Musée du Louvre

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Musée du Louvre - Museum in Paris.
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INFO Founded in 1793 smack in the center of Paris, Musée du Louvre is a must-see for all tourists, whether or not they happen to care for art (or happen to be familiar with Dan Brown). One of the oldest European museums as... ... read more

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Admiring Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, Louvre Museum Paris, France, May 22nd, 2009
Musée du Louvre, Paris [Inside]
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Musée du Louvre Information

Musée du Louvre - Museum in Paris.

Founded in 1793 smack in the center of Paris, Musée du Louvre is a must-see for all tourists, whether or not they happen to care for art (or happen to be familiar with Dan Brown). One of the oldest European museums as well as the world's number one most visited art museum, the Louvre boasts art collections that date back to the first half of the 19th century and span the globe.

The museum is divided into three wings (Richelieu, Sully, and Denon), four floors (including the ground level and basement), and ten departments: Near Eastern Antiquities; Egyptian Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities; History of the Louvre and Medieval Louvre; Sculptures; Decorative Arts; Paintings; Prints and Drawings; Islamic Arts; and Arts of Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. Those hoping to eyeball every piece should schedule several weeks here.

Led by helpfully placed signs throughout the museum, most visitors head directly to the three most famous pieces: Mona Lisa, Winged Victory of Samothrace, and Venus de Milo – which are constantly surrounded by throngs of frenzied tourists armed with cameras. On the other hand, with a whopping 650,000+ feet of space, the museum has plenty of rooms where one can enjoy phenomenal artwork in complete silence and solitude.

Adjacent to the Tuileries Gardens, the museum is housed in the Louvre Palace, built in the late 1100s. France's royal residence was later moved to Versailles at the end of the 17th century.

Today, the palace also houses École du Louvre, an excellent school of higher learning with a museological focus. I. M. Pei's iconic glass pyramids, another controversial project initiated by former President François Mitterand and today overwhelmingly adored, are located in the complex's courtyard. The main entrance to the museum is through the Carrousel du Louvre, a venue for tradeshows and fairs and an underground mall complex complete with Starbucks and an Apple store.

Musée du Louvre offers an intriguing mix of ancient and contemporary: remnants of the original fortress can be seen in the museum's basement; contemporary intellectuals like J. M. G. Le Clézio regularly give public lectures in the auditiorium; and contemporary artists are invited to display their work alongside the permanent collections. In addition, temporary exhibits in the past include William Hogarth, Rembrandt's sketches, Walker Evans, and Wim Delvoye.

Musée du Louvre User Reviews

Average rating:
Something for everyone to enjoy
Leslie A. Sep 25, 2013
I am the first to admit that I do not know anything about art but really what trip to paris would be complete with out a visit to the Louvre? The day I decided to visit just so happened to be museum night through out Europe so entry to most of the museums in paris was free (which was a great way for a poor college student to enjoy as many museums as possible). The louvre itself was AHMAZING. Just standing in front of it and looking up is looking at a piece of art. Every angle of the museum provides something new to look at and that is before you even go inside. As many reviewers have said it is huge and you can easily spend a day wandering through the various rooms. I suggest using an audio guide, if like me you know little about art. Go in and see the pieces everyone talks about, like the Mona lisa, (after all they are famous for a reason) but don't let the hype distract you from the other equally amazing pieces! Try to avoid the main entrance when buying tickets as it is extremely busy (the one through the glass pyramid) instead try the entrance on the side or buy your tickets ahead of time that way you will have as much time as possible to wander around.
Get lost in a maze
Claire T. Jul 26, 2013
If you really want to see the whole museum, start very early. If you are up for the adventure and you have no time constraint, don't use a map or a guided tour. Go get yourself lost in the museums passageways. Take the metro and enter the museum via the inverted pyramid and grab a bite in the museum's shops and restaurants. The bad: Mona Lisa is so small. It is highly in contrast with the large painting opposite it,
Love Love Louvre
ashley j. Jun 19, 2013
I got the opportunity to explore this museum several times, on my schools dime (so really mine) while I was taking the class "Art and Architecture in France". It is an amazing place in my opinion and somewhere that I would still go to, again and again. I was a little surprised by the number of elementary school field-trippers I saw, but I guess if I grew up in Paris, I would expect to go to one of my city's most famous museums; arguably the most famous. Everything from the Mona Lisa, to the vast selection of Egyptian artifacts was amazing, and even after five visits, I don't feel that I've even cracked the surface on this amazing, cultural establishment.
It's not all hype, but it's a bit hyped up..
Aimee B. May 21, 2013
The fact that the Louvre is probably the most overwhelming museum in the world makes visiting it one of the most underwhelming experiences you’ll have in Paris. Sure, it’s a Parisian landmark—a must-see attraction full of insanely famous masterpieces—but if your trip to Paris doesn’t happen to involve an in-depth exploration of the Louvre, I promise you, you’re not missing that much. The Louvre is one of those places that tourists simply “have to see.” Like the Hollywood sign in L.A. or Big Ben in London, you can’t go to Paris and NOT see Mona Lisa, right? If anything, you have to at least take that super touristy grabbing-the-tip-of-the-Pryamid picture at the Louvre (or do you…). Just be prepared for long lines, massive crowds of people, and a seemingly endless amount of artwork. THE GOOD: - It’s the Louvre! It houses some of the world’s most famous masterpieces, like ‘Venus de Milo,’ Michelangelo’s ‘Dying Slave,’ and of course, da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa.’ - The building itself is BEAUTIFUL. It used to be a palace and just looking at it from the outside is an experience. - Entrance is FREE for 18-25 year-olds living or studying in Europe. - It has a wide variety of art from every time period and all corners of the world: Ancient to 19th century, Egyptian, Islamic, Asian, English… they even have film and music events and exhibitions that vary throughout the year. - It’s HUGE, but easily navigated. Free maps are available in almost every language. THE BAD: - It’s huge... And unless you’re a seasoned art buff, there are only so many naked Greek sculptures and 300-year-old paintings of Christ that you can handle in a day. - The crowds are massive and the lines can get long—it is, after all, the most visited museum in the world. - The size of the museum and the number of visitors make the entire experience EXHAUSTING. Kind of like going to Disneyland in the middle of July, but without the fun rides. - For every famous masterpiece you're dying to see, there are 2,000 other works you have to wade through that you'll never recognize. - You will not experience a one-on-one with Mona (or any artwork, for that matter). Arguably the most famous art piece in the world, expect to be surrounded by a mob of 100 or so other people, cameras and phones in the air, squeezing together just to catch a glimpse of the (almost) smiling beauty. THE UGLY (truth): Unless you’re an art fanatic, skip it. Instead, try the Musée d’Orsay… it’s considerably more manageable but holds art that's just as remarkable, with greats like Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, and Degas. If you do go, here are some TIPS: - Enter through the Porte des Lions entrance! Hardly anyone knows it exists so you’ll skip the hour-long line at the Pyramid. - As with all national museums in France, if you’re 18-25 years old and live in the EEA (European Economic Area), you get free admission… so if you’re studying abroad in Europe, show your European student ID and you’ll get in for free! - Admission is also free on the first Sunday of every month for everyone. - Before you start exploring, grab a map in the center lobby. These maps are really helpful because they list most of the really famous masterpieces that you probably didn't even know were there. Pick a few sections you’re interested in or masterpieces you want to see and go from there. - Check out Napoleon III's Royal Apartments. With all the splendor and magnificence of a 19th century palace, these rooms are a refreshing break from the traditional sculptures and paintings.
More beautiful than you might think...
Sabrina K. Feb 19, 2013
Paris is a beautiful city in general- especially if you go exploring beyond the touristic places... However, some of my favorite touristic places include Versailles, Montmartre, and le Louvre. This museum has so much to see that it is impossible to see everything in one day. You can learn so much history, see so much art, and explore so many different cultures in this museum. Go explore with an open mind and challenge yourself in learning something new.
Time is of the essence
Anthony D. Feb 12, 2013
It has been said that if you spent one minute viewing every artifact, art work and statue in the entire museum, it would take you over 100 years to do so. The place is that massive. It is also historic, so don't plan on visiting without encountering a crowd of fellow tourists looking to experience the world-famous museum and its worldly collection.The best time may be to attend on a Wednesday, when you can arrive in the early afternoon and stay late, till 9:45 pm when it closes. Be prepared to spend some money, there is the entry fee as well as a guide book fee if so inclined to use one and you should be as it does enhance the experience, and some time as it is not a place that you can take in in an hour or two. For my money, the coolest artifact (if it can be called that) is the Napoleon rooms that mimic the French Revolutionary Era leader's estate as well as the vast collection of paintings in the Raphael section.
The only trouble you might have is getting lost inside it because it is so big
Sara S. Jan 6, 2013
It's a very nice place, with lot's of arts students sketching and tourists visiting. It is free when you are an European tourist between 18 and 25 years old and it has lots of different themed art expositions. The only trouble you might have is getting lost inside it because it is so big. I advise to choose a theme in art that you like or prefer and go to that section to see it because you can't see all of the Louvre in just one visit, or you can go more than once like I did :) It's a very good place to put your phones on and roam around looking at beautiful art and read about it.
An art institution, but really crowded
Christina W. Dec 13, 2012
The Louvre is an obvious choice if you are visiting Paris, and it is definitely a good choice. No one should visit Paris without visiting the Louvre. If you are an art-lover like me, you will go back more than once during your visit, because the place is absolutely gargantuan and it would probably take a week to see the entire collection. However, here is something to keep in mind. This is possibly Paris's biggest tourist destination (and maybe even one of Europe's biggest destinations), so the crowds are pretty nuts. I think it's rather unfortunate, because it is such a stunning place with the greatest collection of art the world has ever seen. But there truly are an absurd number of people. And as much as you might want to say you did, don't bother with the Mona Lisa. If you've seen it on your computer, you've already seen it. It's not worth battling the crowds to stare through 4-inch thick glass at a tiny painting.
one time thing
Sam R. Dec 13, 2012
There’s such a long queue to get into the Louvre I would’ve given up had I not been with people who wanted to go. The museum is now too famous and too many tourists try and come here, making it unpleasant for everyone involved. No one wants to wait in line so there should be some way to stagger entries but no, this is France and the French want a long queue outside of their pyramids. The museum is great once inside but I’d only go once, you have to wait too long in line so making it a one-time thing is the better way to do it.
Risa C. Dec 12, 2012
As is pretty much a requirement on any trip to Paris, I've been to the Louvre to check out the Mona Lisa - however if the Mona Lisa was my only stop in the museum I would probably hate the place. First of all, take some time and walk through the gardens, maybe have a sandwich and sit for a while and people watch. Then head over to the giant glass Pyramid and into the actual museum. The Mona Lisa will be smaller than you expect, and you will be battling herds (literally herds) of tourists to get close enough to take a non-flash photo. In the next room over you will also fight a ton of tourists as there are several other DaVinci's there as well. However, once you make your way past these two sections the crowds thin out considerably and you're able to walk more freely and enjoy the museum. However if you're set on seeing a lot of works, I would set the day aside, or take some time to diagram your route because the museum is huge and could literally take years to go through everything if you don't have a plan in mind.
Beautiful art but there's a catch
Craig B. Dec 9, 2012
There's no denying that the Louvre is one of the premier art museums in the world, but that doesn't mean that it's perfect. The building itself is magnificent (in fact it would be easy to argue that it, and the square that it resides within, are works of art themselves, the art is incredible (obviously), and the layout is pretty great, but the crowds really take away from the experience. You can't go into a single room without a barrage of tourists ignoring the requests for no flash photography, and you can't exit a room without having to push your way through. So while the exhibitions are undeniably amazing, the crowds may drive you to drink (a desire easy to satisfy in this city).
Tara R. Dec 7, 2012
The Louvre didn’t need the publicity it got from the Da Vinci code; it was visited by enough people before, now calling it crowded doesn’t begin to cover it. At any point of the day, you’re going to have to wait in line. Go with this in mind, knowing that beyond all the strollers and tourist groups lies the best collection of art you will ever see in one place. Don’t make a to-do list; just amble. Wander, get lost, stumble across the Mona Lisa and bump into Winged Victory. Stroll through Napoleon’s apartments with their jaw-dropping opulence. And don’t be dissuaded by the closed off sections of the museum—something’s always being renovated. PS the Mesopotamian Art Gallery is a stunning collection of pieces that’s never too busy, if you want a break from the crowds.
Three pointers for Louvre
Amster M. Nov 20, 2012
The Louvre is the perfect art museum for beginners because it hits on a number of levels. Most importantly it gives visitors the notion that the art world is so big it’s impossible to see it all, and there are so many things in this world that define art. I have three tips for people wanting to Louvre it up in Paris: 1. Don’t expect much from Mona Lisa, she’s small and crowded and well protected from exposure. 2. You will not, and I mean will NOT, be able to see everything in one day. Even if you have the time, your back will wear out first, then your eyes will get dry and blurry. So just take it easy man, and maybe make a top three wing list. 3. Check out the large French paintings. The size and detail will knock your socks off.
Best of the Best
Emily R. Nov 15, 2012
The Louvre is, without a doubt, one of the greatest museums not only in Paris (a feat in and of itself), but in the entire world. Constantly rotating exhibits, priceless works of art at every corner, and a collection so large that seeing it all would be nearly impossible make for a stellar place to spend a day - or a week - in the city. Certain pieces, particularly the Mona Lisa, can draw huge crowds that make the viewing experience uncomfortably claustrophobic, but such little annoyances are worth it to get the whole experience. Avoid weekends!
Epitome of Perfection
Samantha L. Nov 14, 2012
Honestly, this is my most favorite place in the world. Paris is such a beautiful and romantic city with so much history to offer. The Louvre really pulls together the history of the city with the beauty of art in an interesting and breathtaking way. The location is perfect, obviously, it's in Paris. Everything in Paris is perfect. I suggest going during the week, just because it can get so crowded. But let's be honest, when are there not going to be a million people at the Louvre trying to see the Mona Lisa or the Winged Victory. This place is beautiful and I can't even begin to describe the significance it holds for the history of France and Europe in general.
Le Mieux
Brie S. Nov 14, 2012
Supermodern ancient Egyptian-like architecture meets classic Renaissance at the world’s most famous museum. Neither the collection nor its size is to be underestimated. The Louvre may strike some as too touristy: This is a mistake. The Louvre belongs as much to Parisians as it does to tourists; therefore it is the rare commodity beloved by everyone. The Louvre itself is the definitive museum. It houses nearly all regions of art as well as most time periods. There are of course the ‘must sees’; Winged Victory heedlessly watches over the spacious hallways, Venus de Milo proves that less is more, and the Mona Lisa often mocked for being surprisingly small compared to her reputation awes the very thoughtful at how something seemingly so small could inspire so many and set an unbeatable standard of perfection. The building itself used to be a royal palace before the days of the revolution. The crown jewels are housed here as well as palace furniture. The collection houses many French, Spanish, Flemish, and Italian Renaissance works covering from the 13th to 19th century. The museum also has excellent Egyptian, Islamic art, Near and Far East, and Greek antiquities wings. The main advice is either only go to a few sections or plan to make more than one trip…or more than three as may be the case. The museum is, no doubt, overwhelming. From the Pyramid entrance to the medieval moats underneath the artwork there is more to be seen at the Louvre than in most cities’ entire museums. The museum also has an excellent restaurant, Le Grand Louvre, serving Southwestern French fare from a fixed menu, (although nearby Café Marly has better views) as well as an unsurprisingly large gift store well worth a browse. For a saturation of beauty in all its forms from art to history to incomparable architecture Musee du Louvre is a theme park for the culture lover.
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