Whatever preserving `bug’ the Parisians `contracted’, the entire world is forever indebted to, because museums, from the small galleries tucked in quiet side streets to the opulent and labyrinthine Musee du Louvre, dot the landscape of Paris. The French call them musee, and is it any wonder, since they contain what the Grecian muses of yore presided over? From the muses come the museums housing all the objets d’art that had been inspired by them.
The Musee du Louvre (pronounced myze dy luv) or the Louvre Museum, found in the Right Bank of the river Seine, houses almost 380, 000 art objects and 35,000 displays in over 60, 000 square meter of floor space. There are three wings to the museum: Sully (pronounced soo-yee), Denon and Richelieu, and visitors will be hard-pressed to tour all three.
It had been said that touring the Louvre museum and merely glancing at all the treasures will take one nine months!
Entrance to the museum is 9 euro and it is open everyday except on a Tuesday. If you are taking the metro, you can get off at the Palais Royal-Musee du Louvre or Musee du Louvre-Rivoli stations. Taxis, which are not a cheap alternative, will deposit you in front.
The Mona Lisa, or La Joconde as it is more accurately known in these parts is found in the Salle d’Etats of the Denon. Only 30 by 21 inches, the glass-encased painting does not impress much; one knows, however, that one is in the vicinity of the sublime because it is the only framed picture that had been cordoned off and thus, cannot be touched. The owner of that enigmatic smile has another thing to enigmatically smile about. Having said that, I spent more time caressing the marble magnificence of Venus of Melos in Sully than gawking at that French “tresor.” )
The worst mistake one can commit when in France, next to not bringing your camera, is failing to charge it. You might also forget to transfer the contents of the overflowing memory card to your laptop. So do not commit the mistakes I fell prey to : always bring your SLR cameras and video cameras, as the French are not ones to be stingy about their wealth.