I approached visiting the Louvre like I was planning a military campaign. I had entrance and exit strategies, defined goals, and clear supply lines. I think it went as well as it possibly could have. There was no chance that the first time I visited Paris, I would not visit the Louvre, but I don’t think I need to visit it again if I go back.
We got up early and decided not to stop for breakfast so we could arrive near the opening time. We entered through a side group entrance rather than through the glass pyramid, and there was absolutely no line. We already had our museum pass, so we just showed them and were waved in. Once again, I set off the metal detector, this time with my iPhone, which my 1980s-era French definitely did not know the word for. I took it out to show it to the guard instead. Mike and I then discussed what the word for cell phone in French might be; there was a lot of “cellular” and “mobile” pronounced in a faux French accent. I googled it later at the hotel, and it looks like it is “portable,” which did not occur to us.
We stopped at the cafeteria for some quick refreshments, and then headed straight for the Venus de Milo. Then we came back around through the Greek statues to find the Winged Victory, which was our favorite.
By the time we got to the Mona Lisa, there was already a crowd. We stayed near the back and did not join the line to get up close and personal. We also saw the Wedding at Cana and Ingres’ Odalisque and David’s Coronation of Napoleon, which are in the same area.
After getting these Greatest Hits out of the way, we started to slow down and we ended up getting lost. The Louvre is huge and parts of it are unconnected to other parts, so at one point we had to double back to the central area after heading down one of the long wings. If you go to the Louvre, wear comfortable shoes. There is a lot of walking involved.
We got lunch early at one of the Louvre cafes, since we hadn’t had much for breakfast. Mike got a milkshake fraise, which came with strawberry sauce you mixed into it with a straw. After lunch, it was significantly more crowded. We headed to see Michaelangelo’s Slaves and Cupid and Psyche, and then went to the Dutch wing for the Durer self-portrait, and Van Eyck and Vermeer. There was also a special collection on display of some impressionists, and after that we were museum-ed out.
We left through the underground mall and stopped to buy some gifts and souvenirs on the way. By this time the lines to get in were ginormous, so I felt very self-satisfied that my expedition had been a success.