Nestled on the banks of the River Seine, the Louvre Museum is the world's most visited museum, welcoming two million visitors each year. This site serves as the national museum of France and holds a massive collection of paintings, sculptures, and antique artefacts from all around the globe.
Initially, when the Louvre Museum had opened its gates to the public, it housed only 537 paintings. Today, it is home to around 480,000 works of art, including world-renowned art pieces like David by Michelangelo and the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. Inside Louvre Museum, you can also find Egyptian antiques, crown jewels, and ancient Greek and Roman sculptures among the treasures on display. In addition to its impressive art collection, the Louvre Museum is famous for its beautiful architecture. Standing elegantly in the heart of the majestic baroque-style buildings of the Louvre Palace complex, the museum’s iconic glass pyramid is among the most recognised landmarks of Paris.
The Mona Lisa is the most renowned portrait in the world, representing Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, a Florentine silk merchant. Leonardo da Vinci's use of subtle contours and contrasts to portray the enigmatic smile of the lady has captivated art enthusiasts for centuries. One of the famous admirers of the Mona Lisa was King François I, who bought the painting from Leonardo da Vinci in 1518. This way, the iconic Venetian painting entered the royal collections and has been exhibited in the largest room of the Louvre, the Salle des États, since the French Revolution.
The Wedding at Cana, also known as Les Noces de Cana, is the Louvre Museum's largest artwork. Paolo Caliari, also known as Véronèse, completed the 6-metre-tall and 10-metre-wide canvas painting in 1563. This painting is so large that it spans an entire museum wall from floor to ceiling. It depicts an extraordinary biblical wedding scene at Cana in Galilee, featuring more than 100 figures. This painting was originally intended to decorate a Venetian monastery but was brought to France by Napoleon Bonaparte's army.
Clad in red marble, the Vénus de Milo is an astounding sculpture standing in the Galerie des Antiques of the Louvre. This sculpture, which dates back to 100 BC, shows the Greek goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite. Until 1820, this masterpiece remained undiscovered on the Greek island of Milos for several decades. It was later presented to French King Louis XVIII. While the majority of the statue was recovered, other sections, such as her arms, could not be found, leaving room for numerous assumptions about what the actual statue must have looked like.
This magnificent statue, also known as the Nike of Samothrace, is a sight to behold. The sculpture represents the Greek Goddess of Victory, Nike, and was created around 190 BC by an unknown artist. It was later unearthed on the island of Samothrace and has been on exhibit at the Louvre Museum since 1884. The Winged Victory of Samothrace, carved in Greek style in Parian marble, stands perched on the prow of a ship and is most notable for its realistic depiction of the Goddess.
The French artist Jacques-Louis David created this spectacular painting to document the coronation of Napoléon I, who ascended the throne in 1804. The entire coronation scene at the Notre Dame Cathedral has been masterfully depicted on a massive six-by-ten-metre canvas. This painting is particularly recognized for its meticulously detailed and lifelike depiction of the entire event, featuring around 146 figures. Aside from its artistic significance, this picture is an essential icon of French history and the reign of Napoléon I.
This is yet another painting depicting an important event in French history. It represents the Parisian uprising of July 1830, when Republicans revolted against the government. Eugène Delacroix caught the essence of the historical event by presenting Liberty as a symbol of courage and fighting energy, clutching a French flag in one hand and a gun in the other. Delacroix was also a passionate Republican, and it is likely that he created this painting to show his support for the cause.
The romance of mythological lovers Cupid and Psyche is brilliantly depicted in this exquisite marble sculpture by Italian artist Antonio Canova in the Neoclassical style. The artwork depicts meticulously detailed and life-like figures of a winged Cupid leaning towards Psyche to kiss her and free her from a sleeping spell. Antonio Canova's exquisite representation of this intimate moment has never failed to captivate viewers since it was first displayed in the Louvre Museum in 1824. You can still find it in the sun-lit Galerie Michel-Ange room of the museum.
The Lacemaker, also known as La Dentellière, was painted by Jan Vermeer in the 17th century and is listed among the most beautiful paintings of all time. The artwork depicts a young girl laboriously engaged in the art of lacemaking. The beauty of this artwork is the aesthetic way in which the daily lives of common people have been captured. This artwork was appreciated not just by art lovers, but also by great artists such as Renoir and Van Gogh.
Guillaume Coustou created the stunning sculpture Marly Horses, also known as The Chevaux de Marly, in the 18th century. French King Louis XIV commissioned this work of art to beautify the horse pond at Château de Marly. To create this masterpiece, Guillaume Coustou drew inspiration from ancient Roman statues that adorn the Quirinal Palace in Rome. He ultimately finished the sculpture in Carrara marble in 1745, depicting the life-like groomsmen striving to control the two horses. You may see this magnificent sculpture with your Louvre museum tickets in the Richelieu Wing, which has been renamed Cour Marly in its honour.
Guido di Pietro's Coronation of the Virgin is one of the most outstanding mediaeval paintings in the Louvre Museum. This work was created for the convent of San Domenico in Fiesole and took two years to finish between 1430 and 1432. This art piece depicts the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, the event in which she was welcomed into heaven and crowned by Jesus Christ. The scene is remarkably detailed and painted in vibrant colours, with Mary and Christ as the main subjects surrounded by a large group of believers.
A single look at this painting is enough to tell that a lot is going on in the scene. Dating back to the 17th century, the Card Sharp with the Ace of Diamonds was created by George De La Tour, depicting people gathered around a table playing cards. The expressions of the figures and the intricate details give viewers the impression that they are watching a real game of cards. The painting leaves the viewers in a state of suspense as to what would happen next.
The Portrait de l'Artiste Tenant un Chardon was one of the earliest stand-alone self-portraits in the history of European art. A 22-year-old, Albrecht Dürer painted this self-portrait in 1493 using his reflection in the mirror. The artist is portrayed holding a thistle in the artwork, which could be a symbol of faithfulness or a reference to Christ's Passion. This artwork, like many 16th-century portrait paintings, contains a three-quarter length bust composition.
Michelangelo created the spectacular marble sculpture The Rebellious Slave in 1513. This 2.15-meter-tall statue was commissioned to adorn Pope Julius II's tomb. However, the project was cancelled, and as a result, the statue was left incomplete. That is why, if you look closely, you will notice chisel marks on the statue. Even though the sculpture is unfinished, the Rebellious Slave is a testament to the technical skills and the emotional depth of Michelangelo.
The French Crown jewels are symbols of the wealth and power of the French royal families. The royal crowns were specifically designed for each king and embellished with valuable jewels like diamonds, emeralds, pearls, rubies, topaz, and so on. Inside the Louvre Museum, you can see the Crown of Louis XV, which is made up of two rows of pearls and eight stones set with diamonds. The Regent diamond, Duchesse of Angoulême Tiara, and Crown of Empress Eugénie are some of the most valuable items you should not miss!
Hyacinthe Rigaud, a French royal portrait artist, made this painting of French King Louis XIV in 1701. The artwork was initially created as a gift to King Philip V of Spain. The French court, however, loved the painting so much that it was never presented to the Spanish king. This portrait is notable for the excellent detailing done to show King Louis XIV's attire as well as the luxurious setting that indicates the French power and splendour.
The Louvre Museum is housed in the Louvre Palace complex, which was established in 1546 on the initiative of French King Francis I. In the years that followed, his successors, such as Louis XIII and Louis XIV, added to the architectural and art collection of the Louvre Palace. However, when Louis XIV transferred his court to Versailles in 1682, the Louvre ceased to be the royal residence. In the 18th century, it was decided to convert the former royal court into a public museum. In 1973, when it was first opened to the public, it housed only 537 paintings, the majority of which were confiscated church and royal property. During the reigns of Napoleon and Napoleon III, the site was further enhanced with galleries and pavilions. The museum underwent substantial renovations in the 1980s to make it more accessible and welcoming to tourists. It was during this time that the iconic steel and glass pyramid was added to the complex. Today, the entire Louvre Palace serves as a museum, exhibiting over 480,000 artworks from all around the world.
The Louvre Museum is open to visitors from 9 AM to 6 PM from Wednesday to Monday. However, it is closed on Tuesday, New Year (January 1), May 1 (Labour Day), and December 25 (Christmas).
Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
You can purchase skip-the-line Louvre museum tickets to escape the long queues and get priority access inside the museum.
If you have booked your Louvre Museum tickets online, you can get a fast-track entry using the main Pyramid Entrance and the Carrousel entrance. If you have made a prior group booking, you can access the Passage Richelieu entrance.
The Louvre Museum tickets include entry to the Louvre's permanent collections as well as temporary exhibitions. It also includes admission to the Musée National Eugène-Delacroix within 48 hours of the first usage.
No, children under the age of 18 years are granted free entry to the museum.
Throughout the year, the Louvre museum organises a variety of events for children to learn about the Louvre, including workshops, storytelling sessions, and free activities. You can also ask for a "Louvre passport" at the information desk which youngsters can use to navigate the museum!
The Louvre does allow strollers. However, only front-mounted baby carriers, not back-mounted baby carriers, are permitted. You can also rent a pram and front baby carriers at the Pyramid.
Yes, you may click photographs and make videos for personal use. However, the use of selfie sticks, lighting, and flash is prohibited.
The Louvre palace is massive, with over 400 rooms and 35,000 art objects. You cannot cover the entire place in a single day and hence, must reserve at least two days if you want to see everything that the museum offers. If you only have an hour or two, make sure you visit the Denon wing, which holds some of the world's most recognized masterpieces such as the Mona Lisa and the Winged Victory of Samothrace.
Group excursions can include a minimum of 7 and a maximum of 25 people.
The Louvre is open to visitors every day, except Tuesdays, from 9 AM to 6 PM.