Saturday, October 22, 2011

Visiting the Louvre in Paris

During my honeymoon, we visited the Louvre (just as everyone does, right?). If you are planning a trip there for the first time, you might want to read this post.

  1. There is WAY too much to see. Have you ever heard that expression before? I hadn't either until I saw it for myself. It doesn't matter where you start but you will get overwhelmed over and over again. We tried to see as much as we could and came out of there needing to sit and do nothing for 6 hours from the sensory overload. If you go, plan it in several trips with a Paris Museum Pass. See French, Dutch and German painters one day, Sculpture, Greek and Egypt another and Italian and Napoleon III's Rooms another.
  2. The bathrooms SUCK. They really do. If staff from the Louvre is reading this, the bathrooms need to be renovated. There are about two stalls available in every bathroom and they were awful. I did my business and hurried the heck out of there. The lock on the door is necessary too because people walk in on you -- believe it. Happened to me twice while I was there and I thought that I had locked the door. 
  3. Eat at the Cafe Angelina Richelieu at 11:30. Seriously. I have pictures of the line-up to the cafeteria at 11:30 and it's unbelievable. Get the veal or another meat dish here, they are really good. So are the pastries and the coffee. 
  4. Prepare to get crowded: and hit, slashed, bumped into and knocked over. People step right in your way with no apology and it's MUCH worse in the Italian Painters exhibit. If you get a good picture of the Mona Lisa then you are one of the lucky ones. Here is the one that we got. If it is not the sensory overload from the amount of stuff that gets to you, the sheer mass of people will. 
  5. Get a map: this is your best friend. As soon as you get into the main lobby, find the map. This is your best friend. I am serious, this is the only way that we saw everything and how we exited the exhibit -- most of them were not obvious. We often had to walk through entire exhibits without looking at anything just to find a bathroom or the exit.
  6. Turn the flash off of your camera: like most other exhibits and museums in Paris, you cannot use a flash at the Louvre. You can, however, take pictures without it. What we did is turn the flash off before we left the house for that day.

Gallerie d'Apollon

The closest we got to the Mona Lisa in the Italian Painters wing.

The line-up of people going to the cafeteria at 12 noon.

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