Musée du Louvre

September 9, 2011 § 2 Comments

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One of the things you just have to do while in Paris is visit the Louvre Museum. Originally built as a fortress and palace for Phillip II hundreds of years ago, the Louvre has seen many changes, additions of wings, and the like, and now the Louvre is enormous and beautiful. Some say you could live in Paris for a month, visiting the Louvre regularly, and still not see everything in the museum.

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We managed to visit the outside of the Louvre the day before we set out to explore the inside. We took a stroll through Jardin des Tuileries, the park that leads up to the museum. It was a gorgeous day and the sunbathers were taking advantage of the reclining chairs by the fountain.

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It was surreal to walk and walk and see the enormous museum forming in the distance.

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A couple taking their wedding photos in front of the arch.

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Once we passed under this archway, we crossed a road that runs through the museum and arrived in front of the Louvre.

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People just seem to plant themselves in front of the Louvre, sitting on the sides of the fountains, and hang out for hours.

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The next morning, we woke up early and arrived 10 minutes before the museum opened. There was already a massive line, but since we bought our tickets in advance online, we got to wait in the much shorter one.

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As soon as we were let in, everyone headed straight to the Grande Galerie. It’s by far the most popular and most crowded part of the museum, housing all the famous Italian and Renaissance paintings as well as the most famous painting in the world…

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The Mona Lisa is kept behind temperature-controlled glass, a wooden barrier, and a rope to keep the crowds away from the barrier. It’s also much smaller than you’d think! Either way, I couldn’t believe I was actually looking at the original Mona Lisa.

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After getting to the front of the crowd and snapping some photos, we let everyone else have their turns and explored the rest of the gorgeous space.

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So many works of art! Some so big, I don’t understand how they were painted!

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So much religious imagery. I wish I could tell you the names and artists of all the paintings, but I I’d have to make them up.

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So much detail in everything at the Louvre.

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Nick beside paintings about the same size as a studio apartment in NYC.

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Who doesn’t enjoy a cabinet full of mummified animals?

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And their former owner.

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Venus de Milo

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We took a break in the cafeteria after putting in a few hours. It felt like Ikea.

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Then watched some more (by which I mean several hundred) people enter the museum down the stairs under the glass pyramid.

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We headed back to the Grande Galerie when we realized we forgot about Da Vinci’s other paintings.

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He looks like he was a cool guy.

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This is what the Louvre originally looked like:

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Of course we had to find the inverse pyramid, because according to Dan Brown, the holy grail is buried underneath it. Apparently it’s also where you leave your kids to play while you visit the Starbucks and Apple Store in the museum.

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We spent about 4 hours walking around the museum. We did not see all of it, but we were happy with what we saw. A word of advice for those who will visit Paris: don’t walk down the Eiffel Tower the night before you plan to walk around the Louvre for an entire day. Your legs won’t thank you ;)

Still more Paris to come!

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