Arts in Paris
Paris Travel Blog› entry 13 of 13 › view all entries
We awoke on our next day in Paris with our sights set on one place - The Louvre. Since it had been free on Bastille Day, there was a HUGE line, and we were not able to use our museum passes to get past the line. We decided to wait until today to enter and explore. After a quick ("simple") petit dejeuner of tartine, we took the Metro back to the Louvre stop.
After finding our way into the Louvre (using the Richelieu entrance for pass holders and groups), we entered the main lobby. It's underground and sits directly below I. M. Pei's huge Pyramide. We grabbed an English map (plan in French). Our first stop was the Sully wing, which houses the vast Egyptian artifacts.
We entered the Sully wing, and started walking through the Medieval moat which is on the lower floor. The Louvre itself is an incredibly historic building, since it's been built over 800 years! During the latest renovation (including the Pyramide), remnants of a Medieval castle were unearthed. You walk through the moat and parts of the dungeon on the way to the Sully wing.
After walking through the castle ruins, we headed towards the Egyptian artifacts. The size of the Louvre's Egyptian holdings is only second to those in Egypt. There are incredibly well preserved hieroglyphics on large slabs which were extracted from tombs.
After spending quite a bit of time touring the Egyptian collection, we picked up the pace and wandered a bit though nearby collections - Mesopotamia, and Greece. There we saw one of the Louvre's "Big 3" - the "Venus de Milo" (also known as Aphrodite, since the statue really portrays the Greek goddess). After touring a bit more Greek sculptures, we decided to head to lunch. However, we had to hit one more of the Big 3 (probably the "Big 1") - the Mona Lisa.
After viewing the Mona Lisa, we headed to the nearby cafe (on the balcony of the Richelieu wing) that overlooks the grand courtyard outside the Louvre. It was pretty expensive, but it was worth it (especially considering that we took over 2 hours for lunch, in typical Parisian timeframe) for both the food and the view.