October 19, 2008

The Louvre

On the banks of the river Seine over 60,000 square metres of prime Paris real estate is occupied by the finest museum I have been to. As I am a man among men, the Louvre is a museum among museums. Opened in 1793, the Louvre hosts a massive collection of artifacts, paintings, and sculptures. Six million visitors a year wander its wings after entering through the glass pyramid entrance and descending into the underground lobby. Tickets can be purchased from vending machines. A useful map of the grounds that highlights the premier attractions such as the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, and Venus de Milo is also available. With treasures from all corners of the world on display, it was an easy mistake for many tourists to make when they assumed that I was one of the specimens in the Louvre's collection and started snapping pictures.

The collection was so extensive that my entire day was spent at the museum, including lunch at the Louvre cafeteria. Several tourists took ill with cases of museum fatigue and had to be removed from the premises. The Musee du Louvre was formerly a fortress constructed in the 12th century. Three wings, Sully, Denon, and Richelieu, frame the central courtyard and the recently constructed pyramid. There is also a smaller inverted pyramid and an underground mall attached to the Louvre that I stumbled upon. The eight curatorial departments are (1) Egyptian Antiquities, (2) Near Eastern Antiquities, (3) Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities, (4) Islamic Art, (5) Sculpture, (6) Decorative Arts, (7) Paintings, and (8) Prints and Drawings. Room after room, corridor after corridor, new spectacles await.