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Skip the Lourve?

This might sound crazy but is it worth skipping? I ask because I have a 11 and 13 year old, I am personally not a big fan of art (especially nude art) and would rather do something more fun or memorable in terms of being a unique experience. That being said I'm sure seeing the Mona Lisa and some of the other stuff would be cool. I dunno, the cost, time, crowds, etc would I regret skipping?

Posted by
5687 posts

If you regret it, you'll have a reason to go back to Paris someday! I've skipped important museums in Europe before - I'm not a "museum person" either. I haven't regretted missing them. I did go to the Louvre on my first visit to Paris, though - I tried to see ALL of it, probably a mistake. I remember almost none of it.

Posted by
7397 posts

"is it worth skipping?"

To me - no way! To you - it sounds like a definite yes. There are so many options of things to do in Paris. Pick what appeals to your and your kids and forget about anybody else's list of "must do's". Maybe all of you would rather take a City Bike Ride Tour, etc. You can always stop into a couple of churches briefly to see some art. Possibly in a few years, the Louvre may be more appealing, and you will feel like the lines, etc. are worth it.

Posted by
8594 posts

There are some things that fall into the category of world treasures that one should see, whether they're into it or not. The Grand Canyon, the Book of Kells, Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower, etc. I'm not that interested in art either, but I went to see it. And the Code of Hammurabi while you're at it. You don't have to linger. I consider it paying dues to civilization.

Posted by
2768 posts

Absolutely. Skip it.

Now, I wouldn’t but that’s because I really enjoy art. However the Louvre isn’t my favorite either. The Orsay (impressionist Art) is less overwhelming and more accessible if you want an art museum experience in Paris but not necessarily the Louvre. If you are just going to thr Louvre for the Mona Lisa and you aren’t really into it, like someone who has studied the painting - don’t bother. That room is extremely, unbelievably crowded and the painting is smaller and harder to see than you think.

In general I say that there are no must-sees. It’s your trip. Go to every museum, go to none, spend the whole trip tasting cheese or looking at dresses. Whatever draws you to Paris, enjoy that. We’d all be better off if every tourist only went to the things they care about. Less crowds, happier people.

Posted by
5837 posts

The Mona Lisa isn't very large and you may have 20 or 30 people deep between you and the painting unless you can patiently work your way closer. And if you are concerned about exposing your youngsters to nude art you will be covering their eyes a lot.

In term s of cost, I understand that youths under 18 are free. Interesting that admission is cheaper at the door than on line. But why pay if you are not interested and don't like crowds.

Posted by
784 posts

There are people who go to Paris, but don't go up the Eiffel Tower, or visit Versailles or the Louvre. The only must sees in Paris, or anywhere else are those things that are of interest to you. Your visit will be too short to see it all - it is okay to leave reasons to return. I think you would be wisest to involve your children in the planning. Let them peruse the guidebooks and maybe each plan a day. If either one of them is interested in the Louvre, then perhaps it would be worth it for the family to go.

Posted by
144 posts

"We’d all be better off if every tourist only went to the things they care about. Less crowds, happier people."


That struck me as rather brilliant.

Thanks, Mira.

Posted by
7061 posts

How do your kids feel about it? Would they be okay with skipping it or are they interested in seeing some of the famous works in it. Cost depends on how many adults, the kids get in free; time just depends on you, your kids, and what you want to see - they do have tours for kids that might be of interest and I think are probably around an hour or two at the most; crowds can be worked around with choosing days and times carefully. But it's your trip, forget about what you've been told are 'must sees', the only must sees are what's of interest to you and your kids. And when it comes down to it, the kids will likely have another chance to see it when they are grown up if it's important to them.

Posted by
4171 posts

Boys? Girls? One of each? I agree with what others have said about the kids having some skin in the game. My son took his 2 daughters when they were 10 and 12.

The 10-year-old looked at videos about Paris, did online research, read and found the things she'd like to see. The 12-year-old did nothing but roll her eyes and sigh. She acted like it was a punishment, but she still went. She had an okay time without too much drama. But the younger girl had a blast.

One thing our son did as a surprise for them was to take them to a hair salon to have cuts and styles. It was a highlight of their short trip.

Sometimes it's the most ordinary things that stand out. Just learning about how people in other places do the same things the same or different ways than we do is worth the trip.

Posted by
735 posts

As an art graduate i would say only go if you are interested in Renaissance Art. If youvarent do bother. My mother, an art teacher said dont bother with the Louvre, there are so many other brilliant art collections in Paris. Listened to her for 20 years (visiting every year) eventually went last year, she was right, always listen to your mother! Go and visit art that you enjoy, for me thats 19th and 20th century. Yes we should challenge ourselves, but that can be done alot less painfully in alot of smaller museums. And just remember the only reson Mona Lisa is famous is because she was stolen in the early 1900s about the time poster printing started so lots of posters were produced to find her, so she became well known. Not because she is a superior painting!
Its your holiday you should see what you enjoy.
Also agree with Mira

Posted by
32244 posts


"I am personally not a big fan of art (especially nude art)"

Unfortunately you're going to see that in more places than just the Louvre as the Europeans have very "relaxed" attitudes towards things like that. One example of that is the painting Olympia by Édouard Manet, which is on display at the Musée d'Orsay (which is one of my favourite galleries in Europe). Your choice of course, but I'm not sure you'll be able to avoid that sort of thing entirely.

If you do decide to visit the Louvre, I'd suggest limiting your visit to the Denon wing, as that way it won't be too overwhelming. The Mona Lisa is located there and you might want to go early or later in the day when the crowds will be thinner. The viewing area for the Mona Lisa is arranged in a "V" shape, with the narrow end right in front of the painting. It's a bit of a "sardine zone" during crowded times, with lots of pushing and shoving, and everyone holding up cameras, iPads, phones etc. trying to get that "perfect" picture of La Gioconda. The painting has glass in front of it, so if pictures are important, try to position yourself off to one side. Also, don't use flash as the results won't be good.

If you're planning on buying a Paris Museum Pass, I believe the Louvre (and others) are included. If you do decide to visit, don't enter through the glass pyramid, but rather through the underground entrance in the shopping mall. I've always found it less crowded. You will have to go through security at various sites in Paris, so you may want to minimize carrying of day packs, etc.

Posted by
5697 posts

Best part of Mona Lisa for me was standing outside the crowded room under an A/C vent. Husband wanted to see it again, thinking it couldn't be as small as he remembered (it is!) I had seen it on prior visits, preferred to see other art works. (Full disclosure -- most trips we get a museum pass and do drop in at the Louvre and other museums.)
It's your vacation -- spend time seeing what YOU want to see.

Posted by
50 posts

It's totally up to you. You won't regret skipping it if it doesn't really interest you. It's better to visit the places that would bring you joy and aligns to your interests and preferences.

Posted by
10298 posts

So glad caro brought up the theft of the Mona Lisa in 1911. This is what gave it notoriety. And one of the suspects was a young upcoming artist named Pablo Picasso, along with his friend, the writer Apollinaire. They even went to trail. In those days the artists « borrowed » works for inspiration and the Louvre had a lot of holes in its security.

For viewing Leonardo’s genius, the mob scene at the Louvre isn’t ideal. On the other hand, the National Gallery in Washington D.C. has a magnificent portrait by Leonardo that you can approach closely. Maybe one other person will be looking at the same time. There is also a portrait of a man by Leonardo at the Louvre that relatively few people take the time to see.

Why don’t you stick with a smaller museum, like the Jacquemart-André, where you and the children can take your time and discover what appeals to you. Bonus, you can surprise your children at the end because the Jacquemart has a cafe that serves dishes of ice cream.

Posted by
489 posts

Yes, skip the Louvre if art (especially nude art) isn't your thing. Lots of these comments are focused on "art" as meaning paintings. But as I recall, there are huge nude male sculptures on the way to see the Mona Lisa. You will be hard pressed to avoid nude art in the Louvre.
You haven't detailed the kinds of things you would consider fun, memorable or a unique experience. But there are probably more things on that list than you can fit into your vacation. I'd say do them and skip the Louvre.

Posted by
118 posts

There is alot more in the Louvre than art - if art is not your thing. The Egyption area is fascinating with tombs, mummys etc.

Another thing if you are concerned by the crowds is why not go one of the days the Louvre is open late (Wednesdays & Fridays)
Last time I went to the Louvre I strolled in at approx 3pm with hardly anyone else arriving at that time and the crowds inside the museum were very light in comparison to mornings

Posted by
3615 posts

I always think it sad when a poster says that he is not interested in art. In my opinion, that’s a result of poor or no education in the subject; and I hope your children are getting better schooling. That being said, I believe that you would be doing a good deed to not add yourself to the hordes of people cramming the great art museums of Europe from a sense of obligation, or to get a selfie. There is so much to enjoy in Paris, you can’t do it all in one trip, or even several. I agree with those who advise you to do what most appeals to you.

Posted by
3240 posts

If you are not interested in art, then you might as well skip the art museums. For me, someone who studied art history, this would be a huge loss. On the other hand, visiting the Louvre, is not important in the scheme of getting a taste of art for your kids or seeing the Mona Lisa, which is over rated, IMO. I was wracking my brain for a museum you could visit and not see nudes and the only one I came up with was the Vatican Museum of the 1970's in Rome (and I was horrified they 'adapted' the sculptures, but now I'm more of a 'to each their own' kind of girl, well sometimes). Artists have studied the human body since the beginning of time (or artists), IMO. Why visit something you don't like? Your kids will have a lifetime to return and see what they decide they should see as adults. Paris is a wonderful city with a huge history and there is so much more to see than just paintings and sculpture. Watch some WWI and II documentaries. Learn about Hausmann before you go. Learn the kings and Queens, etc. Visit the wonderful parks. Visit the patisseries, fromageries, boulangeries, etc. Walk, walk, walk. You'll have a wonderful time just the same! Also, your children are a perfect age for Amelie, IMO.

Posted by
82 posts

I realize we will see nude art even if I try to avoid it, I'm not trying to blow it out of proportion but I also don't want to go out of the way to see it. My son and I would be fine skipping the Lourve, my daughter would like to see it though. She also wants to see the palace of Versailles but my son and I would also be fine skipping this. Trying to find a balance of things we can all enjoy over our time there which is difficult.

Posted by
735 posts

Oh Bets i didnt know that about Picasso as well! Will need to read more on that, how fasinating😀

Posted by
1097 posts

I would go to the Lourve, at least for a half day. My kids would be furious if they missed the Mona Lisa, no matter how crowded. Also the Louis XIV/Napoleon apartments in the Lourve are a better alternative to Versailles IMHO. See I don’t recall the nude art being much of a thing for my kids in Europe last year, age 8/11. It’s definitely not sexual or explicit.

Posted by
413 posts

Does your daughter want to see something specifically or just famous art? You could try the Musee de l'Orangerie, which has some very large Monet paintings among other things, but the overall museum is smaller and much more manageable. The Louvre would take effort and lots of walking even if you cut back what you saw. I downloaded a walking tour that was three hours for just the highlights. Then I went back again because I love art and people who don't are just in my way. :) You aren't required to enjoy museums, especially with kids who may not appreciate the art or the effort to get there.

Saints Chapelle is also pretty spectacular for glass art and counts as exposing your kids to art. (Non-nude variety). Then get a crepe and enjoy the City your way.

Posted by
3240 posts

I realize we will see nude art even if I try to avoid it, I'm not trying to blow it out of proportion but I also don't want to go out of the way to see it.

Then maybe see the Auguste Rodin Museum? Great small size, interesting house and garden. The backstory of Rodin and Camille Claudel is interesting, but not particularly wholesome...

I agree with Kelly, who recommended the Louis XIV/Napoleon apartments in the Louvre. I'm not sure they are a replacement fully for Versailles, but certainly a more relaxing visit than Versailles or other parts of the Louvre is art is not a priority. They are interesting and much less crowded than other areas of the Louvre.

Posted by
10298 posts

That’s so sweet that your daughter wants to see the Louvre (note the spelling). With this the case, no I don’t think you should skip it. But do sign up for Louvre tours in English that will not only be for her, but may also satisfy you and your son. A lot of art appreciation is learning to look.
Buy entry and tour tix on line and the tour tix sell out fast. You’ll be given headsets, so you hear everything the guide says.

BTW, my 5-year old granddaughter loves our visits to the National Gallery in D.C. Her father, who was too rambunctious for this kind of outing at age five, is amazed at what he’s learning on these visits—but he’d never go into an art museum on his own. I should have given it more effort, but it’s difficult when you are a working parent. Yes, go, but start with a guided tour with a real human, not an audio, and then hit the Egyptian collection—tons of mummies and death masks.

As for Versaille, this mom nailed it, and this might work for you.

Posted by
285 posts

I bought passes in case I decide not to skip it, and/or it's raining. Paintings aren't of much interest to me. However I'm interested in the history they represent, and the building itself is something I do want to see. Just to be among the history in a way. I suspect I'll probably fly through it within an hour or two and have had my fill.

I'm glad to see other folks suggesting a skip, I've certainly been pondering it and I won't have much time in Paris anyway.

Posted by
4432 posts

I love Renaissance Art but have not returned to the Louvre since our initial visit in 1985. In contrast, I've been to the Orsay 3 times and to the British Museum numerous times, sometimes more than once on the same trip. I find other museums more accessible and was not that impressed with Mona Lisa-I prefer Ginevra de Binci(I think that's the picture's name) at the National Gallery in Washington.

Posted by
311 posts

You won't regret it. I've taken to calling it the Zoo-vre ;-)
Crowds ruin a place for me. I visited the Louvre in 1985 when it wasn't so crowded, but even then I preferred the much smaller Jeu de Paume (I think the works are now housed in the Musée d'Orsay). Cala: just saw your post. Same here! I try to pop in to the British Museum and Library every time I'm in London (it helps that they are free).

I still remember a piece written by Calvin Trillin in the 1980s in which he says a man isn't going to show up at your door with a list of famous sights and ask how many you've checked off. But if you or one of your kids had a special reason to go, I'd say definitely go.

Posted by
19 posts

We skipped the Louvre our first trip and on our 3rd and 4th trip, having a sense that we would get back to Paris a few more times in our lives. We made it on the second and I loved it; I'm not into art but I love the artist Raphael and some specific pieces, and there were paintings we saw as we headed toward the Mona Lisa that were unforgettable. I wasn't awed by the Mona Lisa itself but I enjoyed the afternoon we spent in the Louvre. Still Paris was much less crowded the year we visited the Louvre. Last summer, I skipped the Notre Dame because lines were so long and because our little dog who made the journey with us wasn't welcome. Even with huge crowds in Paris in 2018, once you got away from the Eiffel Tower and the Notre Dame, crowds thinned out. I would definitely urge you to get to the top of the Eiffel Tower at sunset and out to the departments stores near the Opera. Part of what makes Paris so special is that everywhere you turn there is something interesting to enjoy and with younger kids, they'd probably enjoy a boat ride on the Seine more than time looking at art.

Long before I ever made it to Europe, I was teaching about travel and shared a series about European art by a man named Michael Wood. He's done another series about art and both gave me an insight into the significance of art that I never had before. It also made me fall in love with a statue, Donatello's David. When we went to Florence we skipped the crowds who waited to see Michelangelo's David; instead we went to the Bargello where my husband patiently waited as I admired one of the pieces of art that Michael Wood introduced me to. There's also a series by Sister Wendy that highlights European art, but I'd say if there's no art at the Louvre that you or the kids are eager to see, enjoy just strolling through the city parks, have a picnic with the kids at one of them, and eat an extra crepe with the money you save.

Posted by
423 posts

In my opinion- skip it! I did not enjoy the Louvre at all- too crowded- your basically shoved through as your trying to view beautiful paintings- imo they need to somehow limit thee amount of people daily so people can actually view art in a more quiet enjoyable way- it was noisy, chaotic, yes Mona Lisa was great to see but all in all the Orsay much better for a art lover.

Happy Travels✨💫