I have managed to avoid the Louvre all my life, despite having spent a lot of time in Paris. I am not an art person, I like a nice picture as much as the next man, but discuss its meaning, texture and density.. em no thanks.
It was only in the last month that I even ventured to the buildings and had a walk around the outside. That alone is worth its while, the buildings are beautiful and huge and you can only imagine what it must have been like when it was actually a residence. You can also examine the glass pyramids up close and pretend you are Tom Hanks looking for the Da Vinci Code if that is your thing.
Today I decided it was time to bite the bullet and joined the queue for entry and paid over my 9 euros. Its all very well organized and despite there being loads of people everywhere, the lines move very quickly. Your ticket is valid for all day… I think you would need about a week to see everything… I managed to last about three hours!
So first up, grab a free information booklet and plan your attack. Make sure that your legs aren’t tired and that you are fed and watered. On buying my ticket I said to myself, ‘well I’m not going to the Mona Lisa, its such a cliché.’.. but it’s like a magnet drawing you, so off I went with the masses to the Denon section.
Now when I say the Louvre Museum is huge… its HUGE. There is no option to pop in and see the Mona Lisa and pop out again… even getting to her takes ages. On the Ground Floor I saw lots of sculptures… felt like I was in some Roman/Greek film set, then upstairs to … more sculptures, the Psyche and Cupid by Canova and the Venus de Milo being some memorable ones (see how knowledgeable I sound!). Then the crowds started getting thicker so I knew I must be getting closer (there are also lots of signs of the Mona Lisa around pointing you in the right direction!). Down one magnificent gallery and a turn to the right later and I found myself face to face with the Mona Lisa (well fought the crowds to get within 6ft of her.. with 4 guards either side and lots of glass between us mortals and the artwork). And yes it was nice… but it looked exactly like it does in pictures.. I wasn’t overwhelmed by the sheer genius of the piece or anything… I know, shame on me. I fought my way through the crowds and after about 10 minutes found the exit. (hint… keep an eye on those ‘Sortie’ signs on your way… easier to plot your escape afterwards.)
I think the Louvre would be best done on a quiet Thursday in November, I think thats when I’ll head back to tackle it some more. There were plenty of kids being dragged along and they seemed to be enjoying the sculptures anyway. Leaving aside the artwork, the building inside and out is stunning and well worth the trip alone. But please follow the rules… no flash photography or touching the works of art… I saw one teenager swinging out of this roman head… what is that about?!!
Info: the Musee de Louvre is the 1st district of Paris. Metro Palais Royal – Musee de Louvre (Lines 1 and 7). Open every day except Tuesdays 9-6 and til 10pm Wed and Fri.
Picture of the Louvre Museum, Paris originally posted by Caio Basilio