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The Louvre Sucks

Sunday, July 27 2003

An official report of our trip to Paris with some photos is coming soon, but first, I have to vent so bad its nearly life threatening if I don’t.

Carrie and I bought a backpack to carry Leah in. Once the shock of subjecting our bodies to an extra thirty pounds had subsided, we found that it’s an absolutely fantastic way to travel with a baby. Leah loves sitting in the backpack, and our mobility has increased by huge margins. We can zip in and out of Underground stations and dart through crowds, fully avoiding any of the hassles having a baby laden stroller produces.

The Louvre doesn’t seem to agree.

We arrived at the museum, bought our tickets at the self serve kiosks (we didn’t have to hassle with a stroller in a queue), walked through piles of people beneath the famous glass pyramid, and made our way to the queue for the Denon wing. The ticket taker said something in French which we came to understand meant that no baby backpacks were allowed and that they had free strollers available. We took that blow on the chin, got ourselves a stroller and quickly realized that hell hath no fury like a stroller in the Louvre. There are an almost infinite amount of stairs at the Louvre. They come in all sorts of random groupings. Sets of four, three, twenty-six, nineteen, you name it, they have it. And it’s the largest art museum in the world.

To help the lazy, stroller pushing, wheelchair rolling, stair averse people, they’ve hidden elevators or wheelchair lifts all over the place. The problem is, they’re nearly impossible to find, and when you do find them, they take ages to operate (or, as we found, don’t work at all). Or, the power goes out while you’re on the top floor trying to get to the bottom so you can change a diaper, and you wait in darkness (as we did) while they restore power, only to find that once the power is restored, the elevators don’t work anymore.

We’re not sure why they’d be so stupid to turn us away with our lean and sleek solution to child transport. It wasn’t just a “no backpacks” rule, there were dozens of people inside with backpacks. We think they have some ridiculous idea that if a child is in a backpack, they will be more likely to grab at things. They’re wrong. About the entire thing. There might be some interesting art stored at the Louvre, but because the haven’t put a split second of thought into child backpacks, they get the “worst museum ever” medal from me. I don’t care if they have artwork made by mutated elephants that spent their childhood on the vast and spacious planes of Neptune, the Louvre still sucks, and will suck until they let people carry their kids in backpacks.