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Louvre Pyramide

"The Louvre is a city!"

  • October 2018

reviewed by Ron Lewis from France

10 curious artworks of the Louvre


Off the beaten path highlights

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Why you will love it?

When walking in the halls of the huge Louvre museum, it’s amazing how many surprising works of art you can find. A painting made with human hearts, a beautiful woman that turns out to be a man, a symbol of liberty with hairy armpits or a painting that can be seen from the front and the back… Tired of the classic Mona Lisa – Venus de Milo – Winged Victory circuit? Join us for an off the beaten path discovery of 10 curious objects found at the Louvre. Enjoy! Parisianist.

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About this place

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

Saturday : 9:00 am - 18:00 pm
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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 Louvre is the most famous museum in the world. It would be a shame to go to the Louvre on a first visit and miss the true highlights of the museum, which can be discovered following our highlights tour here. But the Louvre being so vast, it is well worth going there again, just to look around. You will be surprised to see so many curious paintings, sculptures, architectural features or objects that you might not even notice when you are busy searching for the Mona Lisa. The 10 curiosities mentioned are listed in order of a visit with an entry through the “Porte des Lions”. Let the surprises begin…

Da Volterra

The Great Hall of the Louvre on the first floor of the Denon Wing is probably one of the most amazing areas of the Louvre, as the corridor seems endless (remember it for curiosity # 6). Look at the magnificent Italian paintings on the walls around you, but keep an eye out for Daniele Da Volterra’s (1509-1566) masterpiece, The Battle of David and Goliath. Don’t look on the walls, look in the center of the corridor. The surprising feature about this painting is that it can be looked at from the back, kind of like a sculpture! The painting, although mind-blowing technically, has a few "3D" imperfections. Can you spot them?

Where: Denon Wing, 1st Floor, Hall 8


Hall 6 might be the hall where the Mona Lisa is exposed, but this time, ignore her enchanting smile (and the mesmerized crowd in front of her) and turn around to see Veronese’s The Feast of Cana. This is the Louvre’s biggest painting, dominating all the others (and especially the small Mona Lisa) with its 70m². The first miracle of the Christ is depicted here in a very personal way, as Veronese included it in a lively Venitian feast, a choice for which he was summoned by an Inquisition court. He even included himself in the painting (man in a shiny silver suit in the foreground).

Where: Denon Wing, 1st floor, Hall 6


Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863) is without a doubt one of Franc’s most famous Romantic painters. In 1832, Delacroix paints his Liberty Guiding the People, an illustration of the 3 day revolution in 1830, which instantly pleased the people… or almost. One detail surprised quite a lot of people. It’s not the uncovered breast of the woman on the painting, but rather her hairy armpits. How could the symbol of liberty, a modern day antique goddess, be so natural? The imperfection was forgiven though, and the painting was welcomed with enthusiasm at the Louvre in 1874.

Where: Denon Wing, 1st Floor, Hall 77


Just before exiting the magnificent Hall of Caryatids through the door between 4 pillar statues, take a look on your right:  a beautiful lady is lying naked on what seems to be a very comfortable mattress. Well, the mattress is comfortable, but “what seems to be” is actually the woman herself. Her back is the one of a gorgeous lady, but take a look at the other side of the sculpture: you are in for a “big” surprise!

Where: Sully Wing, Ground Floor, Hall 17

Aïn Ghazal

Located amidst the oriental antiquities, the Statue of Aïn Ghazal is the oldest item exposed in the Louvre. Although it is not part of the Louvre’s collection (it has been lent by the Antiquity Department of Jordan), no other object inside the Louvre is as old as this statue. It is dated some 7000 years before our era.

Where: Sully Wing, Ground Floor, Hall D

Hubert Robert

The Louvre, as a palace since the 12th century and as a museum since the end of the 18th century has lived through centuries of war and revolutions without ever getting seriously damaged. A miracle, if compared to the fate of many monuments that once were part of the Parisian skyline. But what if? One French painter, Hubert Robert (1733-1808), imagined what the destruction of some iconic monuments at that time would look like, including the Louvre. Great imagination, but hopefully not a premonition…

Where:  Sully Wing, 2nd Floor, Hall 48


During the artistic period covered by the Louvre, only a handful of women became notorious painters, simply because this profession was exclusively reserved for men. In other words, women were not allowed to become artists! So of all the artists featured in the Louvre’s collection, there are only 2 women: Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun (1755-1842) and Anne Vallayer-Coster (1744-1818). In this hall, you will discover some portraits and still life paintings created by these two women, and surely notice that they had as much genius and talent as their male counterparts.

Where: Sully Wing, 2nd Floor, Hall 52


Martin Drölling is not as famous for his paintings as he is for the substance he used to make them. In the late 18th century, embalmed human hearts were used to give a special sepia effect to paintings. During the French Revolution 1789-1799, the people stormed the Val de Grâce hospital, where kings and their families had the custom to place their hearts. Many artists, including Drölling, bought these royal hearts from the looters and used them for their paintings… So, that sepia effect on his Kitchen Interior painting, didn’t it just make you lose your appetite?

Where: Sully Wing, 2nd Floor, Hall 57


Anyone who knows something about the Louvre (and art in Paris in general) will tell you that the Louvre’s collection stops in 1848, and that the Impressionist museum is located on the other side of the river, the Musée d’Orsay. That is indeed the official version, but who said the French would follow strict rules. On the top floor of the Louvre lies a small gathering of beautiful impressionist paintings by masters such as Monet, Degas, Pissarro and Sisley! Yes, it is surprising, but it is well worth the tiring climb up the Henri IV staircase!

Where: Sully Wing, 2nd Floor, Hall C

Hammurabi Code

Wandering through the Oriental Antiquities Department is always a pleasure, especially when discovering the relics of the Khorsabad Palace. But there is one object that truly is worth a look when visiting the Richelieu Wing on an “off the beaten path” mode: the Hammurabi Code. This tall black rock with inscriptions on it is one of the oldest juridical document in the world, as it dates back to the 18th century BC. The inscriptions are penal sentences pronounced during the reign of King Hummarabi of Babylon.

Where: Richelieu Wing, Ground Floor, Halls 2 & 3

And why not discover some exciting artist workshops in Paris? To know what the 10 best artist workshops are, click here.

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