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No lover of art could pass it by: the monumental Musée du Louvre in Paris. After all, the oil painting of the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci exhibited there is one of the most famous works of art of all time. But that’s not all. Many other exhibits, such as the sculpture of Venus of Milo, are often named among the greatest masterpieces in art history.

That’s why the Louvre is naturally popular as a tourist destination, counting up to 10 million guests annually. Tickets and guided tours can be booked in advance to avoid long waits.
Klaus KainzBy Klaus Kainz
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7 tips for visiting the Louvre Museum

The Louvre's Famous Pyramid
1
Avoid queuesDue to the long queues, it is recommended to book tickets for the Louvre in advance. Online booked tickets with fixed date and time are particularly worthwhile, because with these the waiting times at the entrance are the lowest.
Louvre interior | Unsplash: DAT VO
2
Avoid crowds at the right timeTypically, there are fewer guests at the Louvre when the museum opens as well as later in the evening. Generally it is quieter on weekdays than on weekends. Wednesday afternoons in particular, with their extended opening hours, are therefore among the best times to visit for a quiet tour of the museum.
3
Plan your visit wellThere are about 35,000 exhibits in the museum’s vast area. So seeing all the artworks during a single visit is hardly possible. To get the most out of your visit to the Louvre, it's best to get an overview in advance and limit yourself to the collections that interest you the most. To help, check out this overview map of the museum. Note that once you leave the museum, any ticket becomes invalid, so no breaks can be taken outside the Louvre.
4
Take photos - with cautionAny visitor of the Louvre naturally wants to take photos of their favorite masterpieces. This is generally allowed. But be careful: flash functions of all cameras must be deactivated and selfie sticks are prohibited. For some works photos are prohibited, note the instructions on site.
5
Respect the house rulesLike any museum, the Louvre has certain house rules to protect the works of art from harm and to ensure a pleasant stay for all guests. Therefore, eating, drinking and smoking are prohibited in the exhibition rooms. Also, make sure that you do not make any noise. Parents should make sure that their children do not run through the rooms unsupervised.
6
Take breaks in the Tuileries GardenIt is forbidden to consume food in the exhibition halls. However, picnics in the Tuileries Garden are permitted, which are particularly suitable in summer. In the museum itself, however, there are many places to sit and take a breather.
7
Free admission under certain conditionsFree admission is offered at the Louvre on every first Saturday of the month, starting at 6:00 pm. European citizens up to and including the age of 25 also enjoy free admission if they have their passport or identity card with them, as do children and young people of any nationality under the age of 18. Free admission is also offered by the Louvre on Bastille Day, July 14.

Important works of art in the Louvre

It would hardly be possible to give you insight into all of the historical artworks of the Louvre on this page. So Instead, we'll give you a brief look at six masterpieces from different eras - a brief taste of the monumental art collection.
Mona Lisa | Public Domain

Mona Lisa (1503)

Possibly the most famous painting in the world: the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. Painted on thin wood, the oil painting is one of the greatest masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance - that is, the rediscovery of ancient art after the end of the European Middle Ages. New perspectives and methods revolutionized paintings of the time, for which the Mona Lisa stands almost archetypal. To this day, her mysterious gaze, which seems to come from every direction due to da Vinci’s painting technique, and her tender smile cast a spell over her viewers. And this despite the fact that the painting itself has comparatively small dimensions. By the way, it should not be forgotten that the Louvre houses many other works by Da Vinci.
Venus of Milo | Jean-Pol GRANDMONT - CC BY-SA 4.0

Venus of Milo (2nd century B.C.)

The sculpture of Venus of Milo, the Greek goddess of love, is considered one of the great masterpieces of hellenistic art. Yet its discovery was a stroke of luck. It was not until the 19th century that a peasant discovered it while working in a Greek quarry. Alexandros of Antioch is said to have created her in antiquity, but her exact origins and original depiction before she lost her arms can only be speculated upon. Its incompleteness ironically adds to the fascination with the finely crafted sculpture, after all, it thus stimulates the imagination of its viewers.
The Coronation of Napoleon | Public Domain

The Coronation of Napoleon (1807)

The painting known as Le Sacre de Napoléon has almost epochal dimensions with a width of almost 32 ft (10 m). This is not surprising, after all, Napoleon Bonaparte himself commissioned it to immortalize his coronation as French emperor. The French general's personal painter, Jacques-Louis David, worked for over two years on the pompous neoclassical depiction, in which the focus is entirely on Napoleon the autocrat.
Seated Scribe | Rama CC BY-SA 4.0

Seated Scribe (between 2600 and 2350 BC)

The approximately 53cm (1.7 ft) high limestone statue, known as Seated Scribe, is one of the historical highlights in the Louvre - in particular because of its age. In the 19th century, the sculpture was rediscovered, but in reality it already has several thousand years under its belt. Accordingly, it is difficult to assign details to the history of its creation. By the pose it is assumed that it is the representation of a person of the royal house from the 4th or 5th dynasty of ancient Egypt.
Nike of Samothrace | Herry Lawford CC BY 2.0

Nike of Samothrace (circa 190 BC)

The famous winged sculpture represents the Greek goddess of triumph - and yes, the sports brand is also named after her. In the 19th century, the destroyed statue of Nike of Samothrace was recovered in the Ottoman Empire, while other components have also been found over the years. Only the head and arms have remained lost forever. But it is precisely this unfinished form that has become an icon. Replicas of the Nike sculpture can be found at the top of Berlin's Victory Column, on the roof of the Linz Art University, or in miniature in countless merchandise stores.
Death of the Virgin | Public Domain

Death of the Virgin (1605/06)

The painting of the Dead Virgin Mary by the Italian master Caravaggio caused quite a bit of trouble at the time. This was because it was rumored that a prostitute had been used to depict the mother of Jesus, whereupon the painting was removed from the altar for which it was originally commissioned. Today, Caravaggio is considered one of the pioneers of Roman Baroque painting due to his naturalistic pictorial designs. Especially the Death of Mary shows a mixture of religiosity and profanity that he was famous for.
The main entrance

The history of the Louvre

The museum itself is at least as significant as its exhibits. After all, its history can be traced back to the Middle Ages.

The origins

Many attribute the origins of the Louvre to King Francis I (1515-1547), although paintings were already collected under previous French kings and can still be found in the exhibition today. In any case, Francis I was in close contact with Leonardo da Vinci, as a result of which some of his works entered the French collection shortly after his death. Until the French Revolution, however, the Louvre was not open to the public. In August 1793, exactly one year after the abolition of the monarchy, the Louvre was reopened as the Central Art Museum of the Republic. As its design suggests, the museum's iconic glass pyramid is comparatively modern, built in the late 1980s as part of a redesign process that lasted until 1999.

The Louvre under Napoleon

After his successful campaigns, Napoleon ordered art from his conquered territories to be shipped to the Louvre, which was also greatly expanded under him. After the fall of his empire in 1814, however, the captured objects were returned to their countries of origin - including Italy, which recovered the famous Greek sculpture of Venus de' Medici. This gap was filled in 1821, after a large-scale announcement, by the Venus de Milo, which was supposed to cover up this disgrace.

The Mona Lisa Thriller

A scandal unimaginable today occurred in 1911: The Mona Lisa was stolen in broad daylight. An Italian craftsman, who occasionally worked at the Louvre, took the legendary painting home with the intention of returning it to his native Italy. It was not until 1913 that the perpetrator was apprehended; Picasso, among others, had previously been accused of the theft.

New locations of the Louvre

The Louvre is no longer confined to Paris. In 2012, a new branch of the museum opened in Lens, France, in a modern building designed by Japanese architects - Louvre-Lens for short. Since 2017 the Louvre has even been represented internationally. This is because the French government and the government of Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates agreed on the opening of the so-called Louvre Abu Dhabi, France's largest cultural project outside its national borders.

The Louvre as a film location

Certainly, one of the reasons for the Louvre’s fame is because it was used again and again as a setting in film spectacles. It gained lots of attention, for example, in the thriller The Da Vinci Code, in which Tom Hanks gets to the bottom of ancient conspiracies. In the action spectacle Edge of Tomorrow with Tom Cruise, nasty aliens hide in the Louvre, and in John Wick 4 with Keanu Reeves, evil gangsters do. But even before that, the Louvre was the setting for several classic films, such as Funny Faces with Audrey Hepburn.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Louvre accessible for disabled persons?

The entrances by the pyramid and via the underground Galerie du Carrousel allow access with wheelchairs, and there are also elevators optimized for wheelchairs on each floor. Their exact locations can be found on the general map of the museum. Wheelchairs and folding stools can be borrowed on site free of charge. For the hearing and visually impaired, there are special offerings in sign language, as well as the Tactile Gallery, where sculptures can be experienced through touch. Assistance dogs are allowed. Read more.

Are there audio guides?

For €5, audio guides can be rented in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, Japanese, Korean and Chinese. The audio guide is on a device from the game manufacturer Nintendo, which contains screens with extra info. Read more.

Can I bring my luggage?

Large pieces of luggage must be stored in the museum's lockers. Read more.

Are there guided tours?

Yes, but when buying tickets for the guided tours, make sure that the entrance to the museum is also included. Read more.

Are pets allowed in the museum?

Only assistance dogs are allowed inside the Louvre. Read more.

Can I draw sketches?

Yes, pencils and paper are allowed in the Louvre, provided they do not noticeably exceed A4 size. Just be careful not to block the view of other guests. Read more.

Where can I find the Mona Lisa?

Leonardo da Vinci's most famous painting is located in the Denon Wing in the Italian Painting Collection area on Level 1. Read more.

General information

opening hours

The Louvre is open every day except Tuesdays. On Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays the museum is open between 9.00 am and 6.00 pm. On Fridays the museum is open until 9.45 pm.

address

Musée du Louvre
75058 Paris
France

website

Official site: https://www.louvre.fr/

tickets

The price of an adult ticket is €17 (online), children and young people under 18 enjoy free admission, as do EU citizens up to and including the age of 25, and disabled persons and their accompanying person. Tickets purchased directly at the museum may be a little cheaper during off-season periods. A guided tour, including admission to the Louvre costs 26€.

how to get there

The closest metro station is Palais Royal - Musée du Louvre, which is served by lines 1 and 7 of the Paris metro. You can also take buses to the main entrance, look out for numbers 27, 39, 68, 69, and 95.
Klaus Kainz
Written byKlaus KainzAs a studied historian, Klaus is not only interested in historical sights, but also in their fascinating backgrounds. For TicketLens, he gets to the heart of the most interesting information about attractions and travel destinations.
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