Taking Kids to the Louvre
Let’s take our kids into the largest and oldest collection of priceless breakable art and artifacts in the world! Cue the sweats!
Loving the Louvre with Littles
Traveling with kids can seem like a daunting task. Hell, ANYTHING with kids can easily turn impossible. I am not the one to sugarcoat the realities of life with kids. I am the one that will tell you that despite the struggles, including your kids is so very worth it. Expanding their world and sharing the things that travel and life have to offer as a family is invaluable.
In this entry I will be focusing on our day at the Louvre. Half-day, because that was what we could reasonably accomplish and still end the day winning!
Just embrace the crazy
The easiest thing you can do is turn into the skid. You can not control your children, if you think you can they will humble you very quickly. It is also important to know your limits. Our first international trip with 2 kids started with the flu! More on that in a different post.
Know Your Must-See Must Do When Taking Kids to the Louvre
We had 2 under the weather girls, 2 tired parents, a stroller and a plan. We knew what we wanted to see. We had our must-see list and knew that anything else would just be gravy. I use this strategy in everyday life, at the zoo, at Disney. This works! As a family, know what you don’t want to miss and check off that list. We enjoy having our girls help plan what we need to accomplish so that they can be invested in our goals.
What we wanted to see:
- Mona Lisa
- Winged Victory
- IM Pei Pyramid
Get an Early Start
After breakfast, we managed to take the Parisien Public Transportation system over to the Louvre. You arrive inside the building and never even have to go outside to begin your museum tour. You complete the security lines before gaining access to the museum lobby. It was a security line but moved as quickly as it could. We maybe spent 15 minutes there. We always try to be everywhere early enough to be waiting on them to open. Thanks Disney for the training! We failed miserably at this. Between taking public transportation and just going slower than expected we arrived about 9:15 for a 9 am opening. We did not prepurchase tickets to this and we were expecting a huge line just to get in. We were pleasantly surprised that the lines were quite short at the self serve kiosks. We were able to get our tickets and prepay an audio guide in under 5 minutes. Our littlest tot was free! Most museums and attractions in Paris allow kiddos under 4 free of charge! If that isn’t a reason to take kids, what is!?!?
Know your kids
Our girls are frequent museum visitors and we know that they love having the audio guides.
The audio guide at the Louvre cost 5 euro (check price), require an ID left at the checkout desk, and are on a Nintendo DS. It features an interactive map which came in handy several times. This served more as a pleasant distraction for my gals than an educational device, but we knew it would. We knew that having something in their hands they could touch would help us stay in the winning column.
Work Backward When Taking Kids to the Louvre
We opted to start on the top floor and work our way down. This strategy was great and allowed us to visit 2 floors of the museum with virtually no one else around. Whereas, everyone else worked their way up. This also allowed for mostly empty elevators since we were going against the flow.
Having been to Paris on a school trip when I was 16, I was the only one in my family who had been before. I did get to see the Mona Lisa on that trip and remember it being a bit of pandemonium with crowds and viewing. When we entered the gallery of the Mona Lisa, it looked like the mob I remembered. That was not the case at all. I guess somewhere in the last 17 years things have changed. There was in fact 2 monitored lines that snake along and allow each guest a chance for up-close (as close as you can get to a priceless masterpiece) viewing. This meant that after waiting about 10 minutes we were able to catch this gem without having to elbow anyone or lift heavy kids over our heads!
Don’t take a stroller
I can tell you that the Louvre was made long before handicap compliance laws and without stroller-pushing mamas in mind. We did have our zobo (hope you make it this time ToysRUS!) which was wonderful because 3-year-olds are heavy and can’t walk as much. It was great to have for her, not so much in the Louvre. Every room seemed to be up or down about 5 steps. They did have every inch of it accessible, which is wonderful if you are unable to walk around. It was just a pain to try to find the lifts and elevators, so we gave up and just lifted her and the stroller up or down 5 steps. It really was not worth it to us to have to take the time to find the accessible routes.
One Big Ol however here—–> having the stroller made us able to take the super awesome elevator! Just under the magnificent glass pyramid there is a spiral staircase. Located in the center is a column that rises up to ground level outside. This is the elevator and it is amazing! I suggest riding it if you get the chance or at least take a minute to marvel at it.
We ended our Louvre tour with lunch in the food court that was very expensive and not very good at about 1 pm.
What we managed to see when Taking Kids to the Louvre:
- Mona Lisa
- Winged Victory
- Sculpture Garden
- Every floor
- Napoleon’s Apartment
- Medieval Sub Structure circa 1150
All in all, it was a wonderful time. Of course we stopped about 10k times to pep talk the kids (BRIBE) so that we could finish seeing what we wanted to.
Would this trip have been way easier without kids? Hells yeah!
Can your 3-year-old pick out the Mona Lisa and tell you what it felt like to see it? Because mine can. As a mother and as an art lover, this is what I live for!
*Disclaimer: no priceless works d’ art were harmed in the Butterfras family trip to the Louvre.*
Location: 1st Arr. Paris, France
Age: Louvre established in 1793, but pieces date back to 1190
Square Feet: 652,300
Pieces of Art: 380,000 objects and 35,000 works of art on display
Daily Visitors: Average 15,000