Yesterday I had to go to the Louvre for eight hours.
I know, it's a tough life.
While it was an exhausting day,
it was also a sweet day thinking back on past visits.
I had memories flood back
from special days spent there
with so many special people...
Whether is was posing by statues as kids...
napping in the seats of the Italian Renaissance wing when backpacking in college...
posing by the winged victory with cousins...
or having photo shoots with pyramids outside with friends...
the Louvre is a place that I cherish for a lot of reasons.
Beyond jogging my nostalgia & inspiring me with gorgeous works of art,
this visit was great because it reminded me of a few tricks
that make it easier to visit the Louvre.
Here are a few tips to make your trip to the Louvre perfect...
and worthy of many good memories of your own!
TAKE THE BACK DOOR
Take the Metro stop one stop past the instinctive Louvre-Rivoli stop
and, instead, alight at the Palais Du Louvre- Musee Louvre.
This will bring you to Rue Rivoli.
When you arrive at street level,
look down the street about 50 meters
until you see a red awning.
It will say Carrousel Du Louvre.
Take this entrance, go down the escalators,
pass the Apple Store & Starbucks
and opt for the shorter line into the foyer of the Louvre.
This will save you about 30 minutes from the typical security line
that wraps around the fountains for the main entrance at the Pyramids...
You can always take your Pyramid pictures later.
CONSULT AN EXPERT
If you are going all the way to France,
all the way through the lines,
the least you can do
is make your time at the Louvre informative.
First, the audio guide is €6, but can offer some great tours and information...
though, if it's not working- swap it out at any booth. I have had to do that multiple times.
You can buy your audio guide ticket at the kiosks, or at the desks. Then you take the ticket to the audio guide desk... be prepared to leave an ID/credit card as a deposit until the guide is returned.
Second, download a Louvre app on your iPad before you head overseas.
There are some great apps available
that can give you some amazing info on the art you are seeing.
Finally, if you have 3G or wifi,
you MUST try Google Googles.
Take a picture with you phone/iPad,
use the Google Goggles app to scan it... and voila!
You have a google search result based off the picture (instead of a keyword).
It is INCREDIBLE.
TAKE A BREATHER
There is a food court in the Carousel du Louvre
(and, yes, you can leave the main area and return with your ticket),
and there are some crowded cafes in the main foyer...
but if you go early enough
(like at around 11:45)
you can snag a table at Cafe Mollien.
Find it at the far end of the Denon Wing.
After the Delacroix hall...
right past the Mona Lisa,
and at the edge of the ornate stairwell.
It's pleasantly decent food
(well, except for the sandwiches, which are pre-wrapped!!)...
The soups & quiches are quite nice,
while the teas & coffee are great.
But beyond the acceptable food,
is the place to recharge & rest
in a non-hectic setting
with a view of the Pyramids & Tuileries
that is totally incredible.
Also, be on the lookout for the cleverly placed seating in the Louvre.
Most of these nooks are sun-light, cozy
& perfect for letting your eyes & brain rest.
While you're resting & wandering,
don't forget to look up.
The artwork hung along these walls might be amazing,
but this former palace is a true masterpiece.
FIND ART YOU LIKE
You know what?
I've seen the Mona Lisa a bunch,
and, yeah, it's nice...
But I always laugh when I enter the room
that this famous painting is displayed in.
At one end, the Mona Lisa end,
you will see this....
and, mainly overlooked, on the other end of the room, is this.
The largest painting in the Louvre...
The Feast of Cana.
and while hoards of people shove and push to take their picture by Mona
they are miss an amazing moment by something really grand.
Don't just hit the highlights to check them off your list...
find something that you connect with.
Even if it's not on a postcard
or in history books.
Find a piece that makes you stop,
stare, and feel wistful....
that's when you know you've found an artist you connect with.
JOIN THE CLUB
Are you planning on visiting the Louvre again this year?
If you are under the age of 26, you can go down towards the Carousel Du Louvre
and stop by the members office.
There you can, rather quickly, fill our a form
pay €15 for "la carte Louvre jeunes", and become a member for a year.
You'll get free entrance & 30% off gift stores & cafes...
and with ticket prices being €10 a visit,
this is a heck of a deal.
If you are 26-30 or a professional,
you can get a year membership for €35.
All it takes is 15 minutes & a valid proof of identification.
Enjoy your visit to the Louvre...
please add your thoughts below!
I'm off to Versailles tomorrow...
and of course, I'll be blogging & tweeting my way through the day.
*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy