Monday, 8 September 2014

Soaking Up Some Culture in The Louvre

Everyone has heard of the Louvre, I'm sure. It's one of the most iconic buildings in Paris, and home to some of the most iconic works of art in the world.
After my slight failure at researching for our visit to Versailles, there was no way I was risking the same thing happening when we went to the Louvre. I was in no doubt that the place would be hugely busy, so anything that would cut our time waiting in queues had to be a good thing, right?

Our plan was to visit first thing one morning, and be there right after it opened. I'd researched for alternative entrances to the Pyramid, and had committed these locations to the very front of my mind. And then life happened, the lurgy kicked in, our original plan of going to a different museum went belly up, and we found ourselves Louvre-bound at noon on the Wednesday.

As we approached from Pont Royal, the first of the "secret entrances" we happened upon was the Porte des Lions. Unfortunately, on the day of our visit this was only open to ticket holders. We decided to try our luck in the shopping centre below - we weren't hopeful, but we were there and it was worth a shot.


We were very pleasantly surprised to discover that the queue was only 15 minutes, so we didn't hesitate to join it. Once we'd passed through security, we joined the line for the ticket desks, and again had a pleasantly short wait of around 10-15 minutes.

We had already decided in advance which parts of the museum we were interested in seeing - it's such a huge building and you just wouldn't be able to see everything in one day - and our only disappointment was that the Egyptian exhibition was closed on the day we went. There was (understandably) a huge crowd of people all heading off straight in the direction of the Mona Lisa, so we decided to go a different way and work our way around to it.

You may or may not know that the Louvre wasn't always a museum; it used to be a royal palace. Many, many times I got sidetracked marvelling at the architecture, the structures, and the decoration. It is such a beautiful building, and so easy to imagine royalty living within those walls.


The scale of some of the paintings is incredible. I can't even imagine how difficult they must have been to paint - or to frame and to hang. How gutted would you be if you were in charge of hanging them on the walls, and once you'd done you stepped back and noticed the frame was wonky?!


From what I'd read prior to our visit, I expected the crowd around the Mona Lisa to be enormous. It was immediately obvious which room she was in, as there was definitely a noticeable crowd; nowhere near as bad as I had expected though. I'd read reports of people queuing just to get into the room, and being stuck at the back, barely able to see the painting. As you can see, we did get a good look and, later on, managed to walk right past without particularly trying.


We also wanted to see the Venus de Milo, so we set ourselves away to the gallery of sculptures. We did get a bit lost somewhere along the way - the maps are really not easy to follow! - but we did get there in the end. This was another piece with a more noticeable crowd around it - the price of fame, I guess.


For all we didn't queue very long to gain entry, the same cannot be said when the call of nature comes. On two separate occasions I joined queues for the bathrooms, and on both occasions I gave up hope and walked away again. My tip: go before you go in!

Neither of us is into art all that much, but we both enjoyed our wander around the Louvre. There is something special about seeing famous masterpieces with your own eyes - and having them on display in such an amazing building only adds to that.

Are you into art galleries? Would the Louvre be on your most-see Paris list?

3 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, this is gorgeous. I'd love one day to go see it myself.

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  2. stopping by from the link up.. :)

    amazing!! awesome pictures; it looks like a beautiful place!

    blessings xoxo

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  3. I *love* the Louvre! When I was in Paris on my honeymoon, we spent roughly 6-7 hours in the museum and only hit a tiny fraction of what they have to offer. I can't wait to go back -- thanks for sharing!

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