The Louvre

8 01 2012

A recent travel study showed that the Louvre was one of the top places for Australians to visit in Paris. Perhaps it is because our built heritage and history only dates back a couple of hundred years (Aboriginal history dates back much further of course but it is not a built history – no buildings). The amazingly detailed and elaborate historic buildings in Europe, and the enormous collection of artworks dating back centuries – and even thousands of years to Egyptian, Greek and Roman times – this is all on a completely different scale to art museums in Australia.

The Louvre is housed in the former Palais de Louvre. In the basement of the current building the original fortress walls (circa 12th century) have been restored and are on display.

It took us three goes to get into the Louvre. The first time we turned up on a Tuesday….to find that was the one day of the week that the Louvre is closed. The second time we turned up on the 1st of May. to find that it was again closed, perhaps for the Mayday Parades. Given France’s revolutionary history, perhaps they were concerned that the workers in the Parades might rise up and sack the museum…..

Third time lucky, we got in. The queues to get in were very long – across one courtyard, through and archway and into the next courtyard – but they moved quickly and it took about 3/4 an hour before we were inside.

I haven’t included too many photos of the actual artworks, because there are much better photographs available on the net (try Wikipedia and the Musee de Louvre website). Instead I have tried to capture some of the magnificence – the huge halls, spectacular architecture and the gilded details – that make the experience of visiting the Louvre so special.

If you are heading to the Louvre, a couple of things to remember:

1. It is closed on Tuesdays. (and, as we discovered, on May Day)

2. There are four wings to the Louvre – and if you want to see everything, you will need to take at least four days. Luckily there is a lovely restaurant in the foyer (which is also the nexus of the wings) so you can refuel and recoup ready for the next onslaught.


The Louvre viewed from the Eiffel Tower

The Louvre from across the Seine (first attempt to get into the Louvre!)

The famous courtyard of the Louvre, featuring the glass pyramid by I.M.Pei

plenty of opportunity to admire the architecture waiting in the queue.....

amazing architecture

view of one of the boarded-off storerooms, full of treasures

One of many depictions of Diana, goddess of the hunt

Q: what can be at the centre of this crush of people?

A; a very small painting on wooden boards.....and possibly the most famous painting in the world.

there are other paintings in the same room as the Mona Lisa!

this courtyard is closed - a view from the second floor windows

statue in the closed-off courtyard

view of the I.M.Pei pyramid from the second floor windows

grand staircase

some of the surplus treasures stored in a boarded-off area

"rogues gallery"?

the entire building features elaborate painted and guilded ceilings - the artwork as impressive as anything else on display

Venus de Milo

part of the medieval walls of the original Palais de Louvre, now on display in the basement of the Musee de Louvre

a replica of the original fortress de Louvre

A sphinx guards the entrace to the Egyptian collection

If you liked this post you might also like some more posts from France…..
Arrival in Paris
Caves of Lascaux
Notre Dame
French menus
Standing Stones of Carnac
Les Grottos en France
Tour Eiffel (Eiffel Tower)