Visiting the Louvre with Children: not just for the brave at heart.
How does she keep that mysterious smile up after all these countless years and countless visitors? Take a tip from the Mona Lisa when visiting Paris’ famous Louvre museum with children: less is more when visiting the Louvre with children.
The Louvre, it goes without saying, is the biggest most daunting museum that you could possibly choose to visit but it’s probably also the most rewarding and richest experience you can share with your kids, not to mention the impact that exposing them to this cultural gem which they’ll treasure for life (at least a lot longer than the Eiffel tower key chain which they are going to forget on the flight home).
A monument rich in history
The edifice alone, a military fort, first constructed by the king Philippe Auguste in 1190 modified and transformed by the secession of rulers of France, not to mention the final touch of “grace” bestowed by Francois Mitterrand in 1989, a glass pyramid designed by the architect Leoh Ming Pei is very inspiring.
A myriad of choices
The collections themselves offer infinite possibilities of exploration with children.
Of course trying to whirl through the “must-sees” or to conquer each and every hall in the course of your visit will result in sensory overload or worse, mutiny in the ranks.
Here’s a few pointers in order to emerge postcard- perfect- smiling from a visit to the Louvre with children:
1: cover ground with your kids before your visit. Discuss it with them and sees if there is something that perks their interest; a particular painting or collection, theme or time period. Try to make a list of their “must-sees” not yours.
2: There are tours which are geared to children from about six on. But this may not be necessary, depending on you and your kids. With very little preparation you can create a unique “treasure-hunt” style list of thing for your kids to look for when they enter each exhibit, even one quick glance on your part as you enter the hall “three points for the first one to spot…” can keep their minds active and boredom at bay. The web site offers a visually pleasing map (http://www.louvre.fr/plan). There are audio visits available, one Nintendo 3DS, louvre.fr/l-audioguide-du-musee but your children might nix the idea, so be prepared to go without. You might consider ordering one of museum’s guides in advance (17euros or 8 euros for the pocket size). There is also a new app available for touring the Louvre which features a three dimensional guided visit, either by searching a specific work of art or itinerary. Available at app store or Google play.
3: Book tickets in advance, children under 18 are free. Adults are 15 euros. The first Sunday of the month the museum is free but more crowded. Plan your visit in the less affluent hours, first thing in the morning, the louvre opens at 9 am, or if you have older children an evening visit, wed and Fridays the museum has evening hours. Don’t forget the museum is closed Tuesdays! Avoid the entrance at the pyramid, the entry via the carrousel du louvre which is directly accessible from the metro is a better bet.
4: Travel light. Since the recent terrorist attacks, security has been tightened. No suitcases or bags will be allowed into the museum. Bags which are no larger than 55 cm x35cm x 20 cm (22 by 14 by 8 inches) will be allowed but must be checked in.
5: There are 15 cafes and restaurants inside and immediately surrounding the Louvre offering take-out or tables.
6: Take some time out at the Tuileries gardens after your visit, they have an amusement park at the end.
Open every day except Tuesdays from 9am to 6pm (the exhibits begin to close at 5:30pm)
Wednesdays and Fridays the museum is open until 9:45 pm. (Closing time begins at 9:30).
Each first Sunday of the month from October to March the Louvre is free.