How many people visit the Louvre, the Sistine Chapel, the National Gallery, the Prado museum, the Van Gogh museum and so many other museums and palaces all across Europe? How many of them do it in the hope of experiencing an incredible or even a spiritual moment, but instead they experience exactly the opposite: a painful, stressful and, for some, even a soul-destroying moment?
When passing the entrance of the Louvre in Paris, which sees some times more than 15,000 visitors a day, you find yourself surrounded by crowds at every corner, and more, when you want to reach one of the famous masterpieces of the museum such as the Venus de Milo or Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa where the hordes of tourists from all over the world gather hopping to see (sometimes in vain) the painting. How in God’s name can you be inspired and have a real meaningful experience is such conditions?
Although it seems impossible to visit those world-famous museums without the crowds other than by watching documentaries, there is a way to have the privilege only royals, heads of state and few celebrities have: A private visit when the museum or the palace is officially closed.
Of course, this is not a luxury everyone can afford and there are very few agencies able to open for you the doors of such museums in a completely private way so you can visit at your pace, choosing what you want to see and where you want to spend more time without having to follow a group and a normal tour guide who explain everything in the same way to everyone over and over.
Imagine for a moment being in Rome and accessing the Vatican without any queues, without any long security control, and find yourself there in a mysteriously quiet Vatican City, and then walking around the magnificent museum with its 1,400 rooms full of artistic treasures. Imagine when the doors of the 120 meter-long map room open for you so you can have all the time you want to admire everything and ask whatever you want to one of the curators of the museum who is guiding you through the museum. And then, pass by Pieter van Aelst’s majestic tapestries before reaching the Raphael rooms and so many other incredible rooms until you push a small unassuming door to find yourself emerging inside one of the most famous places in the world: the Sistine Chapel.
On our way back to the Hotel Eden after recent “simple” private visit of the Vatican, Andrew and his wife Sarah told us: “We never thought it could be possible to have such an overwhelming and incredible experience. Being there, just us, surrounded by Michelangelo’s masterpiece with no crowds, no guards asking us to be quiet, no banging into other people who are also looking up and, most of all, no one pushing and no gesturing to move on so more people can come in. It was only silence and experiencing the religious atmosphere of such a Holy place, somehow feeling the presence of Michelangelo painting all that alone”.
It is indeed a magical and unique experience.
No matter if it is the Vatican, the Louvre or any other great museum in Europe (or in the world), being able to enjoy a truly private visit is something extraordinary. And when it comes to a private visit of famous palaces such as Versailles, Fontainebleau, the Alhambra, Schönbrunn, Neuschwanstein castle, Hampton Court Palace (and so many other), you will be taken through many of the secrets doors to discover what the public never sees: the intimacy of those sumptuous former royal residences.
As the designer Tom Ford said: “Time and silence are the most luxurious things today” and it is true when it comes to a museum or a palace. It is a rare privilege which becomes essential once you have tasted to it. And for those who want to go even beyond an exclusive private visit, there are ways for you to go through the looking glass by pushing a museum’s secret doors to discover their art reserves and even the restoration workshops (we will take you there in the coming weeks).
So, how would you like to visit a museum the next time you travel? With all the crowds and tourists everywhere feeling that sweaty unpleasant atmosphere or all by yourself enjoying art as it should be, with time and space and feeling simply “at home” in the museum?