The Louvre: Undoubtedly Paris’ Most Famous Museum

The Louvre: Undoubtedly Paris’ Most Famous Museum

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The Louvre Museum is huge—never-ending! It’s
like a cavern full of treasures with long corridors and a maze of
rooms. Plan on getting lost several times and spending a minimum of
five hours just to cover the basics.

Once
a king’s palace, the Louvre started life more simply as a fortress in
1190 to protect Paris against Viking raids. King Francois I replaced
the original fortress with a Renaissance-style building. Thereafter,
four centuries of French kings and emperors improved and enlarged the
Louvre. Its most recent addition is a glass pyramid in the main
courtyard by American architect I. M. Pei. There has been great
controversy over this new addition, but it lends continuity to the
space and supplies needed light.

Approach
the Louvre from the main entrance beneath the glass pyramid. From here,
corridors radiate out to each wing of the museum: Oriental, Egyptian,
Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiquities….

You,
along with 50,000 other daily visitors, will be waiting in line just
for the pleasure of getting lost for the rest of the day. A half-hour
wait to enter the building is normal, so be patient—it’s worth it. You
can use this time to look through your guidebook and plan your assault.

Better yet, buy a museum pass (available at www.conciergerie.com), which gives you the right to go to the front of the line.

Another
tip: Don’t try to see everything in one visit—it’s simply impossible,
even for a student like me who is supposed to know the museum by heart.
At the information desk beneath the glass pyramid, select the things
you absolutely don’t want to miss, and then take a map, available at
the desk, and enjoy. (What boggles the mind is that as much as is
currently displayed at the Louvre, is also in storage.) One last tip:
Wear comfortable shoes!

MUST SEES!
Egyptian Antiquities: The Squatting Scribe (this sculpture really looks alive; look at his eyes). Sully Wing.

Greek
Antiquities: The Auxerre Goddess (one of the earliest-known pieces of
Greek sculpture). The Venus de Milo. The Winged Victory of Samothrace.
Denon Wing.

Etruscan Antiquities: The Sarcophagus of a Married Couple. Denon Wing.

Renaissance tapestries: The Hunts of Maximillian. Richelieu Wing.

European
Paintings: Mona Lisa, by Leonardo da Vinci. Virgin with Jesus and Saint
Anne, by Leonardo da Vinci. Coronation of the Virgin, by Fra Angelico.
Denon Wing.

You can also find in the Louvre…
A
charming cafe: The Café Marly, which is considered a chic place to
meet. Located under the arcades of the Louvre in front of the pyramid,
this is one of the best places to recover from your trek. There is a
sunny terrace where you can enjoy a drink at sunset or have an
excellent meal.

The Carrousel
du Louvre: a huge underground visitors’ complex, with a mall, shops,
restaurants, cafés, and parking. Enjoy lunch at the Restauramonde
cafeteria with foods from the world’s cuisines. Great for kids, and
although it’s not gourmet, one can get in and out rapidly.

A school: The Ecole du Louvre, founded in 1882, gives advanced courses in archaeology and art history.

And an auditorium for films and concerts. Ask for the program at the information desk.

Where and When?
Rue de Rivoli, Paris 1, metro Palais Royal-Musee du Louvre.

The
museum is open daily, except Tuesdays and certain public holidays, from
9am to 6pm. Evening openings until 9:45pm on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Note: Sale of tickets ends at 5.15pm (9.15pm on Mondays and
Wednesdays).

Tel.: 01 40 20 53 17 or 01 40 20 51 51
Web site:
www.louvre.fr/

Copyright © Paris New Media, LLC – Karen Fawcett

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