Another day, another fantastic guest post by the lovely Ann (Tea and Text) who will share her love of this famous museum!
What I love about these guest posts is that now that I’m back from Paris, I can fully appreciate and relive the experience once again. Like with Christa’s post about the Eiffel Tower on Monday, the Louvre was the 2nd moment on my trip that completely overwhelmed me with it’s magnitude.
The Great Louvre Museum
I’m a huge art and archaeology geek so museums are always a priority for me when I travel. When I got a chance to go to Paris on a class trip, the Louvre was a must see for me!
So here’s a quick run down of what you need to know when planning a trip to the Louvre:
Location: The Louvre is located at Musée du Louvre, 75058 Paris, France.
Hours: The Permanent Collection in the Louvre is open every day except Tuesdays, December 25, January 1 and May 1 from 9 am to 6 pm.
There’s three entrances:
- Passage Richelieu – which is often the easiest to get to if you’re taking the metro.
- Porte des Lions – right across from the Seine river
- Pyramid and Galerie du Carrousel – this is my absolute favourite entrance, mostly because you get to relax by artfully placed fountains and enter through a really neat glass pyramid!
Admissions Price (all prices in euros):
- Basically if you’re under 18, or with a teacher you get in for free (score!).
- For everyone else it’s €10 for the permanent collection or €11 for the temporary exhibits in Hall Napoléon – OR you can do both for €14.
- There’s also 2, 4 and 6 day passes for €39, €54, €69 respectively.
So which do you choose? I’m told that it takes a good week to actually get through everything in the Louvre properly, but if you just want to see all the great works the Louvre is famous for just go for the €10 fee. It’s what most people go to the Louvre for, but I guarantee you will not see everything in a day.
Pro tip: Buy the tickets online!! If you’re uncomfortable buying online, buy them at the following vendors: Auchan, Carrefour, Cora, Cultura, Extrapole, Fnac, Le Bone Marché, Printemps, Géant Casino, Leclerc, Madisson Nuggets, Paroles et Musiques, Virgin Mégastore.
The wait lines for tickets at the Louvre are INSANE!!! Don’t do it!! Avoid it at all costs! You will spend half your day waiting in that freaking line!!
Pro Tip: BRING A CAMERA!! You’ll want to chronicle yourself with the Mona Lisa and show people “See! I was right there!”.
Okay so now that you know the logistics and you’re in this massive 5 level place it can be a totally overwhelming! There’s so much to see and so little time! So where to start?
There are guided 90 minute tours that take you to the most touristy pieces (the Mona Lisa, Vénus de Milo etc) and these run at 11 am and 2 pm daily.
Or you can run amok flashing your camera like I did (this the most fun option by the way :D).
Pro Tip: WEAR COMFY SHOES! You will be on your feet all the time, if you get tired, find a cafe, or a bench in between the exhibit halls to sit down. The guards get really French yelling angry if you sit down anywhere not designated for seating or lean against any non decorated walls (I wasn’t even in the exhibit halls when this happened, we were just inside the Louvre below the pyramid).
Here’s my short list of some must see pieces in the Louvre as a place to start:
1. The Mona Lisa (aka Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo)
I’m pretty sure everyone wants to see this when they go to the Louvre, and recent interest in it has been fuelled by Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. It is located on the 1st Floor, you can’t miss it, just follow the hordes of people going to see it.
I myself was a bit disappointed when I saw it, all those reprints and movies that show it as this huge painting is a lie! It’s sealed behind layers of bullet proof glass and there’s a distance barrier erected around it, but still go see it!
2. Venus de Milo (Aphrodite)
Located on the Ground Floor in the Sully Wing. Although it is not completely certain that this is a statue of the goddess Aphrodite, it’s generally assumed so due to the nudity. Since it’s discovery in 1820 on the island of Melos it’s probably become one of the most famous and easily recognizable statues ever (also they never found the arms that are supposed to attach to the statue).
3. The Winged Victory of Samothrace (Nike)
This statue is located on the Ground Floor in the Denon wing. It’s definitely a center of attention piece given where it’s located (it’s all alone in a stair well you can’t miss it, it DEMANDS attention!)
4. The Coronation of the Emperor Napoleon I and the Crowning of the Empress Joséphine in Notre-Dame Cathedral on December 2, 1804.
This large and extravagant painting is located on the 1st Floor in the Denon wing. It was painted by Jacques Louis David on commission by Napoleon I to commemorate and glorify this huge moment.
5. Master Studies
Okay, this one I just threw in here because I thought it was amazing, there’s no guarantee that you’ll see this. The Louvre lets artists (that I assume are professional, or doing masters in art in schools) into the museum to do master studies of paintings. When I went we were lucky enough to watch this artist work. She did an amazing job replicating the original!
For more Louvre information visit: http://www.louvre.fr/en