The Louvre is big. No wait, that’s an understatement. It’s massive. Hmmm…still too small. Enormous? Colossal? Gargantuan? Are you getting the picture? We got there when the Louvre opened at 9 a.m. and figured we’d wander around and check it all out before lunch. Oh how young and naive we were back then. We ended up dragging our tired butts out of there around 2:30 because it was either leave some of the art unseen or die in the Louvre of starvation.
So we have another reason to go back to Paris (as if we needed more of those) – finish the Louvre. So how best to see the Louvre? I guess that depends on how much time you have. It will require at least a full day – if you really love art and really hate your feet. The museum is open from 9-6, and it will take all of that 9 hours to make it happen. They have a cafe, so you might not have to starve to death, but you’ll be walking around on bloody stumps far before you ever actually wither away from hunger. Or your wife will get so hangry that she will beat you to death with her purse. It’d be a mercy killing.
It looks so peaceful from the outside. If you have less than a whole day, or you care about your physical and mental health, there are several ways you can break this bad boy up. First, you could just try to see the big stuff. The Louvre does an amazing job of making sure you can see the stuff from your history books in person without having to hunt too much for it. You could also just wander around looking for crowds – but we almost missed the Venus de Milo that way.
Quick story: we were on our way out, starving and a little grouchy, and we passed a gift shop. The gift shop was full of these Venus statues. Quick check with Siri to confirm and, damnit, the Venus is, in fact, at the Louvre. So back in we go. Thirty more minutes. And there she was.
The next way to break it up is by section. There are three entrances to the art of the Louvre – Denon, Richelieu, and Sully. It might not be a terrible idea to simply visit three times and see one wing of the museum at a time.
There is something that happens to you when you view so much art in a very short period of time…it kind of all starts to look the same and you really can’t enjoy that much beauty all at once. We were standing in the midst of centuries of immaculately preserved and gorgeously rendered art and, after a few hours and the constant grumbling of my stomach, I completely stopped appreciating it. If all you see is beauty, at some point, it gets a little less beautiful. Just me? I doubt it.
The final way to see the Louvre is to just read this blog. Or a book. Obviously, I’m kidding. You should definitely go and see the Louvre in person. The art is ridiculous. The sculptures as well. And the grounds. The Louvre itself is a work of art. But it’s big. It will take time. I recommend you break it up and see it in sections. You will be able to truly appreciate it all that way, and it will give you something to look forward to each day, or trip, or whatever.
Now go in peace. Y vaya con Dios.