Paris Travel Tips | The Louvre Museum Free Day.
One thing I learned from traveling that I had never thought about before was putting a value on my time. For example, is it worth taking a significantly cheaper train that will double my travel time? Or, waiting an hour to get into a free museum day?
For now, yes it is worth our time. Maybe someday when Beth and I have a deeper travel budget (or I am in South East Asia, and not Italy), we’ll be able to put time over money, but right now, we have much more time than money.
With time on our I side during our recent Europe travels, Beth and I frequently tried to work in free museum days to keep our budget on track. Our biggest score was the Louvre Museum (Musée du Louvre) in Paris, France. Arguably one of the greatest museums in the world, the Louvre boasts more than 35,000 art pieces, including Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Normally, the museum cost €10, but on the first Sunday of every month its free.
Our plan, I’m sure no different than the thousands of other visitors planning their free museum outing, was to get to the Louvre early to see as much as possible. Though, because we were camping in Paris, we arrived late to the museum. For us, getting an early start when we were camping was always tough, partly because of the extra time walking of to and from the showers, which generally isn’t that far, but for some reason it always took us longer than we expected. Staying in one of the hotels in Paris would have been nice, but then again, if we were staying in a hotel, then we could have afforded to go to the Louvre anytime we wanted.
By the time we hit the museum grounds, around 10 a.m., the line snaked throughout the palace grounds, but we decided to go for it anyways, and in about 45 minutes we entered the Louvre. With the money we saved, we put it towards a multimedia guide headset (€ 6), which we found very useful for insight about the art work as well as the palace (formerly a fortress) itself. If you put a value on our waiting time (taking into account the tour headset), it was like be compensated € 14 an hour for our time.
Louvre Advice From a Non-Art History Major
Beth went to art school and as a result she could troll museums for hours – much longer than most people and definitely longer than I can. The Louvre is SO big even she was exhausted and ready to call it a day after 8+ hours. I know if we had the budget she would’ve wanted to go back the next day to see some of the things she missed. Here are a couple of my tips to help you get the most from your trip.
- If you can plan for multiple days, do it. After a full day of seeing the “must see” works, you can get a little desensitized to the other lesser known pieces, which are equally magnificent.
- Take some time the night before, to plan your day (what you want to see ) and do some research about those artists and paintings.
- Wear really comfortable shoes! Walking around the museum all day can be exhausting and your feet will thank you later.
- Plan a relaxing night after your day in the Louvre. If you think you can hit up the museum and the Eiffel Tower think again. The museum is an assault on the senses, you’ll need time to unwind after, preferably with wine.
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