Discover the world's most famous works in the aisles of the Louvre

With its famous pyramid and miles of galleries, the world's largest museum never ceases to fascinate. Housed in the former palace of the kings of France, the Louvre and its glass pyramid have become one of the symbols of Paris over the years, attracting almost 10 million visitors every year. The museum offers some 60,600 square metres of exhibition space, housing more than 490,000 works of art, and is increasingly committed to establishing a fruitful dialogue between the works and the visitor, who is welcomed into the vast shaft of light that is the pyramid. This strategy is paying off, as the Louvre is the most visited museum in the world! It boasts some of the world's most famous works of art, including the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo and the Victory of Samothrace.

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The history of the Louvre

Francis I, the Renaissance king renowned for his magnificent châteaux in the Loire Valley, demolished a 12th-century fortress on the right bank of Paris to make way for the Palais du Louvre, which already housed the Crown's private collection. Construction began in the mid-1500s, but only part of the building was completed. As a result, several different architectural styles can be seen on the building today. One of the most impressive pieces is the Colonnade, designed by Louis Le Vau, Claude Perrault and the painter Charles Le Brun.

The Palais du Louvre in Paris.

- © Alberto Zamorano / Shutterstock

Many monarchs have passed through its corridors, but Louis XIV was the last king to use the Louvre as a royal residence, moving his court to Versailles in 1682. In 1793, after the French Revolution, the Musée Central des Arts opened to the public in the Grande Galerie. For a time, it was renamed the "Musée Napoléon" before reverting to its original title under Louis XVIII. However, it was not until 1993 that the entire building was used as a museum.

The Louvre Pyramid

Integrated into theclassical architecture of the Louvre, the glass pyramid aroused theire of curators at the time of its construction. They felt that such a futuristic creation would blight the historic Palais du Louvre. However, this political warfare against a backdrop of artistic controversy did not prevent the construction ofone of the most prized works by visitors to the Louvre today.

The Louvre pyramid.

- © Sergii Molchenko / Shutterstock

It goes to show that opinions and tastes in art change, as this 'horror' is nowone of the most visited places in Paris. Inaugurated in 1989, this work of art, now an integral part of the Parisian landscape, was created by thearchitect Leoh Ming Pei, probably inspired by an idea dating back to the 18th century, when the first mention of a pyramid project in the courtyard of the Louvre was made for the celebrations of the French Revolution.

The Louvre pyramid has a modern architecture thanks to its 21.65-metre-high metal structure with a square base measuring 35.42 metres on each side. The glass pyramid is made up of 603 rhombuses and 70 triangles of laminated glass. Although the great pyramid is the most famous, it is not the only one, as it is accompanied by three smaller replicas and the inverted pyramid, which was built under the Carrousel du Louvre.

What to see at the Louvre?

The Mona Lisa at the Louvre.

- © Christian Bertrand / Shutterstock

As the world's largest museum, you'd expect there's a lot to see at the Louvre. Art lovers will love the paintings and sculptures by great artists from all over Europe and from every era. Leonardo da Vinci'sMona Lisa is the jewel in the crown of the Louvre. This painting is the most frequently seen work in the world, with almost 20,000 visitors a day. Many people are surprised by its small size when they see it for the first time, a feeling that is probably reinforced by the painting opposite it: The Wedding Feast at Cana by Veronese, considered to be the largest painting in the museum.

Of course, the Louvre is home to other must-see works of art such as The Venus de Milo, Eugène Delacroix's Liberty Guiding the People, Théodore Géricault's Raft of the Medusa and many more. The museum offers several official itineraries to help visitors navigate this maze of galleries and make the most of their time.

The Tuileries Gardens

The Tuileries Gardens near the Louvre.

- © Lena Ivanova / Shutterstock

While you're visiting the Louvre, don't forget to take a stroll through the Tuileries Gardens. This is one ofthe most famous parks in Paris, situated on the historic axis between the Louvre pyramid and the Champs Elysées. Its name comes from the tile factories that stood on the site where Queen Catherine de Medici had the Tuileries Palace (which was destroyed during the Revolution) built in 1564. It was André Le Nôtre, gardener to King Louis XIV, who gave it its current appearance in 1664.

Today, this mythical site is a favourite with Parisians and tourists alike, especially in fine weather. Statues by Maillol, Rodin and Giacometti can be admired here. The Tuileries Gardens are also home to the Musée de l'Orangerie, where you can admire works by Monet.

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Practical information for the Louvre Museum

The Louvre is the largest museum in the world, so it's a must-see when you're in Paris! Allow at least half a day to get a good overview.

🚌 How do I get to the Louvre?

The Musée du Louvre is served by metro lines 1 and 7 at the Palais-Royal / Musée du Louvre station and metro 14 at the Pyramides stop, as well as buses 21, 27, 39, 67, 68, 69, 72, 74, 85 and 95.

Hop-on hop-off buses and the Batobus also serve the museum. There are also several Velib' stations nearby.

⏰ Opening hours of the Louvre Museum

The Louvre is open every day except Tuesday. It is open from 9am to 6pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays and until 9.45pm on Fridays.

👛 Prices for the Louvre Museum

  • Online price: €17
  • On-site price: €15, subject to availability
  • Under 18s: free
  • Under-26s from EU countries: free
  • Go City All-Inclusive Pass / Go City Explorer Pass / Paris Museum Pass / Paris Passlib': free of charge

To find out about all the free admission conditions and book your ticket online, go directly to the Musée du Louvre's official website.

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Book your ticket for the Louvre!

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A few tips for your visit

  • Tickets may be cheaper on the spot, but you risk being refused entry to the museum because of the large crowds. Don't hesitate to book your ticket online!
  • Audio guides are available for an additional €5.
  • Photos are permitted, but selfie poles, flash photography and other lighting devices are not.
  • The Louvre Museum has a wide choice of cafés, restaurants and shops.
  • Free Wi-Fi and lockers are available on site.
  • The Louvre is fully accessible for PRMs.
by Editorial Team
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