There is no doubt about it, this is the most famous painting in the world.
One cannot travel to Paris, visit Le Louvre, without visiting La Jaconde. Some things I learned about the smiling lady: Francois I bought the painting from Da Vinci’s estate after his death (he had lived out his last years here, at Chateau du Clos Lucé; it was famously bundled up and transported to various chateaux in advance of the Germans in 1939, for protection, but was “found” in the salt mines of Austria and returned (or at least it’s 16th century copy were… it’s thought now that that original was actually hidden in Paris, and never found by the ze Germans.)
I was led to believe that the painting would disappoint, that it would be smaller than expected. In fact, I found the opposite. Perhaps it’s the distance talking; it was HARD to get close, what with everyone stepping on toes, and using their sharpened elbows.
I got as much a kick from watching the crowds interact as I did from the painting itself. And I think I got a better view of Lisa through the camera viewfinders in front of me than with my own eyes.