Overseeing the Seine and located in the center of Paris, the Louvre is one of the world’s largest museums with thousands and thousands of works of art. This is my practical approach to visiting this museum while still getting to see other areas of the city.
When planning our trip to Paris, I wanted to see as much of the city as possible but still be able to enjoy the areas I visited. So on our first trip, one of these areas had to be the Musée du Louvre. Full of all types of works of art ranging from sculptures, paintings, and antiquities from all time periods, I can easily spend my whole trip walking the halls, being inspired by all the pieces and feeling like I’m discovering each artwork for the first time. But how do you visit such a large museum and not spend your whole trip there?
Well, since I knew my time was limited, I narrowed down the pieces I wanted to see to just 3 items. Why 3? That seems like a doable number for a half day visit and if it ended up being really sunny outside, I won’t feel like I’m missing out on my day by being inside (something about the sunlight, just makes me want to be outdoors. :) Based on my current knowledge of art and by visiting the Louvre’s website, I was able to search and pick the pieces I most wanted to see:
1. Glass Pyramid by Pei
2. Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci
3. Venus de Milo, or Aphrodite of Melos
Now of course, you could just make a list and then pick the pieces you are going to see out of a hat or you could just not make a list at all, but I’d figure this would be the best way for me to feel like I saw what was important and not miss out on something I truly wanted to see.
The main entrance to the Louvre is beneath the glass pyramid so this was an easy one to check off the list even if I never make it inside. I wanted to see what all the hoopla was about when this structure was built and why some considered it to be out of place and too modern. Either way, this piece was the most fun to photograph being surrounded by the wings of the museum and then when inside, all the light shining through the glass to the level underneath. Spectacular!
The Mona Lisa is located in the Denon Wing along with the European painting collections. Now, don’t expect to get up close and personal with the Mona Lisa as it is behind layers of thick glass, hung on a wall several feet away behind wooden banisters and then behind another set of ropes, guarded by museum personnel. You can thank all the previous vandals and thieves for that! There was a huge crowd of folks trying to squeeze in to get a glimpse or a photograph of this painting, so be patient if you decide to add this one to your list of must-sees.
The Venus de Milo was the last item on my list and it’s located in the Sully Wing. This was my absolute favorite wing of the museum. Not only is this wing full of Hellenistic artworks and Greek stoneware but it also houses many of the Louvre’s Egyptian pieces as well. Now, you can take pictures of anything you’d like but I came with the idea of capturing my 3 main pieces and the rest of the time there I spent exploring all the wings. Keep in mind, the museum is not really set up for the best lighting when photographing so you may need to stick with long exposures and no flash to get some good results. For these shots, I used the LC-A+ and made good use of its auto-exposure feature.
One last tip: if you can, travel to Paris so that you can be there during the first Sunday of any month and the admission to the Louvre is free. One small way to save a few Euros.
In the end, with a little planning, you too can get a glimpse of the wonders the Louvre holds inside.