First stop in Paris for most art lovers is the Louvre, the largest museum in the western world. Originally the building was a fortress and if you go to the basement you can see the original walls which date from 1190. In the 16th
Century it was turned into a Renaissance style palace which housed the royal art collection which consisted of
a dozen paintings by such artists as Leonardo di Vinci and Raphael that had been stolen from Italy. The palace was expanded and renovated and was the home of King Louis XIV until he moved to Versailles and the place fell into disrepair, full of bums, bars and brothels. (Actually it must have been amazing during that period).The Louvre once again became the home for some of the royal art of Louis XIV and Marie Antionette shortly before their beheadings in 1793 when it held over 2500 pieces. Though originally only
kings and royalty were able to view the art, after the French Revolution the doors were opened for everyone. It contains some of the most famous pieces in the world including the Venus di Milo, Mona Lisa, Winged Victory of Samothrace and the best collection of Greek, Roman, and Egyptian antiquities, and paintings from the middle ages to be found under one roof.
Unless you are a gifted athlete with a photographic memory that enables you to take in a piece of art in three seconds, don't even try to see the whole museum in one day. Make a mental list of the works you want to
see and find them on the map and you will see plenty of other things on the way. You can always come back and you probably will.
The entrance is through the glass pyramid in the Cour Napoleon (Courtyard of Napoleon) which anyone who has read The DiVinci Code will be familiar with. Beneath the Pyramid is the Hall Napoleon, a 700 foot cavern which holds the ticket office, the excellent book store and the entranceways to all the exhibit areas. There are other bookstores in the different sections of the museum. Be sure to pick up a map at the information desk. You will need it. Guided
tours are offered several times a day except Sunday and Tuesday. Expect to stand in line though the more off-season you go the shorter the line will be. The museum is open daily, except Tuesdays and certain public holidays, from 9am to 6pm.
The Louvre is open evenings until 9.45 pm on Wednesdays and Fridays. Tickets for the permanent exhibitions is 8.50 euros before 6pm and 6 euros after 6pm. You can also buy an admission package for 13 and
11 euros that gets you in to see all the temporary exhibitions as well as the permanent ones. There are group rates too. The museum is free on the first Sunday of each month. It is also free to young people under 18, disabled and the unemployed. To see if you qualify e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
I have put together this little tour of the Louvre to inspire those who need inspiring. Click on the 1st Photo.