PARIS – Day 3: Winged Edition

Today I am wallowing amongst the treasures of the Louvre. I haven’t been here for years.

Seeing the Winged Victory from afar and up close remains the memory of a whole lifetime.


This is the angle at which she was meant to be viewed.


And here is our old friend in a painting by the Master of the Nativity of Castello, 15th c.


Here we have our Christological Goldfinch!


The Louvre… I didn’t remember…. It’s a bit overwhelming.


Forget the rest of the museum, to which I shall return. Let’s see some food.

Which of these is mine?


This time the snails were back in their shells.


The sausage was offal.


This is how food should look.


Cookies.  How hard could it be to make these?


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. MikeinCT says:

    If you are ever in CT, you can see a cast replica of Winged Victory and many other classical statues including Michaelangelo’s Pieta at Slater Museum in Norwich.

  2. mamajen says:

    I’ve visited Paris just once, and it was surreal viewing in person the many beautiful works that I had seen on slides in art and architecture classes. Yes, it is definitely amazing to see the Winged Victory first thing! And then, oh by the way, there’s the Mona Lisa. No big deal. It’s just incredible!

    I could probably spend days in the Louvre, but my absolute favorite Paris experience was setting foot inside Sainte-Chapelle.

  3. Kathleen10 says:

    Have fun, Fr. Z. Relax and rest, enjoy. Thanks for posting gorgeous photos. Come home safe.

  4. Landless Laborer says:

    You can also see a replica in our Idaho State Capitol building, as a gift from the citizens of France following WWII.

    Also called the Nike of the Samothrace. Could this statue be the inspiration for Nike tennis shoes?

  5. NBW says:

    Very beautiful. Father, do you know of a solid Catholic book or reference material that contains all of the Christian symbolism in paintings, like the gold finch etc… ? I have found some books but they contain new age elements or aren’t very Catholic.

  6. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Google Books seems to have a large series of books from 1881 called Christian Iconography, all by Adolphe Napoleon Didron and translated into English.

    Of course, a lot of old books have become outdated by new discoveries, less calling things “solar” or “pagan survival,” etc. But it’s probably a good starting point.

  7. Someone please be the Garrigue says:

    I have the pleasure of seeing these little christological reminders in a tree outside my office window. They’re very shy, usually disappear with a tiny little “fwip” sound. Dirty windows have their uses.

  8. NBW says:

    @Suburbanbanshee: Thanks very much! Will check it out.

  9. Charles E Flynn says:

    Search at for:
    ISBN 0195014324

    One of the comments alleges that the paperback edition has black-and-white illustrations.

    Many related books appear at the bottom of the page. Some of them are relatively small in format, but they have a lot of otherwise hard-to-find information.

  10. lsclerkin says:

    The Nike of Samothrace.
    Sigh.. :)

  11. q7swallows says:

    Winged Victory ~ so utterly beautiful, so full of motion and rest, of pathos; seeing it again here reduced me to tears . . .

    I loved your combination of terms: wallowing, treasures, Louvre, afar and up close. It’s the only way to experience the place . . . Oh, such memories . . . .

  12. NBW says:

    @Charles E Flynn: Thank you!

  13. Hank Igitur says:

    So you have been to Brasserie Lippe in the 6eme. You are welcome to the sausage, usually experienced in Lyon and environs, I find it disgusting and it usually smells and tastes so. Main looks like choucroute with boiled meat and potato. Church of St Germain was being “renovated” when I visited in October, a real mess.

  14. Volanges says:

    My only visit to Paris and the Louvres was in the summer of 2013. It was the end of our trip, we were exhausted. We finally made it to the gallery where the Mona Lisa is exhibited and I became totally disgusted at the sight: nobody was looking at the painting! They were too busy taking pictures of it! I mean, come on, you could have stayed home and googled it!

    Not wanting to battle the hordes of shutterbugs to get closer, I opted to focus my attention on a much larger painting, Veronese’s “The Wedding at Cana”. I could have spent the entire day there, just trying to figure out why the painter set the scene the way he did.

  15. Unwilling says:

    The statue in the Louvre (the Nike of Samothrace) is an example of a common theme in Greek and Roman public art. Another example of the image adorned the Altar of Victory in the Roman Senate house (Curia) from ~300 BC. After Constantine, it became the symbolic focus of the struggle between Christians and pagans for spiritual control of the government of the Empire — several times removed by Christian emperors and restored by recusant ones. In AD 384, St Ambrose addressed the Emperor(s) and refuted the “Traditionalist” pleas for “old-time religion” set forth by the great pagan/humanist Senator Q. A. Symmachus. Here is the exchange:

    [The altar was restored very briefly by Emperor Eugenius in the 390s before it disappeared.]

  16. Mariana2 says:

    Swoon, swoon and swoon!

  17. Madre5 says:

    As an American currently living in Paris I would suggest four churches that should not be missed.
    1) Saint Eugene-Saint Cecile in the 9th. A beautiful church with traditional Latin Mass, wonderful priests and the holiness is inspiring.
    2) Notre-Dame-des -Victories in the 2nd. The devotion still given to Our Lady after every Mass when the priests and congregation turn to Mary is inspiring….how Abbot Desgenettes turn this empty inner city church into power house of miracles could be an example.
    3) Notre-Dame de l’Assomption in the 1st not far from the Concorde. A newly renovated small church serving the Polish community in Paris and with an incredible sense of the Sacred.
    4) Saint Joseph des Carmes in the 6th. I shudder everytime I go by this church thinking of the 100+ priests who were murdered here during the Revolution because they refused to swear allegiance to the government…..what an inspiration for us!

  18. kimberley jean says:

    Wow that meat is so rare I think eating it would be like walking up to a cow and playing vampire. Have a great time in Paris.

  19. Unwilling says:

    What I meant to suggest in my post above is that the pagan versus Christian struggle of the early Church was between a religion that worshipped nothings or demons and one, The One True Church, founded by God Incarnate bringing the announcement of true human happiness into the world.

    Ambrose was right to accuse Symmachus of illusory “remarketing” tragic heathen errors as a wholesome heritage of Roman culture, or as a multicultural right of those who have gifts of value to offer “the” community. The Nike had to go, so that Salvation might enter. The place of religious honour in government was given to the Cross.

    Is there a parallel in the current discourse between Traditionalists who want the TLM and the Baroque baldacchino in St Peter’s versus those who want to denude the cultus of sacralità? Yes and no. But the liberals would like you to be confused enough to come to very wrong conclusions.

    The current struggle is again between pagan and Catholic. But the roles in the story have reversed. The new pagans do not yet ask to install the Goddess Victory in our public places –though you all know how close they are to that– for now they are content to expel the Cross that replaced her. After that, who knows? And again there is a dishonest “remarketing” of heathenism. They claim that their minimalism, nihilism, is the wholesome reversion to some kind of immanent, WWJD, Traditionless Catholicism. They (as Pope Benedict warned us against them) claim that our adoration of the Holiness of God is a “pagan” offence, while their liturgical “simplicity” and “smiling community” is the more “welcoming”. Indeed. quia lata porta et spatiosa via

  20. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    The sausage was offal

    Testaccio in Paris!

  21. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    This is how food should look.
    Looks German to me: Eisbein mit Kraut und Knödel.

  22. Charles E Flynn says:

    Those of you who enjoy museums will probably find the Amazon review of this book to contain a surprise or two:

    Winckelmann and the Vatican’s First Profane Museum

  23. Someone please be the Garrigue says:

    Here’s some proper French food:

    “Sanctissime Pater … quid tu de Synodo?” (Fr. Hunwick, 10 & 12 November)

  24. Gratias says:

    Choucroute at the Brasserie Lipp!

    Enjoy, Father.

  25. “Which of these is mine?”

    That was beer, correct? And two of them had ice cubes in them?

    Is that a thing in France?

    I’m guessing yours was sans glace?

  26. And, personally, I’m tired of pictures of goldfinches.

    Let’s hear how they taste

  27. Supertradmum says:

    Fantastic sculpture…amazing food, yours is the drink without ice…

    Sigh, do you need someone to carry your luggage?

  28. Gregorius says:

    Which drink was yours? Trick question, they’re all yours, you’re on vacation ;)

  29. Gregorius says:

    Which drink was yours? Trick question, they’re all yours, you’re on vacation ;)

  30. Now that I look more closely, I doubt that was beer. No suds.

    So I endorse Gregorius’ answer.

  31. Mrs. Amen says:

    Father, what a lovely time of rest for you! You are so kind to bring us along on your trip. I am bokmarking these posts as I hope to make a trip to France next year for my 40th birthday. I’ve wanted to visit since beginning to learn the language as a 13 year old high school freshman. I am very excited to see all these gr w ar works of art in person and to visit many pilgrimage sites as well. And of course, I will eat well too. Bon voyage, Pere Z.!

  32. lsclerkin says:

    Dang, Father.
    Is that hachse?
    With kraut and potato?
    Sigh… :)

  33. albizzi says:

    If I am not mistaken the true name of the offal sausage with fried potatoes is “andouillette”.
    It is a very popular dish in France. I prefer it cooked on a barbecue accompanied with a glass of Beaujolais wine.
    Its taste is typical of the intestine part of the pork it is made with.

  34. NoraLee9 says:

    Offal? Oh Pater, “he would pun would pick a pocket!”

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