Staircases of Le Louvre
Have you been to the Musee du Louvre? It’s in the Palais du Louvre and is one of the world’s largest museums, housing a vast collection in its sprawling Richelieu, Denon and Sully wings. Perhaps you know the sight of I.M. Pei’s striking pyramid additions (one outside, and one inverted, inside). Here’s the Cour Napoleon, with the pyramid in the middle. I sneaked this photo through an upper window while we were inside the Louvre. I like the ant-like people far below, and the symmetry of Pei’s modern architecture against that of the renaissance style of the old building.
Needless to say, it was exciting to see the beauty of Pei’s work again, after we had loved his MUDAM building so much (we will return to write more about that amazing place again soon!). Inside the Louvre though, the sheer number of staircases in the building’s interior, and the variations in style struck me as quite something, so I took a few pictures of these interesting escalier.
Some are classical in style, as one would expect in such a building (as above), but some are modern, and the contrast is stark, even if the materials used have been chosen to stay in keeping with the rest of the building:
One thing I found interesting was that many of the staircases in the Louvre are so grand, they even have their own names! Below you can see the Escalier Mollien.The wrought iron and sweep of the stairs is rather beautiful don’t you think?
Some were so large it was difficult to capture them adequately on camera:
While others were deserted, and provided a peaceful haven after braving the crowds of art and artefact admirers.
We even managed to find a secret spiral staircase, hidden behind a door which appeared to be firmly shut, but when we stepped up to it, it opened, as if by magic! It provided us with a sneaky shortcut from one floor to the next. I didn’t manage to capture it on camera, but I think my favourite staircase of all was this sweet spiral one in the Napoleon Apartments.
I particularly liked the way it gave the sense of suspension in the air, as it snaked its way down to ground level.
Soon enough, it was back to the modern world, leaving the static stairs behind, as the ones that took us out of the building were definitely of the moving kind.
Photos by CIA in the Musee du Louvre, Paris, June 2012.