The next day, I went to see the Louvre with more attention, its several courts and pavilions. One of the quadrangles, begun by Henry IV., and finished by his son and grandson, is a superb, but mixed structure. The cornices, moldings, and compartments, with the insertion of several colored marbles, have been of great expense.
We went through the long gallery, paved with white and black marble, richly fretted and painted à fresco. The front looking to the river, though of rare work for the carving, yet wants of that magnificence which a plainer and truer design would have contributed to it.
In the Cour aux Tuileries is a princely fabric; the winding geometrical stone stairs, with the cupola, I take to be as bold and noble a piece of architecture as any in Europe of the kind. To this is a corps de logis1, worthy of so great a prince. Under these buildings, through a garden in which is an ample fountain, was the king’s printing house, and that famous letter so much esteemed. Here I bought divers of the classic authors, poets, and others.
We returned through another gallery, larger, but not so long, where hung the pictures of all the kings and queens and prime nobility of France.
Descending hence, we were let into a lower very large room, called the Salle des Antiques, which is a vaulted Cimelia2 , destined for statues only, among which stands that so celebrated Diana of the Ephesians, said to be the same which uttered oracles in that renowned Temple. Besides these colossean figures of marble, I must not forget the huge globe suspended by chains. The pavings, inlayings, and incrustations of this Hall, are very rich.
In another more private garden toward the Queen’s apartment is a walk, or cloister, under arches, whose terrace is paved with stones of a great breadth; it looks toward the river, and has a pleasant aviary, fountain, stately cypresses, etc. On the river are seen a prodigious number of barges and boats of great length, full of hay, corn, wood, wine, and other commodities, which this vast city daily consumes. Under the long gallery we have described, dwell goldsmiths, painters, statuaries, and architects, who being the most famous for their art in Christendom have stipends allowed them by the King. Into that of Monsieur Saracin we entered, who was then molding for an image of a Madonna to be cast in gold of a great size to be sent by the Queen Regent to Loretto, as an offering for the birth of the Dauphin, now the young King.
I finished this day with a walk in the great garden of the Tuileries, rarely contrived for privacy, shade, or company, by groves, plantations of tall trees, especially that in the middle, being of elms, the other of mulberries; and that labyrinth of cypresses; not omitting the noble hedges of pomegranates, fountains, fish-ponds, and an aviary; but, above all, the artificial echo, redoubling the words so distinctly; and, as it is never without some fair nymph singing to its grateful returns; standing at one of the focuses, which is under a tree or little cabinet of hedges, the voice seems to descend from the clouds; at another, as if it was underground. This being at the bottom of the garden, we were let into another, which being kept with all imaginary accurateness as to the orangery, precious shrubs, and rare fruits, seemed a Paradise. From a terrace in this place we saw so many coaches, as one would hardly think could be maintained in the whole city, going, late as it was in the year, toward the course, which is a place adjoining, of near an English mile long, planted with four rows of trees, making a large circle in the middle. This course is walled about, near breast high, with squared freestone, and has a stately arch at the entrance, with sculpture and statues about it, built by Mary di Medicis.Here it is that the gallants and ladies of the Court take the air and divert themselves, as with us in Hyde Park, the circle being capable of containing a hundred coaches to turn commodiously, and the larger of the plantations for five or six coaches abreast.
Returning through the Tuileries, we saw a building in which are kept wild beasts for the King’s pleasure, a bear, a wolf, a wild boar, a leopard, etc.