The Anti-Tourist

I like to beat new paths for myself.

5 tips for surviving the Louvre

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No first trip to Paris would be complete without a visit to the Louvre

But with over 70,000 pieces to see, spread out over 200,000 square meters of beautiful gallery space, how does one go about seeing most of it without ending up exhausted? Here's how we managed to see a good part of the colossal gallery - without our feet falling off. 

1. Be the early bird.

The Louvre opens at 9am everyday (except Tuesdays), and we got there at around 8.30am. Although there was already a line forming at the entrance, we had some time to take in the lovely square and still get in relatively quickly.

2. Make choices.

Face it: you probably have a limited time to visit the Louvre. You wouldn't be able to see everything in a week, let alone a day, or less. So plan ahead and think about what you really don't want to miss out on and strategise.

We chose to stick to parts of the Sully and Denon wings because we love Greek, Egyptian and Classic art, as well as the Renaissance pieces on the floors above. That way, we weren't in a rush to run around and gave ourselves the time to enjoy the masterpieces within the Louvre.

3. Don't fall for the hype.

The Mona Lisa is probably the biggest tourist-magnet in the museum. Sure, Da Vinci did a great job with portraying the mysterious lady, but the place is brimming with equally beautiful portraits and sculptures. 

Don't think you'll be able to sit quietly and admire the Gioconda's gaze, either. I managed to snap this half-decent shot just before someone else rudely shoved their iphone in my face to to take a snap at it. Not very inspiring. 

Happily enough, the rooms next to the Mona Lisa's were serenely deserted, and we could enjoy the masterpieces with the awe and peace they deserve. 

4. Look up (and around)

Did you know that the Louvre has been around since 1190? From a fortress on Paris' west bank to the stunning chateau it is today, it is not just the masterpieces collected within that grab your attention. The building itself is amazing. 

5. Take the hipster route.

In a museum as iconic as the Louvre, you have to distance yourself from the crowd to really enjoy your visit. Avoid the mainstream and check out the temporary exhibitions, as well as the less popular but equally fascinating areas, such as the African and South American collections. 

BONUS: Treat yourself! 

Art appreciation is hard work. When our tummies began growling in protest we decided we'd seen enough, we skipped along to Angelina for some sweet treats. Delicious hot chocolate (white for him, milk for me) and some sinful treats were just what we deserved! 

Have you been to the Louvre? How was your experience? Let me know below!

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