May 01, 2008

The Louvre | Musée du Louvre - A review and top 10 exhibits and artifacts

I've always wanted to visit the Louvre museum (or Musée du Louvre) in Paris - the largest single museum in the world. As a history buff, this visit was on a mandatory list. This is a review of the Louvre museum visit and its exhibits.

So, the verdict? Must for a history buff! The collection is vast and amazing.

This review is split to three parts

  1. Top 10 Tips while visiting Louvre (Louvre visit top 10)
  2. Exhibits to visit - my favorite top 10
  3. Some photos

Top 10 tips while visiting Louvre

(what use is a review without one of those confounding top 10 lists?!)

  1. Take the metro to get there -- real easy and comfortable. The metro M 1 line takes you to "Palais Royal - Musee du Louvre" and the underground passage will take you straight into the Louvre.
  2. Preferably give yourself 6-7 hours if you are quick paced and alone. More if you're with friends who slow you down ;) I went alone, and in hindsight this was wise - I could go where I most wanted and spent time in areas of my interest. My legs hurt by the end of the day but it was worth it. One could potentially spend 2 days but it's unlikely everything will interest you in the museum. You prioritize :)
  3. Visiting on Wednesdays has an advantage - Museum's open till 10 PM (6 PM otherwise)
  4. Get the combined tickets (Museum + exhibitions), it's worth the money. You can see that the museum is using a nice "bundling strategy" combined with customer segmentation to extract customer surplus! I visited the "Babylon" section with the exhibition ticket, it was great.
  5. Do some prior reading of some of the more popular artifacts (my links below will help), you will appreciate and enjoy what you're seeing.
  6. Get one of the Audio-Visual guides - seriously. What frustrated me was that a lot of artifacts have only French descriptions! For a world famous museum one would think they'd make an effort to make it a little more friendly with English by the side. Only some places have English. The audio-guides do not have explanations for all artifacts, but only some famous ones. There were times I was really upset for not being able to read descriptions of artifacts that seemed interesting. However, the audio guides are still worth it and have many valuable commentaries.
  7. Take a little backpack and some packed food. There are areas where you can sit and eat - the food stalls in the museum are pretty expensive.
  8. Don't forget to pick up the Louvre map - a very useful guide to the layout and major attractions - available at the information booth near the ticketing area.
  9. Don't ignore the great paintings on the way to Mona Lisa - yes, we all know Mona is a superstar - but there are some great galleries on the way to the Mona Lisa (La Jolla) room. Take your time, enjoy them, before you get your chance to fight the hustle and crowd near Mona Lisa.
  10. Read rest of this review. I had to make this one up because I ran out of tips.
My favorite top 10 Louvre exhibit visits

  1. Winged victory of Samothrace - almost 2,200 years old, to me this was the most beautiful sculpture. It's powerful, beautiful and mysterious. It's also pretty big - you realize when you stand in front of it.
  2. Code of Hammurabi - the first codified laws! The Babylonian section was fantastic - photography was not allowed. Here is a Google maps link to the Babylon excavations.
  3. Madonna on the Rocks - this is the version made famous in Da Vinci Code. The painting itself is beautiful and all the mystery and stories that surround it make it all the more alluring.
  4. Akhenaten's statue - you should read the history of this "renegade" pharaoh whose name was systematically destroyed by later Pharaohs. This statue piece is over 3,300 years old. The Sphinx at Louvre is another great piece - again over 4,000 years old.
  5. Mona Lisa - all the hype...just makes you want to like it! :) The portrait is set in a large room which gets pretty crowded. This is one exhibit that really gets the star treatment.
  6. Napoleon's apartments - whew. They're really grand!
  7. The seated scribe - nearly 4,500 years old and in great condition.
  8. Alexander's bust and Michelangelo's dying slave
  9. Paul Ruben's gallery - for some fantastic large canvases
  10. Venus de Milo
These are just my preferential items - there are many, many more great exhibits - ancient sculptures, papyrus, paintings.

And now, photo time! Louvre Photos

Description is below the photo.


Louvre under clouds. It's a palace converted to a Museum.


Napoleon's apartments. Gorgeous.


Napoleon's apartments Grand Salon.

The winged victory of samothrace - I converted the pic to B&W because it somehow gives a better feel.

Venus De Milo

Akhenaten




Madonna on the rocks

Mona Lisa.


Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this mini-review. When you get a chance, take the time to visit Louvre and see first hand some of the most famous exhibits in the world.


And here's a random post on some popular queries on my blog.

1 comment:

Makis said...

Necromonger,

glad you liked the Louvre. I visited some months ago but I was not really in the mood, so I skipped most of it. However, I really liked(as you did) the Winged victory of Samothrace and the Venus of Milo. Nothing impressed me about Mona Lisa. Maybe the fact that I had a negative bias because of the Da Vinci code plus the fact that so many people ddin't let you enjoy it.

You should mention, however that both the aforementioned statues are Greek. Unfortunately most of the things that reminds us of ancient Greek culture have been taken away from Greece. It is a pity.

Nice post..

Ciao...