The Louvre

The main entrance to the Louvre is just under that glass pyramid.
It might sound a little crazy, but my least favorite museum visit was the Louvre. I don't think it has anything to do with the actual museum, the exhibits, the location, or anything. I think it mostly has to do with the timing both because I went at a busy time of day and my trip to France was short (10 days). I think if I had gone later in the afternoon after lunch, there would have been less people in the museum. Also, if I had several days to return to the Louvre,  I would have seen a lot more of the gems the museum has to offer.

A courtyard outside one of the wings of the museum.
Instead, I visited in the morning with a friend when all the tour groups were coming in - well, in general, a lot of people were arriving at that time because, I assume, many tourists start a least one of their days in Paris at the Louvre. Due to the number of people, it was difficult to get a good look at and take pictures of the famous paintings and sculptures. I would definitely recommend spending a complete day or two at the Louvre checking it out. I think this might be a little hard for tourists who come from out of the EU though. If you are an EU citizen 25 or under you can enter any museum within the union for free. If you are that same age but not an EU citizen, you get a discount, but perhaps it might not be big enough to justify paying money to get in the museum multiple days in a row since, unfortunately, there is no multiple day pass to get into the Louvre. In my opinion, it would definitely be worth it. 

When you disregard my mistake in terms of timing when going to the Louvre, it does live up to expectation as it has a seemingly endless catalogue of things to see. The map that you can pick up at the first floor of the museum is offered in several languages and tells you in detail where all the popular paintings and sculptures (Mona Lisa, Seated Scribe, Gabrielle d'Estrees and one of Her Sisters, etc.) are located. There's no need to worry if you're directionally challenged like myself, haha. All the different rooms in the Louvre are named and color coded, and there are several people around which are paid to help you get where you'd like to go.

Neither my friend and I knew where to start as it was out first time in the Louvre (she's from the south of France). So, we simply picked an area and went for it. We knew that a visit to the Louvre wouldn't be complete if we didn't see the Mona Lisa, so we started at the wing (Denon) where it was located. Naturally, everyone was probably thinking the same as us, so it was quite crowded in the area. However, the hallways were wide enough to accommodate everyone without forcing a bumping of elbows, so it was comfortable.  Also, there were many beautiful pieces to look at along the way.

As you can see from the size of the people,
this one was huge!
This guy has such an unnerving stare, haha.
Napoleon Bonaparte
It's not a surprise that there were many pieces of him.
Joan of Arc
The famous Mona Lisa. (Yes, that's it.)
It's rather small, and I couldn't get a clear picture because 
there were several people looking at it 
(who didn't move even when asked >_<). 
This one is hundreds of years old, I believe.

Above is the roof of the Apollo Gallery built for Louis XIV.
You can click the picture below and read the description.
An ornate dish.
A glass dinning set.
I want the whole thing in my future dinning room!
I believe someone was buried in this.
A model tea/entertaining room.
Really decorative chandelier.
A collection of old dish ware.
Do you notice the Chinese influence?
This was one of my favorite sets.
The Louvre also has a wide collection of sculptures which are stored in a unique room which has a high roof with a sky window. The daylight gives the impression that the statues are outside while, in reality, being nice and protected inside the museum. I imagine it's best to see this portion on a nice day as it probably looks a little dreary when it's rainy/overcast.

There are several statues but they're nice and spread out
which makes them easy to view.
I thought this one was interesting as it was one of the few
darker colored ones in the area; the color made it stand out.
Naturally, aside from Western-style paintings and sculptures there are many pieces from other parts of the world. The Louvre's collection of Egyptian and Mediterranean artifacts is extensive.

I liked the deep colors on this one.
The Seated Scribe is a famous piece and part of
the museum's private collection. It's amazing that the colors
are still vibrant after thousands of years.
I thought the mouth opening on this fountain was cute!
The front of an Egyptian coffin.
This Mesopotamian(?) coffin contrasts interestingly
with the Egyptian one.
I've seen these Assyrian lion wall reliefs many times on TV
and in textbooks, so it was cool to see them in person.
Honestly, I don't remember what this was.
Part of a building? A battering ram component?
Either way, it was huge, like a couple of stories tall.
Isn't the detailing work on this great?

All in all, the Louvre is an amazing museum (if you don't mind huge crowds of people). If you go, be sure to stay all day, especially since there are a few discounts which might apply to you. There is so much to see there as well. If you're in Paris for several days, make the Louvre a day trip or set aside two days to see it. While you would have to pay twice to get in, it's totally worth the money for what you get to see!

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