Wonders of Ancient Egypt, Ramses II's obelisks in Luxor and Paris and Pharaoh Sethi I in the Louvre museum. Photos © Art Journey Paris.
Champollion found the key to unlock Egyptian hieroglyphs in Paris and created the Louvre's Department of Egyptian Antiquities. Only then did he travel to Egypt.
Exactly as Champollion did 200 years ago, an Art Journey tour helps understand hieroglyphic writing and the ancient Egyptian civilization in Paris, and prepares those dreaming of visiting Egypt.
Pyramids, monumental tombs and mummies gave the impression that ancient Egypt was all about death. Since Champollion, we know it was quite the opposite, a civilization with a thirst for life, eternal life.
One of the most important collections of Egyptian antiquities outside Egypt, the Louvre illustrates this quest for eternity. It offers a journey through three millennia of civilization, from large statues to objects in gold and papyrus texts.
Explaining the creation myths of ancient Egypt, the Nile, the sun, tales of falcons, scarabs and cows will help make sense of the many gods of Egypt.
Then we will discover the 'perfect gods', the Pharaohs. The Louvre displays three millennia of Kings of Egypt, starting with one of the first Pharaohs. Most of the great Kings of ancient Egypt are there, including Ramses II and Tutankhamun, and Queens with Nefertiti and Cleopatra.
Understanding the ancient Egyptian afterlife would help you realize the belief that both statues and mummies were alive. It would then become clear what happens when the nose of a sculpture was cut or its name chiseled, as will be explained with a statue of Tutankhamun.
There are three complete mummies displayed in the Louvre. We will discover them, not as creepy things out of a horror movie, but as people embodying this quest for eternal life. And discuss how these ancient Egyptians were fortunate, as countless mummies were destroyed by thieves or transformed into medicine.
Once their motives make sense, we can relate with their wish for eternal life, and feel like being on a first-name basis with ancient Egyptians. Names like Nefertiabet, Nakhti, Karomama, and Akhethetep will remain familiar long after this journey.
And you will realize why the ancient Egyptians wanted us to say their name. More than showing you one sphinx and a few Pharaohs, this visit will make you understand why the ancient Egyptians did what they did. And give you a renewed sense of awe for their achievements.
Understand the hieroglyphic system, and what happens when hieroglyphs were erased. Read the names on a major ancient Egyptian masterpiece, the obelisk of Ramses II. Photo © Art Journey Paris.
Discover the basics of hieroglyphic writing in the Louvre, with simple, easy-to-grasp examples. You will quickly understand how hieroglyphs work. Exactly as Champollion did 200 years ago, you will start by reading the name of a Pharaoh. Then learn a handful of important hieroglyphs.
This is accessible to both children and adults. You will come out of the Louvre certain to remember a few hieroglyphs and the satisfaction of having read one or two Pharaoh's names. After a short walk from the Louvre, Place de la Concorde, you will be able to read the first visible line of hieroglyphs on the obelisk of Ramses II !
A journey through the decipherment of hieroglyphs following Champollion in Paris and the Louvre, as a preparation for the real thing, Egypt. Champollion © Département de l'Isère / Musée Champollion and Dendera temple © Art Journey Paris.
Did you know that Champollion never saw the Rosetta Stone? That he only was 8 years old when the year of its discovery? That while he had never been to Egypt, he found, in Paris, the key to deciphering the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs and the Rosetta Stone 23 years later?
During a private tour of the Egyptian department of the Louvre, we will walk in Champollion's footsteps, and discuss how he succeeded where others didn't. And for the 200th anniversary of the decipherment of hieroglyphs, discover how Champollion became the first person in 1,400 years able to read hieroglyphs with the story how Champollion deciphered ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.
From 12th of April till the 24th of July, please inquire about visiting "L'aventure Champollion, dans le secret des hiéroglyphes" exhibition at the Bibliothèque Nationale - François-Mitterrand.
There are three options to discover Ancient Egypt in the Louvre and Paris:
#1 - As part of a private tour of the Louvre, on one of the two floors of the Egyptian Antiquities Department.
#2 - Still as part of a private tour of the Louvre, but up to half of the visit dedicated to Egypt, with a selection of masterpieces on two floors, from Cleopatra to Pharaoh Djet all the way to the great sphinx of Tanis.
#3 - A comprehensive ancient Egyptian experience, for half a day, in the Louvre and walking to sites related to Champollion's discovery, all within a 10-15 minutes distance from the Louvre museum. Rue Mazarine, where Champollion first deciphered hieroglyphs, the church where he heard a Coptic service, and walk to the obelisk formerly at the entrance of the magnificent temple of Luxor, the obelisk of Ramses II.
After a virtual travel of ancient Egypt, you will likely be tempted to pursue the art journey along the Nile, in Egypt. Good news, we also offer a private tour of Egypt, discovering the wonders of ancient Egypt from the pyramids to Abu Simbel.
The pyramids of Giza at sunset. Photo © Art Journey Paris.
Not at all. The department wasn't created as a result of Napoléon's military campaign of Egypt in 1798, but almost 30 years later, opening in 1827, with Jean-François Champollion as its first curator.
Over 6,500 objects, including more than 1,600 statues and statuettes. Or if we dedicate one minute per object, for an entire day, seeing all the ancient Egyptian artifacts displayed in the Louvre would take two weeks...
The impressive great sphinx of Tanis isn't the only major wonder of the Louvre. A list of the greatest masterpieces of the Louvre would include :
- Tutankhamun. An important statue that was discovered before Howard Carter found the nearly intact tomb of the young Pharaoh.
- Nefertiti and Akhenaten. The era of Amenhotep IV and his Queen, Nefertiti, is not just fascinating for its religious change, but also is one of the peaks of ancient Egyptian art, illustrated by the Amarna Princess.
- one of the very first Pharaohs of Egypt, Djet. His stela, found in the necropolis of the first Kings in Abydos, is 5,000 years old yet nearly intact.
- Queen Neferusobek, the first attested female Pharaoh of Egypt, not a 'King's Wife' or regent, but a female King. And the last native Pharaoh of Egypt, Cleopatra.
- the chapel of the mastaba of Akhethetep. Around 4,400 years old, an Ancient Kingdom wonder, the closest to actually being in Saqqara, entering the tomb of an official buried in close vicinity to Djoser's step pyramid, the first pyramid of Pharaonic Egypt.
- Ramses III sarcophagus. Ideal to discuss the length Pharaohs went to secure their eternal life.
- the seated scribe. No better way to feel that ancient Egyptian statues are 'alive' than to peer into the eyes of a 4,500 years old Egyptian. Sadly nameless, he was a man of high rank forever in the act of writing the 'words of the gods', hieroglyphs.
- gold and silver wonders. The fantastic treasures of the Pharaohs of Egypt are almost all lost to thieves, but the Louvre nevertheless houses small but impressive items, Osorkon's triad pendant, gold and silver cups given by Pharaoh Tuthmosis III to his general, rings belonging to Queen Nefertiti, Queen Ahhotep; Pharaoh Ahmose's jewels, the Tod silver treasure, a pectoral with the name of Ramses II, and much more.
- another 'Rosetta Stone', a Greek era stela with Greek, demotic and hieroglyphic text, the decree of Canopus, found in 1801. For the 200th anniversary of the decipherment of hieroglyphs, such a rare artifact should help explain the difficulty of cracking the ancient Egyptian writing system.
- Karomama, the divine adoratrice of Amon. Is it the fact that bronze statuettes of this type are so rare? Or that Champollion called it "the most beautiful bronze ever discovered in Egypt"? Like the scribe, the only way to fully appreciate the wonders of ancient Egyptian art is to be face to face with Karomama, along with Nakhti, Nefertiabet, and more.
- Princess Nefertiabet, nearly intact while being 4,600 years old. A way to transport us to the great pyramids of Giza, as Nefertiabet was likely the daughter of one of the Pharaohs who built the pyramids, Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure.
Among the most interesting masterpieces of the ancient Egyptian collection are statues or reliefs of the artists and artisans who built and decorated the Valley of the Kings' tombs. The architect of Hatshepsut's Deir el-Bahari million years temple. Amenhotep III's sculptor; and the stela of a craftsman very proud to proclaim "I know the secret to hieroglyphs".
To inquire about a private tour of Louvre ancient Egyptian department and an introduction to hieroglyphs, please mention the date of the visit as well as the number of participants, using the form below, thank you.