The Louvre was high on our list of things to do in Paris. I was looking forward to seeing the glass pyramid and the Mona Lisa, with a few other things. If you’ve seen or read The Da Vinci Code you’ve already imagined yourself there. It’s a must-see. Or is it? Although I don’t regret going, I’m not absolutely certain it was worth the trouble.
1. Ticketing is confusing. Everything I read said I had to buy my tickets in advance or I could stand in line all day. In reality, the lines really weren’t that long. We had purchased passes online and didn’t have to wait in line but if we had it really would not have been a big deal.
2. The glass pyramid is freaking hot. In August, it was a truly uncomfortable way to enter the museum and not a great place to stand in line. If you want to see it, walk past it. It’s just the ceiling to a basement from inside.
3. Hard to get to. Although we did the Paris Metro to work quite well for us most of the time, there is no stop really close to the entrance of the Louvre.
4. Too much security. The Louvre has numerous wings. And you must go through separate security and show your ticket for each one, as well as when you come in the main entrance. More lines than I want to deal with.
5. Too many people. Usually I am prepared to deal with crowds when there is something I want to see. The crowds at the Louvre are beyond ridiculous. If you want to see Winged Victory (this with the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo are the top three attractions), you have to shove your way through crowds on a steep staircase. If you pause to take a photo, there’s a good chance someone will shove you and you’ll topple down the marble stairs. The Mona Lisa is impossible to get near unless you prepared to just push your way forward through a room that is wall to wall bodies. The sheer number of people all trying to get to the same place you’re going makes it an unpleasant experience.
6. Pickpockets. Although we fortunately were not affected, the Louvre is supposed to be one of the worst places for pickpockets. The sheer volume of people and the closeness of other bodies makes it a danger zone. Therefore, I was paranoid the entire time and it’s hard to relax and enjoy yourself when you feel as if you’re going to be robbed at any moment. One of the room monitors (not sure if these folks are technically security guards?) shouted at my daughter when she walked by with part of her purse partially unzipped (there was nothing of value in it and we would have appreciated the warning had the woman not appeared angry with us!).
7. Terrible signage. We had a map. I had read in advance about how best to navigate from one thing to the next. We still got lost. Over and over. Since everyone in the damn place is there to see the Mona Lisa you would think they might have a sign pointing to the entrance to the room. It was difficult to navigate every step of the way.
8. It is gigantic. And nothing you want to see is near anything else. We went to almost every wing to see the 4 things we were there to see (Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Winged Victory and Napoleon III’s apartments). Wear athletic shoes and be prepared to go up and down a lot of stairs. It takes
much longer than you anticipate to walk anywhere and it’s never a straight shot. There are twists and turns and unexpected staircases. And there is always a tour group walking slowly in front of you.
9. There are other amazing place in Paris that have none of these problems. High on my list of recommendations is Musee de l’Orangerie. This wonderful museum is in the corner of the Tuileries, has absolutely no crowds, is small, and has two gigantic rooms of HUGE Monet paintings that cover the entire walls. You can get up close and
personal with them. I would pick that any day over the Louvre.
The Louvre was high on our list of things to do in Paris. I was looking forward to seeing the glass pyramid and the Mona Lisa, with a few other things. If you’ve seen or read The Da Vinci Code you’ve already imagined yourself there. It’s a must-see. Or is it? Although I don’t regret … Read more