Sweeping Ballad to The Portes des Liones: How to Get into The Louvre Without Waiting in Line

My view from inside the Louvre....

My view from inside the Louvre….

I just deplaned from many miles,

In search of Mona Lisa’s smile,

I do not want to wait all day,

Just see the gal and be on my way.

-Yep.  I wrote it myself.


It’s true.  The Louvre has some spectacular pieces of art.  It’s a bit overwhelming.  I read somewhere that if you look at each piece for a total of one minute it would take you like thirty seven years to see everything.  Uh, I’m as cultured as the next buffoon, but I really just want to see The Big Three; Venus di Milo, Winged Victory and oh by the way, DaVinci’s gal, The Mona Lisa.  Does that make me less of an urbanite?  No, but I only have said amount of time here and in an effort to say, “check” I have to make the best use of my time.  Besides, you’ll see literally thousands of pieces of art as you look for these. If you follow my directions, you’ll almost feel sorry for the poor slobs standing for miles when you view them from the window inside.  Almost.  I just felt gleefully condescending looking down on the peons who didn’t know any better. (Don’t judge me, you’ll feel the same way.)


Venus di Milo

Venus di Milo

The Louvre is totally, completing and thoroughly intimidating.  (Are you waiting to for me to say, in a good way, ’cause honey, it ain’t happening.)  I want to make this as painless as possible.  It’s hard to ask for help because everyone speaks French and if you decide to dress up and look Parisian it will backfire because guess what, they will answer you in French.  There’s something to be said for dressing like a hapless tourist to get the locals to speak English to you.  You can understand them perfectly through the disdain.


OK.  So the Portes des Liones.  The Louvre is like a giant U shaped castle.  Walking along the side of the Seine, continue past the main doors and the arches and the statues.  Ignore your complaining husband, yes, you know what you’re doing.  Even though NO ONE is standing there, go in the doorway between the giant green lions.  Head to the right and prepare to be scolded by a French woman.  She’s not telling you to get out, she’s telling you that your bag must go through the X-ray machine.  Act perfectly cool as you present your museum pass. Go up the stairs to the first floor.  (You were just on the ground floor.)  The Mona Lisa is on the First Floor, Denon Wing, Room 6.  You can’t miss her because they have signs like this everywhere. IMG_1728   Even if somehow you don’t see the signs, follow the noise. Head straight down the hall and on the left side of the gallery you’ll see the paparazzi. There’s really no better way to describe it.


IMG_1725 Shrouded behind a wall of glass she grants photographs, but no interviews.  Prepare to have your breath taken from you.  You’ve seen her so many times before, on television and in books and movies, but there’s no preparation for when you meet her in person.  Bring a tissue.IMG_1723