Louvre Museum Pictures Guide, Paris, France

Louvre Museum metro exit, Paris, France

One way to get to the Louvre Museum is via this unusual metro exit near the museum.

Visiting the Louvre Museum, Musée du Louvre

The Louvre was built as a fortress in 1190 by King Philippe-Auguste but replaced by Francois I with a palace in the 16th century, but it was the ubiquitous Napoleon who remodelled the building as a museum around 1800.

Paintings and sculpture are displayed by country with other galleries for objets d’art, antiquities and more.

How to see it best

You are likely to be overwhelmed by its sheer size and crowds, but Paris’ Louvre museum is well worth the trouble to come face to face with some of the world’s most celebrated antiquities and art in a spectacular building.

Smart tourists will line up first thing in the morning with tickets already in hand, get a free plan/info and aim to see only specific targets. For instance, if you are there as a beginner essentials such as the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and the Winged Victory of Samothrace will be at the top of your hit list.

Aim to arrive as close as possible to opening time at 9am (closed Tuesdays).

Paris Museum Pass, to avoid queuing (lining up) for literally hours

louvre museum pyramid lobby, Paris, France

Inside the Louvre pyramid lobby. There are three wings, Richelieu, Sully and the one most tourists head for immediately is Denon, where the Mona Lisa resides.

• this is a no-brainer, buy a Museum Pass from a tourist office or any one of over 60 participating museums (most important Paris museums and some monuments).
Passes last 2, 4 or 6 consecutive days and tourists can enter as many participating museums as they like, as often as they like (e. g. nip in just for the toilets! ) without extra payment AND fast.

• alternatively get advance tickets from the museum website or from Paris branches of the French department store FNAC.

Tickets have no entry time allocated so get there when the doors open at 9 a. m. and go straight to your primary targets. Alternatively visit the Louvre on Wednesday or Friday evenings up until 10pm.

There are less queues at the Hall des Lions entrance than via the glass Pyramid, and discounts after 3: 00 pm. The Louvre is closed on Tuesdays.

See also: Pompidou Centre and Musée d’Orsayinformation pages.

Some of the museums covered by this pass

Louvre; Army/Napoleon’s Tomb; Pompidou; Branly; Arts; Art Decoratif; Conciergerie; Cluny; Moyen-Age; Musique; Orangerie; Orsay, Rodin and more.
Monuments: Arc du Triomphe roof; Notre Dame roof and crypt; Pantheon; Sainte-Chapelle.

louvre museum denon lobby, Paris, France

Denon wing first hall.

Note that all Europeans (EU nationals) under 26 get in free with ID, while non-Europeans under 18 also get in free. If travelling with parents and they (parents) possess a museum pass or other means of fast entry then kids can enter at the same time.
Many museums, such as the Louvre, open free of charge on the first Sunday of the month. However, this inevitably means massive queues and even more crowds inside than usual.

Mona Lisa

louvre museum mona lisa scrum, Paris, France

The Mona Lisa scrum.

It is possible to get to the front and contemplate the Madonna smile, but requires patience and fortitude. You may notice Mona’s hands look odd. That’s due to a reflection from the discrete protective glass over the painting, probably deflecting flashes as well as attacks from crazies who think they are Renoir.

louvre museum venus de milo, Paris, France

The Venus de Milo. Fortunately the Louvre is so huge that few exhibits see massive crowds.

louvre museum The Raft of Medusa picture, Paris, France

The Raft of Medusa by Géricault in 1819, another big Musée du Louvre hit.

louvre museum slaves sculpture, Paris, France

Slaves by Michelangelo, 1520. Unfinished figures emerging from stone.

louvre museum ceiling, Paris, France

Some Louvre ceilings are art works themselves.

A relief of three warrior gods found in Palmyra, Syria.

louvre museum restaurant terrace, Paris, France

And when it all gets too much it’s time for self-restoration – this is Café Marly in the Richelieu Wing, surprisingly reasonably priced. The Food Court in Carrousel du Louvre is supposed to be good, as is the costly Grand Louvre Restaurant.

Near the Louvre

Some other great Paris museums