For my 8 year old daughter, Emma, one of the most anticipated activities on our recent trip to Paris was the visit to Musée du Louvre. In the weeks leading up to our trip, many people asked Emma what she was going to do in Paris and her first answer was invariably the same - see the Mona Lisa.
Emma had done some reading prior to our trip, starting with Monday with a Mad Genius from the Magic Tree House series where she had learned about Leonardo da Vinci, his life in Florence and his most famous painting. We also read art books for kids like 13 Artists Children Should Know and Louvre Up Close and Leonardo da Vinci and the Mona Lisa figured prominently in each. We learned about her mysterious smile and the fact that the painting now hangs behind bulletproof glass at Musée du Louvre. We reviewed the cards in the Usborne series Famous Paintings and learned that the painting, which had taken da Vinci three years to paint, had been stolen from the musée in 1911 by a man disguised as a workman. This only added to the intrigue of the masterpiece.
I cautioned Emma that the painting was smaller than she might imagine it to be because I didn't want her to be disappointed when she actually saw it but she assured me that she knew it was small and that she didn't care. In her words: "If I'm going to Paris, I'm going to see the Mona Lisa!"
Emma wanted to head to the Louvre as soon as we arrived in Paris, however, we convinced her that it was better to wait a couple of days. She was ready and she was impatient to see one of the world's most famous paintings on the morning of our third day in the city. We decided to walk to the musée with stops along the way at the Cathedrals of Notre Dame and Sainte Chapelle.
It was getting close to midday when we finally arrived at Musée du Louvre and Emma was very excited to see the building.
But not too excited to stop and pose for photos in the courtyard.
Once we were inside the building, we decided that we might as well head directly to the Mona Lisa since Emma wasn't going to be satisfied until she had seen the painting. We had to hurry to catch up to her as she sped down the hallways in the direction we had pointed.
Soon we were in the same room as Mona Lisa and Emma could hardly contain her excitement.
We had to wiggle through a large crowd of people in order to get close enough for an unobstructed view and to take some photos.
And there she was - Mona Lisa - the most famous painting in the world.
Fortunately the experience lived up to the hype and Emma couldn't wait to tell everyone at home that she had been face-to-face with Mona Lisa.
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