Ahhh, the City of Light. Is there a more iconic city than Paris? The iconic city of love, exquisite cuisine, and of course, art. It is home to the world’s largest art museum, Musée du Louvre, or also known simply as the Louvre. Knowing that it is the largest in the world, you won’t quite get an idea of how large it is unless you’re inside. Seriously, it’s huge. It’s so huge that we ended up getting lost for hours trying to find the exit, but more on that later! Rather than include photos of my time at the Louvre in a recap post of my trip to Paris, it deserves its own post because, I repeat, THIS PLACE IS HUGE.
Paris is ~kind of~ my first solo trip. I met up with my cousin Katie (I spent a majority of my time in Paris with her, but you can see more of our shenanigans in another blog post.), who lives in Toronto and who I had only seen maybe four times before this trip since, you know, we live in different countries. She had already booked a skip the line tour so I decided to do the same so we could explore the Louvre together. If you’re a morning person, it’s a good idea to go ahead and pay more to skip the line or else you’ll be standing in line for most likely, forever. If you want to save money by not booking a skip the line tour and NOT wait in line, I highly suggest going to the Louvre about 2 hours before closing. It’ll be almost empty! I learned this from experience. I discovered this lifehack because I’m NOT a morning person. Most people think they should wake up early and arrive early to beat the crowds, but THAT’S WHAT EVERYONE IS THINKING, so everyone goes in the morning. By late afternoon, most of the tourists are gone. You won’t have to wait in line to get in and you won’t have to swim through a sea of humans inside.
The Louvre has been on the top 3 of my bucket list (shared with seeing the hot air balloons in Cappadocia and eating Greek yogurt for breakfast along the caldera in Santorini) and one of those moments I thought I’d never experience besides obsessively looking at it on Google images and Youtube, but hey, here I am! Crazy!
The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel was built between 1806 and 1808 to commemorate Napoleon’s military victories. It’s situated in Place du Carrousel, which is a public square between the Louvre and the Tuileries Garden. This public square is also where the guillotine stood between 1792-1793. Here we are standing at the very site where people were beheaded…! 😐
Before it became Musée du Louvre (Louvre Museum) in 1793, it was Palais du Louvre (Louvre Palace) and was the royal residence for the kings of France starting in the 14th century. Construction for the palace started in 1546. The main entrance to the Louvre is through the Pyramide du Louvre (the Louvre Pyramid), which was completed in 1989 and designed by Chinese American architect, I. M. Pei. The photo of the main entrance was taken in the late afternoon, which is why it doesn’t look crowded. Don’t be fooled! There were people everywhere in the morning!
So if we go back in time even more, before the Louvre was even the Louvre Palace, it was a fortress in the medieval period. The original Louvre was built in 1202 and the construction of the fortress was ordered by King Philip II Augustus to protect Paris from invaders. Parts of the original fortress can be seen by going through the underground entrance, which is the entrance our skip the line tour took us through.
We went through the Carrousel du Louvre, which is an underground shopping mall. From there, you can also see the famous La Pyramide Inversée (Inverted Pyramid) in front of the museum entrance. It was designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners and installation completed in 1993.
And now….. on to the art! Photography is allowed inside the museum, but no flash photography. Remember to turn your flash off! Pictures speak a thousand words, so enjoy the photos I took during our adventure through the many halls and wings of the Louvre.
Our tour was over and it was very helpful because we were lead to the most famous works of art in the Louvre, which saved us a lot of time that probably would have been spent being lost. Katie and I were now free to wander around on our own! It may not seem like it since I didn’t take pictures of everything I saw, but we had already been walking around the museum for about 2 hours during the tour. Now to explore on our own:
We followed the signs on the walls that pointed towards the exit, which indicated the exit required going down to the lower levels, it only ended up taking us to another exhibit….
We were looking for the exit for HOURS. Didn’t help that we were hungry and thirsty… Brains weren’t functioning at full capacity. I didn’t bother to take pictures of every hall we walked through. LOOK AT THIS PLACE. IT’S HUGE! That’s only a small section of one of the wings. Even though we wandered around for hours, it was still impossible to see every single artwork in there. It would require going to the Louvre every day for a week to see everything! Now you can probably see why I gave the Louvre its own post!
I still can’t believe I went to the Louvre! I always thought of it as some faraway place I read about in books. Being an artist, this is the holy land of art that every artist wants to make a pilgrimage to. It’s incredible that so many famous works by the old masters are under the same roof and I got to see them in person. It’s definitely a must, even if you aren’t an artist. Be sure to eat before you go in case you go hungry and get lost inside like we did.
Recap of my first trip to Paris will be coming soon. See you next time!