Formerly a royal palace, the Louvre is an iconic monument in the center of Paris labelled as the universal museum among museums and is the #1 most visited museum in the world.
What does this mean for us? It will have a ridiculous line, as any #1 universal iconic monument should… and it will be full of tourists. Maybe you are a really good person and you just smile and wait patiently as hordes of people push by you to stand in front of the artworks and take selfies; or maybe you’re like me and think that there should be a law against selfie sticks and annoying museum tourists in general. Ok that’s a stretch, but we shouldn’t let them ruin our experience here, since the Louvre is all about heritage and excellence. But I clearly won’t do any justice writing about the cultural heritage and overall excellence that this institution represents, so I will simply write about what I’m good at, which is seeing awesome artwork and saving money and having diabetes! Sorry – that last part didn’t sound so great and wasn’t in very good taste so I should try again: seeing awesome artwork and saving money and avoiding the lines! That’s better! Let’s go!
To get there, take the metro line 1. Get off at the Palais-Royal–Musée du Louvre station and use the Carrousel entrance below the museum. Very few people use this underground entrance. You can buy a ticket for normal price at a small shop (you can’t miss it) in the underground mall at the Carrousel entrance. We got tickets from here twice and there was never a line, we literally walked right up to the counter and bought tickets and walked directly into the museum without waiting. You can also buy advance tickets through the Louvre website, but they cannot be picked up at the museum so it requires some running around. Also worth noting is that admission is free during the winter on the first Sunday of each month.
^^^This is the traffic in the Carrousel entrance during peak hours.
^^^Now that you’re in the museum, it’s time to explore!
^^^The Winged Victory of Samothrace
^^^The Venus de Milo, one of the most famous works of ancient Greek sculpture and a personal favorite!
^^^The Richelieu wing on the 1st floor is where you can see the famous Napoleon III Apartments in all their splendor!
^^^Louis XVI by Hyacinthe Rigaud, 1701. Not only did the Sun King rule France for almost 73 years (the longest of any monarch in a major country in European history) he was really proud of his legs – he’d probably look good in jeans! And that hair… oh that hair.
Ok now we must to talk about the Mona Lisa, because any writing about the Louvre must include its most famous piece.
^^^The space which houses the Mona Lisa is INSANE. Nobody seems to care about any of the other paintings in the room. It’s all about the Mona Lisa.
^^^It’s quite surreal to see this crowd celebritizing this little painting which had so little importance during the life of its creator… there must be an anthropological study about this. Ropes and security guards keep everyone at a distance.
^^^If you feel up to it (and are very patient) it is possible to get a decent image of the painting, once those really big Americans who talk way too loud about the Da Vinci Code get out of the way, of course.
^^^This painting, hung just outside, is a fitting image that undoubtedly resonates with everyone who just fought the crowds to get a glimpse of the Mona Lisa.
^^^Ok lets get back to the good stuff! The museum often shows contemporary work along with the ancient treasures, like this room dedicated to Anselm Kiefer. The Napoleon Apartments also occasionally offer modern exhibits.
^^^A highlight of the museum collection is the Marie de’ Medici cycle room. Each of these works are masterpieces by Peter Paul Rubens which depict struggles and triumphs in Marie’s life. The room is usually pretty sparse of those irritating museum tourists…
^^^…because they are all too busy posing in front of other pieces like this.
^^^Make sure to wander through the Tuileries and Carrousel Gardens as you leave; there are a ton of really nice statues here against a lovely backdrop of the city.
Now that you have navigated the Louvre like a pro it’s time to head onward and outward into the city! Long live love!