as always, John!

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    1. Thank you, Becky 😊

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  21. Well done, John. Great history and very funny. I do hope that sometime you write a Tiny Top Ten.

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    1. Like Top Ten things not to do around Tiny?

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      1. Ooo… that’s a great idea, too! Really funny! I was thinking of ‘the best of the best’ Tiny in all your Top Ten posts, which could definitely come under the category of ‘things not to do around Tiny’.

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  22. Great history here, John! I’ve been to Louvre 3 times and still am no closer to seeing everything it holds! Just think on opening day I probably could have viewed it all in one day!

    I love bread and wine so that would suit me as long as there was some good frommage too I’d be set! 😀

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    1. I think we have some lovely goat frommage in the back.

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  23. This is great! I am currently writing about the Louvre in my next book. Seems we have been doing similar research.

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    1. It is a terrific time of French history (18th century)

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  24. I could do just fine with bread and wine. And yes, it rhymes.

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