Louvre, where does one start?

Jul 31st, 2004, 11:10 AM
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Louvre, where does one start?

We are going to Paris next week and plan on visiting the Louvre. Does anyone have any suggestions as to where to start and what is the most interesting sections. It's obviously too big to cover it all, but would like to have a rough plan on interesting and neat things to see. Our two teenagers would also be tagging along.
jbeez is offline  
Jul 31st, 2004, 11:39 AM
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We used this technique, since we also had a teenager with us:

We purchased a multi-day museum admission card and then visited the Louvre for several short periods. That way, we saw a good amount of the Louvre, but not all at once. Our son was not bored (and neither were we) and nobody "overdosed" on museum visiting.

KidsToLondon is offline  
Jul 31st, 2004, 11:43 AM
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jbeez, you are the only judge of what's most interesting to you, i.e. ancient sculpture, Italian painting, medieval miniatures, the Napoleon III apartments, etc. To help decide, take a look at the virtual tour available at the museum's website:


It's easy to become overwhelmed by the Louvre and thus fail to enjoy your visit. I suggest you plan ahead of time what you'd like to see and how to get from place to place, using the online resources, or the map you can pick up at the information desk ahead of time. Remember that some wings or galleries are sometimes closed unexpectedly and have some back-up choices.

Recognize that you'll never manage to see it all and don't get discouraged. Unless you've got more stamina than I, limit your visit to 2 hours or less and go back again if you haven't had enough.

I don't know how enthusiastic your teens are about museums, but I suggest you put them in charge of deciding something each of them would like to see and figuring out how to find it.

Have a great time!
shellio is offline  
Jul 31st, 2004, 11:44 AM
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You might consider going first to one of the evening hours--on Wednesday, for instance, the Louvre is open until 9:45. When we went it wasn't as crowded, and it was easier to navigate to big items. This was the winter, though, and I'm not sure if it's more packed in the summer. For the teenagers you might start with the Egyptian section.
zeppo2 is offline  
Jul 31st, 2004, 11:44 AM
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If you haven't already, do read "The DaVinci Code" -- you'll almost certainly be taken in by it, and you wil have 2 or 3 places already that you will absolutely want to see first (2 Pyramids, plus a few other places). That will be a good start.

DonTopaz is online now  
Jul 31st, 2004, 11:50 AM
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Forget The DaVinci Code, IMO--much of the information in it on the Louvre is inaccurate (and on Paris as well).

Where to start? At the information desk, staffed by bilingual people who can answer your questions. Get the English version of the mini-guide to the Louvre, which lays out the most-visited pieces of art and tells you how to get there.

For us the most interesting part of the Louvre is the magnificent Egyptian collection. Going there in the evening, when few tourists are about and the light is just a bit dim, is an unforgettable experience.

A good thing to do in advance is to peruse the Eyewitness Guide to Paris's pages on the Louvre, or those in the Michelin Green Guide to Paris. Nothing beats a good guide book, given the Louvre's vastness, and preparing a list in advance will make your time there much more interesting--and fun.
Underhill is offline  
Jul 31st, 2004, 12:07 PM
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We bought a museum guide book that highlighted various pieces with explanations on each. I think is was about 5 euros or so. Our focus was on Italian Renaissance and Ancient Greece. Having an 11 and 13 year old, we decided to make a game of finding each piece in those categories that were in the guide. Prizes were awarded for the first to find the piece. When we got to the highlighted work, we read the description aloud. We spent about 2 1/2 hours in the Louvre and the kids loved it. For us the guide book was the way to go.
BKD is offline  
Jul 31st, 2004, 12:19 PM
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I wholeheartedly second two of the suggestions already made:

1. Make up your mind ahead of time -- based on a good guide book and before you even get to the Louvre -- about which sections you want to see (and then follow the Louvre map or mini-guide to get to them).

2. Break up your visit, if necessary, so that you don't spend more than 2 or 2 1/2 hours in the museum at a time.
Eloise is offline  
Jul 31st, 2004, 12:19 PM
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Hi jb,

If you start with Winged Victory, go to the Venus de Milo and then the Mona Lisa, you ought to be able to do the Louvre in about 15 min.
ira is offline  
Jul 31st, 2004, 12:21 PM
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I was overwhelmed by the Louvre and didn't do a good job in my visit there, although I loved the Musee d'Orsay.

After my poor performance at the Louvre, I followed Rick Steves' Mona Winks for my visit at the Uffizi in Florence and found it really increased my enjoyment and education.
Mary_Fran is offline  
Jul 31st, 2004, 12:48 PM
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Here's a nice 3-hour tour that we followed once we got into the Louvre and got our bearings. It worked for us and it gives you a good flavor. From there, you can wonder, depending upon how much time you have.

Budman is offline  
Jul 31st, 2004, 01:16 PM
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There used to be an (english) Museum Highlights Tour given at 11, 2 and 3:45 every day and cost 3 euro. They are 1-1/2 hrs for the "Decouverte" tour (discovery) of major pieces. You can wait at the group welcome desk (Hall Napoleon under the pyramid) or buy tickets at that desk ahead of time (I think it says up to 14 days ahead) at the "accueil des groups" desk from 9am-4:30pm on Tu, F, Sat and from 9am-7pm on M and W. **Please check ahead of time regarding times and cost as this is from my paris file and may not be current**

Taking a tour such as this would allow you to see the more important works (or ones that maybe you are familiar with) without h\getting hopelessly disoriented or glazed over!

Check out the museum's website: http://www.louvre.fr/louvrea.htm
Margie is offline  
Jul 31st, 2004, 01:24 PM
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Here's yet another vote for checking out www.louvre.fr. You will also find here the museum's latest policy on what sections are open what days of the week (when I was there, I wanted to see a Vermeer, and forgot that that section was closed on Saturdays.)

Try to confine yourself to either the 'Denon' wing or the 'Richelieu' wing but not both - otherwise your tour will involve too much walking (ask me how I know.)

Rick Steves' Paris also has a Louvre tour that can be covered in about 3 hours, including a coffee at the museum cafe. This tour is DIY and covers a sampling of ancient Greek, Renaissance, and large scale French (e.g., Delacroix/' Liberty Leading the People) which most teenagers should find varied enough to keep them interested.
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Jul 31st, 2004, 01:29 PM
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I agree that spending no more than three hours at a stretch is a very good way to visit the Louvre. We usually take breaks about every hour and a half--just go to the café or cafeteria so you can sit down, relax for a bit, and then regroup before setting off again.

Keep in mind that not all the rooms are open all day every day (that's where the web site comes in very handy) because of staffing shortages. Some are closed for only part of a day; so you can plan your visit around what's open that you particularly want to see.

Since you'll be in Paris in August when it's apt to be hot, you will find that the Richlieu Wing is the only part of the Louvre with good a/c and is to be cherished for that reason. There you can find the Napoléon III rooms in all their red and gold splendor.
Underhill is offline  
Jul 31st, 2004, 04:31 PM
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Thanks for all the useful info. I think a multi day museum pass is a must, then we can visit as often as we like and for as long as we like. I downloaded that 3 hr tour and will probably do a guided tour in English as well.
Do they do passes that are more than 5 days? I read somewhere that the 5 day ones were 54 euros - is that about right?
jbeez is offline  
Jul 31st, 2004, 05:21 PM
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This shows you the options (5 days is the max). Someone else can confirm at what age a pass is needed for minors, otherwise they get in free, I understand.

Buy the passes at any major metro ticket window, or any museum on the list.

The link I gave you in this note has a map with the museum locations on it - just above the map is a blue link to pull up the list of museums ("Musées et monuments accessibles avec la carte").
Travelnut is offline  
Jul 31st, 2004, 07:31 PM
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I have used the Rick Steves book while walking through the Louvre. It took you through the most important paintings and statues in the museum. Do not miss Napoleon's apartments. It is wonderful to see.
SUNSHINE1223 is offline  
Jul 31st, 2004, 08:08 PM
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You won't need a pass longer than five days. Three should do it. The Louvre and Orsay are the busiest and priciest. The rest you can do on your own at modest admission prices. Few (one possible exception is Rodin where it's sometimes a bit crowded) will have significant lines.

My recommendation for the Louvre would be to start at the Denon wing entrance. The Mona Lisa is just up the stairs and down a few doorways. If you go there first, you'll miss the crowds that started elsewhere.

Then, leave by the same entrance and cross the courtyard to the Richelieu.
djkbooks is offline  
Aug 1st, 2004, 12:18 AM
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Just to mention that several sections are closed on certain days. For instance the abovementionned Napoleon III apartments. So, if you're interested in something specific, you should make sure it won't be closed on the day you intend to visit the Louvre.
clairobscur is offline  
Aug 1st, 2004, 06:13 AM
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i believe that the age is less than 18 for free entry for kids.
jay is offline  

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