After the very fun Paris Photography Walking Tour, we had to run to The Louvre for another tour I proudly booked.
I found this site called Localers where they claim to help you explore Paris like a local. I highly enjoy museums and I know that The Louvre is one of the most famous ones in the world that’s why I had to dedicate ample time for it on our trip. I booked a 2 and a half hours private tour with Localers for our Sunday afternoon in Paris. It was very easy to book it even if there wasn’t an available schedule for Sunday at 3:30pm. I simply sent them a message via their website and they quickly accommodated my request since it was a private tour after all.
Like I said in my earlier post, I exhausted my camera’s battery from our walking tour. UGH. I tried my best to only take necessary photos but I took a few with our phones as well (they’re mostly square in case you want to tell which is which). I learned a lot from our beautiful tour guide Marie Claire.
Don’t underestimate her, though, she’s been an art historian for years! I learned over the next few days that most of the tour guides from Localers have had years of experience under their very-tiny-because-they’re-all-so-slender-and-fit belts.
The Louvre was originally a fortress in the 12th century. In the 14th century, Francis I started collecting a sizable amount of artworks and slowly turned the palace into the museum that it is today. From the pictures you see, the original fortress was just a fifth of its size. It’s where the royal family used to reside until Louis XIV moved to Versailles in the 15th century.
The now-iconic pyramids weren’t loved by everyone when they were first created. It was a very controversial time because most people couldn’t understand why the president (François Mitterrand, 1984) would allow something so modern-looking to be at the center of such classic architecture.
Aesthetics aside, it was mainly built to create another entrance to help ease in the hordes of visitors.
Our first stop: Napoleon’s Apartments
We went to the other parts of the museum, like the basement where we were able to see the actual stones of the original fortress. I wish my camera had battery ?
I got to take shots of some of the incredibly beautiful sculptures, of course.
The fascination with the famous Venus de Milo, aside from the fact that she is utterly gorgeous, is the mystery behind what her arms were doing before they were broken.
The Venus de Milo is an accidental surrealist masterpiece. Her lack of arms makes her strange and dreamlike. She is perfect but imperfect, beautiful but broken – the body as a ruin. That sense of enigmatic incompleteness has transformed an ancient work of art into a modern one. (via The Guardian)
Another famous broken beauty is the Winged Victory of Samothrace a.k.a. Nike (greek for Victory) of Samothrace. Our tour guide said that it was the inspiration of the brand Nike. See how the wing looks like the swoosh sign?
Prior to the tour, I was clueless about Cupid’s love interest Psyche. I had no idea such a character existed. Yeah, I know, I skipped Greek mythology in high school – apparently when I moved schools in 2nd year, they’d already covered it in 1st year or something. Same reason I’m bad at Geography. LELZ. I’ve read up a little bit on her since and she’s actually very interesting.
There’s a painting of them by François-Édouard Picot that I found really beautiful, you can click here to see it.
I learned a fun fact about this painting (The Coronation of Napoleon). It was originally placed in the Palace of Versailles but moved to The Louvre.
Napoleon’s official painter, Jacques-Louis David created this huge painting. Click here to see the whole thing. You’ll see on the left, the 5 sisters of Napoleon all in white. A year after the painting was finished, he was commissioned to make an exact replica of it (taray diba?! I mean it’s ONLY 33ft x 20ft…). He finished it 14 years later and I saw it in Versailles days after seeing the original. I noticed not all the sisters were in white anymore. The second from the left was wearing pink, totally standing out. Research shows that it’s because she was Napoleon’s favorite sister. But Napoleon wasn’t the one who commissioned the second painting, that’s why I believe what our Versailles tour guide told us: the painter changed her dress color to pink because he fell in love with her. AWWWW.
We were VERY lucky there were only a few people when we visited The Louvre.
We had no problem going close to the Mona Lisa.
Apparently, Mona Lisa shot to fame after she was stolen in 1911. You can read more about the famous heist here.
It was an afternoon to remember — thank you so much to Marie Claire of Localers for being such a lovely tour guide.
You can click here for more information about our Private Tour of The Louvre. More Euro-blogs to come!
EDIT: Took some photos outside The Louvre. Forgot to post them here!
That’s how close we stayed from the museum. Awesome location, right? We had some wine and charcuterie and we watched people walk, bike, or drive by.
Jim started playing with GarageBand on his phone and we covered La Vie En Rose over and over to the dismay of the other diners sitting outside in the cold with us. Hehehe. I would post the videos but they’re too embarrassing, we were tipsy and off-key (at least I was). It was a very very lovely first night in the city of love.