An evening at Louvre Museum (Paris - France)

This article first appeared in My Travelogue by Bhushavali

Here's the prologue - I'm an art history enthusiast. Art history was one of my favourite subjects at university (National Institute of Fashion Technology, India). I need time with art. When I was living in London, it took 2 days for me to see the National Gallery of London! When I went of a day-trip to Amsterdam, I chose to skip Rijksmuseum because it just wouldn't do any justice to try to see a fine-arts museum within a few hours. That's me! I need time to see & appreciate historic art! I can't just stroll through a fine-arts museum! So yeah, I've been to Paris a couple of times but never long enough to dedicate 'atleast' an entire day to Louvre, so I've always chosen to skip Louvre than to rush through it!


Over to the main story - Last summer, my in-laws visited us and ofcourse we went to Paris for a 2-day trip and luckily it was the first weekend of the month. Here's the thing - first Saturday of each month, in the evenings, Louvre museum's admission is free and meeting 'Monalisa' is technically a 'top thing to do in Paris'!!!!!! So, off we went....
Ofcourse I did my research. One was about the entry - We entered in through the Carousel entrance, i.e., through the underground inverted pyramid, below the Main Glass Pyramid entrance (if you're a Dan Brown fan, 'this is where Mary Magdalena was buried according the Da Vinci code!!!). The queue was loooooong, but it moved pretty fast, so we were inside in about 30 mins. This entry has a slightly lesser crowd than the main entrance. The museum has 4 entrances - these 2, one more dedicated only to ticket holders and another dedicated only to press, invitees, staff etc.
Second is about the major displays to see. It is pointless to wander around in Louvre museum if you're there for hardly few hours. The museum has 3,80,000 exhibits which means it would take 791 days if you spend just 1 minute in front of each exhibit for 8hrs a day!!!!! So yeah, with hardly a couple hours, I made a list of 5 exhibits to see and we saw those and we were out!!!!

1. Mona Lisa - Ofcourse! I love Mona Lisa, but, personally I would have chosen to skip it! She's amazing, true, but its just tooooo crowded. As an art history enthusiast, I'd rather enjoy seeing her HD scans than get a glimpse of her for a fraction of a second, while being pushed & pulled by gazillion people! But then, yeah, with family, their priorities also need to be taken into consideration and we did go to see Mona Lisa. Btw, did you spot Mona Lisa at all in the pic above?

2. Seated Scribe - This was one of my initial study assignments in my art history classes at university. He is unusual! Very unusual. Unlike other Egyptian statues and paintings which were very rigid, this has such an unusual charm! His face is realistic, his paunch & pectoral muscles are realistic, his posture isn't the usual way others were depicted, he is not posing but actually at work with the papyrus roll in my hand, he has no ornaments at all unlike other Egyptian sculptures. The material with which its made is not just 1, but 4-5 incl. limestone, wood, crystal & more! 

Left pic Courtesy: Lyokoï88, own work via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0 
3. Winged Victory (Nike of Samothrace) - There are only few original Greek sculptures still existing (several 'Greek' sculptures are a copy made by Romans)! This was found in the island of Samothrace. This was probably sculpted in 250 BCE. This was another sculpture that fascinated me as a student! The fabric of her clothing... looks like fabric..... but its made of marble..... esp., the way it drapes around her knee and bellows behind her in the wind - I needed someone to promise me it was marble and not fabric!!!!!

4. Venus de Milo - Like Winged Victory, this too is an original! The name? Venus - coz she's Aphrodite, but that's the Roman name, even though she's Greek; Milo - where she was found, the island of Milos in Greece. Both her arms are missing and its really intriguing to try and imagine how her arms might have been placed originally. 



5. Sleeping Hermaphrodite - So..... Look at her, so pretty, like most nak*d women in Greek/Roman art. Let's take a look around. She has beautiful br**sts and a....... p**is????? Well, this is a Roman copy inspired by a Greek statue of 2nd C BCE. Personally what do I have to say about this? Well... when those homophobic people say random stuff to non-binary / bi-gendered persons that its a 'modern sickness' or 'not normal', show this sculpture to them! They have been in existence since 2nd C BCE and they're so special that they were sculpted in marble! 
Also read my blogposts about - Laocoon & His Sons; Botticelli's Birth of Venus; Michelangelo's David, Madonna of Brugge
Here's a tip: It gets super duper crowded during the free admission, which opens at 6pm. Head to the Carousel entrance by 5:15-30ish. Its open till 9:45pm, which would give you a couple hours to explore. All these 5 are located relatively closer to each other in the same wing, but in different floors. So its relatively easy to see them quickly! But, do remember, with the crowd its actually difficult to move fast. We did go there with elderly people and a baby, so it wasn't too practical for us to stay till 9:30! Consider leaving the morning a bit relaxed so you have some energy left for Louvre - don't you see how dead tired I look in these pics? 

Bhushavali

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

16 comments:

  1. Great tips for visiting the Louvre in a short amount of time! I am still baffled by how many exhibits are in the Louvre and how long it would take to fully see them all. I would definitely have to plan ahead, figure out what I wanted to see, and how to navigate. I definitely agree with you about avoiding the crowds, but I think that the Monalisa would have to be on my list.

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  2. Wow! It looks amazing! The photos is just super! Thanks for sharing! I definitely want to visit the Louvre and see it all with my own eyes!

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  3. There are so many museums and art galleries in Paris, on each visit we pick one or two. And then pick a few exhibits to see. We have killed ourselves trying to see it all in a day and then realized we really did not stop to really appreciate the art. I am sure that having an art history background has you wanting to spend even more time with individual pieces. Nice that you have highlighted a few to see on a return visit. And reminded me that free may be cheap. But it will also be busy.

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  4. I enjoy art buy I usually prefer to take small dips into art museums and see just a few things. I can't do full days! I was surprised when I went by how tiny the Mona Lisa us in real life, I expected the painting to be a little larger!

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  5. Omg reading about the time to cover all exibit seems too long for Louvre! In paris there are many art galleries and its always good idea to choose few of them ,then give time to few of important exibit.Love reading your ideas to visit Louvre in such short time duratio and all the tips to visit louvre are so helpful specially didnt know about free entry day.Its worth to visit for art lovers.

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  6. What a stunning place the Louvre. Like you, I love taking my time to visit museums to thoroughly appreciate the artworks on display, but I usually avoid days when entrance is free because museums are just too much crowded and I wouldn’t enjoy the visit.

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  7. Paris and Louvre Museum are very close to our heart and reading your post made me so nostalgic. We had spent around five hours there exploring when had visited.

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  8. Thank you for taking me through this beautiful tour of Louvre. I love this museum! It's been a long time since I've been there. It's interesting that I have no recollection of the inverted pyramid below the Main Glass Pyramid entrance.

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  9. Ooh BOY! That crowd is already making me feel tired. Louvre is a place that needs more than 2 days. Quite intrigued by the sleeping hermaphrodite. You are right about her having the perfect assets. She is a piece of art. Good suggestion on how to get there on a free day. Hopefully, some day in the future.

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  10. As a regular reader of your blog, I have rarely come across you visiting a mainstream place. I can imagine how crowded it would be in there. I guess Paris has better things to do unless you want to sort things out from the bucket list. Also it seems that a majority of crowd comes here and goes straight to Monalisa because rest of the places doesn't seen that crowded.

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  11. Great tips for visiting one of the best attraction in Paris. I personally visited it ten years ago, more or less, and it was an amazing experience: There was so much to see that I didn't know where to start and I remember all about that day. I came there early in the morning with a free entrance because I was a student and I stayed there all the day, till evening. Mona Lisa was what I like the most :)

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  12. I now understand your passion in visiting museums. When I visit museums, it takes me hours just to visit each exhibition, and takes less time when there are huge crowd. Huge crowd in museums are my pet peeves, so as much as possible, I want to visit during the hours where the foot traffic is low, or wake up early and be the early bird visitor.

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  13. Glad that you went to Louvre, one of the must-do attractions in Paris. And, yes! you look exhausted in Monalisa selfie pic. I too love visiting museums on my trip but there's so much to see and juggling with the crowd, I just give up. The longest time I spent in any museum ever was 6 hours at The National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC and I was super tired!

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  14. I know Louvre is huge and one cannot see fully. Good to know that this museum has huge number of exhibits - 3,80,000. I have read lot about Venus - Aphrodite and good to see here and its all facts. Yes it is Roman name but never knew that is a Greek Milo - where she was found which is the beautiful island of Milos in Greece. I think as she originated from beautiful island, that is why Venus is associated with beauty.

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  15. This took me back to my Louvre visit. I totally get it when you say that you need time in a museum, especially where there is lots of art and history. Even I don't like to rush through things. Yeah Monalisa is lovely but there are much better things to see in there. I still remember how I had spent a whole day there and still wanted more.

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  16. Once in a lifetime! I would love to visit Louvre, but a bit afraid of crouds. Good to know that it is relatively free in the morning... but I sleep for too long. Better chance to get to the opening right aftar a night club :)

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