Imagine being inside the iconic Louvre, the world’s largest and most popular museum, with no other tourist in sight. Instead of being one of 10.2 million people per year clamouring for a front view of Leonardo DaVinci’s “Mona Lisa,” you can have the ultimate art lover experience of having the entire place for yourself, for the cool price of €30,000.
The 90-minute tour is courtesy of Family Twist, a Paris-based travel company that specializes in luxury trips to Europe.
The first requested tour was from a wealthy client in Shanghai, who asked Family Twist founder Magali Dechelette if she could pull off his ultimate fantasy of having the Louvre entirely to himself. It took her three months to orchestrate, but Dechelette fulfilled his dream. Now, she is able to offer the service to other wealthy clients looking for the same level of access.
Guests are picked up from their hotel by a Tesla and driven through the streets of Paris to the main entrance of the Louvre, instantly recognizable with its glass and metal I.M. Pei-designed pyramid.
The first stop is the medieval section, formerly the dungeon of the 12th-century castle that became the museum in 1793.
There, the group meets its art historian guide, who begins the tour by handing each guest a set of envelopes.
Inside each is an image of part of one of the masterpieces on display (the eye of the “Mona Lisa” or the cat in Paolo Veronese’s “The Wedding at Cana“) in the almost 3.9 million square-foot space. For an added element of entertainment, guests are given the challenge of matching the picture with the corresponding work they’ll see at some point on their journey.
The Louvre’s collection includes more than half a million pieces of art, 38,000 of which are exhibited, but this evening, just 90 minutes long, is about savoring a handful of the highlights, such as the ancient Greek statue “Venus di Milo” and Jacques-Louis David’s “The Coronation of Napoleon,” who was the official painter of the namesake emperor.
There are a few surprises along the way, including a ballet performance on the staircase leading up to “The Winged Victory of Samothrace“, a cherished marble Hellenistic sculpture which is considered one of the most prominent sculptures in existence today.