We happened to be in Paris on the first Sunday of the month which also happens to be the only day of the month in which several museums are free. So we headed off early to get to the Louvre before it opened. It turned out that we weren’t the only ones to do so.
There are three entrances to the Louvre. Two of them are rather hidden and the lines are shorter than the ground level entrance at the pyramid. We opted for the Metro entrance below which, while having less people queued than above, still had over a thousand people in it. The other, less used, entrance is Porte des Lions, at the south wing of the Museum near the river. I don’t know how many people were lined up there, but it would have probably been less.
The good news is that with nobody having to purchase tickets the lines moved pretty quickly. The bad news is that once you got in, even though the museum had only been open for about 15 minutes, it was already packed.
Everyone was heading for the Mona Lisa so we went in another direction and took a look at some friezes that were originally on the Parthenon in Greece. We continued on to the Venus de Milo while nearly everyone else was at the Mona Lisa.
From the backside we noticed that we weren’t the only ones in the vicinity of this famous statue as a spider had taken up residence on her shoulder. Actually, there were loads of tourists at the Venus de Milo, but not as many as there would be later in the day.
We browsed our way to the Mona Lisa.
I thought it was really bizarre that people were beside themselves to get to the Mona Lisa while completely ignoring the other works along the way. There was a wall with several Leonardo da Vinci paintings on it that no one was even looking at while hundreds of people were packing in to take a picture of the Mona Lisa. It made no sense. Is this how people really want to take pleasure in art?
It was as if the tourists wanted to be able to say (or prove with a picture) that they had seen the Mona Lisa, but they really had no intention of enjoying their experience at the Louvre. We tried to avoid the crowds as much as possible, but it wasn’t easy.
The above is a statue of one of the first baseball players. It looks like he may have been on steroids.
To avoid the claustrophobia I felt in the Louvre, I looked out nearly every window I could find. In doing so, I found that much of the “art” of the Louvre is not housed on the inside, surrounded by pushy tourists elbowing their neighbors out of the way for a picture to show their friends back home, but through the windows. Some of the windows offer unique vantage points to interior places in the Louvre and others have dramatic exterior views.
The one above (and it looks much better once you enlarge it by clicking on it) includes the Eiffel Tower to the right.