Free and open to all: Louvre

Paris Travel Blog

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The Louvre is an amazing museum that lives up to its world-famous reputation.

I have visited this treasure a couple of time before, but this visit seemed a bit different. I saw the glass pyramid for the first time at night and I was struck admiration for both the vast collection and colorful history of the buildings, the and just the entire place..

First, the Louvre, along with all the national museums, is open free to the public on the first Sunday of every month. I was really fortunate to be here on this day. It is quite a madhouse, but the line seems to move faster because people are not queuing to pay the admission fee.

The line went on forever and even looped back around, out into the courtyard. I think we only waited about 2 hours this day. Inside, there were huge groups of tourists clamoring to get to the big stuff--the Mona Lisa (nearly hidden behind the throng and their camera flashes), the Venus de Milo, the Nike. The main entrance is through the infamous glass pyramid out front. But the best way to get in is through the Rivoli door or Rivoli stop on the Metro (not the Louvre stop). That way takes you into the underground mall, complete with Virgin megastore and food court. Visit the several shops/bookstores to find posters, 8x12prints, postcards, mouse pads, calendars, puzzles, notebooks, bookmarks and more, that have the more famous images of paintings and sculpture. You will be able to find images that aren't in the Louvre but are famous; there are reproductions from the National Gallery in London, the van Gogh museum, the Rodin museum, the Musee d'Orsay, and more.
The best time to go is in the late afternoon or evening, when the throngs have receded. One night a week it is open late.

 

The collection itself spans centuries and continents with apparent ease. Pillaged, seized, and bought, the pieces tell a complicated story of a growing global commerce. Some of my favorites include Nike, Winged Victory, the Botticelli frescoes (even though the figures all look the same), the collection of ancient Greek, Egyptian, and Etruscan work and the Jacques-Louis David paintings (notably the Coronation of Napoleon). I also discovered very quickly, the closer you get to the Mona Lisa, the less likely you will be able to take a photo. I was sooooo so cool when I approached the front of the line, believing I was going to capture the perfect close up only to be told that “you can’t take pictures here!” I was quite bumbed but got back into the crowd and tried again.

The painting was smaller than I had remembered and the crowds were larger than I had remembered. I got a couple of blurred shots and then made my way throughout the rest of this incredible place.

 

The Napoleon Apartments are a startling example of the splendor royalty lived in. The dining room seats over forty, and it has hidden doors through which the servants could disappear. The rooms are filled with red velvet and gilt chandeliers, furniture, and other decorations.

 

This museum is truly astounding. I urge you to visit it many times, to learn about the history of the chateau itself, to learn about the works held within its walls, to find new things each time, and to not be discouraged by the tourist-infected hallways and rooms. Ignore them and gawk at the art.

emmllerg says:
Enjoy your next vacation to Paris
Posted on: Jun 02, 2013
Dr_Seuss says:
I liked the courtyard with the big marble stairs. Lucky the twice I have been that we never really had to queue, but that was midweeks in January and April
Posted on: Jan 21, 2010
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inside the pyramid
inside the pyramid
Me in the pyramid
Me in the pyramid
Paris
photo by: Sweetski