Photo: Little Shao
Do you feel like this at the Louvre? So overwhelmed by the magnitude of art that you want to wilt like a flower? Or do you arch backward in ecstasy at the centuries of beauty on display? I vacillate between the two extremes, and have finally learned to take in one gallery or school of painting per visit. This can be quite challenging if you’re a first-time visitor who feels pressure to hit the highlights, however once you realize the Louvre isn’t going anywhere, it takes the stress out of the equation. Who wants to live a life with space for only one single Louvre visit, anyway? Pace yourself -- you have years ahead of you to return and continue imbibing and appreciating the collections.
That said, a friend offered a museum-going tip she learned in graduate school: make sure you circle the rooms in two directions, clockwise and counter-clockwise. There are two perks to this technique: 1/ you won’t miss anything, and 2/ you’ll notice things on your second pass that you might not have noticed on the first. It’s sort of like a drishti reboot with the added benefit of a systematic approach.
My favorite times to visit the Louvre are during Les Nocturnes on Wednesdays and Fridays when the museum stays open until 21h45. Yes, it can be a bit of a crush of people (especially on Fridays when it's free beginning at 18h) but I love how the energy is completely transformed. As everyone knows by now, funny things can happen at a museum at night!