Hi friends, welcome back to my Paris and London Anniversary series 🙂 On our third day in Paris, Jon and I grabbed coffee and then headed to the Louvre’s Main Pyramid Entrance for our 9:30 am time slot. The lines looked long, but they are pretty good about enforcing the time slots and lining people up accordingly, so it wasn’t any issue. I had bought tickets for the museum, free special exhibit, and a guided tour at 11am, but when we scanned the tickets after going through security, they didn’t work because I accidentally bought them for the following Saturday. I couldn’t believe I mixed up the dates because I had bought them three months in advance, but we could change our tickets for the right day so it wasn’t a big deal. The tour was sold out so we missed out on that, but we had a great time exploring on our own! (Note: pictures of the Louvre exterior in this post are from multiple days, we walked by the museum just about every day)
Once I got passed the wrong date snafu, we made a beeline for the Mona Lisa. There are signs everywhere leading to the famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci so it’s incredibly easy to find. There is a queue to wait in for your thirty seconds to see her, but the line was relatively short and moved quickly. It was nice they kept it moving so everyone had a chance to see one of the most well known paintings in the world. I had seen videos beforehand so I knew what to expect and wasn’t thrown off by the line or how small the painting actually was.
Obligatory selfie with the Mona Lisa.
Across the room from the Mona Lisa hangs the massive The Marriage at Cana by Paolo Veronsese. This painting depicts the wedding where Jesus turned water into wine.
The night before, Jon and I made a list of the most famous paintings and sculptures in the museum (with the help of the Rick Steves’ Paris book), so we decided to browse the collections on our way to each item. The Louvre features artwork from the ancient world until 1850 and displays over 35,000 objects. It’s estimated that if you spend 30 seconds looking at each piece of art, it would take about 200 days to see the entire collection! I’d recommend going into the Louvre with a plan of what you want to see or you’ll be completely overwhelmed.
Some of the highlights include Venus de Milo, the goddess of love.
Athena facing Venus de Milo across the room.
Winged Victory of Samothrace
The Coronation of Emperor Napoleon by French painter Jacques-Louis David. This painting shows Napoleon crowning himself as Emperor at Notre Dame, much to the Pope’s chagrin. We saw a replica of this at Versailles.
The Apollo Gallery was one of my favorite rooms highlighting many beautiful Crown Jewels.
This was the crown of Louis XV.
This 140-carat Regent Diamond was worn on crowns by Louis XV, Louis XVI, and Napoleon. This room was a nice preview for seeing the Crown Jewels in London.
Liberty Leading the People by Eugene Delacroix.
La Grande Odalisque by Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres.
The Raft of the Medusa by Theodore Gericault. This painting eerily depicts an 1816 shipwreck of the Medusa near Africa. Only 15 of 150 men lived to tell the tale.
One of my favorite areas was the Napoléon III Apartments, they were so luxurious! The Louvre used to be the home of the French kings before Versailles was built, and it was turned into a museum after the French Revolution. These rooms show what it was like during that time of royalty. I’d highly recommend visiting here if you don’t have time to make it out to Versailles.
These rooms were designed in 1861 and have remained mostly the same ever since. The Minister of State and his family resided here until 1870, and then the Ministry of Finance and family until 1989 before all of the Louvre was included in the museum. This area of the museum was officially opened to the public as part of the museum in 1993.
We wouldn’t be tourists without a picture with the famous pyramid 😉
The Louvre on Tuesday, her day off.
Jon and I spent almost five hours in the museum, a lot longer than I thought! I was worried that without a guided tour we wouldn’t know what to see or lose steam quickly, but we did just fine. It’s clear why this is the most visited museum in the world and we had a great time wandering through the massive space. Jon and I were pretty exhausted after our visit here, so we headed back to the hotel and grabbed some macaroons from Laudree across the street to snack on. About an hour and a half later we set off for a forty-five-minute walk down the Champs de Elysses to the Arc De Triomphe! Stay tuned for the second half of our 27,000 step day 🙂
Posts in my Paris and London Anniversary series: