I’ve always wanted to spend countless time wandering the art museums of Paris. I didn’t get into all of them, but I did make the Louvre!
The largest art museum in the world, the Louvre is situated on the Right Bank of the Seine and was very close to where we stayed while we were in Paris. The Louvre was once a Palace until Louis XIV moved to Versailles in 1686.
Now, the Louvre holds an amazing amount of artwork as well as being it’s own work of architecture when you take the time to look at the outside.
We purchased our tickets in advance. I’ve heard enough stories of people planning to go on the one day of the week the Louvre is closed, not to mention the crazy lines to get in, so we made a point of showing up with ours in hand. Happily, the Louvre does not charge for children, so only my husband and I had to pay admission.
After the usual security checks, we were shunted inside and up a huge escalator to the top floor of the Denon wing where you stand in line until you find yourself in front of the Mona Lisa, set up from the rest of the artwork, and the guides repeating over and over again, “One photo and you go.” Rarely does anyone adhere to that rule before they are shooed into the rest of the Louvre by the guides.
When you leave the Mona Lisa, you walk through a door into the remainder of the top floor (Sully and Richelieu wings). Be aware that you cannot access the Denon wing again unless you return to the ground floor. My advice is to see what you want in the Denon wing on your way up to the Mona Lisa, then work your way through and down the Sully and Richelieu wings. That way, you don’t have to figure out how to return like I did to see Vermeer’s Lacemaker.
That advice given, the Louvre is enormous and unless you have several days to take your time, you almost have to walk through taking glimpses for works you know or works that catch your eye. The staff will let you know where works are if they know them, and most of the major works the Louvre has are indicated on the map. It’s a maze of wonderful things to see and I enjoyed the entire experience—even when my children were done by lunch and wanted to leave.
The Louvre has something that will speak to your soul if you take the time to search for it. I never know what I’m searching for when I go to an art museum. I definitely have certain works I want to see, but I’m always caught by some work that either by beauty or something technical draws me in. The Louvre was no different, just be prepared to be tired and have sore feet at the end of the day!
Next up . . . Our last day in Paris!