Prior to our first trip to Europe we did a lot of research on places to see, restaurants to go to, how to get around, where to stay, etc. We also did some research on what to see in the places we were going to.
The Louvre is a place that you can read about, see all the paintings, sculptures, TV shows, documentaries, etc., but like most places until you actually go and see you really don't get it.
After visiting the Louvre and now starting to really look at some of the pictures we took of the paintings and other works of art I am anxious to start some research into what I've seen so that the next time I get back to Paris, I can see things with my eyes open a little wider.
Hopefully, with some of the tips I start to post, others can begin to get an appreciation of the beauty and emotion behind these precious works of art.
First Tip of Hopefully Many More to Come:
Cupid and Psyche by Antonio Canova Italian Sculpture Neoclassicism Style commissioned in 1787 and completed 1793. Interestingly enough during the tummultuous period of the French Revolution.
The Two Figures: Cupid (Eros) a Roman God of Love and Desire and Psyche "Soul" in Greek a beautiful mortal woman
The Story: A scene from Lucius Apuleius "The Golden Ass" where Cupid revives his lover who has been put to sleep by a magic perfume.
Description of the Senses Involved: "Appeals to the senses of sight and touch yet simultaneously alludes to romantic interest in emotion coexiting with neoclassicism."
I probably should start putting my tips on the Louvre and Musee d' Orsay in another category since these really aren't Local Customs, but maybe a history category is what is really needed.
Anyway, purusing my notes from our European trip, I noted this picture as Chas Le Brun 1660 Le Crucifix. As I started to google Monsieur LeBrun and Le Crucifix, I was fasinated what I found out about Charles Le Brun.
Louis XIV spent a considerable fortune (no kidding!) surrounding himself with outstanding artists who he used for his own glorification. "In so doing he acquired exclusive rights to a First Painter who was a match for the grandeur of his aspirations. Charles LeBrun became the all-powerful, peerless master of seventeenth century French art. Never in the history of French painting had an artist known such resplendent glory. The goal of satisfying a king whose grandiose dreams surpassed both the imagination and the budget proved nearly impossible. Poussin rejected the challenge; Le Brun accepted it and succeeded."
Although I borrowed the above words in quote, they really truly reflect the times and the overwhelming task that Le Brun accepted. Additional articles I found stated that Charles LeBrun was named Director of Gobelins and had over 250 workers employed in the tapestry workshops alone. It further goes on to say that "everything that was manufactured in the kingdom was based on LeBrun's sketches and drawings ''. LeBrun decorated the King's Palaces, the Louvre, the Gallery of Apollo, Versailles, the Tuileries, the King's carriages and even his naval vessels."
And to think, before seeing the picture of the painting we took and doing that google search research I had never even heard of him.
Due to the fact that the major museums operate weekends, it is still customary for the major museums to shut one day within the working week.
Whilst this is an inconvenience, it is of course possible to plan around it.
Places live the Lourve and the Pompidou shut on Tuesdays and the Orsay on Mondays.
Check out the websites of the museums you plan to visit in order to confirm details and plan accordingly.
Well even if the most spectacular one is the one at the Pyramid, you can also enter through Richelieu Side.
As soon as you get our of the Metro, going in direction to the Pyramid you cross the Richeliu corridor, and at your right there is a little entrance with no queue at all.
Did you ever wonder how they keep the Pei Pyramid at the Louvre clean? We were taking a coffee break in Café Richelieu one afternoon recently and my husband, who was facing the courtyard, noticed a robot crawling down the pyramid. I turned and we watched as the robot slowly moved up and down the pyramid on the diagonal carefully cleaning the entire thing.
When we exited the Louvre later, the workers were removing the robot and packing it up . . . presumably to clean windows someplace else in Paris. It was amazing and a great idea.
My video of the robot is at Louvre robot cleaning by Beausoleil
Do not go to the Louvre just to see the Mona Lisa. The Mona Lisa is very small and usually surrounded by many tourists. I could not get anywhere near the painting. Many other famous paintings have little or no crowds. Moreover, I think the most beautiful art work is on the ceiling. Just look up, no one can block your view of the ceiling.
Cannot be commented by anyone that has not been there yet. The architecture and the contents are all exquisite.
The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day except Tuesday and the following holidays: January 1st, May 1st, August 15th and December 25th, 2006.
It is open until 9:45 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday evening.
Admission to the Louvre is free on the first Sunday of every month.
The tickets can be purchased on vending machines, with credit card, on the same day as you visit. To buy in advance(and there are no queues) you can go to fnac or the site online for Louvre.
I suggest you go see the Mona Lisa. Its no big deal, but its nice to say you got to see the real thing.
Notre Dame is very beautiful. Go to up the towers and you have a spectacular view of Paris. Including a wonderful view of the Eifle Tower.
The Louvre, ofcourse !
Here you can find the famous ´Mona Lisa´ painted by Leonardo Da Vinci. It is the most important piece of art of the museum....But you also have to see the other paintings, they are just as beautiful as the Mona....
The Louvre is probably the greatest museum in the world. It's overwhelming in scope, and cannot be tackled in one visit. To really appreciate the Louvre, you'd want 2 or 3 days. But, if your visiting Paris and not just the Louvre, set a game plan before going. Decide what your interest is, paintings, sculptures, etc. then visit those.
Rick Steves' book, Mona Winks is an excellent guide to the Louvre and other European museums and will make the experience more fullfilling. Also, many books by Irving Stone will give you a better understanding of art history, including; Depths of Glory (about the beginnings of Impressionism); Agony and the Estasy (Michaelangelo); and Lust for Life (Van Gogh).
Visit the Louvre, but be sure to go in the off season. At peak times, you'll have to wait in line for 3 - 4 hours just to see one painting, such as the Mona Lisa.
Other great museums are the Orsay, L'Onagerie, Rodin Museum, the Pompidou Center.
Come early (not later than 30 minutes after opening), so you can avoid long qeues and can go in immediatly. On the first sunday of the month, there is no entrance fee, so the lines are even longer, to avoid this, be there at least 15-30 minutes before opening...
Don't be disappointed of the Mona Lisa. The painting is rather small and there are always too many tourist trying to catch a glimpse... There are many other beautiful things to see in the museum, so enjoy it and take your time.
This is the inner courtyard (Cour Napoléon) at the Louvre museum, a short walk northwest of Ile de la Cité. The famous Louvre pyramid is built of sheet glass supported on a framework of stainless steel tubes. The pyramid vaults over the museum reception area below the surface. The Denon wing of the Louvre looms behind the pyramid. The Eiffel Tower can be seem peeking above the right end of the Denon wing. As an art-lover, I'd say this is a must.... but I did not make it in, oops!!! lines were just too long when we were there..... but if you dont mind the lines and can wait; or there's no lines when you visit.... it's probably a top 10 activity to see in Paris.
You must see the Louvre Museum! Home of Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and so many other works of art.