It’s time to visit Musee de Louvre — the most visited museum in the world! The Louvre is one of the most established museums in the world. It’s also said to be the home of legendary masterpieces. The museum holds about 35,000 works from the prehistoric to the modern era.
[heading h=”h2″ font=””]The history[/heading]
The Louvre was built as a fortress in 1190. Hundreds of years later, it became the palace where the royalties resided. As years passed by, the face of the the Louvre changed — some parts were removed, while some were rebuilt. From a medieval fortress, it became a renaissance royal palace.
Post French Revolution (when the royal family was ousted), the Louvre became a museum, safekeeping and exhibiting artworks collected by the royal families and aristocrats who left the country and artworks acquired from unwilling souls in lands which fell into the hands of France.
The Louvre has been well-regarded since then. I read somewhere that artists consider that they’ve made it once their work has a place in the museum.
[heading h=”h2″ font=””]Getting in[/heading]
There we were, standing in front of the entrance — I. M. Pei’s controversial glass pyramid, said to be a “scar on the face of Paris” seemed a little out of place (nevertheless it’s beautiful). Had to queue and show our Paris Museum Pass. Once we were in, there were several escalators heading down. Entrance to the different wings begin underground. There, at the reception, you get to collect a map of the entire museum, get an audio guide or join a guided tour.
We’re cheap, so we only got the map.
[heading h=”h2″ font=””]The museum[/heading]
The many galleries in the Louvre are vast. The halls are adorned with marble stairs, pillars and painted and carved ceilings — it was formerly the home of kings, after all.
The museum has three different wings (Sully, Richelieu and Denon). Each has four floors and different sections dedicated to different types of themes and artworks e.g. paintings, sculptures and decorative arts so it’s impossible for you to see everything within a day. Since we allocated only an hour and a half for the Louvre, we picked the few things we must see.
[heading h=”h2″ font=””]Notable mentions[/heading]
There are several masterpieces you should see at the Louvre when you’re not planning to spend all day at the Louvre. Our main focus was the two “leading ladies” of the museum.
The first, being Mona Lisa.
Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece was solely hung on one side a washed wall in a hall filled with paintings. Considering its significance (… plus the fact that it was once stolen and stoned), the Mona Lisa is now protected by a bullet-proof glass wall.
There were so many people in the hall, that we had to queue just take a close look at it. We reached the end of the line after ten minutes of queueing, standing behind a dividing rope but were still meters away from it — nobody’s allowed to come close. From that distance, visitors get to take a clear shot of the picture.
Sadly, there wasn’t much time to stand and appreciate the work, because those behind us were all eager to get to the front, making us feel compelled to leave the line as soon as possible.
The next we went to see, was Venus de Milo.
We went to another area of the museum, where all Greek sculptures are located. There you see many statues in draped fabrics. The most famous, Venus de Milo is a sculpture built in the Hellenistic period, discovered in an ancient site in the 1800s, adorned in jewelry, without its arms.
After that we just walked along the different galleries to appreciate the beautiful hallways and the paintings and sculptures which came into our way. Then to the underground to see the medieval Louvre, parts of the fortress — the keep and staircases — which still remained.
[heading h=”h2″ font=””]Final thoughts[/heading]
The Louvre is really an exciting museum to visit. There are so many things to see and appreciate! Although I’d seen a lot within the span of an hour and a half, there was really a lot more to see. I wish I came more prepared and had read more, beforehand. Would definitely return to the Louvre and allocate more time for the visit, when I go to Paris again.
So here’s my tip — if you’re going to visit the museum on your own, try studying the Louvre’s interactive map or follow the suggested trails at the Louvre. Decide on the things you want to see and read up on them. This would help you save time and appreciate your visit more. Don’t hope to depend on the information cards at the Louvre, because they’re in French.
But if you have some cash to spare, I stress — get an audioguide or join the guided tours as these would help you appreciate the works of art better and would make your visit to the Louvre a lot more meaningful. It’ll save you a lot of time, too.
To learn more about the museum, visit the website of the Louvre Museum.