Friday, October 9, 2009
Do you ever notice that the Louvre is a little bit like Ikea? True, there's no need for an allen wrench at the Louvre, but whenever I go there, I see families in distress, marriages falling apart, people standing in the middle of one gallery flummoxed as how to get to where they really want to be. Getting out can be as tough as getting in and you may end up in Mesopotamian sculpture when you thought you were headed for Old Masters, or in couches when all you really want to look at is bookcases. And the jockeying to read the signage in the special exhibitions is strangely similar to looking for a parking place in Ikea's lot on Saturday afternoon.
The whole idea of the Louvre may give you a headache. But since it's hard to imagine a visit to Paris without making a visit there, here's a few thoughts on how to make the experience less stressful. Go early. Enter by the Porte de Lions instead of from the Pyramide or the Carrousel du Louvre. Avoid the Mona Lisa. Check your extra bags and coats at no cost in the vestiaire. Sit down and rest in the Cour Marly and check out the offerings on the upper floors like the over the top Rubens cycle feting Marie de Médicis on the 2nd floor of the Richelieu wing. And if you never have to go to Ikea again, count your blessings.