Do you have a bucket list? There was a time when I thought the idea of a bucket list was foolish. Why waste time making a list of things you want to do, when you can just do all of those exciting things? As I got a little older I realized that we all have things we want to do before we die and a bucket list just gives us a venue to keep track of them. There is, actually, great joy in accomplishing an event and marking it off the list. Anyone who knows me would know that the Louvre would be at the top of my list. I crossed this major accomplishment off my list a couple of years ago. I encourage everyone to make this trip at least once in their life.
The Amazing Louvre
Trust me when I tell you that the Louvre is not just an art museum, but an incredible piece of the history of France. The Louvre sits on the bank of the Seine in beautiful, historical Paris. When it was built, the Louvre was a fortress. From the mid-16th century until 1793 the building was used as a royal palace. When Louis XIV moved to Versailles, an art museum was born. Just looking at this building from the outside is like being in the presence of the greats. The feeling of history permeates the air.
Planning Your Visit
Visiting the Louvre can be a rather daunting experience. The museum is quite large (more than 650,000 square feet) and there are so many incredible things to see, it is hard to know where to start. I found that there were several ways to approach your visit to make it work for you. The number one rule would be to allow yourself enough time. Even a whole day may not be enough time to see all that you want to see. I decided to take advantage of The Masterpieces Visitors Trail. This 90 minute guided tour takes in the top ten most famous works in the Louvre. This is sort of a condensed version of the world’s most famous art museum but it is a good starting place. This worked for me because I knew I could not visit the Louvre without seeing the Mona Lisa or the Venus de Milo. I also knew that there was so much more to see.
I spent my first day visiting the masters and all of the most famous works associated with the Louvre and then I went back on a Wednesday night. The museum is open later on Wednesday and Friday evenings and the tourist crowd is much lighter. I took this opportunity to seek out some of the lesser known objects of art located there. I found that, although the Mona Lisa and the Wedding Feast at Cana were breathtaking they were not my favorite.
After many mesmerizing moments and much wandering around I found my favorite work of art. I became entranced by Hermaphroditos Asleep. The marble mattress Hermaphroditos is asleep on looks so inviting, you could imagine napping there. From the original vantage point you see a beautiful and somewhat voluptuous sleeping woman. The detail is beautiful and it is difficult to not reach out to touch her sleeping figure. However, if you view this work of art from the other side, the sleeping woman is a man. I found this piece to be provocative and thought provoking and I can’t get it out of my mind.
So I have crossed the Louvre off of my bucket list and I strongly recommend you consider adding it to yours. Paris is unforgettable and the Louvre is truly a once in a lifetime trip, although I am hoping I can make it twice in my lifetime!
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