The Louvre annexe at Lens, France

The Louvre
The main courtyard, Cour Napoleon is where the glass pyramid designed by I.M. Pei serves as entrance to the largest museum in the world. It was originally built as a castle, then as a royal palace but the museum has slowly taken over most of the old palace now.

Most people know that each time I go to France I must also visit the Louvre. The biggest museum in the world is also the one for me that is full of stuff I like. Each time I go I try to spend the entire day, which is very easy if I’m on my own. It’s one of my top destinations in the world. 

They have art from all around the world and most tends to be traditional art, some of it ancient. There’s not many unmade beds with dirty sheets here. 

The place is grand, and humbling, and beautiful, and stacked with the most amazing and beautiful objects. One of my favourite pieces of art ever is there and it’s a sculpture by Italian sculptor Canova. It’s called Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss. 

Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss
This statue of Cupid reviving the woman he loves is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

The story goes, Cupid’s (or Eros as some call him) mother Venus had asked Psyche to bring back a flask from the Underworld. She made Psyche promise not to open the flask. However Psyche could not contain her curiosity and eventually opened the flask and after smelling the awful fumes fell into a death like sleep. 
Cupid saw her lying there motionless and approached, touching her with the tip of an arrow to check if she was still alive. 

Cupid feel deeply in love with the most beautiful Psyche on first glance and took her into his arms to kiss…and thus revive her. The council of the Gods later granted permission for Cupid to marry Psyche and this made her immortal, and created her the God of the Soul. 

There’s much more to the story than this and several versions but this one seems to be the most popular. I’ve got literally dozens of photos of this one piece and I think it’s the most expressive sculpture I’ve ever seen. 

Anyhow, the Louvre opened an annexe at Lens in 2013 and I kept saying next time I get back there I wish to visit. So this is my first port of call! 

Louvre annexe at Lens, France
Louvre annexe at Lens, France

It’s nothing like I imagined. It has pieces which all come exclusively from the period know as antiquity. I didn’t know antiquity was a period, I thought it was anything that was ancient!

When you first enter the place is bright and airy with lots of room to move around. A member of staff approached me and quickly shifted to perfect English to welcome me and ask if he could help. The entrance was free but I paid €3 for an audio guide which did in fact enhance my enjoyment of the visit. 

There’s not just artefacts but displays, videos playing and occasionally presentations on a variety of themes and topics. There’s an awful lot going on. 

However when you reach the main hall it seems as if there is not very much to see. The spacing between pieces is very large and clearly they’ve done that to ensure people can get to see pieces and walk around them without it being a crush. 

This photo gives a good idea of the sense of space there and it also felt to me like the exhibits were placed so as to make you feel they were much more accessible

Plenty of space at the Louvre
Plenty of space at the Louvre

than otherwise. You could walk around things and view them from every angle and touch them if you dared…!

Kidding, no touching. 

The sense of space and the lightness made me feel at first there was not much to see but despite this I spent an entire morning there and could easily have spent the whole day if my interests were wider. 

A definite thumbs up from me for the Louvre at Lens and no doubt I shall be visiting again. Here’s a few more pictures from there, all taken on my phone.