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The Louvre (Paris, France)

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One of the most famous and important galleries in the world.

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      07.10.2011 10:18
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      Unmissable!

      The Louvre is one of, if not the most prestigious art museum in the world and it houses a simply fantastic collection of paintings, sculptures and other precious objects. It is an absolute must for the first time visitor to Paris.

      The museum is located at the bottom of the Champs Elysees in the very centre of Paris. Even if you don't fancy going into the Louvre, you should absolutely visit because the buildings in which it is housed are worthy of a look themselves. The building was originally a palace, built in the twelfth century, which was home to the Royal Family until Louis XIV chose to move to the Palace of Versailles just outside Paris. After that it was used to display the Royal collection until it opened as a museum during the French Revolution in 1793. The buildings are opulent and certainly befitting a Royal Family and you are free to wander around them without charge. Right at the centre of the museum in the courtyard is the most recent addition to the buildings. IM Pei's glass pyramid was installed in 1989 and just like the Eiffel Tower before it, it caused a lot of controversy. Many Parisians thought it was ugly and not in keeping with the rest of the old buildings that surround it. I can see what they are saying, but I personally think it is a wonderful addition that blends old with new in a striking way.

      The museum has various opening hours throughout the week. It opens each day at 9am. On Mondays and Wednesdays it closes at 9.45 in the evening, whilst on Thursdays to Sundays it closes at 6pm. It is closed on Tuesdays. Entry is free on the first Sunday of each month, otherwise it is eight Euros per person to get it and it is slightly cheaper if you go just before closing. Unless you are only visiting for something specific, I'd strongly recommend that you leave at least a full morning or afternoon to visit. There are so many pieces (over thirty five thousand in fact) in the Louvre that you could spend a whole week in here and still miss a lot of it, but we found that the best way to do it was to pick the four or five main things we wanted to see and then plan a route, admiring everything else on the way. If you don't do something similar you will simply be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of art work on display. You'll also get very, very lost!

      You enter the museum through the glass pyramid and descend down into the basement, which is surprisingly light and airy space. Here you will have to queue for your ticket if you have not already pre booked one. You also get a floor plan, available in many different languages. Once you have decided where you are going you need to go up one of the small escalators to the museum proper, where your ticket is checked. Understandably, due to the many priceless items in the museum, security is tight and you can expect to have your bag checked several times.

      When we went, like most other visitors, we made a beeline for the Mona Lisa. It's actually not a bad idea because it is so far from the entrance that you will in fact see a lot of other things on the way naturally. I particularly enjoyed the corridor that was lined with busts as I thought it had a slightly macabre feel to it and it felt like the heads were following me along the corridor - almost like an interactive display if you will. Throughout the museum the walls everywhere are lined with paintings of all sizes, many of them are religious paintings that stretch from floor to ceiling, some are better than others and undoubtedly you find one you love right next to one you hate. Getting to the Mona Lisa is a trek, but it is a trek that is well signposted throughout the museum. It is housed in a room by itself and the queue to get in is understandably long - to avoid this you are better visiting first thing in the morning or last thing at night. To be honest, I was completely underwhelmed by the Mona Lisa. The first thing you notice is how small it is. After walking through the corridors and seeing the giant paintings everywhere I thought it would be much bigger and more impressive. Certainly the famous enigmatic smile is eye catching, but behind the super thick bullet proof glass and surrounded by hundreds of people it just looks a little small and oddly insignificant. Perhaps I am demonstrating a certain ignorance by saying that, but that is predominantly how it made me feel. You can't take any pictures of the Mona Lisa and to be honest you'd be lucky to get close enough to try.

      The second thing we really wanted to see was the Venus Di Milo statue that is located at the other end of the museum. Once again, being one of the most popular exhibits, it is well sign posted throughout the museum. This time the statue is in open display with only a red velvet rope separating you from her. Again there are always many people around but it is much easier to get a good look. The statue is very impressive and surprisingly well intact considering that it dates back to the second century BC.

      One of the other parts of the museum that I really enjoyed was the Egyptian antiquities section. Located down in the cellar, the collection is very atmospheric. Whilst all of the crowds are upstairs looking at the more famous works, this impressive section is a lot quieter and sedate, adding to the eeriness of it. My favourite piece here was the crypt of the Sphinx, although I also enjoyed the comprehensive collections of mummified cats and sarcophagi.

      On the whole, the museum is well presented and well maintained and there are so many things to see that you can spend hours there. No doubt you will, like I did, make a beeline for the most famous pieces, but I strongly recommend that you slow your pace down and soak up the atmosphere and grandeur of the world's most visited museum.

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        08.10.2009 09:11
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        The Louvre, Paris France

        I recently took a trip to Paris and one of the things that I really wanted to see was the Louvre, or to give it it's correct name, The Musée du Louvre. The Louvre is the largest national museum of France, the most visited museum in the world, and a historic monument. It is a central landmark of Paris, located on the Right Bank of the Seine.

        To me the building itself is worth seeing just on it's own as it's as beautiful inside as it is outside and a spectacle to be seen. According to an article I read the museum is housed in the Louvre Palace (Palais du Louvre) which began as a fortress built in the late 12th century under Philip II. The museum opened on 10 August 1793.

        On the outside of the building you will see the famous pyramids. The largest pyramid actually is the main entrance to the museum. which is then surrounded by three smaller pyramids. THe pyramids were added in 1989, and have become a landmark for the city of Paris. They were probably made more famous by the Da Vinci code movie where the scenes focus around the rose line going through Paris and the possible grave of Mary Magdaline under the pyramid.

        Entrance to the museum is, in my opinion quite reasonable. A full day access ticket is only 9 Euros which I don't think is too bad. You are given a map of the building when you buy your ticket which does come in very handy as you navigate around the building. Inside it is very light and bright with lots of white walls and like I've said a very great architectural building to see itself. The ceilings in some of the wings are absolutely stunning so I advise looking up as well as looking at the art on the walls.

        The painiting I most wanted to see, along with probably all the rest of the visitors was Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa. Obviously this is one of the most famous paintings in the world and what I found funny was there were actually signs up around the wing telling you how to get to the Mona Lisa. They only did this for this one painting but it just goes to show that this is what people want to see and I suppose it saves guests forever asking employees the way to La Gioconda to give it it's proper name. THe painting had at one time belonged to Louis XIV. Louis XIV moved the painting to the Palace of Versailles and then after the French Revolution, it was moved to the Louvre so they have had it for a long time. The painting actually has a barrier around it keeping the crowds back probably about 20 feet from the actual painting so you can't touch it and it allows lots of people to take a look at any one time. What really annoyed me is that people were taking photographs of the painting and actually a lot of the art in the museum. It does say that flash photography is not allowed in the museum but this did not stop people and the guards were not stopping anyone taking photos either. I have always heard that light over time breaks down paintings so why this is allowed I do not know.

        The museum is easy to navigate although there are lots of stair cases and escalators so be prepared for a walk. In fact, I would say that you probably need more than a day to do this museum justice but for one day you do get to see a lot. The museum is divided into three wings: the Sully Wing to the east, which contains the Cour Carrée and the oldest parts of the Louvre; the Richelieu Wing to the north; and the Denon Wing, which borders the Seine to the south. Each wing has it's name written in big letters on the wall so by referencing the map you can see which was you want to go and what sort of art the wing contains. For example on the first floor are examples of Roman art and Egyptian antiques and on the 2nd floors are French paintings and German and Dutch paintings.

        Other collections include Near Eastern Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan Antiquities; Islamic Art; Sculpture; Decorative Arts; Paintings; and Prints and Drawings. The articles are displayed well in my opinion although one thing I would say is that all of the painting descriptions are written in French and not English which is disappointing because I really wanted to read about a lot of them but it was ll in another language. I would have thought with all the visitors they have they would have some information in English. Some parts did have a plastic sheet written up with different languages on it but there were only a few and people always seemed to be reading them.

        The museum has a wonderful book shop which not only sells guide books and visitor gifts but also has a vast collection of art books and books on different painters and movements and is well worth a browse around if this is something you find interesting. There are also lots of cafes around if you want to stop for a drink or food which was quite reasonable.

        If in Paris I definitely recommend a visit to the Louvre

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          13.09.2009 16:25
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          The most stunning museum I've ever seen.

          The Louvre is probably the biggest must-see gallery and museum in Europe, and definitely in France. Spending a full day here is hard on the feet but great for developing your culture muscles - you could spend a week wandering the various galleries and still not see everything.

          It's easy to find - in the middle of Paris and served by two Metro stations: Louvre Rivoli and Palais-Royal-Musée du Louvre, also the hop-on-hop-off buses and local buses 21, 24, 27, 39, 48, 68, 69, 72, 81, 95 and the Batobus at quai François Mitterrand.

          Admission's very reasonable, and when you consider just how much you're seeing it's absurdly good value. Adult admission is Euro9 or Euro6 for admission after 6pm. For tickets on the day you have to enter through the appallingly out of place glass pyramid in the middle of the main square. You can however buy advance tickets online for 1.50 extra, which gives you the option to avoid the queues and enter through side doors. Recommended for the summer, when the pyramid is painfully hot and the lines atrociously long.

          There are restaurants inside, so you don't have to leave for lunch, and you can borrow walking sticks, strollers, and wheelchairs if you deposit your ID with them. ATMs can be found in the post office (yes, they have one).

          These are the things I think you must see:

          The Italian Renaissance (where you can also find Mona Lisa)
          The Winged Victory
          The Venus de Milo
          The Coronation of Napoleon by David
          Napoleon III's Apartments
          The Egyptian Sculptures
          Michelangelo's David
          Cupid and Psyche

          Prepare to be disappointed by Mona Lisa - it's not well presented, much smaller than you expect, and surrounded by a big scrum of tourists yelling Hello? Can you hear me? I'm at the Mona Lisa! into their phones.

          Wear comfortable shoes and layered clothes - it can get really hot but some areas are climate-controlled and a little chilly.

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            13.09.2009 15:40
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            Worth going to see.

            I have never really been that into Museums but myself and my boyfriend took a trip to Paris and there was something he wanted to see, so of course I obliged him!

            The park the Louvre is situated in is lovely. Its large and long and thin, surrounded by the beautiful building itself. There are places to sit and watch the world go by and places to eat. To access the Louvre main entrance you havw to go to the famous glass pyramid. You queue (for us this was a short while) take a short security check and then go down some escalotrs. I thought it would be claustrophobic, going under ground, but the space underneath is so large. The museum is divided into wings, with different themes, and to access some of it you have to go out and back in. For one price you get to see almost everything, except speical exhibitions that you have to pay a few euros more.

            We cam,e quite late in the day so had to pay a reduced fee to get in, but we were so impressed we came back the next day for longer.

            I loved all the exhibitions, especially the ancient rome and the egyptian, it was breath taking-definitely worth a trip. Another thing that caught my eye was the foundations of the castle. The genuine foundations of the original castle were underneath in the museum, the size and scale were breath taking.

            If you are in Paris do not miss it!

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              30.07.2009 19:29
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              A experience that I wanted to enjoy but didn't :(

              I'm going to go against the general consensus view on dooyoo and say that I really didn't enjoy the Louvre. In fact after seeing two exhibitions me and my sister left early! I will explain my opinion and visit, but I am not going to go into a lot of depth about the museum because all that information can be obtained from http://www.louvre.fr/llv/commun/home.jsp which can be changed to English by clicking in the top right.

              For starters, upon entering the court yard with the famous pyramid I was rather impressed with the building. I loved the architecture and the fountains and walkways. This part of the Louvre is free to enter so if you just want to stroll around there it wont cost you anything. After this we walked around for a bit attempting to find the entrance and when we did we went down several escalators to the part of the building directly under the pyramid. This part was rather busy, although it only took a 20 minute que to get tickets. Turns out I could have got in for free as I'm under 26 but I didn't take proof so if you do visit and that applies take a driving liscence or passport and don't make my mistake. Otherwise the ticket prices are 9 euros. I think they are 6euros on the late night openings. Another important tip to note is that the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays!

              One point to make is that my sister qued for over 40 minutes to use not very clean toilets. If you can wait until you have your ticket then use the toilets after you have entered an exhibition hallway because whilst I can't promise they will be cleaner they will have lesser ques!

              Upon entering we picked up a map and tried to decide which corridor out of the main hall we should take. This part of the museum was very modern, so I was looking forward to getting to the actual palace bit so I could see the history. Unfortunately I was to be dissapointed. Throughout the two exhibitions I viewed, the building was still rather modern and I felt like they had stripped the history of the once French palace out in order to display other people's history. There may have been a part of the Louvre which had the orignial palace set up but I didn't stick around long enough to see.

              The two exhibitions I viewed were the Greek and Egyptian ones. The Egyptian one was the main one I wanted to view, whilst it had some interesting statues etc I did find that after a while it became a bit repetitive. Furthermore I had to guess what I was looking at as there were no English translations on the descriptions. I'm sure that it would have been possible to pay for a guidebook or something but I didn't want to pay out more. There was one really impressive room with incredibly large egyptian statues in it which I liked, but overall I wasn't overly impressed as I wasn't sure what I was looking at! The Greek art exhibition was good, it has a few English translations which was good but overall it wasn't amazing either. My view at this point however may have been tainted by my overwhelming desire to get out.

              The main reason I wanted to leave was the unbearable heat. Due to the large numbers of people and the fact no windows are open or air conditioning in operation, the Louvre was just too hot. I think the windows were closed to possibly preserve the art? It may have been simply to try and stop people getting in without paying/stealing art etc. I don't understand the lack of air conditioning. Maybe it's not feasible to install it in the building or something. I just think they need to do something to control the temperature because it was unbearable. Moreover I had forgotten my asthma pump which was silly of me!

              I think that I would possibly visit again in the winter to have a more enjoyable experience and try again with the exhibitions. If I do so then I will update accordingly, but overall I'm not massively impressed at the moment!

              Comment and let me know your experiences and what I missed if anything :)

              I'm giving it 3/5 because it was clean and well maintained (minus the toliets!) just not in the traditional period I would have liked. The outside was lovely and the entry price reasonable so I am only marking it down by two stars as I am aware that the heat that day may well have clouded my views.

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                08.06.2009 17:18
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                if you are in Paris your trip would not be complete without going to The Louvre

                Be prepared to queue!
                The Louvre is worth the wait..if you have seen films or read the book ok the Divinci Code you will probably be as excited as I was!

                It is amazing to wonder around this huge (beautiful) building full of the most amazing pieces of art from statues, models, paintings and carvings..
                Admittedly not everything in there is amazing, there are a few boring looking items and pictures but the majority of items in The Louvre are great..

                It is well sign posted inside and the staff are helpful and almost all staff know some English which makes things a lot easier..
                Food and drink are expensive and brining your own drink is out of the question as the security checks you have to go through before you can enter do not permit you to take your own liquid in.

                Try and visit on the first Sunday of every month and you gain free entry! However as you can imagine it will be a little busier and there will be a long wait to get in.
                It is impossible to look at everything in The Louvre in the detail you would like in one day - impossible! Go back another day and look at the rest or plan ahead and work out which departments you want to look in..

                It is an experience you won't forget..

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                  09.12.2008 17:29
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                  Wear comfy shoes!

                  I have just returned from a long weekend in Paris, the trip itself was a birthday present from my lovely mum and dad.
                  It was the first time either me or my man had been so we spent the 2 and a half days trying to fit all the major tourist attractions in!

                  On the Saturday we visited The Louvre; this was a must see for me as I'm very much into all my arty stuff and he was pretty excited about seeing it too.
                  It was an absolutely freezing cold day and having spent the morning up the Eiffel Tower, we needed warming up! We jumped on one of the red open top tour buses to get us around the city and this thankfully stopped right outside The Louvre (one of the many entrances that is!)
                  I got off the bus and just stared in awe at this magnificent building in front of us, I knew it was the biggest museum/gallery in the world but the size when you're stood there in front of it is still overwhelming!

                  I hadn't done much research into the place itself and looking up at this fantastic structure in front of me I presumed this was the whole museum...how wrong was I?
                  The Louvre was a royal fortress and then a royal residence; the building is in a huge horseshoe shape with 2 inner courtyards (have a look at the map online to figure it out as it isn't easy to describe) so the part I was looking at was around a 10th of the total building!!!

                  The bus had dropped us off on the Seine side of the building and we entered into the first (smaller) courtyard, this was absolutely immense and took our breath away, we hadn't a clue how to get in, still at this point thinking this was the complete building and there were no doors in sight!
                  We spotted an archway in one of the walls and presuming this was the entrance walked towards it, once there we walked through and were now in an even larger courtyard complete with the infamous glass pyramids in the centre!
                  Anyone who has seen The Da Vinci Code will know of these works of art, there are 2 smaller ones and in-between these the large pyramid which is made up of 666 pieces of glass. The pyramids were designed by the Chinese-American architect I. M. Pei as the main entrance to the museum and have been there since 1989.
                  A lot of Parisians do not like these and think they ruin the classicism of the surrounding architecture but I think the contrast of the two is fantastic!

                  We walked through the courtyard, down the paths between the gorgeous fountains surrounding the pyramids and joined the queue snaking into the largest glass pyramid.
                  Once through the security checks (they X-ray any hand bags etc) we were looking down into a huge luxurious lobby; all marble and minimalism. Leading down to this you can take a fantastic spiral staircase or be lazy and take the escalator!

                  Once inside we were impressed by the lack of queues despite the huge numbers of people coming in, they had 2 desks open with at least 5 people selling tickets on each so we had our tickets bought within 10 minutes.
                  There is an information desk in the centre of the lobby and here you can pick up a free map, available in around 20 different languages!

                  There are then 3 main entrances into the museum from this lobby area, one into each of the 3 parts of the building; Richelieu, Sully and Denon. Richelieu and Sully have three floors whereas Denon only has the two.

                  We decided to start from the top and work downwards, we entered through the Richelieu entrance and to get upstairs there are lots of different staircases, a lift and a disabled lift too so it's easily accessible for all.

                  The museum houses painting from artists all over the world, the majority are of course French not only because the museum is in Paris but a lot of the most 'popular' artists were French!
                  As well as painting and drawings from the masters, there are also relics from the ancient Greek and Roman times. The ground floor houses sculptures such as the famous Venus de Milo and many others.

                  A favourite of mine was the Ancient Egyptian artefacts, on the ground and first floor of the Sully section of the museum. There were even original sarcophaguses and huge stone statues, absolutely amazing and in pristine condition.


                  Despite the huge numbers of people in The Louvre it was never too busy, wherever you were it was quite peaceful.....or so we thought until we started looking for the Mona Lisa! We knew when we were getting closer as the crowds were starting to gather and as soon as we entered the room where the masterpiece was housed it was a different story to the rest of the museum!
                  I'm sure most people feel the same when they see the Mona Lisa, its amazing to know you've seen it but it's just so small, I think everyone expects it to be bigger than it actually is, the painting itself is behind a glass screen to protect it and there are also barriers so you can't get any closer than about 3 foot.
                  The only other crowded area is around the Venus de Milo statue, though it isn't as busy as the Mona Lisa!

                  I loved the way they had kept the exterior of the buildings beautiful and old while the interiors were incredibly modern and plush, the contrast was breathtaking! The sheer size of The Louvre is amazing, imagining it as a royal residence is unbelievable, how anyone could need so much space is beyond me.
                  As you can tell I loved everything about the place, my man isn't really into arty things but he couldn't help but be bowled over by The Louvre as I'm sure you will be if you visit!

                  As we left it was just coming dark so were lucky enough to see The Louvre all lit up, the pyramids looked fantastic as did the fountains and the beautiful architecture of the old buildings!


                  There are plenty of restaurants and cafes to rest in along the way, these were quite expensive but so is the rest of Paris too, I think it's worth it for the 10 minutes sat down! Toilets are plentiful and shown on the maps too.

                  All in all we were there over 5 hours, our feet ached but we just wanted to see as much as possible! We probably saw around 2/3 of the place so if you want to see absolutely everything allow yourself a whole day.
                  You really will need a map, it is far too easy to get lost (in my case even with a map....)



                  The museum is open from 9am to 6pm Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Thursday. On Wednesday and Friday evenings it is open until 10pm.

                  Entry to the main museum areas (excluding the Napoleon Hall which houses temporary exhibitions) is Euro9. If you wish to view the Napoleon Hall as well it will cost you Euro13.
                  Fantastic value for such an immense place!


                  www.louvre.fr

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                    07.09.2008 00:53
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                    A wonderful experience and one I will repeat

                    Whilst on my recent stay in France, we only had 1 day to spend in Paris and decided early on that the Eiffel Tower and Louvre were the places we wanted to visit above all else.

                    After catching the baotbus from the tower it was a 5 minute walk to the Louvre. It is so big we were actually unsure where to head for. I reasoned as the pyramid was something I had seen before it was best to head for there!

                    Once inside you must find your way to the tickets desk downstairs and from there find a map at the information desk in your language.

                    It is a shame we did not have longer to spend at the museum as I usually like to have a look around rather than just head for the must see parts, which is sadly what we did. I knew we wanted to see Venus de Milo, the Victory of Samothrace and of course the Mona Lisa.

                    Seeing the Mona Lisa was a great experience but it was also very busy. The actual painting is behind glass and there was a rope section all around for you to stand behind, perhaps 6 feet away was the closest you were able to get to the painting.

                    Just to walk up toward and then stand close to the Victory of Samothrace knowing it was made over 2000 years ago was wonderful, also it was not as busy as the Mona Lisa so we had time to just stand and stare.

                    Venus de Milo and Michelangelo's The Dying Slave were also busy areas with everyone wanting a picture but it is worth waiting and taking your time when you get close to them.

                    It was a very tourist visit as we were so pushed for time but I hope to return in the future and spend the whole day here.

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                      09.08.2008 20:39
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                      A place I'm proud to have been

                      I've recently been fortunate enough to manage a trip to Paris with some close friends. Those we only had four days to cover the city we knew the Louvre was a must see and it did not fail to produce the expected reaction from me.

                      The day was scorching and we were desperate to find the building the housed the most prominent masterpieces of all time, all under one roof. After climbing the eiffel tower we were feeling pretty exhausted so our quest to find the glass pyramind was becoming tiresome. We found ourselves in a beautiful part of Paris, decorated by grand buildings and beautiful residents. We percievied as we walked around what seemed to be a three mile long building....it turned out it was! We were slowly making our way around the perimeter or the Louvre.

                      The building is shaped like a giant horse-shoe and is the equivalent of three eiffel towers laying end to end. I'd expect nothing less considering its contents.
                      We walked through into the courtyard and there it stood, tall and proud, the glass pyramid, made up of 666 pieces of glass. Though many French feel it ruin the classicism, I felt that the connotations of this pyramid made my jaw drop.

                      I was over the moon to hear the budget prices, as I expected and was more than willing to pay much more to enter the realms of the Louvre. Of Course, I wasn't complaining either.

                      The interior of the Louvre is like a giant rat-run (I apologize for how degrading that sounds) but if you don't stick with your group there isn't a chance in hell you'll find each other unless you're laying a trail of bedcrumbs which I dont advise. On the otherhand, there are posters up directing you in the right direction to see some of the most renowned and glorious pieces of art. Not to sound like a typical tourist but I have to admit I made a bee line for the Mona Lisa. Which was made rather simple for me as there are arrows constantly pointing me in her direction.

                      As I walked through the halls I felt in awe of all the great pieces of art looking down at me, being inside the Louvre was truely surreal. And then I finally reached my destination, there she was on a single wall of her own, swarmed by art lover, tourists and admirers alike...the Mona Lisa.
                      I have to say I literally gasped when I first saw her and I still feel proud to this day to say I've stood infront of the Mona Lisa.

                      I was quite suprised that flash photography is acceptable, security is present but allows you to be comfortable and there are many members of staff on hand to point you in the right direction.

                      Admission:
                      9 Euros throughout the day for full access (minus the Hall Napoleon, which holds temporary pieces of art)
                      6 Euros from 6pm til 9.45pm (same conditions as above)

                      To see the Hall Napoloen you will be paying, if I remember correctly, no more than 13 Euros.
                      An absolute bargain!
                      The museum is generally open from 9am-6pm everyday.

                      I am also aware that it is a wonderful place to hold ceromonies such as weddings as I saw a beautiful Bride and Groom with their party in the grounds after their ceromony.

                      I definitely recommend this be put on your list of things to do before you die. Or even before youre next birthday.

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                        06.08.2008 17:05
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                        one of the most interesting, and cultured places in the World.

                        Paris on a budget - The Louvre.

                        If you are unfamiliar with the story so far, myself and my good lady wife were fortunate enough to be able to go for a holiday in Paris this summer. We are, however, not the wealthiest of sorts. That meant we had to work within a strict budget, yet we did not want to miss out on the culture and flair of the capital.

                        Having previously done reviews on a really excellent little hotel called the hotel londres et anvers, which was a snip at about £160 for the three nights. And also reviewing the Pere lachaise cemetery (which was excellent value, costing exactly nothing.). I thought a review of the most famous museum in the world was in the offing.

                        On the first evening in Paris, we decided to get a train down to the city centre. If nothing else we just wanted to get our bearings for the first days exploring. So down we went, and we were shocked to see that we got off the train beside Notre Dame!!! Inspired by seeing one of the most beautiful buildings in the world purely by accident, we ventured further. To our great surprise, we took only a further five minutes to come accross the
                        Louvre. By this stage, it was fairly late on. We thought that to enter at this late stage, would not have done it justice, so we spent some time in the courtyard, planning to come down first thing in the morning.
                        The courtyard, is massive. I took a long panoramic video of this on our camera, and my friends were amazed by the sheer scale when i showed them. Ornately carved statues grace the top of the main building. Each one of these (there must have been hundreds.), was unique, some linking in with others and some very individual. We simply sat on a little bench, and looked up, in awe at the humbling scene before us. We dragged ourselves away, and left for the hotel. We awaited the next day with bated breath.

                        We got up the next morning, and set off for the louvre. We were a bit behind schedule (we were in Paris after all!), but we were still there at around tennish. Already there were large queues forming. We approached the entrance, with butterflies as big as elephants in our tummies.
                        The entrance is in the form of a large pyramid. This we knew from reading the Da Vinci code. It was amazing, especially as the sun was shining, and it was twenty nine degrees. Fountains shot up, creating rainbows in the spray they left in their wake. Although there was a long que, this moved pretty quickly and soon we were descending. So ornate, yet modern the Pyramid and lobby were actually only added to the original Palais de louvre in the late eighties to early nineties by Francois Mitterand.

                        The Louvre itself began construction around 1190, and due to its grand scale, was not truely completed for many centuries. It was not opened to the public until after the french revolution. It was initially used to hold the spoils of napoleans victories at war. It continued to deveopl, right up to the afforementioned additions of Mitterand in 1993. Today, it is one of the most visited museums in the world, holding well over 35,000 pieces, over an area of 60,000 square metres!! Located on the banks of the seine, its as beautiful from the outside as it is inside.

                        While there, we saw so many pieces, that we could not remember all of them. Every wall was covered in art, the likes of which we had never come across before in our humble lives. The very roof was so ornately decorated, yet it was not actually counted as a piece of art. There is no point in me going through every item, as you can look this up for yourself on many websites. However let me take you through some of the highlights for us.

                        The Mona Lisa.

                        What can I say? We stood and stared. We must have looked like homer Simpson, with a little bit of drool dribbling down our chins.
                        The first thing i noticed, when i came out of my trance was that it is tiny. Behind glass, for obvious reasons, it is very hard to get a good picture of it. On average, people get to gaze upon the Mona Lisa for about fifteen seconds, before they are moved on. A little alarm sounds, and you are supposed to move on. However, the rebel in me stuck up two fingers, and i stood on. I didn't come all the way here to not drink my fill of the atmosphere and culture. Eventually we got a good shot, and moved on. It was a moment i will never forget for the rest of my life!!!

                        The Venus De Milo

                        Carved by Alexandros of Antioch the Venus is one of the best known sculptures in the world. My wife was so in awe of her beauty, and she quickly said "well she certainly never had children!". Isn't it amazing how women get all defensive, even with a statue? I think she had a point though. This must have been a women of great beauty. Just a bit unfortunate if she needed to scratch her bum!!
                        Well worth seeing her, though. You can buy a life size replica in the shop for about thirteen thousand euro if you want. I howver could not afford the seat on the plane she would have needed. We were on a budget here, people!!!!

                        The winged victory of samothrace

                        Possibly not as well known as some, the victory is a third century B.C. marble of the greek godess Nike (meaning victory.). Unlike the Venus, the Victory is quite extensively damaged. However it is still regarded to be one of the finest greek sculptures in the world. It was very large, and loomed over us at the top of a staircase, like all greek gods should. You could not help saying things out loud, like "wow!", or "Bloody hell!".

                        I could gladly go on, but it is a place that you really have to see to appreciate. Literally every wall contains a masterpiece, and they are housed within a masterpeice of architecture. If, like us, you love all things grand, then this is the place for you. We spent a solid four hours in here, and i dont think we saw the half of it. However the heat was stifling, and we could not last much longer. We paid about 14 euros each, but for the time we spent, and the things we saw, i think this still falls within our limits. One thing i would say, though is that you will not eat cheaply or well in the Louvre. My suggestion is to not go around a mealtime, and to eat in on of the many little cafe's or bistros in the area.

                        You will encounter beauty, the likes of which you have never seen before. We left the museum a little wiser, and enriched with the culture that makes Paris such a wonderful place to visit. Happy with our time there, and glad in our hearts that we had been, we set off in search of food......


                        Highly recommended. G

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                          25.12.2001 00:53
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                          Perceived by many to be home to one of the best art collections in the world, I would describe the Louvre as, well, not bad. Maybe that’s a little unfair – they certainly had some magnificent pieces on display, but the setting for these, when compared to some of the other galleries in the rest of Europe and America that I’ve been to this year lacked a certain, something. That special je ne sais quoi (no objections - since we’re in France I’m allowed a smattering of French) that makes a gallery a wonderful visiting experience. It was back in 1190 that the then King Phillippe-Auguste ordered the construction of a fortress to protect the city. In the 4 centuries following, it was improved and enlarged by the reining monarchs. This building is now the Louvre gallery, which most recently (well 1989) had a huge glass pyramid added to the main courtyard through which visitors enter the main building. The collection here is pretty varied – we have European paintings and sculptures from the1400s onwards, not to mention Oriental, Egyptian and Roman artefacts. Some of the most well known items on display include the “Venus de Milo” statue (semi-naked woman, no arms), Géricault’s “Raft of Medusa” (semi-naked men – lots of them – spread-eagled across a raft) and of course de Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” (tiny and dark in person, and not nearly as enticing as some of the pictures make out, although the bullet proof glass could have had something to do with this). As I mentioned, I had no problems with the art on display, it was the manner in which the pieces were displayed to which I objected. Even on a dull winter weekend, the place was packed with Japanese tourists clicking away, oblivious to the signs screaming “No Photographs” in a number of languages, not to mention the universal language of pictures – how a camera in a red circle with a slash
                          through it could be misinterpreted I don’t know….. There were some wonderful views from the windows, but the actual interior was nothing special – scuffed floors and fingerprinted glass do not thoughts of a typical palace invoke. There were very few signs to the different sections (such a contrast with the Met in New York in which every door was labelled and sign posts were positioned at every turning) and all the “important” pieces were in close proximity which, although time saving for people who wanted to “do” the gallery in a very short period of time, meant that swarms of visitors were huddled in the same 2 rooms. Crowd control is obviously not their forte. Although there were guides in most rooms, from eavesdropping it soon became apparent that the majority were not only bored and un-knowledgeable, but mono-lingual too. Not the best mix for a major tourist destination within the city. Fact File : · Nearest Metro Palais Royal, Louvre (lines 1 and 7) · Busses 21, 24, 27, 39, 48, 67, 68, 69, 72, 76, 81, 85, 95 · Opening Hours Mon : 9am – 9.45pm Tues : CLOSED Wed : 9am – 9.45pm Thurs : 9am - 6pm Fri : 9am - 6pm Sat : 9am - 6pm Sun : 9am - 6pm We had to go at weekend since we were there for such a short time, but I have to say I would not recommend Saturdays and Sundays – even at just after 9am (we’re early risers in our family) it was getting busy. · Extras Guided tours are available in a number of languages, and there are films and concerts throughout the year. There are shops, cafes, restaurants and toilets within the building, and there’re even facilities for exchanging money although the rates for Francs were pretty steep – how the Euro will affect this I don’t know. Some of the shops were special
                          ist – there was one only selling books for example – but there were many littler outlets and temporary stands vending the usual tourist souvenirs – 50p postcards and toy statues and so on. We didn’t eat in a restaurant at the time, but I can acknowledge that the ice creams at the poshest café were, well, delicious. · Entrance Fees I paid 46 F which was roughly £4.50 when we went – quite expensive as student entrances go. The adult ticket was about £6, but again these vary depending on time of day, and the exhibitions you wanted to see (some carried a surcharge) and once more the Euro will no doubt change things. On the positive side, the ticket was valid all day, so you could leave for lunch at a more reasonably priced place, and return later for more browsing. Overall, while I enjoyed my visit, I wouldn’t necessarily want to return on my next trip to the city. Definitely worth going once, but more than that is debatable.

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                            24.09.2001 23:26
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                            The Musee du Louvre is an unmissable excursion for any one staying in Paris. It is basically a huge museum and art gallery in the centre of town. It is easy reachable by bus or on foot and even has its own Metro station, the station itself is worth a look (the poshest Metro station I have ever seen, with museum type displays along the walls). On one side of the Louvre is the busy shopping street of rue de Rivoli and on the other is the Seine, flowing past. Entry costs 49 francs, which drops to 33 francs after 3pm and on some nights the museum is open as late as 10pm. The place is huge, divided into three wings - Sully, Denon and Richelieu. The most interesting way to gain entry is through the glass pyramid in the centre of the three wings. It contrasts sharply with the old style grand architecture which surrounds it. What is in the Louvre? Well, what isn't? The place is huge, housing over 30,000 works of art and it is perpetually busy. The French inability to correctly signpost things again seemed in evidence here, each wing is divided into ten and colour coded but it is still very confusing and difficult to find specific things. The seven main categories of stuff on show are Egyptian Antiquities (a massive collection of objects, statues and sarcophagi much of which Napoleon brought back from his time in the land of the Pharoahs), Greek and Roman antiquities (including the Venus de Milo), Oriental antiquities, sculpture, painting and applied and graphic arts. The Applied Arts section is mostly incredibly expensive looking furniture but also includes interesting items such as the travelling case owned by Marie-Antoinette an intricate array of royal neccessities. The sculpture section covers the development of the art in France, Italy and northern Europe including pieces by Michelangelo and Rodin. Most people probably visit for the paintings, these make up by far the largest section. There are paintings from throughout history
                            and from across Europe, the array of themes is astounding and a large number of them look familiar, although it is often strange to see them first hand. There are some beautiful works of art on display yet for some reason most people flock to see the Mona Lisa. It is a small painting of a boring looking woman, who cares whether she is smiling? I guarantee if you take a wander round you will see literally loads of other paintings which are more impressive than this stupidly overrated piece, I would not waste time in the crowd trying to get close to the Mona Lisa, if that is what you want to see go really early or really late. The queue for the Louvre is quite bad, especially if you decide to wait until three for the cheaper price. We waited almost an hour to get in if you count both the outside queue, and then once in, the second queue for the actual tickets (a nonsensical system which increases stress and provides more opportunities to choose the slow queue, which I have an uncanny ability to do). In the main concourse area you can get into each of the three wings as well as a coffee shop and some toilets, there are free maps on offer too but they provide scant help in assisting you navigate the labyrinthe of the Louvre. When we visited there was also a display of African, Australian and American art from the native tribes. This formed a unique display and included a chance to sit down and rest your weary feet while playing with a computer programme which was full of interesting information. The place is so huge it is difficult not to do lots of walking so be prepared. I really enjoyed the Louvre, once inside, although I don't think we saw more than a fraction of what was on offer. In order to really explore a place like this you would need to visit a few times. I think there was disabled access in the shape of lifts and ramps but I remember a lot of stairs so it may not be ideal. You could easily spend the whole day here but if you f
                            ind yourself tiring after a few hours, head out through the arch into the Jardin des Tuileries, where you can grab a nice green chair and sit round the fountain (their park chairs are brilliant, no rotten benches, instead they had the novel idea of providing individual chairs that are actually comfortable). You shouldn't miss this if you are in Paris even if only for a weekend.

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                              12.02.2001 06:25
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                              The Louvre; The most important museum in France, and probably in Europe, is situated in the heart of Paris along the Seine, starting the long line of the Concorde and the Champs Elysee. The ideal place to see so much you've only ever seen before in books or on postcards - just take heed - you need more than a day to peruse this museum. Since its restoration a few years back, the Louvre has attracted so much attention that the queues are never ending and school outings are on mass. The recent addition of the glass pyramid has added to the mystic of the place and gives all wannabe photographers an easy, artistic shot from inside or out. Be warned - there are more people passing the gates of the Louvre than passengers using Chatelet/Les Halles metro in high season, during rush hour. This place is busy and hectic, and don't expect to have a face a face with the Mona Lisa for more than three and a half seconds. Wouldn't it be much better if there was hardly anyone around and you could view at your own leisurely pace? Well, here's a tip - you can have all these sculptures and paintings to yourself every wednesday evening when there is late night opening until 11pm. Afterwards you can kick back and relax at the exclusive Cafe du Louvre with a little tipple or two. The attractions at the Louvre are too numerous to be named here; Just a taster to be told that it houses one of the finest collections of 19th century classics, a healthy body of Van Goghs, Rubens and Goyas, the rest is there for your discovery. The Louvre also has a nicely presented website - very user friendly. One little myth that not a lot of tourists know about is the story of Belphegor - the ghost of an Egyptian Mummy that haunts the Louvre. So if you are going for the late night opening, beware...

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                                14.01.2001 02:44
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                                If you like art, achitecture and a good time the Louvre is the place for you. I went to the Louvre last August, it was very affordable, at only F25 per person, if you go in the first half of the day. Then of course you can stay as long as you want. On wednesday they stay open late into the evening, and provides the best value for money, as you need a whole day at least just to see every thing. The museum is very modern with an amazing glass pyramid, as the main entrance, descending into vast voyer, you are then presented with four different paths you can take, as well as a shopping centre (Virgin Megastore, Cafes etc.).Even if you are not a art enthusiast, you will not be disapointed, with paintings, sculptures, artefacts, architecture and of course you have to see the Mona Lisa! PS. The staff are extremly friendly, and polite.

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                                02.07.2000 09:10
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                                The collection of art here is breathtaking. You'll probably won't be able to see it all in a week, unless you run, the place is huge. Spend at least a full day in the Lourve, get the early! Don't be fooled into queuing up to enter throught the glass pyramid. You have to queue for tickets again when you go down. I would suggest you enter the Lourve through the underground Mall. The queues are much shorter, if there is any. You can find the mall as you exit the metro, head for the mall instead of the museum. The museum is basically divided into three sections, each dislaying artworks from various cultures and regions. I would recommend going straight to the Egyptian exhibit as the places gets quite crowded. Do visit the Greek sculptures where the Venus de Milo is located. And spend more time in the Italian paintings where you'll find amazing art, including the Mona Lisa.

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