Who would think that one can experience the Louvre in a radically different way, with a childhood-like scavenger hunt? The typical experience that is shared with me by others (and within my own memories) goes something like this… “It’s so huge.” “Overwhelming.” “I got tired.” And those are comments by people I know who actually venture beyond the Mona Lisa, which sees 80% of 30k visitors A DAY. (A important piece of scavenger hunt trivia!) Knowing that we would join a scavenger hunt Saturday morning, we decided to visit the museum on Thursday to spend some unhurried time following a Rick Steves’ audio walking tour–less than an hour. Having been here before and feeling overwhelmed, and having enjoyed some really fantastic guided tours on this trip, I wanted a structured visit with narrative to focus my energy. This audio tour, downloadable so you don’t need access to data, lasts about an hour and the narrative provides a lot of fun and interesting detail that one wouldn’t get even out of Steves’ own guidebooks. As we toured the first time this week, we tried to remember where certain pieces were located, thinking this would help. Okay. Nice try.
The scavenger hunt was incredibly fun and I had to resist the urge to run–totally not allowed in this game for good reason. We watched the little video on the THATLou site with strategies, but here is what we really should have done: read the blog. Thoroughly. In fact, really my husband should have read it because his penchant for remembering random details is much better than mine. But the most fun? The hunt. And the posing. It’s interesting how I could be so uninhibited with hundreds of people around because it was a such an immensely engaging competition in such an surreal place. If it hadn’t been so much fun, I would have thought it was nearly sacriligious not to stand silently in awe of such rich history in art.
The THATLou representative provides rule and solid information, but here’s the gist for strategy:
1.) Identify the best pieces to find, based on their original point value, as well as any bonus points you may be able to garner through knowing trivia, connecting to other pieces in the hunt, and engaging in ridiculous poses. Try to have the fastest reader in the group read the description for each treasure, skimming first for indicators of THATLou bonus points, and then later more thoroughly for specific details of references to other items in the hunt.
2.) Identify which areas to hit first based on their point values and the concentration of items within one area. The guide that met us provided really great maps with areas highlighted that included treasures. And of course you have to take a picture of a team member in front of each item–using the same phone–to insure that it’s accomplished that day and that the team is intact throughout the hunt (I can see why this is…we had pictures of some of the items from our previous visit that week).
3.) Lastly, compete against yourself and feel good about what you can figure out. Many people dream of visiting Paris. Few would dream of the type of treasure hunt we could only have imagined as children.
Be a child for an afternoon. Meet new people. Find art and find fun.