One of the most iconic museums in Paris is the Louvre and since we were in Paris, we decided to pay a visit (in the full expectation that it would be crowded). For those who may not know, the Louvre was originally a royal palace that was eventually converted to an art museum after the French Revolution. Today, the Louvre contains extensive holdings ranging from Ancient Egypt all the way through the 1848. To cut down on having to deal with crowds, we decided to go in the evening on a rainy Friday (they’re open until 9:45 on Fridays). Unfortunately, a lot of other people had the same idea so things were a bit crowded in the more popular areas.
For what it’s worth, we found that the best way to avoid much of the lines is to enter by way of the Carousel du Louvre, an vast underground shopping mall (it’s actually pretty cool, as malls go) that’s linked to the Paris Metro and has an entrance into the museum- the best part about this is that we were able to avoid not having to wait outside in the rain. Also, it’s highly recommended that you buy a Paris Museum Pass before arriving at the museum (you can buy them at the airport or a number of different outlets).
So after quickly moving through the security line, we decided to go towards areas that weren’t that crowded so we soon found ourselves in Coptic section which roughly spans the 4th through 12 Centuries. Here’s a few things that caught our eye starting with some funerary masks from the late Roman Era (2nd-4th Centuries AD):
And an interesting Pagan holdover from late Roman Egypt (c. 300-450 AD), a square of fabric depicting Aphrodite’s marriage to Adonis:
And then we move onto Christianity:
The above illustration is Ethiopian…amazing!
We eventually made our way to the painting galleries and were greeted by some very familiar paintings by some of the biggest names in French painting such as Gericault, Delacroix and David:
This is probably one of the most iconic French paintings and captures the spirit of Republican France. This is a HUGE picture! We was unable to get a good picture so we borrowed one from Wikipedia. 🙂
And a better version:
Here’s a better view:
Please excuse the poor pictures, the paintings are HUGE and it was difficult to get decent head-on shots but you get the idea. The thing that really jumped out at us was the sheer scale of most of these paintings- some of these pictures are easily two stories tall. The Louvre is the perfect place for display but the whole thing can be a bit overwhelming with all the people. We were at the Louvre for some three hours and it was time to go- our energy was flagging and there was a face with our name calling. Just to conclude, in no way had we even scratched the surface of their collections- there’s no way one is going to view the Louvre’s collections in a day, let alone three hours so there’s more to see the next time we come to Paris. 🙂