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The Louvre Palace In Paris, France

France: Paris – The Louvre Museum

The Louvre is one of the most famous museums in the world and is treasure trove of incredible and famous works of art, including the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo

The Louvre museum, was a former fortress and royal palace, is the world’s most visited museums. It is one of those places you can visit over and over again and find something new. In a single day you will only see a fraction of what is on offer. So, it is best to plan ahead if you have limited time!

We had both visited before seperately but that was over 30 years ago, so we decided to go back and discover if we would see the Louvre in a new light.

During the summer months the Louvre becomes really busy. Like many of most popular tourist sites in the World, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic, entry to the Louvre is based on a timed entry ticket. You”ll need to book this online, in advance. I also recommend going for the earliest possible time in the morning, despite a timed ticket, there is no limit on how long people can stay, so by late morning to early afternoon the more popular galleries will be very busy.

Below are highlights of our visit to the Louvre Museum.

The Mona Lisa

We decided to go and see the Mona Lisa first of all. It is something we had both seen before, and remember it not impressing us at the time. Being open-minded we thought that we give the Mona Lisa a second chance. As soon as we got into the museum we made a dash to the gallery where the Mona Lisa is located, which is a fair distance from the entrance.

By the time we got there a fair number of people were already waiting in the queue to get to the Mona Lisa. Somewhat crazy, but it was at least organised. Eventually, we got to the front. Unfortunately, quite a number of people stood in front of the Mona Lisa. posing for pictures and selfies. Very annoying. 

We are not sure that our view of the Mona Lisa has changed, but are glad we went back.

Having reached the Mona Lisa we went to look at some of the other pictures in the Mona Lisa room and the galleries around it. Our personal taste in art is more contemporary than much of the art in the Louvre but we still enjoyed walking around the galleries.

Queues of people waiting to see the Mona Lisa in the Louvre
Finally reached the Mona Lisa after quite a lot of waiting
"The wedding feast at Cana" by Veronese near by the Mona Lisa
Scenes of passion by Campi Antonio ( 1526-1587 )

Venus de Milo & other classic statues

Greek art of ancient times holds a rich historical significance and includes the full panoply of sculptures, paintings, pottery, statues, coin design, and gem engraving. One such archaeological statue that has captivated the attention of millions of people from across the globe is the Venus de Milo, a lustrous, graceful, white, female statue placed in the Louvre Museum. Depicting the mythological Greek goddess Aphrodite, this semi-nude effigy is a masterpiece of paramount proportions. This enduring statue standing tall at 6 feet 8 inches is also believed to be the depiction of Venus, the Greek goddess of love and beauty.

A young farmer named Yorgos Kentrotas discovered this statue on the Greek island of Melos (Milos) on 8 April 1820. The effigy was unearthed into two pieces while various other ruins of the statue were found nearby which were later reassembled. The first piece discovered was the upper torso with a classical S-curve while the second piece found was her legs and hips wrapped in draped clothing.

French art and the Louvre were struggling when Venus was discovered. A large cache of art, looted by Napoleon from around the world, had recently been returned to various home countries, and that left a huge gap in the Louvre’s classical art collection. Venus was the perfect solution — and the French went to extreme lengths to make sure nobody questioned her legitimacy. The result was a globally famous statue with a complicated and secretive history.

Of course, there are many more amazing statues to see in the Louvre’s Antiquities Gallery and other areas throughout the museum.

Venus de Milo in the Louvre Museum
A hellenic statue in the antiquities gallery
Las Pallas de Velletri, a Roman statue of Athena
Black slave statue in the Louvre, Museum
The Slave Sculptures – Michelangelo

Near Eastern Antiquities

One of the sections of the Louvre we enjoyed most was the Department of Near Eastern Antiquities, which is divided into three collections corresponding to the geographical areas from the eastern Mediterranean, through the Arabic peninsula and the Black Sea to India. These are Mesopotamia, Persia and the Levant (Lucia, Lydia, Cilicia, Phoenicia, Cyprus).

Located on the ground floor in the Sully, Sackler & Richelieu wings, the 26 rooms of the collections of the Near Eastern Antiquities will dazzle you by the richness of the master pieces that are exhibited.

Interior Sculpture Gallery

Many of the galleries of the Louvre are dark and somewhat oppressive. This cannot be said of the Interior Sculpture Gallery, which is impressive in its scale, but the natural lighting from the glass roof makes this place special, especially on a sunny day.

One of the most eye-catching statues in the Gallery are the four captive statues that were taken from the pedestal of the statue in the Place des Victoires, these captives represent the nations defeated by the Treaty of Nijmegen (1679). Each expresses a different reaction to captivity: revolt, hope, resignation, or grief.

The Statue Gallery in the Louvre Museum

One of the most eye-catching statues in the Gallery are the four captive statues that were taken from the pedestal of the statue in the Place des Victoires, these captives represent the nations defeated by the Treaty of Nijmegen (1679). Each expresses a different reaction to captivity: revolt, hope, resignation, or grief.

The four captive statue taken from the pedestal of the statue in the Place des Victoires

The Egyptian Galleries

The Louvre, the Department of Egyptian Antiquities occupies two floors. On the lower level, you will find a themed display on the daily lives of Ancient Egyptians and on the upper level, you will find a chronological display on Ancient Egypt, from prehistory to the Ptolemaic Period.

The exhibits focus not on Egyptian art but document the history and culture of this fascinating ancient society. On display are many incredible artefacts including numerous sarcophagi (such as the Sarcophagus box of Ramesses III), and  well-preserved mummies and The Great Sphinx of Tanis.

Planning your visit to the Louvre

Getting there

The Louvre is very central and easy to get to. By Paris Metro the Louvre has its own metro station on line 1 called Palais-Royal–Musee du Louvre.

All of the popular Paris hop on, hop off sightseeing buses stop here and the Batobus river bus service also has a stop for the Louvre.

The Louvre is within 5-10 minutes walk of Notre Dame and the Orsay Museum.

Address:Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris
Website:https://www.louvre.fr/en
Telephone:T: +33 1 40 20 50 50
Hours:

The museum is open daily except for Tuesdays.

9:00 AMTO6:00 PM Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

9:00 AMTO9:45 PM Friday

Last entry 1 hour before closure. Visitors will be asked to vacate the exhibition rooms 30 minutes before closure.

Fees

Tickets purchased online  €17

Tickets purchased at the museum €15

-18 year olds, -26 year old residents of the EEA – FREE

Getting in

There are four entrances to the Louvre Museum.

The I.M. Pei Pyramid Entrance is the main entrance (this is the big glass pyramid in the centre of the forecourt of the museum – so hard to miss! This entrance is to be used by visitors with tickets, those with a Paris Museum Pass, membership card, and even visitors without tickets. Disabled visitors and staff members who receive priority access can also enter from this entrance.

Carrousel du Louvre Entrance is often called “the mall entrance to the Louvre”. The Carrousel entrance can be used by all, disabled visitors, groups, visitors with membership cards, and visitors with tickets.

The Passage Richelieu entrance is reserved for those travelling as a group and visitors with membership cards (Amis du Louvre, Louvre Pro, Ministère de la Culture, Pass Education, ICOM).

The Porte des Lions Entrance is located in the internal part of the Louvres and attracts an average amount of visitors. However, there are no lockers at this entrance and you will be refused entry if you have a large bag or helmet. Only visitors who have made prior reservations can enter by the Porte des Lions.

Getting around the Louvre

There are many ways to experience the Louvre Museum. We chose to just walk around and see what we discovered using the printed map you can pick up inside the museum. It comes in several languages. There is free Wi-Fi around the museum if you want to look things up. You can also download the museum map

You can also use the Louvre’s audio guide which is available in several languages and costs €5 to rent.

Alternatively, you can get a real, in-person guide there are several options for guided tours.

Best time to visit Paris

You’ll experience crowds from May to September, but encounter the most people in July (followed closely by June and August). We’d recommend visiting between October and April if your main objective is to avoid crowds. For the warmest temperatures, October and April are the best times to visit Paris sans crowds.

Other places to visit while in Paris

1. BANKS OF THE RIVER SEINE

The banks of the River Seine through the heart of Paris are listed as UNESCO world heritage site due to the incredible architecture of buildings such as Notre Dame, the Louvre and the Grand Palais and the examples of outstanding town planning, in particular, the large squares and avenues built by Haussmann at the time of Napoleon III have influenced town planning throughout the world.

2. VERSAILLES

The Palace of Versailles was the principal residence of the French kings from the time of Louis XIV to Louis XVI. Embellished by several generations of architects, sculptors, decorators and landscape architects, it provided Europe with a model of the ideal royal residence for over a century.

3. SACRÉ-COEUR

The Sacré-Coeur, consecrated in 1919, is one of the most iconic monuments in Paris. At the top of the Butte Montmarte, it has one of the most beautiful panoramic views of the capital, from 130 metres above the ground. In a Roman-Byzantine style, the Sacré Coeur is recognizable by its white colour. Inside the building, the ceiling is decorated with the largest mosaic in France measuring about 480 m². The crypt is also worth a visit. And to go even higher up, visitors can access the dome where the 360° view of Paris is magnificent.

4. THE PALAIS GARNIER

The Palais Garnier, also known as Opéra Garnier, is a 1,979-seat opera house at the Place de l’Opéra in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, France. It was built for the Paris Opera from 1861 to 1875 at the behest of Emperor Napoleon III. It is also famous due to its use as the setting for Gaston Leroux’s 1910 novel The Phantom of the Opera.

5. PÈRE LACHAISE CEMETARY

The Père Lachaise cemetery takes its name from King Louis XIV’s confessor, Father François d’Aix de La Chaise. It is the most prestigious and most visited necropolis in Paris. Here you will find the graves of such famous people as Frédéric Chopin, Colette, Jean de La Fontaine, Molière, Yves Montand, Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, Camille Pissarro and Oscar Wilde are just a few.

6. CHÂTEAU DE FONTAINBLEAU

The Château de Fontainebleau is located in the small town bearing the same name and lies 40 miles (65 km) south-southeast of Paris by road. It has been the residence of 34 kings and two emperors, Fontainebleau is the only château that was lived in by every French monarch for almost eight centuries. With 1500 rooms, it is one of the biggest châteaux in France, and the most furnished in Europe.

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