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The Louvre: Essential, Little Known Tourist Tips

Updated on August 2, 2013

The Accidental Paris Tourist Discovers a Secret About the Louvre

Paris had never been on my 'places to go' list. I believed the stereotypes about snooty French who didn't like Americans. Boy was I wrong.

Now don't get me wrong. They don't, like much of Europe, accommodate Americans by speaking English, but other than that I was pleased by the warm reception. I remember asking one woman for directions to the Seine. I butchered the pronunciation, something that drives the French to drink. She gently tried to help me say it the way she did, but to no avail. I could tell that I was causing her pain, but she remained polite, friendly and well, civil.

I became an accidental tourist in Paris because of a pilgrimage to the South of France. I wanted to do that (a most beautiful part of the world) and thought that it would be a once in a lifetime trip, as I wasn't much interested in that either. Since we landed in Paris, and I just knew I would never return, I thought it would be foolish to be at the airport, just that once, and not spend a few days in Paris. I arranged to go to the city at the end of the trip.

Believe the wonderful things people say about Paris, but question the bad. It wasn't even all that expensive!

I write today to tell you that, and also to share some tips about visiting the Louvre. These tips were counter intuitive to me, but I was lucky enough to stumble upon them. I hope you use them to get the most from this glorious city.

Note: To the right is a picture of me with a statue of Mary Magdalene. She is in a glass case, so there is some glare, but this was one of the wonderful surprises of the day. Try to find her when you are there.

Pleased to meet you,

Mona Lisa!

The Hint Is:

Drum Roll:

While intuition might tell you to go to such a tourist and local attraction during the week, when most people are at work, this is a time to ignore that bit of common sense.

My friend, Sandy and I had a day together in France before she left for another adventure. We had no plans, but walked from Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower. A great experience, but exhausting. We didn't think we could get into many tourist attractions, because of crowds and we were right about a couple of Cathedrals and the Eiffel Tower. (We did that anyway and I am glad we did, just the once)

We just 'knew' there was no point going to to Louvre, not on a Saturday. However, we walked by and went to see the pyramid. What do you know, there wasn't a much of a line getting in. As exhausted as we were, it was Sandy's only day to go, so in we went.

What a place. I could carry on forever about it, but this is about the lack of crowds. There were not only no lines outside, but plenty of room inside. We wondered if the city was evacuated!

The most amazing thing was the Mona Lisa room. There are other paintings there, but this small painting, dwarfed by many of the Louvre's pictures, has its own huge wall. It has a glass casing all around it and a railing about 3 to 5 feet out. But, that day the room was practically empty. So empty that we were able to stand right in front of her, well the railing, anyway. There were no people between 'she and we'. We each took a picture with her. Amazing!

I didn't go back on Sunday, thinking that Monday would be really quiet. When I went on Monday, I should have realized something was up when I saw the line, but went in anyway. What a disappointment! Tons of tourist groups with their leaders and tons of others.

The Mona Lisa room? I could barely get in, let alone stand in front of her.

The hint: Go the to Louvre on Saturday. Avoid it on the weekdays. This was counterintuitive to me, but well, I learned better.

Mona Lisa: Why So Famous? - Vat19.com

I was fortunate enough to be able to stand in front of her, with no people or distractions in between. Vat19.com, in his video Mona Lisa: Why So Famous? gives us an in depth history to further understand this great work.

But I Promised You Tips, Not Tip

Well, here is #2.

If they took out every piece of art in the entire building, including the Mona Lisa (!) The Louvre is still well worth visiting. It would take one whole day just to see the beautiful architecture, the ceilings, the floors.

Try to take your focus from the countless pieces of priceless art and really look at the building. I know I took more pictures of the museum than what the museum holds. The picture here is of a piece of ceiling. Imagine, the very ceilings are worth going to France to see!

Here We Are

#3

Number 1: Was a counterintuitive revelation for me, go on a Saturday.

Number 2: I kind of knew about the wonders of the architecture but didn't go looking for it. It was breathtaking!

Number 3: Wow, my basement doesn't look like this. I mean, my house is starting to overflow with art, but I do not have a basement with more art than there is on the walls! Well, the Louvre has that. When you pass an inner window with something that looks just a little junky, stop, look, and see the amazing things in the basement. I am told that there is more in the basement than on display!

Wow!

The Lourve

Beautiful music with a tour of some breathtaking art works.

Any Purchase Here Will Contribute to Heifer International: The Pay It Forward Entrepreneurial Charity

Get Serious About Mona Lisa

A Grand Tour - One I Could Have Videoed

If I had had my Flip camera

The guys from Duran Duran were amazed that they got to get so close to the Mona Lisa the night of their concert.

I could have told them to just go on a Saturday!

I would love to hear your tips about visiting the Louvre, to share them with everyone.

Stars always welcome!

I Look Forward to Hearing From You

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    • profile image

      fenellashorty 5 years ago

      I love the Louvre. I shall being going there again soon.

    • DeannaDiaz profile image

      DeannaDiaz 5 years ago

      I love this lens! I am planning a trip to France in October and your lens has really stoked the fire!

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 6 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Blessed by a SquidAngel on the Back to School Bus Trip

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 6 years ago from United States

      I love the Louvre! I have been several times and each time I see something new. Yes, Sat. is a good day because most tourist travel on the weekends, so they are at the airport :)

    • Sharlee01 profile image

      Sharon Stajda 6 years ago from Shelby Township Michigan

      I so enjoyed my visit, I can see you put tons of work into this interesting lens. I have lensrolled you to my "Your Trip To PairsFrance"... Thank you for lensrolling my lens here! Regards, Shar

    • hlkljgk profile image

      hlkljgk 6 years ago from Western Mass

      i can't wait to go to the louvre.

    • Bella Stella profile image

      Bella Stella 6 years ago

      I have been in the Museum but I cannot recall on what day. I just have to admit that I was absolutely impressed by the statue of Nike of Samothrace. In my opinion, this is the most imposing sculpture of the Louvre museum and it was boosted by the place it had been positioned. When I think of Louvre, I remember the view of the Nike which had caused me rare sentiments. The Mona Liza is a very famous painting seen almost everywhere so it did not impressed me that much contrary to the Nike which was a great surprise!

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 6 years ago

      Been there - yes, it's every bit as lovely as you say and well done on the tips! Trouble is, as everyone in the World will read this lens by Margo_Arrowsmith, we'll have to avoid Saturdays in future!

    • makingamark profile image

      Katherine Tyrrell 6 years ago from London

      Great tips! I've also been taking a look at your other lenses and see an awful lot to like. I'll be taking a trip around them!

      I'm lensrolling this to my Louvre lens and will also be adding it in as a featured lens - always good to have another perspective!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Congratulations on another lens of the day. OMG, you have more LOTD lenses than anyone else. Good for you!

    • Barb McCoy profile image

      Barb McCoy 6 years ago

      Thanks for the tips....would LOVE to go to the Louvre someday soon. Favorited and blessed.

      *Blessed by an Angel*

    • profile image

      poutine 6 years ago

      Unfortunately I have never been there but my husband was in the 70's and loved it.

    • profile image

      7Suze7 7 years ago

      I want to go so bad...thanks

    • profile image

      poutine 6 years ago

      Unfortunately I have never been there but my husband was in the 70's and loved it.

    • PleasantValley LM profile image

      PleasantValley LM 8 years ago

      I was at the Louvre several years ago when there were very long lines at the pyramid entrance. Instead of waiting for hours, we walked over to a side entrance and got in immediately.

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 8 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      I've been to the Louvre but only once and was able to see so little. I think you have to decide if there is something you must see and make that a priority. What a great lens. Welcome to the Art & Design Group.

    • annetteghallowe1 profile image

      annetteghallowe1 9 years ago

      I love the Louvre! Thanks for reminding me why. Now I want to go back on a Saturday. 5*

    • profile image

      ShortSaleRealtor 9 years ago

      How cool you had nobody by the mona lisa when you went. There were so many people when I was there.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 9 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      What a great trip, great tips and great lens. Well done! 5*

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 9 years ago

      Ah, what a great lens. When we traveled to Paris, the Louvre was on our list of must sees. But, so unfortunate were we that we picked the very day that the Louvre was closed!!! I was really bummed out. I think that's the biggest tip of all -- plan to see when they are open. 5*****

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Lovely Lens 5* and welcome to Travelmania Group.

      Online travel booking and worldwide destination guides

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 9 years ago

      What an enjoyable lens. When I visited Paris, our group only had a couple of hours to spend at the Louvre. I would love to go back and see it again (on a Saturday). Welcome to All Things Travel.

    • Sunfish LM profile image

      Sunfish LM 9 years ago

      The Louvre is extraordinairy. I'm glad you enjoyed your visit. And yes, you should not believe all the things Americans say about the French (reverse also true).

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      RuthCoffee 9 years ago

      A very special place, good tips! I've been there and highly recommend a visit to anyone who goes to Paris.

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 9 years ago

      Great lens! I will walk through the Louvre...someday.

      5*

      Lizzy

    • unsinkablewoman profile image

      unsinkablewoman 9 years ago

      hello again

      I am in aw looking at the art work

      this makes me feel something I can't express in words

      I am an art lover, and I have never seen the likes of the art that you have been good enough to have here, ty for telling the story of your trip

      I am sure you will travel again,but I don't know if you will ever find anything like this ty your friend D