The Louvre in Paris is the world’s largest art museum. It’s so big in fact that it would actually be impossible to see all 380,000 pieces the museum exhibits in one day.
Ok, so here’s the scenario. Two kids in tow. Targeting the right pieces with a strategy to navigate the Louvre. And all before the dreaded onset of boredom. A daunting prospect, I think you’ll agree.
With around nine to ten million visitors a year, the museum also takes the crown for the most popular in the world. It’s home to some of the most famous artworks and sculptures – I’m talking Venus de Milo, the Winged Victory of Samothrace and of course the Mona Lisa, plus some phenomenal artefacts from the Egyptian and Greek epoch. When you have young impressionable minds to nourish, missing out on all this on your first visit to Paris would be a pity.
Another thing to bear in mind on your visit are the signs on the artworks are obviously all in French. Not a problem for those fluent in French of course, but I hate not being able to answer a ‘What’s this mummy?’ question. Of course, the museum does provide audio guides. Personally I think it’s the worst way to see a museum with young children. Zero interaction is a sure-fire way of hearing the two ghastly words – ‘I’m bored!’
So what do we have now – A gargantuan area to cover. Over-crowded. Parental knowledge inadequacy. Resulting in my visions for their first visit being full of great memories fading fast into an oblivion.
With all this in mind it was a no brainer for us – a tour guide was conducive to a successful first trip. We booked a private two-hour family tour with Paris Muse. It certainly became a highlight of our Parisienne adventure. Here’s why this is one of the best ways to visit the Louvre with young children:
Beat the lines
No need for your heart to sink when you see the huge queue outside the glass pyramid entrance. With a private tour guide you can fast track your way past the line. All kids (and most adults) will agree waiting patiently is the pits. Although, there is no escape from the security checks which may have queues. Oh and a top tip, don’t bring any large bags. They won’t fit in the lockers provided in the cloakroom
We met our guide Henry outside the The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel opposite the Louvre. Whilst stood outside the impressive building he engaged the girls with questions and gave us a short recap on its colourful history – From its origins as a fortress in 1190 to a royal palace in the 16th century before opening as a museum at the end of the 18th century.
Henry presented both girls with their own case detective workbook. Their eyes lit up by the fact they’d be on a scavenger hunt around the museum for treasure. The tour is designed to give kids aged 6 – 12 years old an entertaining insight to the history of the masterpieces whilst playing a sleuth detective. With their answers from the clues finally leading them to an educational prize hidden under the Louvre’s glass pyramid.
The scavenger hunt took us through a broad range of collections from Ancient near East, Egyptian, Greek and Roman through to Renaissance Italian and French.
On a first visit it gives you a real sense of the vastness of the museum and touched on the all major masterpieces you’d want to see.
Time to be honest parents. When was the last time you visited a museum with the kids and actually found it relaxing? We’re all super keen to ensure our kids are cultured and hopefully share some of our passion for the arts. It means though the days of mooching around and immersing yourself fully in the art is long gone. Well until you hire a guide, as I discovered.
Mr S and I shared a knowing look as we walked behind our enthused girls on the scavenger hunt. We revelled in being able to wander around stress free. There were even proper adult conversations in between polishing up on our own knowledge. Priceless!
All the best bits!
The first clue bought wide eyes a plenty when it took us to the Code of Hammurabi Plinth. It’s the world’s oldest written Babylonian law from ancient Mesopotamia dating back to 2nd century BC!
Although excited to finally see the Mona Lisa, like most people the girls found it rather underwhelming in real life, being only a little larger than an A2 piece of paper. The hordes who surround it daily make it tricky for little ones to catch a glimpse. I promise you she’s in front of the crowd behind bulletproof glass.
Of course yours truly always finds a way to get her snap!
Next to entice their young minds was the inspiration behind a world-famous sports brand. The Winged Victory of Samothrace also known as Nike of Samothrace. It’s one of the most celebrated sculptures in the world and conveys action and triumph as well as a sense of incredible movement.
One of the most famous works of ancient Greek sculpture is Venus de Milo. Created around 100 BC it’s believed to depict Aphrodite, the Greek goddess…the summit of beauty and love. And Venus was her name. She’s got it – yeah baby, she’s got it…Sorry slight digression back the tour.
The department of Egyptian Antiquities has Radha all giddy. She’s been fascinated by mummies ever since visiting the British Museum.
Home to one of the largest sphinx sculptures in existence outside of Egypt. The 26 ton Great Sphinx of Tanis had to be pushed through a hole in the wall, when there was no machinery available to lift such a weight. Believe me, it’s big.
I was quite impressed with the level of enthusiasm our guide retained through the course of the two hours with the girls. It’s something we could never have achieved and it was wonderful to watch them immerse themself in the hunt.
The Louvre can be overwhelming for an adult, nevermind a child. This guided family tour is a fantastic way to combine entertainment and education in the world’s most famous museum.
At €320 for a family of 6 or fewer these tours aren’t cheap. In my opinion if you’re going to splurge on anything maybe pass on another electronic device and instead go for culture and memories that will last a lifetime.
For more information on the family Louvre tour and other tours Paris Muse run, please head to their website here.
Watch my highlights video below of the scavenger hunt around the Louvre.
Disclaimer: We received a complimentary family tour, however, all views, opinions and photos unless otherwise stated are my own and remain a trademark of the Curious Pixie.
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