What should I see at the Louvre?

Old Apr 22nd, 2000, 01:09 PM
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What should I see at the Louvre?

I am going to Paris for five days. I heard from someone that you should know what you want to see before you go to the Louvre. What do you recommend I see? Does anyone have a good list of great things to see? Thanks for your help.
Old Apr 22nd, 2000, 02:40 PM
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I assume from the posting that you are not an experienced art lover/connoisseur. (If you are, forgive me, I don't mean it an insult!)
Not knowing your taste, it would be difficult for anyone to advise you what to see. And just because some "experts" term a piece of art a masterpiece doesn't mean that you will feel the same way about it.
Having said all that, I would suggest you purchase a copy of Rick Steves' book, "Mona Winks," which provides self-guided tours to the leading European museums. Presented in layman's terms and with humor, it will serve you well. It's also an excellent resource! Its Paris section also includes Versailles, the Orsay Museum and an historic Paris walk (Ile de la Citie, Notre Dame, Ste-Chapelle and sites inbetween).
Old Apr 22nd, 2000, 04:38 PM
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The usually recommended items are the Winged Samothrace, the Venus de Milo, and the Mona Lisa. I also recommend Napoleon's apartments. 'Mona Winks' will be a very helpful resource. p.s if you need a quick meal or refreshment, there is a nice food court over the shopping mall area. If you buy the Carte Musee you can return for a second round at the Louvre (or other museums) so you don't have to see it all at one swoop, and you avoid any ticket lines.
Old Apr 22nd, 2000, 04:51 PM
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My suggestion is to take the English-speaking tour. You will hit all the major sites at the Louvre and will get good suggestions from the guide on what else you should see that interests you. I can't stress this enough: go EARLY in the day to avoid the madhouse. It's always crowded but earlier on it's a bit more manageable.
Old Apr 22nd, 2000, 05:02 PM
Bob Brown
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A visit to the Louvre without preparation can be a very frustrating experience because the place is huge.
I knew it was big from my first visit in 1956, but I had forgotten just how big it is!!
Without some definite goals in mind, you can wander aimlessly through miles of corridors looking at paintings that seem alike after an hour or so.
We were there last year, guide books in hand, and still did a fair amount semi aimless wandering. After about 3 hours in any art museum, I start to get a little saturated with it, regardless of the greatness of the masterpieces I am seeing.
I plan to return again in September, and I know I need to do more preparation.
If the Mona Lisa is on your list, be prepared to have lots of company! It seems that the room is always crowded.
Also, there is usually a small mob clustered around Venus de Milo.

If Impressionist period art (Monet, Manet, Renior and many others) appeals to you, then go to Musee d'Orsay and Musee Marmottan first and see the Louvre second.
Again, if you go to the Louvre, I think you will get more out of it if you know why you are there.
Old Apr 23rd, 2000, 06:50 AM
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aside from the above suggestions, there is a CD-rom tour of the Louvre as well as videos, if you want to prepare.
You can take the guided tour for an overview. If you do some preparation and know what you want to see, there are also acoustiguides (cassette players) available in all languages.
Pick up a free map of the Louvre at the central information desk under the pyramid. The basic concept is that the
wings are like spokes of a wheel. To go from one wing to another, you return to the center of the wheel (under the pyramid) in order to enter another "spoke". My basic advise is to not try to do it all (or even too much of it) in one day. If you have the carre musee you can go back more than once if you like. Give yourself two or three hours at first, take a break with lunch, and then decide to back out in the fresh air and do something else, or else go back into the art fray refreshed.
Old Apr 24th, 2000, 10:49 AM
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A couple of issues ago, Conde-Nast Traveller magazine had a feature on just how to make the most of a Louvre visit without being overwhelmed. Maps, descriptions, etc. I've clipped it out and filed it away for a future visit. Might be helpful to you...
Old Apr 24th, 2000, 12:03 PM
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I'd recommend and English language tour to get started. Then you can always go back this trip or next to home in on what interested you.
I enjoy the building itself as much as the art... the various wings linked by the glass pyramid. Works for me.
THe way I deal with a big museum is to pick one part to see. For eg. last visit I spent 80% on my Louvre_morning is the history of French painting from about 1500-1900.I figure the Louvre would be good for that! [and it was]
Old Apr 25th, 2000, 07:46 AM
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I would suggest that you arrive first thing in the morning and go to see the three majors that Al mentioned first, as they are the big draws for the tourists. I arrived about a half hour before they opened, and once in headed immediately for the Mona Lisa, then the Winged Samothrace and then the Venus deMilo. I was able to enjoy all three before the huge throngs of touists arrived, and then moved on to less heavily visited parts of the museum. At the Mona Lisa, there was only one other person there besides the guards. We quickly snapped each others pictures standing right in front of ML herself. I have been told that later in the day, it can be so crowded as to prevent you from getting close enought to see it.

Good luck.
Old Apr 25th, 2000, 08:18 AM
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One tip we discovered last Summer was that on Wed. evening the Louvre is open late. We went that evening and there were hardly any crowds. Have fun!
Old Apr 25th, 2000, 09:03 AM
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I've visited the Louvre several times (not brag, fact) and the two best suggestions are as previously noted:
1) get there EARLY, at the OPEN. Tourist buses arrive around 10:30, so you've seen the biggies (Armless, Headless and Lowerbodyless) before the hordes of bubbas take over. You can then move to the less famous galleries where the crowds are thinner.
2) Get a Carte Musee - the entrance for card holders is under one of the galleries. We arrived about 15 mins before opening; the line into the Pyramid from the courtyard already rivaled that of opening day at Fenway; the museum-pass line had a dozen people in it AND we were under cover. Guess which group got into the museum first (if you don't have a pass, you stand in line to get INTO the accueil, then another line to buy a ticket!).

And here's a great site for info on the museum, its collections and a virtual tour:

No kidding, this is a real idea (it worked for me when I wanted information on how castles were built): find a children's book about the Louvre. No fancyschmancy, artsyfartsy high-falutin' connoisseur stuff about the art, just basic info like "da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa between 1503 and 1506; he also painted the Last Supper". Great way to get enough info to enjoy the art, and inspire you to learn more.....
Old Apr 25th, 2000, 09:06 AM
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I was there this weekend and saw:
Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, Venus de Milo. I found it difficult to move
around. The Musee d'Orsay (SP?) was
much more user friendly if you like the
impressionist era.
Old Apr 25th, 2000, 10:53 AM
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Message to TW-
Did you not notice the signs at the Mona Lisa requesting that you not take photographs? Maybe you don't understand the rational behind that request.
Old Apr 25th, 2000, 11:45 AM
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No, Julie, I did not see any signs like that. Perhaps I was too mesmerized by ML. I hope you will forgive me. You will be happy to know that I did not use flash, and the guards did not say anything to us about it either. Do you have the copyright on the Mona Lisa Julie?

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