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Treasure hunt at the Louvre (THATLou)

Inside the Louvre for THATLou on eatlivetravelwrite.comThe Louvre. Been there – done that? Well if you think you’ve “done the Louvre” (and therefore don’t need to do it again like, ahem, *some* people – that would be me!), think again! Last month, after a long time of observing from a distance (online) I finally got to check out the Louvre in a completely different way – as the location for one of the most fun treasure hunts ever – Daisy de Plume‘s THATLou (Treasure Hunt At The Louvre).

The THATLou concept is pretty simple – you work in teams to complete a list of challenges based on clues about the works of art all around the museum. To prove “you were there” teams must photograph themselves in front of as many of the listed works of art as possible, earning themselves a different amount of points per treasure discovered. There are quite often questions for bonus points embedded in the clue texts – these either requiring you to make silly poses for another photo or drawing on articles from the THATLou blog or from the information sheets around the Louvre. I joined a public hunt (these happen a few times a year) but THATLou is also offered as a private hunt for groups (perfect if you are travelling in a group or having a party – or even a team-building event!).

Louvre foyer for THATLou on eatlivetravelwrite.comEach hunt has a theme, so if you are a keener you could probably do some reading beforehand but I decided that I wanted to check out the hunt with no prior knowledge. My hunt took place on July 14th – a day when entry to the museum was free so it was a little bit crazy getting in but Daisy sends a very detailed information sheet letting you know how to plan entrance to the museum (through which entrance, how long you should expect to wait to get in – some days, like the free entry days, it’s much longer than others).

Dairy de Plume explains THAT Lou on eatlivetravelwrite.com

The map of the museum is nearly as tall as Daisy!

The throngs of people are a little overwhelming but Daisy had planned the majority of the hunt in wings of the museum that don’t see a lot of traffic, even on very busy days.  I partnered up with Hannah Duke of Ma Vie Française/ My French Life and we set out, just two little Aussie girls against the world.

Planning THATLou on eatlivetravelwrite.comWe had approximately 3 hours to complete 29 basic tasks (and then some, if you counted the bonus challenges) and Hannah and I managed just about half the basic clues and a handful of bonuses. I could tell you we spent most of our time taking photos that had nothing to do with the hunt but actually – the hunt is pretty hard! Definitely a lot of fun but if you take it seriously (or are, ahem, a little bit competitive!) it’s a lot of work to complete all the clues in the given time.

On the hunt for treasure at THATLou on eatlivetravelwrite.comDaisy warned us we wouldn’t complete the course (though some of our fellow competitors managed to score a huge amount of points!) so it’s good to have realistic expectations of what you will be able to cover in the time given.

Inside the Louvre looking for treasure of THATLou on eatlivetravelwrite.comBefore you even start out on the hunt itself, Daisy advises to spent a bit of time planning your route around the museum, grouping the clues according to location so that you make the most of your time in a section (i.e. solving the most clues you can in one area).

Hannah Duke of MyFrenchLife on THAT Lou on eatlivetravelwrite.comWhilst Hannah and I did spend quite a lot of time on this part, the actual clues themselves (even though some of them have photos to help you figure out what you are looking for) are pretty challenging – there’s lots of reading to be done to solve the clues (which is hard to do as you walk quickly through the museum, avoiding other people and the works of art!).

Philippe Pot Tomb in the Louvre on eatlivetravelwrite.comBut you know, clues and challenges aside, every now and then you just have to stop and look around you…  Hannah’s also a blogger so we often found ourselves taking photo breaks (when we really should have been looking at clues!) – the Louvre is SUCH a beautiful building that you can’t help but pause in your tracks from time to time and take in the beauty all around you…

Looking out on the Pyramide from inside the Louvre on THATLou on eatlivetravelwrite.comI mean – you are IN THE LOUVRE.

Apartment of Napoleon in the Louvre on THATLou on eatlivetravelwrite.comAnd it’s absolutely breathtaking…

Staircase in the Louvre on THATLou on eatlivetravelwrite.comTowards the end of our time, Hannah and I debated heading to the Mona Lisa room (there is a challenge there, so we figured why not). We didn’t need to follow the map…

Heading to see the Mona Lisa in the Louvre on THATLou on eatlivetravelwrite.comAnd we certainly didn’t get the points for photographing the Mona Lisa with no other people in the shot….

Mona Lisa in the Louvre on THATLou on eatlivetravelwrite.comApart from that final 30 minutes, I have to say our time in the Louvre was very quiet. Like Daisy had promised, the wings we were hunting in predominantly were fairly empty (despite the busy day…) so the hunt itself was really pleasant – you were not battling people to move from one point to another or jostling for a view (except with the Mona Lisa but I guess that’s never going to be any different!).

Whilst Hannah and I did not do very well in terms of points scored and challenges completed, I will say that what THATLou does is make you want to stay on in the museum after your hunt and either go back and complete the tasks you missed (just for fun!) or simply wander. As long as you are ok with not seeing everything… The Louvre is best done in stages, and next time I am in Paris, I might just do a THATLou (or a THATd’Or at the Musée d’Orsay or THATRue in the streets of Paris) at the beginning of my trip so I can return and take it all in much more slowly.

Highly recommended for anyone who wants to experience the Louvre differently (and Daisy’s working on kids’ versions of the THATs as well!).

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Many of you will know I’m in France for most of the summer. While I will be slowly blogging about things I do here, the best way to keep up with me will be by following my photos which you can do on my Summer 2014 set on Flickr or Instagram where I am @eatlivtravwrite (if you don’t have the app on your phone you can still check out the photos online.

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11 Responses to Treasure hunt at the Louvre (THATLou)

  1. Daisy de Plume August 5, 2014 at 04:44 #

    Mardi!! What a fantastic write up, thank you so much! Your photos are divine — and the entirely empty Richelieu stairwell just next to the throngs of Denon-Mona-Lisa tourists is brilliant!

    So glad you guys had fun and so happy to have finally met you!
    Next time come on a Food + Wine hunt, as that feels like a right fit!
    xx

  2. Mr. Neil August 5, 2014 at 09:13 #

    What a fantastic idea, Daisy!

    • Daisy de Plume August 5, 2014 at 09:21 #

      Thanks, Mr Neil, I’ve really had a ball building it up!

  3. Geoff August 5, 2014 at 18:46 #

    What a great post, Mardi. And to Daisy, what a lovely idea. So much better than an aimless wander through a museum which you need half a lifetime to see.
    I really loved this post and the general idea.

    • Mardi Michels October 26, 2014 at 09:06 #

      It’s a great way to focus on a few areas instead of not knowing where to go!

  4. Betsy August 6, 2014 at 20:15 #

    Wow! This sounds like SO MUCH FUN! All your posts from France this summer are making me want to plan a trip of my own. The treasure hunt seems like such a great way to make a visit to the Louvre less overwhelming. THATd’Or sounds wonderful too. That’s my favorite museum ever.

    • Mardi Michels October 26, 2014 at 09:06 #

      Yes that’s exactly it – makes the Louvre much less overwhelming!

  5. Martha August 6, 2014 at 20:58 #

    That really sounds like fun!

  6. Hannah August 7, 2014 at 18:13 #

    I had such a fantastic time Mardi! Thanks for being my amazing team member – love the fish photo. ;) x

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