The Louvre is the world' largest museum, and the second most visited one (after the Palace Museum of China). Originally a 12th century fortress built by Philip II, it became a royal palace in the 14th century, and remained so until Louis XIV moved the royal household to Versailles in 1682. At that time, the Louvre became a place to display the Royal Collections. It opened as a museum in 1793. The most celebrated acquisition, the Mona Lisa, was brought here by Francis I in 1797. We spent two wonderful days exploring this fantastic museum. For us, one of the biggest surprises was to see portions of the original fortress still in place under the museum. Not having the option to buy and print out entrance tickets online, we joined the lines outside the glass pyramid entryway. Don't be daunted if the lines seem long. They move quickly. The longest we waited during our two day visit was around 35 minutes. This place is huge, and somewhat confusing to navigate, but by spending a few moments studying the free map that is provided and making a plan of what you want to see, it isn't too bad. If the crowds are too big around the main attractions (i.e the Mona Lisa, the Winged Victory, Venus De Milo, etc) make note of their locations and return to them later, when the crowds may have thinned out. One tip of which to be aware, is that the museum is open until 9:45 pm on Wednesdays and Fridays. Otherwise, it closes at 6:00 pm (it is closed on Tuesday). We managed to visit all the exhibits by going on these extended hours days. What a fantastic place!
In the central courtyard is the glass pyramid entrance for the Louvre.
Artist rendition of the original fortress that was to become La Louvre.
Part of that fortress still exists on the lower level of the museum.
Aphrodite of Milos, better known as the Venus de Milo (ca. 130-100 BC) is one of the main attractions.
This exotic looking room is part of the Egyptian display wing.
Created around 600 years BC, The Scribe is another highlight piece .
The second century BC Winged Victory of Samothracemis one of the most celebrated sculptures in the world.
The centerpiece of the Louvre's collections is Da Vinci's Mona Lisa.
Here I am with my own version of the Mona Lisa visiting Da Vinci's version.
We were impressed with this sculpture of eight knights carrying Phillipe Pot, Knight of the Golden Fleece.
Part of the Royal Apartments in the Louvre.
Napoleon's Throne room...
...and his Coat of Arms rug.
The State Dining Room, where a "few" close friends could take repas with the King and Queen.
Why is there such a large waiting area around the King's bed chamber? Does it take that many servants to get him up?
Part of Queen Anne of Austria's apartment
First century AD sculpture of Athena.
Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.