Things to do in Paris – Visit the Louvre Museum

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Pyramid du Louvre Museum Entrance Paris France

Musée du Louvre is one of the most amazing art museums in the world and a top attraction in Paris. This is one museum we highly recommend visiting, even if you don’t go inside to see the art. It’s worth a stop just to walk around in the free public access areas, and gawk at the sheer size of this palace turned museum.

A Canopy of Glass Musee du Louvre Pyramid Paris France

Or, just to step into a truly unique main entrance, the Pyramide du Louvre, which has you entering a glass pyramid at ground level – the Cour Napoléon – and descending a stairway to the main lobby, where you’ll find the reception area, ticket counter, and entrances to the various wings of the museum.

Musee du Louvre at Night Paris France

(A spectacular feature designed by architect I.M. Pei, the pyramid was constructed almost two decades before Apple Computers created its glass cube entrance to its store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.)

Galerie d'Apollon Musee du Louvre Paris France

The Louvre, built as a defensive fortress in the 12th century, served for centuries as the palatial residence of French kings.

Palace Ceiling Musee du Louvre Paris France

And with each successive ruler, the palace was renovated or expanded upon.

Musee du Louvre and Former Tuileries Palace Historical Layout Paris France

At one time the quadrangle was enclosed by another royal residence, the 16th century Tuileries Palace, demolished in 1872. One of the palace’s most notable residents was Louis XIV, the Sun King, a patron of the arts. It was this Louis and his successor, Louis XV who were responsible for much of the Louvre as it is today.

Endless Corridor of Art Musee du Louvre Paris France

Since 1791, the Musée du Louvre has served as a monument to the arts and sciences, and since 1793 has been an official museum. This vast complex with seemingly endless corridors

Large Scale Paintings Musee du Louvre Paris France

and large salons filled with priceless art can be very overwhelming. And with four levels and three wings (Sully, Denon, and Richelieu) it can be a disorienting maze to negotiate.

Palace Salon Musee du Louvre Paris France

So it helps to know what you want to see and where it’s located in the museum, or you may just wander around here for days.

In general, a tour of the Louvre, if you wish to see the highlights and a few other pieces, can take a few hours, so plan accordingly and review the museum floor plan before you visit. (Download a copy here or pick one up in the museum.)

The Mona Lisa Musee du Louvre Paris France

Compared to any other museum in Western Europe, the Louvre has by far the largest and most comprehensive collection of art, and the vast number of pieces is truly mind-boggling. In addition to European art, there are Oriental, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Etruscan Antiquities, Arts of Islam, Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas, paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, and objets d’art. The collection includes some of the art world’s most renowned works, and unless a painting or object is being restored or on loan to another museum, you’ll see works like the very popular Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, The Lacemaker by Johannes Vermeer,

The Cheat with the Ace of Diamonds Georges de la Tour Musee du Louvre Paris France

the Cheat with the Ace of Diamonds by Georges de la Tour, July 28:

Liberty Leading the People with Frame Eugene Delacroix Musee du Louvre Paris France

Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix,

Venus de Milo Musee du Louvre Paris France

the Venus de Milo (Aphrodite) a statue dating to around 100 BC,

Winged Victory Musee du Louvre Paris France

and The Winged Victory of Samothrace, from about 190 BC.

Sculptural Works Musee du Louvre Paris France

In addition to these last two works, there are numerous other sculptural works throughout the Louvre.

Looking Down into the Sculpture Garden Musee du Louvre Paris France

And for anyone who really enjoys sculpture, don’t miss the glass-topped Sculpture gardens in the courtyards of the Richelieu wing.

Model of Fortress under Louvre Paris France

For a look at what remains of the medieval fortress, the Salle Basse (13th century Lower Hall),

Musee du Louvre Fortress Underground Paris France

venture below to the lowest level of the Pavillon Sully.

Inverted Pyramid Galerie du Carrousel Musee du Louvre Paris France

In keeping with the Paris underground theme, if you missed it on your way in, be sure to head down to the Galerie du Carrousel du Louvre on your way out. This is a modern subterranean shopping center whose centerpiece is the Pyramide Inversée, an inverted glass pyramid which functions as a skylight. Fans of Dan Brown’s ‘The Da Vinci Code’ might recognize this unique architectural feature. Next to the pyramid you’ll find an Apple store, the first in Paris, and yet another with a magnificent glass structure above the entrance.

Getting There:

Musée du Louvre, almost too big to miss, is situated on the right bank of the river Seine, at Place du Carrousel. Get there with Métro (lines 1 and 7): Palais-Royal Musée du Louvre. Note: Rivoli-Louvre will also get you there, but the walk to the museum is longer.

Ticket Info:

Adult Admission (Permanent Collection) = 12.00€; these are the works that most visitors come here to see; this ticket also allows access to the permanent collection of the Musée Eugène Delacroix. FREE with the Paris Museum Pass. Additional fees apply for temporary exhibits. Combined Ticket = €16.00; allows access to the permanent collections and temporary exhibitions in both the Louvre and the Musée Eugène Delacroix.

Travel tips:

To avoid long lines at the security checkpoint entering the pyramid, consider entering the Louvre through the Galerie du Carrousel. Entrances to the Galerie can be found at either side of the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel (opposite the traffic circle, in front of the Louvre), or directly via the tunnels of the Palais-Royal Musée du Louvre Métro stop.

Note: Some sections of the museum may be closed for renovations and/or some pieces you want to see may be traveling to other museums.

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