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Louvre Museum - General View

"Really a must-do"

  • February 2016

reviewed by Fanny from France

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The Louvre


World's most famous museum

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Who is it for?

Paris for you
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Why you will love it?

The iconic Louvre museum has to be one of the must-sees on a trip to Paris, even if only to marvel at its grand architecture and palatial setting. But more importantly, it is also home to one of the biggest collections of art in the world, including some of the world’s most famous artworks such as the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo and the Winged Victory of Samothrace. These are essential viewings for any first-timer in Paris.

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About this place

99 rue de Rivoli, 75001
Line 1 - Palais Royal Musée du Louvre

Sunday : 9:00 am - 18:00 pm
more less
Monday : 9:00 am - 18:00 pm Tuesday : Closed Wednesday : 9:00 am - 21:45 pm Thursday : 9:00 am - 18:00 pm Friday : 9:00 am - 21:45 pm Saturday : 9:00 am - 18:00 pm Sunday : 9:00 am - 18:00 pm
1 May 14 July 25 December

Our Insiders' Article

The Biggest Museum in the world

Originally built as a royal palace, the Louvre is now the most visited museum in the world and houses some of the most famous pieces of art, such as the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo and the Winged Victory of Samothrace. The sheer size of the building can be overwhelming, but in half a day it is possible to explore and see many of the masterpieces, whilst also leaving time to explore the Jardin du Palais Royal and - let’s admit it - have time for those key photo opportunities by the Grande Pyramide! Our tickets are valid for the whole day so if you find half a day is not enough, it is possible to return after a bite to eat or a break strolling in the gardens for some fresh air - although bear in mind you will have to go through security again to re-enter.

The Mona Lisa

The Louvre showcases 35,000 works of art but easily the most famous is Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, or La Joconde (Denon Wing, 1st Floor, Room 8). This was painted between 1503-6 and continues to fascinate visitors with the subject’s bewitching smile and continual eye contact from any angle. For some, the hype about this painting makes the reality a bit disappointing as the painting is in fact quite small and is usually surrounded by a big crowd of tourists. However, this is in some ways part of the experience and even so, it is still possible to appreciate the attributes which continue to make this painting so famous  - so surely still worth seeing!

The Mona Lisa has become so famous partly due to its theft by a Louvre employee in 1911. This brought a great deal of publicity and it took two years for the painting to then be found, after a significant search which involved the interrogation of a number of French artists, including Picasso. Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code has also served to further ignite interest - and it is now possible to do a Da Vinci tour of Paris!

The Venus de Milo

Among the many ancient Greek sculptures in the Louvre, the Venus de Milo (Sully Wing, ground floor, Room 16) stands out for its finesse and sheer beauty. It was unearthed by a farmer in the early nineteenth century who was searching for stones to build a wall around his field and was subsequently bought by French king Louis XVIII in 1821 and later given to the Louvre.

The Winged Victory (Nike) of Samothrace

The Winged Victory of Samothrace (First Floor, Daru staircase between the Denon and Sully Wings) is another key viewing and one which is often high on the tourist to-see list. It is a beautiful 18ft (5.57m) 2nd-century BC marble sculpture of the Greek goddess Nike (goddess of Victory) that has been described as the greatest masterpiece of Hellenistic sculpture. It was restored in 2014, during which traces of colour were found on the sculpture, suggesting it was originally painted.

Parisianist Fun Fact: Nike, Inc. is named after the Greek goddess Nike.


With over 50,000 objects, including a beautiful stone sphinx and mummy sarcophagus, the Egyptian Collection in the Louvre is highly recommended (ground and 1st floors, Sully Wing).

One of our favourite places is the Department of Islamic Art, opened in September 2012, which includes 3,000 objects spanning a 1,300 year time frame from Spain to Southeast Asia. The range of ceramics and rugs are amazing, especially when bearing in mind that some are up to 1,500 years old!

The Napoleon III Apartments are also a popular choice for visitors, and are worth seeing for their grandeur (1st floor, Richelieu wing). En route, go via the Louis XIV and the Regency rooms (also 1st floor, Sully wing) which give an insight into eighteenth century French elegance and aristocratic luxury, and tend to be less busy than the Napoleon apartments.

Other interesting places include the Medieval Louvre, the Cour Puget and Cour Marly, and the most beautiful hall in the Louvre, the Apollo Gallery, which was inspired by the Versailles Hall of Mirrors.

And, finally, the Pyramides! These architectural statements are another big attraction at the Louvre and can be appreciated at any time of the day. However, for a particularly stunning setting, head after sunset as the Grande Pyramide and the inner courtyard (Cour Carrée) are beautifully lit up at night. The Carrousel du Louvre is built around Pei’s Pyramide Inversée which mirrors the Grande Pyramide in the Louvre courtyard so after a visit round the Louvre, head down into this shopping haven and appreciate this dramatic centrepiece.

Restaurants: a food court and shopping centre under the Louvre

A trip around the Louvre is guaranteed to work up an appetite and there are 15 cafes/restaurants for you to choose from, varying from table service to take-away snacks. Within the Louvre, the Cafe Richelieu provides an excellent setting, located close to the Napoleon III Apartments and serves gourmet snacks in conjunction with famed Parisian cafe-brand, Angelina, whose tearoom on Rue de Rivoli was a favourite of Coco Chanel. Make sure to try their famed "L'Africain" hot chocolate - supposedly one of the best in the world!

For other food options, head to the Carrousel du Louvre shopping centre (99 Rue de Rivoli) which is located under the gardens of the Louvre. It has snack bars (Paul, Starbucks), a food court (international food, fast food…) and plenty of high-end shops for some *tax-free* post-museum retail therapy, including Printemps, L’Occitane, the first Apple store in Paris and Swatch - the only place in the world where it is possible to buy Mona Lisa watches !

Carrousel du Louvre is accessible directly from the platform of metro station Palais Royal Musée du Louvre on Line 1 and is open 8am-11pm, although most shops’ opening times are 10am-8pm.

Key Information

The Louvre is massive and can be a bit confusing to navigate - and this applies even on arrival. BUT this is all part of the experience and, if you know what to do, you can minimise the amount of time spent faffing - so read on!

Firstly, if you are under 26 and a citizen of an EU country you can get into the Louvre for free (this applies to a bunch of other museums in Paris too and is due to the French government’s cultural subsidisation). If this applies, you do not need a ticket and can go straight to the entrance counters, with a form of ID that shows your nationality (driving license, passport etc).

If this does not apply, it is necessary to buy a ticket and to avoid queues of up to 3 hours buy skip the line tickets through us for the same price as is charged on the door (15€). Once inside, you can then choose your entrance depending on what you want to see. But:

*KEY TIP*: do not enter the Louvre without a floor plan! Given the size of the building, this is absolutely essential and can be picked up on entry for free.

Parisianist Tip: based on our experience, figuring out how to use the lockers can also be a bit confusing. This is because the instructions are not that straightforward to apply to allow you to create your own code. The way it worked for us was to type in your chosen code and then type it in again (so effectively to lock it and then unlock it) - a bit illogical but necessary!

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