When I went to the Louvre, I did not create conditions for success. I had spent the day at Versailles, and arrived back in the city, exhausted, with a few hours to kill before it was wine o’clock (followed by sleep-like-the-dead o’clock). By the time I worked my way through the line and starting navigating the labyrinthine corridors, I knew I had made a terrible mistake. Luckily, the plan for the Louvre has a “greatest hits” listing for particularly uninspired visitors like myself.

In the end, the visit was totally worth it. As I leaving the Mona Lisa room, I could hear a group of loud, American-accented voices behind me. I swear on a stack of vintage Nancy Drew mysteries, the following quotation is 100% accurate.

“We should go see that Venus de Milo. I don’t know why, but it’s famous.”

That’s as good a reason as any. After I recovered from my exhaustion-induced giggle fit, I followed that group of Americans for another half-hour, enjoying every single minute of their running commentary. Their lack of pretension and simple enjoyment of the world’s finest and best-known works of art was enough to shake me out of sleepy funk. Thanks, ladies!

Venus de Milo at the Louvre