Sunday Feb-10th 2008, it was almost certain that it would be my last weekend in Paris. So after sight seeing on previous day we(myself and Rohith) decided to visit Louvre Museum, the next important destination in Paris after Eiffel tower. Many Parisians often say that the visit to the museum requires a lot of homework and to see all paintings and sculptures in detail it takes months! Due to time constraints we decided to see the museum in fast track mode.
To get to the museum from CDG terminal-2, I took the following metro route CDG-2->Paris Nord(RERB); Paris Nord-> Gare de l'est(Line-4); Gare de l’est-> Palais Royal Musee du Louvre(Line-1).
As per the plan, I reached North Entrance of the Museum around 12 noon. But Rohith was not present there and I waited for him. While waiting, I met the same ABCD guy(speculation) whom I had met on the previous day. He requested me to take his photographs and he took some for me also. In the process, we got to know about each other. He was a Charted Accountant working at Ernst & Young - New York, and of course he was born and brought in Mumbai(my speculation was not correct). After brief chat, he went inside and I continued to wait for Rohith. Time was 12.30 pm and still no signs of him. I went inside till the pyramid of the museum. The place was brimming with Chinese people, many of them were on holiday because of their Lunar new year.
The wait continued. I took my photos in front of the pyramid from all angles with help of other tourists(from America, Turkey, Germany, Ghana etc) and in turn helped them by clicking their pictures. Finally, at 1.15 pm Rohith came and the long wait was terminated with a big relief. He was stuck somewhere on the way as the train had stopped at a station due to technical reason for half an hour.
Together we got inside the pyramid, passing through the security check. After that esclators took us to lower ground floor of the museum. In the reception area we took plan cum information brochure of the museum and bought entry tickets (9 Euros per head). Wile scanning through the brochure, we realised that the museum was really big than we expected. It had three sections(Richelieu, Sully, Denon) with four levels. First we went lower ground floor of Richelieu in which there are various French sculptures. While entering we came across counter for the audio guide(cost 6 euro). Since we had time constraints and may not be able see everything in detail so we didn't opted for it. The French sculptures section was initially exciting but it got monotonous after a while. We just surfed thru the stuffs and ascended to 1st floor to enter into Napoleon apartment section. The major highlights of this section were queens glass dressing table, furniture of dinning room.
After spending a lot of time in Napoleon section, we decided to change tracks and see only the important things. Our first priority was cynosure of the museum – Mona Lisa a famous painting by Leonardo Da Vinci. We looked into the plan of the museum and found out that the painting was in 1st floor of the Denon section. Enroute to Mona Lisa we saw some stuffs in Renaissance section and Apollo Gallery where we saw crown of Louis XV. Then we entered Italian painting section, we started of seeing some painting and again it became repetitive may be because we were in a hurry. And finally our mission was accomplished when we reached the Mona Lisa hall. Unlike other paintings it was covered it bullet proof glass and surrounded by railings. The painting was surrounded by many people capturing the lady in their cameras. It’s definitely the most photographed painting in the world.
After seeing and capturing Mona Lisa we headed to Café Mollien in the corner of French paintings section. There we had coffee for 4.5 euros and it was sufficient to fill our stomach for that moment. After that we continued our fast exploration and saw many Greek ceramics collections. Then we entered Egyptian civilization section. This section was like a museum within museum. It had everything about Egyptian civilization from mummies, pyramids to statue of Ramsys. The accessories used for cooking, fishing and other important activities were also on display. After spending more than one hour in this section, we entered Greek section on ground floor. In between we lost the way and entered Medieval Louvre and History of the Louvre section. By the time we came back to Greek section it was 6 pm and one of the volunteer said time over.
We came of the hall and out of the pyramid concluding our fast track visit and hoped that we will have ample amount of time allocated for Louvre in next visit to Paris. We exited from the west entrance of the museum and proceeded towards the Concorde junction. There we had a brief photo session and took silhouette photographs of Eiffel tower which was a distance 1-2 km. By the time we were done it was nearing 7 pm, so we waited till 7 pm saw the lighting of Eiffel and finally decided to conclude the day’s proceedings.
For return journey to hotel I went to nearest Metro station Concorde and took following trains to reach CDG Terminal-2, Concorde->Saint Denis; Saint Denis->Paris Nord(Line4); Paris Nord-> CDG 2. From CDG I took shuttle back to Hyatt.
Photographs are shared at Picasa album - Louvre.