Monday, November 8, 2010

Bonne Fête au musee du Louvre!

It is rumored that princes used to race camels through the corridors and the modern concept of a public museum was born within its wall during the French revolution. Awesome is defined as inspiring awe or admiration or wonder... and walking the vast corridors of the Louvre is truly awesome. In celebration of it being the 217th birthday of the world's first public museum, I thought I share five tips about visiting this overwhelming hub of culture and art.

1) Although most people enter via the famous glass pyramid, you can also buy tickets through the Carousel du Louvre (access via rue de Rivoli) underneath the museum. While you are there, you can also stop at La Maison du Chocolat for a taste of my favorite french chocolates, the bourbon truffles!

2) To protect the capital from Viking attacks, King Philippe Auguste (1180–1223) decided to reinforce Paris' defenses with a fortress in 1190, which came to be known as the Louvre. The history of the Louvre is as rich as its immense art collection... and one is easily reminded of this while standing in the crypt with the remnants of the 12th century foundation or stumbling across the sculpted murals from the time of Napoleon I in the Carousel du Louvre. The 1.5 hour guided tour is highly recommended for a broad overview of the Louvre's history and a look at some of its most famous pieces of art.

3) The best advice I was given was to take a look at the map and choose three specific pieces to look at during your visit. However, choosing an exhibit or just 3 pieces from the collections is difficult on its own.
It can be argued that the three most famous pieces at the Louvre are the "Winged Victory of Samothrace," the "Venus de Milo" and the "Mona Lisa." However, these pieces are also famous for being the three stops on the five minute and 56 second world record tour of the Louvre completed by american tourist, Peter Stone. To see if you could beat the record, check out this famous clip from the Band of Outsiders.

4) The Cafe Richelieu overlooks the outer courtyard and Pyramid of the Louvre. It is a great place to grab a cafe au lait and rest your feet while people watching amongst the somber statues guarding the Palaces rooftops.

5) On Wednesday evenings, the Louvre is opened until 10pm. This is the perfect time to go to avoid the large crowds and spend time with some of your favorite pieces.

Happy Birthday, Louvre!

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