** It’s quite sad that this post (which has been sitting in my draft pile for over a week due to pending edits) was scheduled for posting in the wake of the senseless acts of violence in Paris. My heart goes to the victims and their families as well as those who perished in Beirut due to a similar incident.
A visit to Paris won’t be complete without stopping by The Louvre. While the city does have a lot of museums, nothing compares to the Louvre when it comes to the number of historical artefacts it hosts. It sounds so basic to say that the Louvre has got to be one of my favourite museums in Europe – but it is. Tied with Rijksmuseum, to be honest.
A dream job of mine would be to work there and have a humungous employee discount at their souvenir shop. I’ll just buy all the books I want. 😀 😀
My last visit before this year was in January 2013 and I wrote a quick article for Rappler on some of my must-see pieces. You can find that article by clicking on this link: Visiting The Louvre. If you’re a first time visitor and would love to get a few tips in getting in and exploring the museum, I think that article can serve as a primer.
For this post, I won’t go into detail on the pieces anymore since I already did that in the Rappler article. This is going to be more of a photo diary from our recent visit in August.
Visiting the Louvre is a completely different experience depending on the season. In the winter (which was my 2013 visit), everything is a breeze. No lining up, photos taken with minimal strangers in them, no need to be in such a hurry when it comes to looking at the pieces, you won’t experience pushing!
In the summer, it’s the exact opposite:
Lines and lines of people everywhere. It wasn’t as bad as Musée d’Orsay – but still. It was quite hard to be under the sun. Also, it was 36 degrees Celsius. That’s enough to make us melt. It took us 5 minutes to get in thanks to the Paris Pass. We didn’t have to fall in line for tickets too.
If we didn’t have it, we would have to wait for about 30 minutes. Getting burned by the sun would have been definite. And no, this post isn’t sponsored by Paris Pass. I’m just so thankful it made our lives easier.
We headed straight for the antiquities as the husband requested to see them first. It ended up being a great first stop since the number of people seemed lesser compared to the other sections of the museum.
My husband’s face lit up when he saw the Code of Hammurabi. I knew my lawyer would love it. 😉
We decided to rest our feet for a bit at the atrium since we’ve been walking a lot prior to getting to the Louvre – it was our third stop for the day. We found ourselves facing Sebastien Slodtz’ Annibal (Hannibal). Hmm. Testosterone. But if you’re counting the enemy’s dead after a huge battle in Versailles, you’re bound to have a really manly vibe. 😉
Confession: I wanted to become an archaeologist when I was younger. It was always so hard to choose whether I should specialise on the ancient Egyptians or the Mayans and Incans. Or maybe finding the lost city of Atlantis. I had big dreams, man. But then again, I ended up in journalism. I thought it would pay the bills better. :))
Sweating like a piggy at this point, but off we went to see the museum’s star – the Mona Lisa. Not really my favourite painting but she’s a must-see, definitely. Especially since it’s the husband’s first time. A word of caution. Be prepared for the mother of all museum crowds once you get into the big room that houses the painting. Everyone – and I mean practically everyone in the museum – is on a mission to see her smile. So as a tip:
If you’re visiting the Louvre in the summer, I suggest that you come early. Wait around for it to open and when it does, make a dash for the Mona Lisa since it attracts the most visitors and the room will eventually fill up with people, making it hard to see her.
Don’t believe me? How hard can it be, right? Like this:
I was on my tippy toes when I took this shot. You’ll have to wait and wiggle your way to the front to have a very good view of her. Otherwise, what you’ll see is all going to be the backs of the heads of other visitors and a portion of a frame. It’s actually hard to get to the front with all the people but when you do, you’ll feel like it’s an achievement.
I even bullied my husband into taking a selfie with the Mona Lisa once we got there. It took a lot of my energy to get there and admire Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous work – so might as well.
Winged Victory of Samothrace is one of my personal favourites. It’s humungous and guards one of my favourite hallways in the museum. Admittedly, this is a bad photo. But it’s the only one I took of her during this trip and Nike has to be in this post. 😉
We also visited the Napoleon III apartments which are always a sight to see. Gilded from head to toe and the epitome of luxury at the time, it’s one of the most interesting parts of the museum, in my opinion. While I don’t believe in 24/7 luxury for myself, I just think it’s fun to see how the 1% lived. Don’t you think?
Ok, but I’ll admit that pretty dinner ware will always be one of my guilty pleasures. 😉
After visiting the Louvre, it’s nice to sit under a tree and do some people watching at the Tuileries Gardens. It’s just right in front of the massive museum and has exquisite greenery that provide a pretty good breeze.
There are also metal lounge seats in the areas where there’s shade so people can sit and enjoy the beautiful weather. They are more comfortable than they look – trust me.
It can also be a good way to do some people watching but to be honest, you’ll only see fellow tourists as well in this area. I’ll recommend the 15th arrondissement (our hotel’s location) or a place which is more residential to actually see Parisian life. We had people saying ‘Bonjour!’ to us as we ate breakfast at a cafe in that area and dog-walkers that smile towards us.
Seriously. Whoever said Parisians are snobs must have met a few lousy ones. I only meet friendly and helpful people there. I think I’ve already said this before at a different post but oh well – I just had to say it again.
If you go straight through the Tuileries Gardens, you’ll be exiting towards the Place de la Concorde where you’ll find the Luxor Obelisk. A gift from the former Khedive of Egypt, Muhammed Ali, to King Louis-Philippe.
This obelisk used to stand at the entrance of the Luxor Temple in Egypt and its twin remains there to this day. I used to say that it looks pretty out of place in the square but now, I can’t imagine Place de la Concorde without it.
I can do without the tuk-tuks though. They are overpriced. I prefer them in Bangkok or in Cambodia.
And there you have it. I actually skipped a couple of parts of our Day 2 in Paris since this post will be way too long already. They’ll be coming in 2 more posts as I decided to divide them in two groups.
At this rate, I’ll prolly finish blogging about our Europe trip by next year. Haha! But I know you guys will bear with me. This isn’t work after all and I just want to enjoy putting up each post.
P.S. Despite the tragedies that happened in Paris this year (not just the recent one – let’s not forget the Charlie Hebdo attack), it’s still worth a visit. It will never lose its charm. We shouldn’t let terrorists achieve their objectives by being scared and not living our lives how we want to.
*Trip is not sponsored by any country’s tourism department, company, or brand but by my side of the family living in Europe. 😊