By Rebecca Brown
Every day, thousands of people line up at The Louvre to get a glimpse of Mona Lisa, the most visited piece of art in the world. But as magnificent as she is, there's more to The Louvre than Lisa—roughly 35,000 pieces of art and 651,000 square feet more, in fact.
If the sight of those numbers overwhelms you into an automatic state of museum fatigue, fret not. American expat Daisy de Plume has a fantastic way to zap that fatigue and help you learn your way around The Louvre and her many offerings: a treasure hunt. THATLou (Treasure Hunt At The Louvre), offers a themed hunt on the first Sunday of each month. Daisy also offers private hunts for birthday parties, team building events, friends traveling together in Paris, and other group outings.
Here's how it works: each team of two to four people receives a packet of information containing photos and descriptions of the roughly twenty pieces of art they'll need to locate, all of which center cleverly around a theme that's orchestrated by Daisy, who has a background in art history and in curating cultural events for Vanity Fair and Conde Nast Traveler. Our theme was Lady Hunters; other past themes have been Angels + Wings, Food + Wine, and Animals in Art.
Each piece of art is worth a specific number of points, some more than others depending on how easy or difficult the piece is to find. Teams must navigate the museum using only their Louvre map, without input from museum guides or the Internet. Once they locate a piece, they photograph themselves in front of it and move on to the next hidden treasure (the picture above is of me with a friend in front of the Borghese Three Graces).
Teams have an hour and a half to locate all the items (which is physically impossible, by the way; nothing like a good challenge to keep you moving) and must get back to the designated meeting point on time—tardiness means points deducted. The team with the most points wins. Daisy awards small prizes, which are handed out at a café after (a drink is included in the price of 18 euros) so you have time to mingle with new friends and talk art, but the real prize is the glory of winning.
For me, it was a unique new way to experience The Louvre. Viewing a collection of pieces that's tied to a theme was much more meaningful than just walking hall to hall and checking pieces of art off my "seen it, done it" list. And though this wasn't my first trip to the Louvre, strategically plotting my way around the different wings and halls rather than aimlessly walking around helped me learn my way around the intimidating aforementioned 652,000 square feet.
Check out THATLou's website for details on upcoming hunts and make sure to register as soon as possible as they tend to fill up quickly. And rightly so; what better way is there to spend a Sunday afternoon in Paris than discovering art in of the world's most amazing museums with new friends?
For up-to-the-minute hotel and restaurant recommendations, as well as the best planning advice, check out our Paris Travel Guide.
Rebecca Brown is a Southerner-turned-San Franciscan-turned-Parisian. She is an enthusiastic taster of French pastries, baguettes, and wines; a Kentucky hoops junkie; a devoted Bikram yogi; a baker of sweets; a lover of fog, bacon, coffee, surfing, breakfast, porch swings, roof decks, all things French and fried, and traveling to places she's never been.
Photo credits: Borghese Three Graces courtesy of Rebecca Brown; Louvre Museum via Shutterstock
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