The Louvre appears at first glance to be small with two pyramids in its courtyard which are used as entrances. This however, can be further from the truth in that the Royal Palace which is known as the Louvre sprawls its 3 wings over 4 levels, boasts several courtyards, atriums and among other things, displays European works of arts; sculptures, paintings, jewellery and other ornaments plus the apartments of Napoleon (the Great). To put things into perspective, the place is sprawled so widely that you can enter it from any one of three subway stations; "Louvre - Rivoli", "Palais Royal -  Musée du Louvre" and "Louvre - Galarie du Carousel".

Perhaps the two glass pyramids, made famous in the movie “Da Vinci Code” are its landmarks and below this is a large hall called Napoleon Hall where we saw fit MANY tour groups, arranged in queues to purchase tickets. Long queues are seen emanating from the larger of the two pyramids, simply because security personnel will scan every bag and put all customers through a metal detector even before being allowed to enter the Napoleon Hall I described earlier. The Napoleon Hall sees the entrance to the temporary exhibition hall and also access to the permanent exhibits via 3 access entrances – Denon, Sully and Richelieu..

Denon Access Italian and Spanish paintings, 19th century French paintings,
Apollo Gallery, Crown Jewels,
Italian, Spanish and Northern European Sculptures
Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities
Roman Egypt, Coptic Egypt
Arts of Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas
Sully Access 17th, 18th, 19th century French paintings
17th, 18th, 19th century drawings and pastels
17th, 18th century decorative arts
Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities
Pharaonic Egypt
Ancient Iran, Arabia, Levent
History of the Lourve, Medieval Lourve
Richelieu Access 14th - 17th century French paintings
German, Flemish and Dutch paintings, Northern Schools
Medieval, Renaissance, 17th and 19th century Decorative Arts
Napoleon III Apartments
French Sculptures
Mesopotamia, Antique Iran
Islamic Art

This is perhaps one of the best value € 8.50 you will ever spend.

Of course you will be able to see the famous Leonardo Da Vinci painting “Mona Lisa” but not before queuing and squeezing with others to get to within 6 foot from the painting. With hardly enough time to appreciate this, I can say that at lease I have seen the original Mona Lisa… without deriving any value out of the viewing. However, the halls are home to many paintings from famous names .. some interest, some not but all good works of art. Some of the paintings have the power to captivate you, luring you to stare at it for long periods of time in appreciation.

Not only the paintings and the displays but several of the halls had ceiling murals in great detail, cornices lined with gold within a deep burgundy background.  We have had to keep reminding ourselves that the Louvre was actually a royal palace as one of the subway station name suggests.  Temperatures in these rooms were kept constant, obviously to reduce the effect of climatic changes to the preservation of these artifacts.

It is a good idea for you to rent an audio guide as its narrations tell you a bit more about the art, which you might not have picked up by just reviewing with the naked eye.

 


Jeanette in a room featuring a fantastic mural on the ceiling bordered with gold cornices in a burgundy background.

We only spent 4 hours at the Lourve but have vowed to return to yet again, appreciate the bits we have missed from this trip. We think that you will need AT LEAST 2 full days of viewing to quickly go through the works of arts and appreciate the lavish lifestyle of Napoleon the Great and Josephine, his wife. This is one place we thoroughly recommend as there’s lots to see and do.

Beyond the museum, there is also a large library-bookstore, print store, internet café and music store in the lower ground floor. Then, adjoining this is a much large shopping mall which house a travel agent, food court, more music, cosmetic, pharmacy etc.. and entrance to the "Louvre - Galarie du Carousel" subway station.

On the outside where the pyramids are is also an arc, called Arc du Carousel which presents a magnificent park. Manicured lawns, sidewalk café’s, a pebblestone boulevard called "Jardine des Tullaries" over what must be 1km leading to the Obélisque - a huge needle like monument . What a fantastic lifestyle Parisians have, as we saw many enjoy these sidewalk café’s with kids playing model sailboats in the fountain water reserve. In fact, we were half expecting a Marceau Marceau (French mime famous for his sad-faced clown) impressionist but that wasn’t to be the case.

We hope you enjoy these pictures taken of the Louvre, its exhibits, the Arc de Carousel and its surrounding parks, gardens and water fountains.

 

Raymond and Jeanette

April 19th 2007

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