Paris is exemplary of all things artistic. Love, poetry, art, music- there is something magnetic in the air of Paris that draws people from all over the world, making it one of the most loved tourist destinations. Moving from destination to attractions, let’s talk about the most extraordinary subject we are about to discuss here- the magnificent ‘Musee du Louvre’ or the Louvre Art Museum, the world’s largest art museum that also happens to be the national museum and art gallery of France. Sitting on the right bank of the Seine, the Louvre Museum is a rare and renowned gem in the museum universe.
Louvre is placed in the ancient Louvre castle which dates back to the 13th century. The castle is a landmark of King Philip II’s reign. This castle was renovated and demolished in portions, several times of which the remnants can now be spotted in the museum’s basement. So, from being a fortress, in the 12th century to being transformed into the residence of the French kings in the 1600s, the Louvre was eventually left alone to serve as a house for display of the royal collection in the 17th century. Over the centuries, it has seen the reign of multiple rulers including Napolean and with each century, the collections increased manifold.
The Louvre castle is nothing more than ruins now, but the portion of this palace which was transformed into a full blown museum in the year 1793, is well kept and maintained. Today, the Louvre stands proudly as the world’s most visited museum.
The Louvre museum houses over 1 million objects and displays more than 35000 works of art and everything has been segregated as per their places of origin and are kept and displayed separately. They are- Egyptian antiques, eastern antiques, Greek and Roman antiques 276 works), Islamic arts (12 works), sculptures, decoratives (260 plus pieces), paintings (more than 200 works) and of course drawings (more than 180 works).
The Louvre’s rich collection has amazing works that date back to the Renaissance period. You can find fine specimens of masterpieces by Dutch painters of the Baroque times in fact, you can also see valuables from the collections of the French kings as well.
The Egyptian antiquities collection relates to the collection made during Napoleon’s successful military campaigns in Egypt. You will find displays of Mesopotamian art here as well.
Some of the art pieces at Louvre have mysterious stories and interesting facts etched to them. For history buffs, this place is your dream come true. You will be relieved to finally witness Hammurabi’s code of law, the oldest deciphered economic written formula as well as soak in Mona Lisa’s intriguing smile and put your curiosities to rest by understanding the curse of the Tutankhamen’s tomb, the tour guides here will answer all your questions.
For an outdoor experience, the Louvre museum offers a day out at the Seine river cruise. Paris has a thing for scenic beauty and the panorama that the Seine River has to offer is surely not worth a miss. While on the cruise, you can see several bridges and some popular structures of Paris pass by. There are audio guided tours at Louvre to help you understand things better.
For a hiccup- free experience, you must book your skip the line tickets online, or else you might be stuck for hours outside the museum.
This is Louvre’s one of the biggest art projects that came into being in 2016. The Pavilion de I’Horloge or the Clock Pavilion was opened with the intention to addresses questions and concerns of visitors about the whole museum and its works through a system of audio, graphics and interactive models . It has divided the museum exploration into three phases.
The first phase is on the lower floor, where the visitors are introduced to the story of Louvre’s transformation from a palace to a museum over multiple centuries. The second level shifts to the first floor of Louvre and visitors are taken through the rich heritage of the collections this museum holds. While the third phase elevates to the second floor, visitors are told about the projects that Louvre is involved in and what future possibilities such as vast art platforms hold.
If you are an art connoisseur, then Louvre should top your bucket list. The museum also features an auditorium that holds several lectures, discussions, and symposia on topics revolving around arts, archeaology and museology. Though a little expensive, the Louvre has a lot more to offer an individual than simply a display of artifacts. You can also access series of lectures on contemporary art and the Louvre’s collection.
Once you have entered the Louvre museum through the controversial Louvre Pyramid that serves as the main entrance – it leads you to three separate wings of the museum namely- Sully wing, Richelieu wing, and Denon wing.
The Sully wing is the oldest part of this museum and is popular for the Turkish bath painting. Most of the wing is dedicated to the antiques of Egyptian origin. One of the most spectacular and widely known statues of the Louvre is the ‘Venus of Milo’ or the statue of Aphrodite, the Greek Godesss of love and beauty that resides in the Sully wing.
The next one is the Richelieu wing and features the most exuberant display of artwork. European paintings of the medieval times are housed in this wing and other notable works include glass and marble structures from famous masters such as Rubens and Rembrandt.
The first floor of the Richelieu wing also holds an impressive collection of decorative arts, with objects like clocks, china, tapestries and furniture. However, the actual star that might steal your breath away are the lavishly decorated Napoleon III Apartments present on the same floor serving as a brilliant depiction of what the Louvre might have looked like during its royal days.
The third wing of the Louvre museum- Denon, is the one that attracts the largest crowd as here resides the endearing Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci. The ground floor of the wing boasts an enormous collection of Roman and Etruscan antiquities along with sculptures from the Renaissance to the 19th century.
Here, you find Antonio Canova’s famous marble statue of Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss. Amazing, isn’t it? Even more famous is Michelangelo’s Dying Slave! Yes, it’s an absolute treasure house. It suffices to say, if anyone has time to visit only one part of the Louvre museum, this would be it.
There isn’t any specific time or season to visit the Louvre museum, although, there are surely 3 days on which the museum stays closed. So if you are planning a visit to the Louvre on 25th December, 1st January or 1st may, plan otherwise.
The Louvre museum remains open to visitors all days of the week, except for Tuesdays. The general timings of visiting are from 9 am to 6 pm. If you wish to know more, you can visit their fully efficient official website where you get to enjoy virtual 360-degree tours of the location which alone would compel you visit this extraordinary museum at the soonest!
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