The Louvre Museum is one of the largest and most famous museums in the world. Located in the heart of Paris, France, this iconic museum is a must-visit for any art aficionado. With over 38,000 objects on display, the Louvre contains some of the most renowned works of art in history. From the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo to the crowning jewels of French kings, the Louvre offers an unparalleled look into human creative expression over the past 7,000 years.
A Brief History of the Louvre
The Louvre was originally built as a fortress in the 12th century by King Philip II. Later kings continued to expand and modify the structure over the next few centuries. In the 16th century, King Francis I converted the building into a Renaissance-style palace. Subsequent rulers steadily amassed an impressive art collection within the Louvre.
After the French Revolution, the National Assembly voted to use the Louvre as a museum open to the public in 1793. Napoleon expanded the museum’s holdings through war conquests in the early 19th century. Throughout the remainder of the 1800s, the building underwent major reconstruction to achieve its current distinctive facade. Glass pyramids were added to the central courtyard in the late 20th century, creating a modern juxtaposition to the classical building.
Today, the Louvre contains over 380,000 objects and displays 35,000 works of art in eight curatorial departments. From Ancient Egypt to Islamic Art, the massive museum tells the story of artistic achievement over many millennia.
Location of the Louvre
The Louvre is centrally located in Paris along the Right Bank of the Seine River. Its main entrance is via the glass pyramid in the Cour Napoleon courtyard. The museum occupies a total area of 652,300 square feet (60,600 sq m) and spreads across three wings: Sully, Denon, and Richelieu.
The Louvre is inside the 1st arrondissement, in the heart of the city. It neighbors other famous Paris landmarks like the Tuileries Garden, Place de la Concorde, and Palais Royal. The Louvre has several entrances and is connected via underground passageways to the Carrousel du Louvre shopping mall and Auditorium du Louvre concert hall.
Best Time to Visit the Louvre
As the world’s most visited museum, the Louvre can get very crowded. To beat the crowds, the best times to visit are:
- Early morning right when the museum opens, especially on Wednesdays and Fridays when the museum opens at 9am instead of the usual 10am.
- Evening visits on Wednesdays and Fridays when the museum is open until 9:45pm.
- Mid-November to mid-April, excluding the Christmas holidays, tends to be less busy.
- Summer months of July and August attract the most tourists.
Avoid Mondays when the museum is closed and free admission Sundays when long lines form. Purchasing tickets online in advance allows visitors to skip the ticketing line upon arrival. Keep in mind that the Louvre is closed on major French holidays like Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Ways to Reach the Louvre
Here are the various transportation options to reach the Louvre Museum when sightseeing in Paris:
|Metro||Line 1, Station: Palais Royal–Musée du Louvre||n/a||5-10 mins walk||€1.90 for single ticket|
|Bus||Lines 21, 24, 27, 39, 48, 68, 69, 72, 81, 95||n/a||5 mins walk||€1.90 for single ticket|
|Walk||From the Seine River, Tuileries Garden, Place de la Concorde||0.5-1 km||10-15 mins||Free|
|Velib Bike Share||Station: Carrousel du Louvre-99 Rue de Rivoli||n/a||2 mins walk||€1.70 for 1 day pass|
|Taxi||n/a||4 km from Eiffel Tower||15 mins||€15-30|
The Palais Royal–Musée du Louvre metro station provides the most direct access via Paris’s subway system. Buses drop off right outside the museum. Visitors can also easily walk or bike to the Louvre from nearby landmarks and hotels. Taking a taxi is a quick way to reach the museum from farther neighborhoods.
Why the Louvre Museum is Famous
As one of the largest and most historic museums globally, the Louvre is famous for many reasons:
- It displays some of the most iconic works of art from human civilization, including the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and Liberty Leading the People.
- The museum offers a comprehensive overview of art history, from Ancient Mesopotamian and Egyptian artifacts to 19th century French paintings.
- Its grand palatial building exemplifies French architecture over eight centuries, from a medieval fortress to a modern glass pyramid.
- As the most visited museum in the world, with over 10 million annual visitors, the Louvre signifies immense cultural value.
- The museum houses many famous former royal collections full of priceless art and artifacts.
- Its central location in Paris and proximity to other major attractions adds to its fame.
- Appearances in books, movies, and pop culture, like The Da Vinci Code, have cemented it as an iconic institution.
In short, the Louvre represents human artistic achievement and the desire to offer art education to the public. Its vast size, precious collections, and recognizable works make the Louvre one of the most famous museums internationally.
The Louvre Museum – Paris’s Famous Art Museum
- Originated as a fortress in the 12th century
- Converted to a public museum after the French Revolution in 1793
- Expanded over centuries through renovations and royal art collections
- Vast collections spanning thousands of years and cultures
- Iconic works like Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Egyptian antiquities
- Masterpieces from French, Italian, Dutch and other European artists
- Evolved over centuries from medieval fortress to Renaissance palace
- Modern glass pyramids added to central courtyard in the 20th century
Visiting the Museum
- Purchase tickets online in advance to avoid lines
- Focus on sections you want to see most in half day or full day visit
- Use guides or audio tours to see highlights efficiently
- In central Paris along the Seine River
- Metro and bus stops right outside, surrounded by top attractions
When to Visit
- Avoid crowded weekends and summer holidays
- Wednesday and Friday evenings are less busy
- Cafes and restaurants within the museum for breaks
- Nearby hotels like Le Grand Louvre offer quick access
Major Attractions and Places Around the Louvre
Given its prime location in central Paris, the Louvre is surrounded by other top tourist attractions:
- Tuileries Garden – This lovely public garden adjacent to the Louvre offers strolling paths and a café.
- Place de la Concorde – The major public square at the eastern end of the Tuileries Garden contains an Egyptian obelisk.
- Jardin des Palais Royal – A small garden with arcades and shops bordering the Louvre and Palais Royal.
- Palais Garnier – The opulent neo-baroque home of the Paris Opera with a history museum inside.
- Musée d’Orsay – This museum in a former railway station focuses on 19th century art, especially Impressionism.
- Pont des Arts – A pedestrian bridge crossing the Seine featuring iconic love lock displays.
- Luxembourg Garden – Paris’s beloved formal garden with fountains, statues, and a palace museum.
- Arc de Triomphe – The iconic triumphal arch sitting in the center of Place Charles de Gaulle.
- Champs-Élysées – The famous upscale shopping avenue stretches from Place de la Concorde to the Arch de Triomphe.
- Grand Palais – A grand exhibition hall and museum complex built for the 1900 Paris Exposition.
- Petit Palais – This fine arts museum has a lovely beaux-arts style building featuring a dome and colonnades.
12 Month Climate Data for Paris
Here is the average temperature and rainfall data per month for Paris to help plan your trip:
|Month||Average High (°C)||Average Low (°C)||Average Rainfall (mm)|
Paris has a mild climate that is generally cool in the winter and pleasant in the summer. The rain is spread out fairly evenly over the year though January tends to be the wettest month. Late spring and early fall are enjoyable times to visit when the temperatures are mild.
The Louvre’s Art Collections
The Louvre Museum displays an astonishing breadth of artwork and artifacts spanning thousands of years of human history and prehistory. Here are some highlights of the museum’s vast collections:
- Egyptian Antiquities – One of the world’s best collections of ancient Egyptian art including mummies, sarcophagi, hieroglyphs, and sculptures like the Seated Scribe.
- Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Works – Sculptures like Winged Victory of Samothrace and Venus de Milo plus other artifacts from ancient Mediterranean civilizations.
- Islamic Art – A huge collection of Islamic art from Spain to India including ceramics, glass, metalwork, and textiles.
- Sculptures – Masterpiece sculptures from French, Italian, and Northern European artists. Famous works include Michelangelo’s Slaves and St. Matthew.
- Paintings – Extensive paintings department with pieces from old master to pre-impressionist eras. Includes da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and works by Raphael, Botticelli, Rubens, Rembrandt, and Jacques-Louis David, among countless others.
- Prints and Drawings – Vast drawings collection with 100,000+ works on paper. Includes famous pieces like Dürer’s Self-Portrait and Delacroix drawings.
- Decorative Arts – Interior design objects like furniture, dishware, jewelry, and more from medieval to modern times. Stunning crown jewels are highlights.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Louvre
Here are answers to some top frequently asked questions about visiting the Louvre museum:
How much are tickets to the Louvre?
Tickets are 15 Euros for adults, free for those under 18, and about 10 Euros for students under 26. Purchasing tickets online in advance allows you to skip the ticketing line.
When is the Louvre closed?
The museum is closed on Tuesdays and certain public holidays like Christmas Day. Some wings may occasionally close on certain days so check the website calendar.
What is the best way to see the highlights at the Louvre?
Join a guided highlights tour or rent a multilingual Nintendo 3DS audio guide to see the top masterpieces efficiently in about 2 hours. Otherwise, get the map and prioritize sections you want to see.
How long should I plan to spend at the Louvre?
Realistically you need a half day minimum to see the highlights at a decent pace. A full day allows you time to thoroughly explore a few sections. Several full days are needed to see the entire museum.
What tips do you have for visiting the Louvre?
- Book tickets online to avoid the line
- Get the free museum map and use the signs
- Wear comfy shoes as it involves a lot of walking
- Have a snack or drink to take breaks in the gardens or cafés
- Take advantage of the guided tours and audio guides
- Focus on sections you really want to see rather than trying to see everything