Discover Revolution Romance Viking Invaders & Criminal Conspiracy Theories
The Louvre is the world’s biggest, busiest, and best known museum, famous for housing some of the most famous artworks on the planet. But, buried deep beneath the fantastic art are a range of fantastic facts that not a lot of people know about. From famous thefts, to Viking invaders to infatuated French Emperors and criminal masterminds! Read our alternative guide to the Louvre and learn about its long and illustrious history.
The Battles Of The Granicus River
Charles Le Brun | Oil on Canvas | Dept. of Paintings, Louis XIV Collection
Charles Le Brun was the preferred painter to King Louis XIV who commissioned four paintings to him of epic proportions. When I first stood in front of one of these four paintings, The Battle of the Granicus River, I immediately thought of The Room of Constantine in RaphaelsStanze in the Vatican Museum.
The detail appears so similar to the fresco of the Battle of Milvian Bridge where Constantine defeats Maxentius. After I did more research, I learned that this was exactly what Louis XIV was looking for–he wanted to compete with Italy in terms of art.
The group of paintings depicts the great battles of Alexander the Great who Louis XIV modestly compared himself too. In my article, Most Famous Statues in the Louvre, youll see his commission of Alexander and Diogenes.
Louvre Paintings & Other Works
The Louvre’s collection includes Egyptian antiques, ancient Greek and Roman sculptures, paintings by the Old Masters , and crown jewels and other artifacts from French nobles. Its works span the sixth century B.C. to the 19th century A.D. More than 35,000 works are on display at any given time. The displays are divided into eight departments: Near Eastern Antiquities Egyptian Antiquities Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities Islamic Art Sculptures Decorative Arts Paintings and Prints and Drawings, according to the Louvre website.
Without question, the Louvre’s most famous work is Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa,” who enchants hordes of visitors with her enigmatic smile. This small, iconic painting it is only 21 by 30 inches is covered with bullet-proof glass and flanked by guards, according to the Louvre website. This protection is the result of it being stolen in 1911.
Gudek Snajdar gave Live Science some unique Culture Tourist recommendations. Some of her favorites come from the collection of Near Eastern Art. She recommends the “Frieze of Archers” from the sixth century B.C. and “Winged Bull with a Human Head” from the eighth century B.C.
She also suggests viewing another masterpiece by da Vinci, “The Virgin and Child With Saint Anne,” which is very close to the “Mona Lisa.”
Also Check: Museum Of Ice Cream In New York
Five Ways To Visit The Louvre
In our opinion, there are five ways to visit the Louvre:
1- Enter the Museum and start walking through galleries and galleries randomly. This is not the best option in a huge museum like the Louvre.
2- Follow the experts at your own pace with a Louvre Museum audio guide or a phone app. You can buy your skip-the-line Louvre ticket + audio guide online in advance, and you pick up the audio guide when you arrive at the Museum. Remember to grab a map of the Louvre at the main hall.
3- Join asmall group Skip the Line Louvre guided tour and visit the Louvre must see with a professional guide.
4- Write down a Louvre bucket list, study it at home with the help of the Louvre Map, and try to make an itinerary that makes sense from a logistics point of view to avoid walking unnecessary kilometres.
5- Pick a specific department and focus your attention on this department only to get the most out of it. This is our favourite way to see the Louvre because we are locals in Paris and we can visit the Louvre whenever we want. This way of visiting the Louvre is also perfect for Paris frequent travellers or people interested in a specific subject.
Whatever you decide, grab a Louvre Museum map at your arrival, take a break from time to time and use the restrooms when you see them .
What To See At The Louvre
If you visit Paris for a few days, you probably dont want to block a full day of your Paris itinerary for a single museum, especially when the weather is good outside. Or maybe you are not interested in Arts but still want to get a glimpse of the best museum in the world during your first trip to Paris.
In both cases, two hours is a decent amount of time to see some of the main art treasures of the Louvre without finishing exhausted.
If you are wondering what to see in Louvre, we can help. Everybody has a different list of what to see in the Louvre, but some Louvre artworks appear on everybodys Louvre bucket list.
You May Like: Cleveland Museum Of Natural History Tickets
How Do Combined Tickets Work
Combined tickets are a great way of booking two, three or four Paris experiences with just one click. It’s not only convenient but you’ll often make great savings too! Simply select the chosen day and time for your visit to The Louvre – and you can receive undated tickets for other activities, to use on the day and time of your choice.
Combined tickets available with The Louvre:
Bateaux Mouches, cruise on the SeineDuration of the river cruise: About one hour, 15 minutesBoard your cruise at: Pont de l’Alma Frequency of these cruises: The boats depart about every 30 to 40 minutes from 11am to 9pm, October to March and from 10.15am to 10.30pm, April to SeptemberFree travel: For children under four years old
Pompidou CentreOpening hours: Every day of the week, except Tuesdays, from 11am to 9pmFree: All of those who are under 18 years old, people with reduced mobility and those who are accompanying them, people who are unemployed – and everyone on the first Sunday of each month
The Arc de TriompheHours of opening: Every day of the week from 11am to 11pm, April to September and from 10am to 10.30pm, October to March.Free entrance: Everyone under 18 years old and all EU nationals under 25 years old, all with reduced mobility and those accompanying them, job-seekers and for everyone on the first Sunday of the month from November 31st to March 31st
Best Time To Visit The Louvre Museum
When is the best time and best day to visit the Louvre? The table below shows the estimated visitor flow in the Louvre, and it is divided into days and time slots for the low season and high season. The green colour means fewer visitors while the red colour means more crowds. The Louvre is closed on Tuesdays.
» The best day to visit the Louvre Museum depends on the season . Generally speaking, it is a good idea to visit the Louvre during the week rather than during the weekend.
» Since the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays see more visitors. Therefore, the best days to visit the Louvre are Mondays and Thursdays.
» What is the best time to visit the Louvre? Arrive early in the morning, before the Museums opening.
Also Check: Vatican Museum Skip The Line
How Do I Get To The Louvre
The Louvre Museum is easily accessible. To get there by metro, you can take line 1 or 7, and get off at the stop Palais Royal/Musée du Louvre. This station allows you to get directly under the glass pyramid by going through the underground shopping centre of the Carrousel du Louvre. You can also take line 14 of the metro, and get off at the stop Pyramides.
To get to the Louvre by bus, you can take the lines 21, 24, 27, 39, 48, 67, 68, 69, 72, 81, 85 and 95. They all stop near the Louvre.
If you want to come by car, there is also underground parking under the shopping centre, and its entry is located on avenue du Général-Lemonnier. The prices of the parking is 4.40 for an hour.
Once at your destination, you will have to go to one of the entrances of the Louvre. There are four: the Pyramid entrance the Galerie du Carrousel entrance , the Passage Richelieu entrance and the Porte des Lions entrance.
If you dont have a ticket and if you dont benefit from the free admission , youll have to go to the box office under the pyramid.
If you bought your ticket online, you can use the Passage Richelieu entrance, reserved for ticket holders and those with them.
If youre a group with your own guide, the person in charge of the group must go to the Porte des Lions entrance for the formalities, and then to the Passage Richelieu entrance to enter. If youre a group with a guide of the Louvre, you will access the museum through the Porte des Lions entrance.
Understanding Louvre Museum Floor Plan
With a gallery space of 72,735 sq. m., the Louvre is the largest art museum in the world. Given that 35,000 permanent exhibits are spread across eight departments, it is best to plan ahead, so you can see as much of the artwork as possible.
You can find the detailed floor plan here. Given the sheer size of the museum, it is not possible to see all of it in one day. However, if you decide in advance with galleries and exhibits you want to visit, your experience will be much more fulfilling.
Don’t Miss: Contemporary Jewish Museum San Francisco
How You Should Use Your Personal Pre
1. Proceed to the entrance that is reserved only for visitors who already have tickets, at the glass pyramid2. Make sure you present your e-ticket no later than half an hour before your individual booked time *3. Go through The Louvre’s security check, which is designed for your safety4. Now it’s time to enjoy The Louvre’s stunning permanent collection – as well as all of the museum’s frequent temporary exhibitions throughout your day at The Louvre **
* It’s important to remember that if you arrive too late for your individual access slot, as depicted on your e-ticket, the bearer of that e-ticket will be subject to the same terms of access to The Louvre – and waiting in the general queue – as all other visitors.
** Please do note that any exit from The Louvre is regarded as final. In short: if you leave The Louvre during your visit, you won’t be allowed to enter the museum again on the same ticket.
Louvre Museum Tour Informations
Paris, a destination on every globe-trotters bucket list. Whether you are a traveler, tourist, or art enthusiast, Paris has something to offer us all, and what visit Paris is complete without a Louvre Museum tour with a knowledgeable museum guide. The art, the history, and the visions that make up The Louvre are a must-visit at least once in a lifetime.
The Louvre was originally established as a fortress in 1901 and has since been built and rebuilt over the centuries. The art museum was first opened in 1793 but was closed a few years late, it was in 1801 that Napoleon formally opened the museum and laid the foundation for what is presently the world-renowned Louvre museum. Perhaps, the most famous among the attractions of the Louvre is Leonardo Da Vincis Mona Lisa where thousands flock every day to get a glimpse of her mysterious and enigmatic smile. A Louvre tour is something of an adventure and an enlightening experience all on its own.
Want to find out about the types of Louvre tours on offer, weve got you covered.
Also Check: Museum Of Contemporary Art Chicago Tickets
Masterpieces Of Painting And Sculpture
The Louvre is famous for the famous portrait of the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. But this is not the only masterpiece that the palace holds. With your ticket to the Louvre, you can discover the Venus de Milo, Theodore Géricaults Raft of the Medusa, Eugène Delacroixs Freedom Leading the People, and the Code of Hammurabi, the first legal text and historical treasure from Mesopotamia.
Vive La Rvolution Art For The Many Not The Few
Having served as the Royal Residence and the home of the Royal Collection Louvre Palace and its costly cache of treasures, sculptures and paintings had been kept for the exclusive enjoyment of the Realm. But that all changed with the outbreak of Revolution, which swept over France during the late 18th century.
On the 10th August 1793, the palace-turned-museum opened its doors to the public for the first time, exhibiting 537 paintings and 184 art objects from the former Royal Collection. Though this is a far cry from the 35,000 artworks the Louvre displays today, with a further 380,000 artefacts stowed away in its vaults!
You May Like: Museum Of Modern Art Hoodie
Richelieu And Marsan Wings
Similarly, on the northern side of the Cour Napoléon are, from east to west, the pavilions named after Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Cardinal Richelieu, and Anne Robert Jacques Turgot. Between these and the rue de Rivoli are three courtyards, from east to west the Cour Khorsabad , Cour Puget , and Cour Marly . On the side facing the rue de Rivoli, the main salient feature is the Pavillon de la Bibliothèque, which connects to the Pavillon Richelieu through the ground-floor Passage Richelieu between the Cour Puget and Cour Marly. Further west are the Pavillon de Rohan and the Aile de Rohan, built in the early 19th century and named after the nearby rue de Rohan , then the Aile de Marsan and the Pavillon de Marsan, both rebuilt by Hector Lefuel in the 1870s.
The Top 10 Essential Masterpieces Of The Louvre Museum
1. The Victory of Samothrace, circa 190 BC, Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities2. Aphrodite, called Venus of Milo, circa 100 BC, Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities3. Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo, known as Monna Lisa, the Gioconda or the Mona Lisa, Leonardo di Ser Piero DA VINCI, known as Leonardo da Vinci, Denon Wing, 1st floor, Italian Painting4.Winged bullhead, Khorsabad, Richelieu wing, Ground floor, Near Eastern Antiquities5.The Wedding at Cana, Paolo CALIARI, known as VÉRONESE, 1563, Italian Painting6. The Coronation of Napoleon and Coronation of Empress Josephine in Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris, December 2, 1804, Jacques-Louis DAVID, 1806-1807, French Painting7. The Raft of the Medusa, Théodore GÉRICAULT, Salon of 1819, French Painting8.Freedom guiding the people , Eugène DELACROIX, Salon of 1831, French Painting9. The Statue of Ain Ghazal, Sully Wing, Ground Floor, Levant – Palestine and Transjordan, from the origins to the Iron Age10. The Great Sphinx of Tanis, Sully Wing, Entresol, Crypt of the Sphinx, Egyptian Antiquities
You May Like: Japanese American National Museum Store
The Emperor Loves Strange Smiles
Despite the Louvres newfound positioning as a public museum, some of its treasures remained hidden away for the pleasure of a privileged few. The Mona Lisa was one such work of art, which was ordered to be hung in the Tuileries Palace bedroom of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Allegedly, after first laying eyes upon Leonardo Da Vincis masterpiece in 1800, Napoleon became infatuated with the painting, referring to her as Madame Lisa and reportedly revelling in her beauty for hours on end. It is also said that the French Emperors fascination with the canvas inspired his affection for a beautiful Italian named Teresa Guadagni, who was a direct descendant of Lisa Gherardini – the actual subject of the Mona Lisa. Coincidence? I think not!
Fun Louvre Museum Facts
- The Louvre was originally built as a fortress to keep the Vikings out in 1190 AD. In the 16th century, it was converted into a palace.
- Following the French Revolution, the Louvre was made a museum in 1793.
- Napoleon expanded the collection of the museum by 5000, and even renamed it the Musée Napoleon. However, after the defeat at Waterloo, the pieces were returned to the original owners.
- In 1911, the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre. The masterpiece was finally recovered two years later in December 1913.
- During World War II, the Louvre was used by the Nazis as a storeroom to keep stolen art.
- The glass pyramid was built in the 1980s based on the design of Chinese architect I. M. Pei. He was the first non-French architect to work on the Louvre, which created controversy at the time. However, today, the Louvre pyramid is one of the most iconic landmarks in Paris.
- It will take 15 acres to house the 380,000 pieces properly.
- It is the largest art musuem and the most visited museum on earth, with over 10.2 million people visiting it every year.
- 66% of all artwork displayed inside the museum is made by French artists.
- You can find a quarter of all Leonardo Da Vincis paintings in the Louvre Museum.
Also Check: Hotels Near The Lightner Museum
In The Tuileries Gardens
- Cafe Des Marronniers: This Parisian brasserie is located at the southwest kiosk. Open from Wednesday to Sunday, 10 AM to 7 PM.
- Terrasse De Pomone: This eatery, located on the southeast kiosk, is open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM.
- Pavillon des Tuileries: Enjoy some seasonal fare at the cafe located on the southwest kiosk. Open daily on weekdays, from 10 AM to 5.30 PM and the weekend from 12 AM to 6 PM.
- Rosa Bonheur Creperie: Open from 8.30 AM Rosa Bonheurserves delicacies from Brittany.
- Eric Kayser: This eatery, located by the Arche du Carrousel, is open on weekdays from 9 AM to 6 PM, and on weekends from 8:30 AM to 6:30 PM.
- Petit Plisson Aux Tuileries: Located at the northeast kiosk. Open from Saturday to Wednesday, 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM.