Musée du Louvre, Paris, France. I went there. Just me and about 20,000 of my closest art loving friends to see approximately 35,000 works of art in 3 hours.
These large collecting institutions are strange beasts on the tourist trails, crossing the divide between a popularity contest, whilst displaying some of the most iconic (and large) collections of art and objects in the world.
One of the perks of working at a museum is having access to an ICOM card. Actually, anyone can become an ICOM member and it’s worth it, if you plan to visit a lot of museums, either in your own country or whilst travelling. This meant that we didn’t have to queue for an hour or pay admission fees, we walked straight in the ‘Special Access’ door. For me, the entrance space felt like a shopping centre. I’m not sure if it was due to the layout or the number of people in the space.
One mistake we made was not planning our trip. We spent a lot of time just orientating ourselves and trying to find the areas we wanted to see.
We headed to the galleries featuring Flemish artists.
Seeing so many Rembrandt’s was such an amazing thing. To see the detail in the paintings, up close and to think these paintings were created 400 years ago was a truly magical experience.
We moved on to the decorative arts galleries and probably spent way too much time looking at astrolabes, but how could we not? They were exquisite.
I think we saw only a quarter of the museum, and even though the Louvre subscribes to somewhat of an old museology style of exhibitions, only 10 percent of their collection is on display at the Paris site. That is an insane amount of works to manage.
Before leaving we decided to go into the Mona Lisa room. Such a funny site to see. My dearly beloved said, “I thought Michael Jackson was dead.” It was like queueing up to see a pop idol, but one who doesn’t do autographs, only selfies, from behind two barriers and (possibly) a bulletproof and alarmed vitrine.
And even with 2,000 staff members, the show must go on…
Would I visit the Louvre, Paris again?
Probably not. Even though the Louvre has changing temporary exhibitions, for me, the sheer number of people is a big deterrent. I actually wonder how many return visitors the Louvre gets? I couldn’t imagine any Parisian queueing for hours on end. Although I do want to visit the Louvre Lens site in the north of France. Perhaps this Christmas.
Am I glad I visited the Louvre?
Yes, for sure. The sheer scale of the site was incredible, as were the objects and works of art we saw. For me, definitely a once in a lifetime experience.