The Louvre is the largest Museum in the whole world. The building is massive and over the years has been used for many different things. It was originally built in the 12th century and used by the Parisians as a fortress to protect them against attacking vikings. It became a royal palace in the 16th century and has also been used as a Prison, Government offices and during the World War 2 the Nazi’s used it to store stolen art.
The building was originally one and over time several new wings were added and it was connected to another palace thus making it the mammoth building it is today.
To get the best out of our Museum visit we decided to leave our 4 year old with his Dad. We figured he wouldn’t be that interested in looking at paintings and sculptures all day and would much rather go to the Eiffel Tower and the park with Dad.
The night before our visit we had dinner with our friends who are Paris locals and they told us of a secret door entrance that only Parisians know about. They drew us a map and we headed straight to this entrance.
The main entrance at the Pyramid was packed with people and the wait time was approximately 2 hours long. As we passed the line we were hoping that the entrance was open as we did not fancy standing in the hot summer sun for 2 hours.
As we walked past the line and toward the Tulleries garden area we found the secret entrance door. The entrance is called “Port De Lions” and there was no line at all. When we first approached the door we thought it was closed because we were the only ones there.
To our surprise it is an official entrance and we went straight in!
After we got a map for the Louvre we realised that it is not a secret door, as it is clearly stated on the map. We did wonder however why no one was using it? I guess it is not really well known, or maybe people just love a good 2 hour queue.
The Louvre can get really crowded so it is best to come as early as you can and the best days to visit are weekdays.
On our agenda:
We arrived around 9:30am and decided to head straight to see “her”. The kids were excited to finally be seeing “her”. As we rounded the corner and the painting of Mona Lisa came into view the kids began shrieking “We see her, we see her!”. As we walked up to the painting we were able to get a really good view of it.
If you arrive early making your way straight to Mona Lisa is a good idea as we were able to get really close to the painting. There are less people here the earlier you come.
The Louvre houses over 7,500 paintings and 35,000 pieces in total so it would take you over 100 years to look at each piece for 30 seconds each. Having a plan of attack of is necessary as there are so many things to see.
This is what we decided we needed to see.
The Mona Lisa:
This piece of art is possible the most famous painting in the world and you cannot visit the Louvre without casting your eyes on her grandness. The Mona Lisa painted by famous artist Leonardo DaVinci is housed in a room by itself and in a bullet proof casing guarded by several security guards.
I guess they can’t be too careful as the painting was famously stolen from the Museum.
We were intrigued that the painting was so small. What made it more obvious was that the largest painting the whole Museum is located in the room directly across from the Mona Lisa.
The painting is called “The Wedding Feast at Cana” by Veronese.
Venus De Milo: Aphrodite
As part of history and homeschooling the kids had learnt about this statue. Venus De Milo was found in a cave on the island of Milos in the Aegean Sea. The statue was broken into several pieces. The person that found her didn’t hand her in to authorities but tried to keep it, however others learnt of his discovery and it was stolen from his barn.
While a French navel officer was visiting the island he discovered the sculpture he wanted to take it back to France but his ship captain said there was not enough room.
On arrival at the next port the French officer showed photos of the sculpture to his superior officers and they immediately sent someone back to the island to purchase it.
Once it arrived back at the Louvre it was put back together, however the arms did not match the rest of the body so they were left off.
Winged Victory: Nike
This beautiful sculpture is of a headless winged woman on the bow of a ship with the wind blowing through her clothing.
The sculpture was made by an unknown artist around 190 BC.
The Greek Goddess Nike was discovered in 1863 by a french diplomat on the island of Samothrace.
We added this to our itinerary for the Louvre as we are all interested in Egypt. This department at the Louvre displays several different artefacts from Egypt and over many different time periods.
We were very impressed with the size of this collection (over 50,000 pieces) but what we loved the most were the Mummies.
Greek and Roman Antiquities:
I am fascinated by Greek Mythology and the Roman era so I dragged my kids to this part of the Museum.
We viewed magnificent gargantuan marble sculptures and bronze statues, jewellery, paintings and much more. Again there were pieces from different time periods and the collection is very vast.
We spent over 4 hours in the Museum before the kids started to get hungry. We got lost several times and spent over 45 minutes trying to find a way out of the building even though we had a map so do allow time for finding your way in the Museum.
Our visit to the Louvre Paris was one of my favourite travelling days so far and we only scratched the surface of amazing artefacts, paintings and sculptures held within it’s walls. One visit is just not enough and I am looking forward to coming back one day soon.
Kids are free to this Museum and adults are 12 Euro or free if you have the Paris Museum Pass.
Use the secret door entrance and visit on a weekday.
Have a plan of attack before you arrive (check out the Louvre website for maps and details)
Bring water and enough snacks to last your visit as there are only overpriced cafes inside.
If you have smaller kids bring along paper and pencil and let them sketch some of the sculptures to keep them occupied.