Ever wonder how you can avoid the queues at The Louvre? There is a lot to see in Paris, so one does not want to spend all holiday in a line. The Louvre is the most famous art gallery in Paris (if not the world) and by 9am it is over an hour’s wait to get inside. A simple pre-planning strategy will get you in fast to see and explore more.
On my last trip to Paris, I invested in the Paris Pass (pre purchased in Australia), which allowed me unlimited access to many attractions across the city.
Crowd jumping at the Louvre is easy. The Paris Pass allows the holder to arrive early and enter via the group entrance. No general admission line-up required!
Once inside, head straight to the Mona Lisa first. Although only small, she is the star attraction. Within an hour of opening, the Mona Lisa room is crowded. By getting there first, you can enjoy an unobstructed view of the famous painting in a relatively quiet environment. There were only a handful of other Paris Pass holders in the room the day I visited.
Much mystery surrounds the identity of the Mona Lisa and there are some rumours that she was modelled on Leonardo da Vinci himself. However, I’m not quite convinced, but feel free to draw your own conclusions. Interestingly, there is an almost identical painting in Madrid’s Museo del Prado (Prado Museum). This version has more feminine features and is said to have been painted by one of Leonardo’s students.
The Louvre is huge and it is impossible to see everything in one day.
So once the Mona Lisa is crossed off the list, spend a moment in one of the quiet seating areas and plan your visit in the guide map. Not only is this a chance to mark out the locations of exhibits you most want to see, but it is a moment to reflect. Yes, you are really in the Louvre!
During my visit to the Greek and Italian sculpture hall, my first point of call was to visit the statue of Aphrodite the Greek Goddess more famously known as the Venus de Milo. She was sculptured by Alexandros of Antroch and was discovered on 8 April 1820 buried on the island of Melos in the Aegean Sea. The detail that goes into these sculptures is truly amazing.
Further into the sculpture hall, I was impressed to see an almost replica group of statues standing in a similar position to those I saw on my trip to Barcelona. Okay, they are not completely identical, but it is an interesting discovery. The positioning of the statues in a circle like this is unique and to see two in one trip is worth remembering. It is even more special to have shared it with some great new friends. I still have the photos we took in Barcelona.
As the crowds build downstairs, take the opportunity to wander upstairs to the royal rooms and view the crown worn by Louis XVI who ruled France between 1774-1791 with his famous wife Marie Antoinette. The Louvre was a palace before it became an art gallery and it was home to some of the most famous and infamous kings and queens in France’s long history. Take a tour of the Napoleon III apartments and you will be inspired and transported back into the French Revolution.
It is a surreal experience to walk through the rooms where the French royalty once reigned. Gold panelled edgings around walls and gorgeous paintings on the ceiling by famous French artists. One can imagine what it was like to walk through the royal halls dressed in 16th and 17th century clothing. I was almost expecting to see the Scarlet Pimpernel appear.
As the crowds move to the top floors, make your way back down to the gallery halls where you can enjoy the famous works of Rembrandt and Monet later in the afternoon.
A perfect way to end a visit to the most famous attraction in Paris.