When I found out my mom was coming to town for a week, I started looking for activities. Her usual stomping grounds are across the Seine from mine, so I couldn’t wait to show her everything that the rive droite has to offer: Bastille, Belleville, the Marais, Ménilmontant, Montmartre …
Although she’s a Paris veteran, it’s been some time since she’s been here, so I thought a revisiting of the classics was also in order. She hadn’t been to the Orsay post-renovation, or seen les Nymphéas in their new digs, so those were both definite yeses.
We’ve each been to the Louvre more times than we could count, so it wasn’t at the top of my list. But, when I got word about Daisy and THATLou — which stands for Treasure Hunts at the Louvre — I was intrigued. I signed us up for one of the Sunday Series hunts, held on the first Sunday of the month when admission is free, hoping it would be a new and interesting way to revisit this behemoth of a museum. And, it was!
We braved the lines and met in the lobby, where we met our teammates: Mathieu Romary, and Sasha Levenson-Wahl of Savoir Faire Paris. Daisy passed out maps and packets and explained the rules: we had an hour and a half to win points by taking photos with as many of the works of art on our list as possible, all of which had to do with water or fish in honor or poisson d’avril.
After synchronizing our watches, Daisy started the clock and the race was on. The pieces were scattered all over the museum, and we quickly realized what we thought was a generous time frame was going to fly by. Although we were warned about clues for bonus points buried in the packets, they were easy to miss in all the commotion. The pieces ranged from the most famous and recognizable paintings and sculptures to small artifacts, making the hunt challenging and interesting for both frequent visitors and newcomers.
We took off through the crowded museum as fast as possible without breaking into a run or disturbing other guests, all the while snapping photos, scouring the map, and writing a haiku (credit to Mathieu our auteur). Everyone scrambled back to touch the pillar at the starting point — watch out, you team is docked points for being late!
Scoring also involved a pedometer, with a prize for the team that took the least number of steps. Despite trying to get through the museum in the most economical way possible, we found out our team still covered well over a mile!
Afterward, we all headed to a café to recuperate, have a drink (included in the price) and chat. After all that running around, it was nice to sit down, relax, and meet everyone from the other teams. The opinion was unanimous: everyone had a great time. We laughed at the hurriedly-taken photos while Daisy helped us tally the points.
And, as it turned out, our team won! Our prize, a water gun, went to Mathieu and Sasha (on the left, down front). Far more directionally inclined than my mom or me, they were without a doubt the reasons we racked up as many points as we did. Go team!
Looking for a good way to meet new people, get those friendly competitive juices flowing, and then unwind over un verre? Details on upcoming hunts are available on THATLou.com.
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Additional photos and more about our treasure hunt on Daisy’s blog.
More Paris Museums:
Musée du Fumeur, Paris’ smoking museum