If I had to recommend just one museum to visit while exploring Paris, it would be le Louvre. From French to Italian paintings, Egyptian artifacts to Roman and Greek sculptures, everyone can find something to their liking during a morning or afternoon visit to this enormous museum.
Spending a week in Paris was the perfect time to reserve a day to finally walk around the extravagant halls and rooms that once belonged to royalty and see priceless works of art and sculptures with my very own eyes. I had previously walked inside and looked around the foyer and entrance area of the museum, but never had enough time to spend the hours needed to really get a good look at a large selection of art.
Everyone has seen art in books and online, but to actually see the works in person gives you a much better sense of scale and size with each piece, which I truly appreciate. I’ve always been a big fan of art, going way back to my middle school days when I took my first art class.
The day we went was rainy and grey, perfect for going to a museum. My aunt and uncle were visiting from California touring around Europe, and stopped to meet up with me and my love for a week in Paris. Le Louvre was #1 on their list of things not-to-miss in Paris, and I was excited to wander around with them and admire some of the numerous masterpieces the museum holds.
What’s unique about Le Louvre in comparison to other museums is that you enter by going downstairs, underneath its famous glass pyramid that juts out in the middle of the grand plaza, a view you cannot miss. Rain or shine, the pyramid is a skylight and provides natural light into the entrance and foyer of the museum – Gorgeous!
You can see a smaller, upside down version of the pyramid as you walk towards the entrance to the shopping mall attached to the museum – yes, there is a museum themed mall connected to Le Louvre. Without a ticket, you are permitted to go inside the entrance, through security, and walk around the difference exhibit entrances (there are also public restrooms if you need a quick break), but you need a ticket to enter into any of the exhibits.
My uncle told us that he would like to focus on Roman and Greek art first and them move on to Italian in order to see Leonardo Da Vinci’s infamous Mona Lisa. Great plan, it was exactly what I wanted to do and everyone was in agreement. And so our tour began…
For any of you who are history buffs, the Royal Palace had been home to royalty since the 12th century, initially created as a fortress, which is where we started, seeing the large, rounded columns and walls that formed the foundation. Then, in the mid-1500s it became the royal residency, and transformed into a museum in 1793 after the French Revolution.
From the fortress room is a door that connects you to the next room filled with amazing Roman and Greek artifacts. We opted not to take the audio guide because we knew we wouldn’t have had time to see everything. And from experience, although it is interesting, using the audio guide in the largest museum in the world can be “information overload” and you come out with your brain feeling like jelly.
It was an enjoyable moment to share together with my aunt and uncle – before my uncle suddenly disappeared and got lost (more on that later).
Room after room was filled with an assortment of Greek and Roman Gods, artifacts of jewelry, bowls, and other everyday items, and even a marble bathtub big enough to fit three or four people. These aspects, along with exquisite details of the exhibit rooms, were matchless and simply magnifique.
Now onto my uncle’s M.I.A status. Not even an hour into our touring around, my uncle disappeared. Out of sight, nowhere to be seen. The last we saw him was when we all met up after viewing some statues together and commented on them. Then, as he had been doing since we entered, and we’d been warned by my aunt, he went off in another direction to take more photos. My aunt told us that it’s his normal habit and to just wait because he will come back like a boomerang, so my love and I thought nothing of it. Until a long instant had passed and he didn’t turn back up.
Surprising my aunt, we decided to backtrack to see if he had stayed in a room we had already been through. Nope. Everywhere we looked and turned we tried to spot for the bright royal blue hat he was wearing. Nowhere in sight. Did I mention the Louvre is the largest museum in the world?
Prior to entering the exhibits, it was my uncle that came up with the idea of setting a meeting point, just in case we somehow got lost. So after spending around 30 minutes looking for him, we continued our tour throughout the museum as a trio instead of the original group of four. Despite the mysterious departure of my uncle, we still wanted to enjoy our time at the museum. We assumed he couldn’t have left and we would find him or vice versa at some point.
Before going on a search for the Mona Lisa, we went downstairs into a quiet area full of Egyptian funerary artifacts and sarcophagi in all shapes and sizes, we sat on a marble bench to take a break from all the walking we did. It was a quite peaceful moment and at one point my aunt asked me why there weren’t many people in this particular room like in all the others. I answered that perhaps it was because this room is full of mummies in their sarcophagus. She didn’t realize where we were until I told her that point, and not long after, we left.
We made our way to the Italian art displays and followed the crowd into the room that houses the Mona Lisa. It is a masterpiece of small size, the size of a normal portrait we can find today. It has its own wall and is covered in glass and has a rope separating it from the crowd. I don’t blame the museum for doing that in regards to recent stories of priceless art pieces being completely destroyed by tourists taking selfies by them. I don’t need a selfie. I prefer appreciating the art.
After wandering around and got a good look at the Italian oil paintings, we decided it was a good time to go to reunite with my uncle. We went to a seating area in the entrance and foyer area of the museum that was dedicated as our meeting point. The place my uncle had pointed out at the very beginning for us to meet up at. And we waited. And waited. And waited.
An hour had past, both my both and my aunt had gone all around the foyer area, upstairs by the restaurants and cafés, downstairs by the entrance to the special exhibitions and bathroom, and back again to where I was at the seating area. No luck.
We hadn’t tried calling him because his cell phone had a sim card from England and we weren’t sure it would work from France. It did. Too bad we hadn’t tried it earlier, because my uncle had already left the museum, gotten lost on the metro, and was on his way back to the hotel. But now we have a story to tell and an unforgettable memory of our first time in le Louvre.
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Go Get Inspired by…Quotes: “In the end, we only regret the chance we didn’t take, relationships we were afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make.” ~Lewis Carroll
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