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Educator Itineraries The Origins of the Louvre: Medieval Louvre

Length: 45 mins - Level: Easy/Visitors on the Autism Spectrum - Subjects: Multidisciplinary
Visiting days: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Mental disability

Aile Sully, Entresol, Louvre médiéval,<br/>Vestige de la Grosse tour du Louvre
Aile Sully, Entresol, Louvre médiéval,<br/>Vestige de la Grosse tour du Louvre

© 2011 Musée du Louvre / Olivier Ouadah

Objectives

This itinerary aims to explain all the stages of a tour starting from the arrival at the museum metro station. It is specifically designed for adolescents and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders or developmental and learning disabilities (communication impairments, language and attention deficit disorders, sensory processing disorders, or visitors requiring more time). This itinerary is suited both to group leaders guiding several visitors and to parents and relatives wishing to accompany individuals.
The purpose of the tour is to introduce the Louvre to individuals who have never before visited a museum. It clearly explains all the stages of the tour, from arrival to departure. This tour will give visitors a few spatial and historical bearings, from the Louvre of the Middle Ages to the museum in its present state.

The objective is to guide visitors so that they may:

- Discover a new place - a museum
- Meet new people outside familiar surroundings
- Gain more independence when using public transport
- Understand what they are seeing when entering the Louvre
- Begin to find their bearings in space, time, and imaginary scenarios
- Make sense of words such as moat, keep, and so on
- Express an opinion, a viewpoint, a choice (using words and/or other means of expression).

Approach

- Remain receptive to visitors’ questions and other forms of expression
- Be very explicit, leave nothing to interpretation
- Start with details and gradually move up to the bigger picture
- Use the prepared itinerary and commentary, and avoid overwhelming visitors with too much information.

To ensure better conditions for your visit, opt for morning tours on weekdays. Avoid weekends and school holidays, our busiest periods.
 

Materials required

- Visitors: notebooks and pencils, where appropriate.
- Group leaders: Download the photograph of the model in PDF format.
- An illustrated form, summarizing the different tour stops, tailored for and handed out to visitors before the tour, to help them anticipate what they will see;
Download the visitor form in PDF format.

RATP, Station de métro Palais royal Musée du Louvre, Lignes 1 et 7
RATP, Station de métro Palais royal Musée du Louvre, Lignes 1 et 7

© DR

1Meeting point

Arrange to meet on a specific platform of the Palais Royal - Musée du Louvre metro station, either on Line 1 or on Line 7.
Important: be sure to tell visitors the station’s whole name, as they might be unable to find “Palais Royal” or “Musée du Louvre” if the name of the station is not clearly specified.

I’ll wait for you at the following place on the metro platform around the following time and then we will walk to the Louvre together.”
Visitors coming on their own should be given an illustrated visitor form with a detailed itinerary ahead of their visit. The forms are tailored for each visitor and clearly explain, break down and identify every stage of the journey. They provide reassuring points of reference in case of unforeseen events.

Ensure that all visitors have the group leader’s cell phone number and that he/she has all of theirs.
If there is a problem, call me on (group leader’s phone number).”

When specifying the time of the meeting, say the words “around” or “about” to avoid stress if visitors are early or late. Be the first to arrive at the agreed meeting point. Be sure to check which platform the person will be disembarking on as it can be unsettling to see the accompanying adult on the opposite platform.

Place de la pyramide inversée
Place de la pyramide inversée

© 2010 Musée du Louvre / Antoine Mongodin

2The Louvre Pyramid or the Inverted Pyramid

Visitors taking metro Line 1 should proceed to the Inverted Pyramid (underground entrance). Play an observation game: “What can you see above the pyramid? What is the weather like outside?

Visitors taking metro line 7 should proceed to the main courtyard (Cour Napoléon) and take the Pyramid entrance. Point out the palace façades and the Tuileries garden.

Allée du Grand Louvre
Allée du Grand Louvre

© 2011 Musée du Louvre / Antoine Mongodin

3Bag screening

Whether you are taking the Pyramid or Inverted Pyramid entrance, explain that for safety reasons all bags must be placed on the provided conveyor belt and submitted for inspection. Tell visitors about this potentially unsettling step ahead of the visit.

Why do we have to put our bags on this conveyor belt?
(So that their contents can be X-rayed.)

Why is there an agent behind the machine and what is he looking at?
(He is looking at a screen that shows the contents of visitors’ bags. The agent checks the contents of bags and makes sure that prohibited objects, such as knives and scissors, do not get into the museum.)

Turn these safety measures into a game: “If the bags go in this way, where will they come out?

Hall Napoléon, Banque d’information
Hall Napoléon, Banque d’information

© 2010 Musée du Louvre / Antoine Mongodin

4The information desk and the museum entrance

Ask visitors to look for and locate the information desk under the Pyramid. Once at the information desk, each visitor takes a museum map. Visitors look for maps in their language – specific colored stripes are assigned to each language, which makes it possible for visitors who cannot read to single out the appropriate map.

Describe the route you will take, and depending on visitors’ abilities, either trace or ask the visitors to trace the route of the tour on the map.

Observation game: look for the color that represents the medieval Louvre and name it (brown).
Get off the escalators at the Sully entrance, and go through ticket control. Inform visitors about this potentially unsettling step. Tell them that they are now entering the area containing the museum’s collection.

 

Aile Sully, Entresol, Louvre médiéval, Vestige des fossés
Aile Sully, Entresol, Louvre médiéval, Vestige des fossés

© 2005 Musée du Louvre / Pierre Philibert

5The castle

Stand beside the model of the castle located at the entrance to the moat of the medieval Louvre.
Visitors look first at the model and then the moat, and, with the help of the attached photograph, understand that they are standing at the foot of the medieval structure.

Have visitors guess the height of the castle: “Take the height that you can see today. Multiply that by 5. Now you have the height of the original building.
 

Aile Sully, Entresol, Louvre médiéval, Vestige des fossés
Aile Sully, Entresol, Louvre médiéval, Vestige des fossés

© 2011 Musée du Louvre / Olivier Ouadah

6The moat

Sully wing, Lower ground floor, Medieval Louvre, Remains of a moat

Explain that, originally, the structure was outdoors and that there was no ceiling.
 
Make-believe and mime: imagine the sky before the ceiling was built and imagine the sky above Paris. Pretend that you are blinded by the Sun.


 

Aile Sully, Entresol, Louvre médiéval, Vestige des fossés - Le détail
Aile Sully, Entresol, Louvre médiéval, Vestige des fossés - Le détail

© 2011 Musée du Louvre / Olivier Ouadah

7The detail

Choose a detail that the visitors seem to find interesting and that will generate questions and a discussion: “What is that? What is it called? What is it for?
For example:
- a little heart engraved into one of the stones in the wall – this was the signature used by stonemasons
- the well – it brought water from the Seine to the moat
- the drawbridge pier – it supported the bridge that lead to the castle gates

Photograph or draw the chosen detail, and allow visitors to choose a detail other than the three already suggested.


 

Aile Sully, Entresol, Louvre médiéval, Le puits
Aile Sully, Entresol, Louvre médiéval, Le puits

© M© 2011 Musée du Louvre / Olivier Ouadah

8The well

Show visitors the well and ask them to remember it for later.

Aile Sully, Entresol, Louvre médiéval,<br/>Vestige de la Grosse tour du Louvre
Aile Sully, Entresol, Louvre médiéval,<br/>Vestige de la Grosse tour du Louvre

© 2011 Musée du Louvre / Olivier Ouadah

9The keep

As an additional resource, show an image of a keep, in order to clarify that it was located inside the castle and the castle was inside the ramparts.

Make-believe and mime: in order to understand the purpose of a castle keep, visitors imagine that they are soldiers and mime climbing up the steps inside the keep. They imagine looking down at the landscape from the top of the Grosse tour - watching the boats sailing along the Seine, the fishermen on the riverbanks, and so on.


 

Reproduction en galvanoplastie du Chapel doré de Charles VI Aile Sully,<br/>Entresol, Louvre médiéval - Saint-Louis, Salle 7
Reproduction en galvanoplastie du Chapel doré de Charles VI Aile Sully,<br/>Entresol, Louvre médiéval - Saint-Louis, Salle 7

© 2011 Musée du Louvre / Antoine Mongodin

10The helmet

Explain that archeologists discovered surprising items in the well (stop 8). Some of these belonged to King Charles VI – including a helmet that was stolen and broken into hundreds of pieces by its thief.

Look at this reconstituted copy of the original, broken helmet (which is to be found in Richelieu wing, First floor, Room 24), and describe its color, shape, and overall appearance.
 

 

Place de la pyramide inversée
Place de la pyramide inversée

© 2010 Musée du Louvre / Antoine Mongodin

11Goodbyes

Return to the Inverted Pyramid (for metro line 1) or the Louvre Pyramid (for metro line 7). This ensures that the visit begins and ends in the same place - a predictable and reassuring landmark. Indicate that the visit has come to an end, prepare to leave and to say goodbye. Instruct visitors to phone the group leader once they get home. Visitors return to Palais Royal - Musée du Louvre station. Visitors phone the group leader to tell him/her they have arrived home safely.