Fast forward to last year, (2013), a tad older than 17, and a second trip to Paris under my belt; I decided to plan yet another trip to Paris with my two youngest daughters, (ages 6 and 8 at the time). I fantasized about how much they were going to love this trip! I heard Edith Piaf's La Vie En Rose playing in my head - my girls were going to LOVE the desserts, the crepes filled with ice cream and nutella! The delicious breads, the Eiffel Tower and, of course, The Louvre. Wait - - did I just say that a 6 and 8 year old were going to enjoy a gi-normous museum?? Well, unlike my first experience with this amazing treasure trove, I was determined to have my kids have the time of their lives at the greatest art museum in the world! But how? Well, with the help of my ever-amazing travel agent, Stephen, we figured out just how this feat was going to be accomplished!!
Our tour was confirmed for 8:45 on a Thursday morning. Our exceptional tour guide, Luz met us at our hotel with a warm smile and a special gift for each of my daughters - an adorable cross-over purse with a Paris design. After our friendly introductions, and the kids sporting their new stylish bags, Luz explained that we were going to spend two fun-filled hours walking through specific exhibits at the Louvre, all the while "searching" for various clues, symbols and items as she told us stories. Can you imagine a more sneaky and brilliant way to teach kids historic information about art then weaving it into a story and topping it off with a fun activity like a treasure hunt!! Well, I must say, it worked just as well for us adults. It was my husband Tedd and my mom, Camille's first visit to Paris, and a private tour, presented in bite-site pieces left them awe-struck.
1) Mona Lisa
The kids absolutely loved this exhibit! I loved how they were walking from one side of the room to the other to get a glimpse of how the Mona Lisa's eyes "moved" and followed them wherever they were! They even learned who stole the Mona Lisa, which I wont tell you - you'll have to find that one out on your own!
This was extremely cool! My mom really loved seeing this because of the sheer age. Erected by the sixth Babylonial king in the 18th Century BC, as Luz told us, Hammurabi it is both a work of art, history and literature. The "stela" or stone pillar bears the inscription of the Code of Hammurabi which consists of 282 laws, with scaled punishments. The girls couldn't quite understand why a stone was used to hold all the laws in the "olden days", thinking it was kind of ridiculous. (oh, these information-age kids!)
3) The Medieval Louvre Fortress
This was built at the end of the 12th Century and you feel like you have stepped back in time hundreds of years walking through.
4) The Winged Victory of Samothrace
We looked at this sculpture from many angles, hearing all about it's history which dates back to around 200-190 BC. She is also called Nike of Samothrace and one of the most celebrated pieces in the Louvre.
Carved out of white and gray marble, she originally stood on a pedestal of gray marble which represented the forward most part of the ships bow, and depicted the goddess as she descends from the skies to the triumphant fleet. Her arms are forever lost, but it is believed that her right arm was raised up near her mouth, shouting victory. Luz had the kids walk all around this famous statue, to find her right hand which is on display separately since the statue has no arms.
The kids had to guess the name of this statue, with multiple choice answers. Amazingly, they both guessed correctly! Today when we see pictures or watch a travel video, they scream out "that's Venus de Milo!"
6) The Coronation of Emperor Napoleon 1 in the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris
We stood in front of this masterpiece for a while and received a short lesson on the various individuals that are depicted in the painting, namely Napoleon's mother and an American Ambassador!