The Courtyard Less Traveled

Beyond the Louvre Pyramid lies a courtyard that few people notice during their stay in Paris. It’s just steps away from the crowds lining I.M. Pei’s modern glass entrance, but the Cour Carrée sits nearly empty even during the peak tourist seasons. This section of the museum called the “Old Louvre,” is the original site of a 12th century fortress, and later, a larger royal residence. The handsome buildings surrounding this courtyard were built between the 16th and 17th century, replacing the last external remnants from medieval times.

It’s the perfect place to enjoy the architectural history of the Louvre, especially at night, when the lights enhance the majestic Renaissance structure and interesting sculptures. Take a stroll one evening and study the details, or bring a camera and photograph the nighttime moment. If you’re lucky, you may be serenaded by a roaming musician or two. Luckier still, a night bicycle tour may glide through your photo shoot with their helmets aglow and surprise you with a laser-like light show through your photograph, adding another enchanting memory to your memory book  (above).

Related: Six Things You May Not Know About the Louvre

66 Comments

    1. Solitude makes for a lovely noise. (Did I just make that up, or did someone else say it already?) 😉 And yes, the rain was a plus, but it would have been nice if it had stopped at one point!

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  1. Hello, fellow traveler. Another beautiful shot, as always. Hope your summer is going well. We haven’t made it to the beach yet, but we’ve been enjoying the morning coolness of the marine layer. The horses love it too, a reminder of home. Stay well.

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    1. Hi there! You must be a little homesick, although summer in Southern Cal can’t be too bad. I hope the horse competitions are going well and that everyone is happy and healthy. Have fun, enjoy the sunsets and goooo to the beach!!
      P.S. and thanks 🙂

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      1. Agree SoCal isn’t too bad in the summer. The horse shows are going well. The girls are enjoying themselves; they did a couple interviews on media day earlier this week – one is a 30-minute videotaped interview. If I don’t mess up my copy, I’ll email you a copy when we get back home in July. We hope to visit the beach on a scheduled short day next week.

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  2. The “Old Louvre” section is so beautiful !…. And I love your retelling!… Did you certainly take that pic during a night bicycle tour?…. How neat!. All my best wishes to you, Elisa. Aquileana ⭐

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  3. I Love the mood this image sets, Elisa. I wonder why this courtyard is deserted as it is. I think it is gorgeous and would think many people would want to view it, and yes even experience the ambiance by walking it. How strange. Love, Amy ❤

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    1. Hi Amy Rose! Yes, it is a lovely place with a wealth of wonderful Renaissance architectural details. It’s located on the opposite side of the Cour Napoléon where the beautiful glass Pyramid dazzles all the tourists (including me!) I think there’s so much to experience at the Louvre that this courtyard is simply overlooked. I’m glad I visited it this time around. Hope you’re having a beautiful weekend!

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    1. Thank you, Amy. It’s funny, you don’t notice the reflections as much when you’re taking the pictures, it’s how they pop in post processing that’s the fun part. Happy weekend to you!

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    1. He designed a sleek addition to the National Gallery of art, the East Wing, in Washington, D.C. It was my first exposure to his work (years ago) so I’m always excited to see other examples of his work. The Pyramid is exceptional! Thank you for stopping by, Bela! (See some Hawaiian breezes our way, it’s HOT in Georgia!)

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      1. Yes, we have had an unusually lovely winter, spring and into summer with tradewinds and night rains – just like 25 years ago! Grateful every day for this grace, because drought is always a possibility. (Can you feel the breeze yet? 😉 )

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      1. That sounds delightful, we’ll be there early November so I think we will miss most of the lights and festivities. It would be fun to cross paths, if only I could stay in Paris for Christmas 🙂

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    1. You just jarred my memory. There did seem to be a lot of petition takers roaming the sites throughout Paris when we were there. I didn’t give them the time of day, but now I’m annoyed thinking about it. You do have to keep your wits about traveling around these days. Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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    1. Hello there, Valerie, so nice to hear from you! I’m glad you stopped by and happy for the comment. I’ll check in with you soon to see what’s been happening in your world. Take care!!
      Elisa

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  4. Such a spectacular building filled to the brim with so many treasure. I really live the perspective in this shot Elisa and the incident of the bicycle tour has added a further point of interest…ghostly movement. Wonderful !

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    1. Hello, hello! Thank you so much for the wonderful comment. It’s always interesting to read your insight about a photograph. It often makes me look at a shot in a different way. I’m happy you stopped by!

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  5. Hmmmmmm I can hear the rain hitting the paving slabs from here > Just as you say, when there’s no one else around to interrupt the sound. And that smell of rain as well. Nice post indeed! I second that!

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    1. Thank you, Andy Smart. It was nice to revisit the Louvre Carrousel through your eyes. My daughter and I spent some time there over the holidays at dawn while we waited for our hotel room, and it just wasn’t as atmospheric as my rainy night in Paris. Lots of people passing through on their way to work, and other visitors like us greeting the day after a long plane ride. Glad you stopped by…have a great weekend!
      Elisa

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