Why I didn’t love the Louvre

It’s one of the most treasured institutions in Paris, but I didn’t enjoy my visit to the Louvre. I I risk sounding like a uncultured brat and there’s no arguing that the works inside are magnificent but I found it overwhelming. It’s a labyrinth where every square inch is covered in art and there’s no room to breathe.

I found it hard to concentrate on one piece of art because it was competing with all the paintings clustered around it. The rivalry between paintings detracted from their beauty because one painting would also have something that another didn’t.

It is hard to visit the Louvre properly because it is so large that it is impossible to see all of it, so you carve out a section you want to see but still feel pressured to fit more in, to see just one more room. I suppose it’s nice to have an endless treasure trove of extravagance to dip your toe in when you like, if you live in Paris, but as a visitor it was exhausting and not very rewarding. Any visit to the Louvre is long, and you sacrifice time you could spend outside in beautiful Paris.

Where I'd rather be
Where I’d rather be

Even if you go solely to see the Mona Lisa, any magic is lost and buried under the constant crowd jostling around the barrier to get closer and to get a good photo. It’s also a hot spot for pickpockets, preying on those who are too busy trying to get closer to the painting.

Mona Lisa at the Louvre

The Louvre is an important institution, but it is never something I recommend to visitors in Paris. I wouldn’t tell people not to go, because it is important to form your own opinion, but it’s definitely not a priority return visit for me.

I like the simplicity and the focus of museums such as Musee de l’Orangerie, Musee de Moyen Age and Musee D’Orsay. Orsay is the largest but it stops short of becoming a behemoth. You can visit these museums and just as you are starting to reach sensory overload, it ends.

What did you think of the Louvre? What is your favourite museum or art gallery?

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7 thoughts on “Why I didn’t love the Louvre

  1. I’ve yet to visit the Louvre in spite of visiting Paris a hundred thousand times but this is exactly what my parents said about it too!

  2. Far better that you have the faith to air your own honest views, Genevieve. I can ‘feel’ what your write about the crowd and the clustering of artworks – and the jostle of humanity rather spoiling the intimacy one would like for something as vaunted as the Mona Lisa. It will probably be the closest I get to the Louvre but you have given me reassurance that I will not die pining! Yea, Brisbane!!

  3. I visited the Louvre a few weeks ago on a tour, and as we walked by a few paintings I recognized I decided I had to go back. I still haven’t. 🙂 I would much rather go back to l’Orangerie, and I have been back to the Orsay.
    As the above commenter said, the Met in NYC is also one of my favorites, although much smaller and more manageable than the Louvre.

  4. I felt the same way! Obviously it’s something you have to check out if you’re in Paris for a long period of time, but I prefer Musée d’Orsay, too.

  5. Very interesting My fave is the Metropolitan Museum in NYC It is quite big but I don’t think it is as crowded as you say the Louvre is. It sounds hard to enjoy if it is that cramped and I have to say, Mona is pretty small. I don’t think people realize how small it actually is. I find the Met a great museum, it is big but the lay out is very nice and you do have space to view all the great art. Thank you for your honest opinion!!
    Rosemary
    NYC Style and a little Cannoli

  6. I’m completely the opposite. I say the only reason I would go back to Paris is if the Louvre was having a yard sale. I went with a friend I go to museums with all the time–wrote a whole blog about it–and we went in with a game plan of of what we wanted to see. . . and the Mona Lisa was not on it.

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