French Friday #18: Louvre at night

I am a friend of the Louvre. Well, I used to be until my card expired. For 70 euros, Mr. Gren and I had annual passes to the Louvre which made us “Amis du Louvre.” One of the perks was being able to each bring in a guest after 6:00 p.m. And the awesome thing about that, is that most people aren’t even aware that the Louvre is open late two nights a week. Either that, or they all get hungry and can’t think past dinner plans. Too bad they didn’t also know about the food court in the Carousel du Louvre (long excavated corridor with a small boutique mall). It made for great date nights (those would be the times without guests) to ride the metro into the heart of Paris, eat an early dinner, and then head into the museum. There was so much to appreciate without throngs of people around. (As usual, all pictures are ours)

How's that for a view?

Our favorite area to visit at any time of day is the Medieval Louvre. It’s the remnants of the original building which the current building now sits upon. Few people seem to find this place because they’re distracted by the lure of the Egyptian artifacts, but they miss out on a cool experience. At night, we usually had the place to ourselves.

You can feel the history here.

Even the more famous attractions experience a bit of a respite at night, making for great photo ops and giving you an opportunity to really appreciate the art. From my first trip to the Louvre when I was 17, my spirit was taken with Winged Victory — Nike before it was a shoe. It should be disturbing that she no longer has a head, but the beauty and movement in this sculpture seems to make that irrelevant. Because of her location at the top of a staircase between two main hallways, there is always a crowd to fight through. Until night…

Even missing body parts, she still looks victorious

There’s another famous woman missing body parts who is also normally surrounded by people. Part of this is her odd placement in the middle of a corridor — she can’t help but be swallowed up in a crowd. But once again, at night, she seems to be forgotten.

Lonely Venus

She also inadvertently provided us with one of the coolest pictures we have ever taken. On the evening when we took my parents and younger brother (who got in free due to his age. Nice!) we noticed how the wing of the Louvre across the courtyard was lit up against the night sky. We took the picture and later were surprised to see that Venus de Milo made a cameo.

Even with our backs to her, Venus won't be ignored.

If you ever have plans to go to Paris, make sure you schedule in a night visit to the Louvre. It will be well worth it!

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