During my trip to France, I knew that I needed to visit the Louvre whilst in Paris, simply because it is the greatest repository of cultural artifacts and treasures in the world.
From the very beginning of my trip, I had my heart set on viewing its extensive collection of artifacts including getting a glimpse of the Mona Lisa and some of the other famous Renaissance works.
Before entering the Louvre, I already knew that it was a large museum, situated in a beautiful old palace of some sort. I knew that it was quite a famous place and therefore, it would certainly have many tourists within it. I expected it to possess many different exhibits and collections filled with fascinating items from around the world.
Yes, you hear many great things about the Louvre however, this has been brought to a new level of greatness. It is not the best or the most enjoyable (SO many people) but in terms of it being a museum that has everything.
The amount of different collections within the Louvre including Greco-Roman world and the European Renaissance, exhibits on ancient Assyria, Babylon, and Egypt, as well as medieval Europe, the Islamic world and so on. The size of this place has all granted the Louvre an enormous, world-wide fame that causes hundreds or even thousands of tourists from around the world to descend upon it everyday.
The Louvre, is a mixed blessing; the size, scale, and number of its collections. However, in particular, the enduring cultural impact of the pieces held within tell us that it most definitely deserves a visit from anyone claiming to appreciate culture.
At the same time, the Louvre’s fame is such that it seems to be eternally filled with an uncomfortable number of people, all squeezing together in an effort just to earn a glimpse of this or that famous painting or sculpture. This problem of crowding is so severe that the museum is littered with signs warning visitors to beware of pickpockets.
It is possible at times to find a quieter, emptier room: a perfect opportunity to collect your thoughts and to recharge for the next, more crowded room. However, there is always a continuous flow of people throughout the museum. The massive queues to see some statues or to even use the rest rooms.
Overall, I found the Louvre to be an amazing place, but the enjoyment of the experience was lessened by the number of people inside it.
The Louvre was not exactly a relaxing, quiet environment in which I could really contemplate the great works of art and culture around me.
What I have said about the sheer scale of the Louvre is also true in respect to its architecture: to house its large collections, the museum requires a massive building. The Louvre is so large that it a visitor will have to walk great distances just to get from one place to another.
The building itself is quite beautiful.
This would not ordinarily be a big problem, but the issue comes from the fact that the Louvre is a renovated medieval palace, not a brand-new modern building. Its layout has not been designed with modern sensibilities in mind. Rather, it is an old historical structure that is almost like a giant maze.
If you decide to visit the Louvre, you will be walking quite a bit, however, may also have a bit of trouble figuring out how to get to particular exhibits in the museum. I found myself going back and forth along different hallways and through various exhibits searching for the right elevator.
The aesthetic design of the museum is excellent: the medieval architecture of these old palace halls is beautiful, and the famous glass pyramid adds a nice touch of modernity to the overall image of the Louvre. However, I must say that the Louvre’s design falls short in the functional sense simply because of how hard it was to get around and find the exhibits that I wanted to see.
Beneath the pyramid:
The function design of the Louvre has another flaw: the glass pyramid. It is beautiful, yes, but beneath the summer sun, it acts essentially as a giant greenhouse, so that visitors entering through the pyramid are subjected to an intense, scorching heat.
One more thing: although some signs are in English, many of the detailed descriptions of particular items are in French. Make sure to read up on the certain famous items you wish to see beforehand, to avoid language issues and to provide a bit of context when you finally reach the room containing, for example, the Mona Lisa.
For those wanting to visit the Louvre, plan ahead. Know from the start what items and exhibits you want to see. GET a map and carefully follow it to get to where you want to go. Pace yourself and take plenty of breaks to maintain your energy (I wish I read up on these things before hand. You would be able to make the most of your visit if you do this 😊