Saturday, July 02, 2011

Le Louvre

The most recommended strategy for visiting the Louvre with children is to get there early. Very early. Before it opens. I think the level of crowds is directly associated with the level of enjoyment children have. Anywhere. Well, directly related through the patience of the parents that is. Is this even correct English anymore?
Basically less crowd=happier parents=happier children
The end.
Just kidding. Since when have I written a post that short.

Anyway, another recommended strategy that I read about, specifically for the Louvre, is to go in the evening with kids. And since we only had three mornings in Paris, and approximately 367 "get there before it opens" things that we wanted to see, we decided to give the evening a go.

I wasn't sure about this, because I thought the kids would be tired and grumpy, so we ate right before we went, and we let the kids play around in the fountains for a little while before we went in. They were still a little short on patience, but I had only planned on seeing a few things on our first trip anyway.

Before our trip, I let the kids explore the Louvre's website. They've got a great interactive, educational kids thing. It starts on the main page with a pop-up of a tour guide (it still worked on our google chrome browser with pop-up blockers on). You can click on him and then on different pop-ups to be taken around to different artifacts, paintings, sculptures, etc and watch videos and learn history. It's really a great tool.
Since the Louvre is huge and has a bajillion things on display, there were a lot of things the kids learned about that we didn't see, but one thing we ran into (thanks to a trip to the bathroom) that they really wanted to see was this Sphinx.
The website also introduced them to a nude sculpture, which I appreciated, because we were able to discuss that casually before we even saw any at the museum (and there were plenty), but you may want to monitor that if it's something you want to avoid.

Winged Victory.
It's all it's cracked up to be (har har har).

Isn't this awesome?
This was just one little hall of which there are approximately 500,000, and huge rooms on the sides of each one full of more art. It's a very confusing place. From the outside it looks simple enough, but stairs, and odd levels, connecting rooms... I'm usually good with maps, and I had to ask where we were about five times.

And in this room:
That famous little lady.

I was surprised at how {synonym for extremely large} so many of the paintings were. I guess they can't make art books that are five feet tall by 8 feet wide (let alone two stories tall), so it's hard to get the scale of some of the more famous pieces of art. So big.
Except of course for this one:
a little underwhelming in size, if you ask me. Not at all what I was expecting.

Not at all underwhelming in beauty though. While it's hard to capture scale in an art book, it's probably equally difficult to capture beauty. All of the pieces that I was familiar with, surprised me with how beautiful they were in person. I suppose it's something I should have figured out, but why hasn't anyone told me that gap would be so large?

Anyway, beautiful building, miles of beautiful art, great atmosphere, manageable crowds around 5 in the evening... I loved the Louvre (shocking, I know).

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