My bucket list keeps getting shorter. There is one more tick in the box. I can now honestly say that any trip to Paris is not complete until you have been to The Louvre.
The Louvre was originally a fortress built in the 12th century. Over its long and illustrious life it has been a royal residence, an Institute for the Humanities, a Royal Institute for the instruction of Painting and Sculpting, and in its current incarnation a museum.
Prior to our departure for Europe, we decided to pre order our tickets for the museum through an organisation called FNAC . FNAC is an international entertainment retail chain offering cultural and retail electronic products. We ordered the tickets and arranged to pick them up when we arrived in Paris. There was a pick up location right around the corner from our hotel so it was quite convenient. We collected the tickets from an automated ticket booth and it took all of about 2 minutes and we were done.
A word of advice, if you are planning to go to the Louvre I strongly recommend that you purchase your tickets ahead of time. When we arrived at the museum there was a very long line of people that were waiting there to purchase tickets. When we arrived with our pre purchased tickets we entered in less than 5 minutes, through the line reserved for those that had pre purchased them.
To say the museum was busy is an understatement, however that was expected. Things became a little easier once we picked up our map and a guide to the museum that was printed in English. When we entered the main portions of the museum, I can honestly say that I was struck dumb. I was in awe of the utter beauty of the place. I’m sure I must have looked like a child with just taking it all in. Room after room of priceless art and statues, my visual senses were just over whelmed and literally around every corner there was something else to see.
The main attraction at the Louvre is the Mona Lisa painted by Leonardo de Vinci. It was painted some time between 1503 and 1506, and it has been on display since 1797. The room where this painting is displayed is very busy and patience is the order of the day if you plan on getting a solid photograph of this work of art.
The museum us broken down into different areas, and to see everything in one visit is quite impossible unless you have an unlimited amount of time. There are around eight different collections or departments with some 35000 items on display. They range from Egyptian Antiquities, Near eastern Antiquities, Islamic Art and Paintings just to name a few.
There are also furnishing and items on display that belonged to King Louis the XVI and Maria Antoinette, Queen of France before they were both executed in 1792 and 1793 respectively. These items have been preserved and are in incredible condition.
Photography is allowed in the museum as long as you do not use a flash. There are parts of the museum that are very warm, due to the number of people. There were also times that the patron traffic was very congested so if you are a person that gets claustrophobic, take your time and wait for the crowed to pass.
There is a great gift shop in the main lobby where all manner of items can be purchased including reproductions of some of the statues and paintings that are on display at the museum. There are also reproductions of ancient jewellery and wide variety of books, however the books appeared to be mostly in French.
This museum is truly a wondrous place, and I could go on for days trying to explain what I have seen, however I do not believe that anything that I write here will do it justice. This cultural treasure deserves the recognition that it receives. This place is not just a treasure to France but a treasure to the World, and it is somewhere that should not be missed, when visiting Paris.