What to expect from a visit to the Louvre in Paris, one of the, if not the most visited museum on earth? Well, greatness. Confusion. Crowds. A small painting that represents a woman who kind of smiles but doesn’t? Women, am I right? Don’t cancel me. I don’t understand art, as I’ve many times said it myself. But I do understand beauty. And if you do understand beauty, you can visit this museum and enjoy it a lot.
I know this is not a classy post. In fact, it’s not even about what you can visit, the values of the works on display, the this and the that. This short post is all about my sincere expectations-meet-reality after visiting the most famous museum on the planet. And no, museums are not boring. You’re boring! The Mona Lisa? Not boring, but really small! Maybe a gym fanatic…
In this guide:
A single ticket to enter the Louvre, which by the way is massive, displaying some 350.000 pieces of art, is around 16 euros. I got my ticket for free because I’m a working journalist. You’re welcome, world! I packed my press pass with me, stamped and ready to go, and just presented it to the ticket lady at the entrance. You can get reduced or completely free tickets if you qualify for them. See if you do by clicking here.
Even if you qualify for a free visit, make sure to BOOK A TICKET!!! Without the QR code, you cannot enter the Louvre. It’s like the airport after they started with that bloody certificate. And you will be asked for the ticket multiple times as the museum is huge, and there are plenty of entry points to its many wings. That’s why I’m talking about confusion. I couldn’t find the Egyptian wing, for example, and nobody could point me towards it.
Crowds and confusion
Speaking of confusion, the Louvre gets crowded after 11 in the morning. Be there first thing in the morning and you can somewhat see it in peace, especially on a weekday. I went on a Tuesday, the first operating day of the week. Crowds were getting big after noon but manageable, and very dispersed until 11 AM. Another tip I can give you is to bring some sort of a map with you.
There is very little internet inside the Louvre and, with the guidance maps on display around the museum, you’ll get lost. They are sort of useless. And since the internet barely works you cannot get to download the map. And after talking to 4 museum staff, one of whom shouted at me for not speaking French, I couldn’t find the mummies and the other Egyptian artefacts. Chapeau!
The Mona Lisa
If you are here for a comprehensive review of the Mona Lisa painting, go away. Bye. I’m the last person in the world you should come to for art reviews and whatnot. I own one piece of art made by a lovely girl in my home city that I bought out at a charity auction. It’s with a little lake and a forest and is abstract but realistic, yeah, it’s nice! It’s what I look at when I ride my spin bike.
So I don’t really look at it. But it’s really cool. That’s it, that is all I know about art. Coming back to the Mona Lisa, she’s small. Like, tiny. You need to get close to get a good view of her. And of people taking pictures with an iPad, WHO DOES THAT?!
I was not underwhelmed nor overwhelmed by the painting, I was just whelmed. It’s great, don’t get me wrong, but the Louvre has many INCREDIBLE paintings that simply take your breath away. Like, there are paintings showing galleries with other paintings. And each of the smaller paintings is as detailed as a normal painting. That is the art I can grasp better than a portrait.
Yes, I’m a simple-minded person. Smoke means fire, so I’m out, that’s my life’s policy. So don’t throw rocks at me for thinking the Mona Lisa is too small. Maybe he should’ve made it bigger. I’m sure da Vinci had larger canvases. Yet the Louvre is so rich with paintings of all shapes and sizes, the Mona Lisa is just like the cherry on top. And the cake is as delicious as the cherry.
Speaking of cakes please try the black pyramid cake at the cafe inside the museum. But for the love of God and all that is holly stay away from the coffee. It tastes like boiled shoelaces.
Headless and armless women
But… wingfull?! I’ll allow myself one dirty joke before the internet cancels me. Thanks to the heavens nobody reads these articles but my future self.
So even if the most famous sculptures in the Louvre are of women without arms or heads… they do have perfect boobs! And therefore, there are crowds of people who want to see them, touch them (don’t, you’ll be sent home on the first available flight, and then to prison) and take pictures with them.
Art. I will never get it.
In a world that’s oversaturated by quick information and social media viral content that nobody remembers after 3 days, going to a museum is considered an abomination. An act of nerdiness, of deep boredom. Truth be told, going to a museum is one of the best experiences you can live. Especially since there’s very little Wi-Fi signal. You have to look at the walls, otherwise, you’d go crazy. And once you look up, a whole new world materializes in front of you.
A world of true beauty, hard work and unmatched intelligence. Piece by piece, painting by painting, and sculpture by sculpture, you detach. You get into the mood of wonder, of asking how was this made by the hands of a human being, not a machine. You go from thought to thought and try to wrap your head around the magic of the colours, shapes, sizes, lights and shadows. And you can only wonder at the impossible that lies within the next frame…
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