Hey everyone! Since the Louvre is one of the largest museums in the world (and possibly the most famous), I thought it would make for an interesting blog post. Sometimes people who travel to Paris skip the Louvre, or chose to only go in to see the Mona Lisa, but there is so much more to see!
This was my second time visiting the Louvre and we were able to spend a couple hours walking around exploring. I’m not a huge museum person, but the Louvre is on an entirely different level than most museums. It’s actually the world’s most visited museum (with over 7 million visitors each year). The Louvre was originally built as a fortress to protect Paris in the 12th century, but was later expanded and turned into the King’s residency. After the French Revolution, it became a museum to display all the art the French had collected.
Although it’s grand, the Louvre can also be overwhelming, especially if you only have a short amount of time to visit. Here are some of my tips for how to conquer the Louvre and what the best areas are to visit!
There always seems to be a long line for the museum (which includes a security line, as well as a ticket line). Don’t let this deter you! One thing I can suggest (but it’s not completely necessary) is ordering your tickets online ahead of time to skip the second line. However, if you are an EU Resident under the age of 25 you can get in for free, so don’t worry about pre-ordering your tickets. (People under the age of 18 are also allowed in the Louvre for free, so be sure to bring ID for your children / teenagers).
I recommend using a side entrance, rather than going in through the glass pyramid (the lines are usually much shorter). This will save you a lot of time. To the right of the Arc de Triomphe (the smaller one in front of the Louvre) there is an entrance to the “Carousel de Louvre”. Follow the signs through the mall to the Louvre entrance. The line moves relatively quickly and once you are through security they have lots of automated machines to buy your tickets. (It costs 15 euros for a regular adult ticket). We hardly waited in line for our Mom’s to get their tickets, the longest wait is definitely the security (so don’t stress too much about ordering your tickets online).
The museum is closed on Tuesdays, so plan accordingly. All other days it’s open from 9:00am-6:00pm (except Wednesdays and Fridays when it stays open until 9:45pm). Although I’ve never felt crowded in the Louvre (except around the Mona Lisa), if you want a quieter experience, I suggest visiting on a Wednesday or Friday evening, since there will be less people. For more info on their hours, check out their link here.
There are around 38,000 objects, paintings and sculptures on display at the Louvre at one given time. The works are rotated and changed occasionally, since the Louvre actually owns more than 400,000 works of art. If you spent 6 seconds looking at each piece of art in the museum, it would take you almost 3 full days to see everything!! Since that’s not really possible (unless maybe you live in Paris or you’re studying art) I suggest making a plan for what you want to see in the Louvre and going straight there. If you’re anything like me, after a few hours in a museum you start to lose energy.
We started on the 1st floor on the Richelieu wing. We decided to make a full circle around, and thought that if we had the energy, we would see a few things on floor 0 also. My favorite part of the Louvre are the Napoleon III apartments. In my opinion, they’re more lavish / beautiful than some of the rooms at Versailles and I was surprised when we stumbled upon them, because they’re not labeled on the map. This should definitely be one of your priorities when visiting the Louvre! They’re located on the 1st floor of the Richelieu wing, near the Decorative Arts / Europe section.
After his apartments, we walked through the Decorative arts section. We had wanted to see Egyptian Antiquities (Sully Wing, 1st floor) but that exhibit was closed for the day. Instead, we skipped ahead to the Greek and Roman Antiquities and then onto Italian paintings (Denon Wing, 1st floor). This is where the Mona Lisa is located. It’s off on a side room from the main hallway, but you’ll easily be able to find it since there are loads of people flocking towards it. It was painted by Leonardo Da Vinci and it’s probably the most famous painting in the world. In all honesty, it’s beautiful, but I’m not sure it’s worth all the hype. It’s behind two layers of glass (one of them bullet proof) and it’s 2’6″ x 1’9″ in size. The room is filled with maniac tourists trying to get a picture of it (or take a selfie). If you’re brave enough to wade through the crowd, it is interesting to see up close. In my opinion, if you turn around and look at the painting opposite the Mona Lisa, that is even more impressive to me because it’s almost the size of an entire wall!
After this, we decided to head down to floor 0 to see some of the sculptures. You can find the Venus de Milo on this floor in the Sully Wing (in Greek Antiquities). This sculpture dates back to 100 BC! The statue was discovered in 1820 on the Greek Island of Melos and given as a gift to Louis XVIII, who later donated it to the Louvre collection. The statue is said to be of Aphrodite and her arms were never found!
After a few hours, we needed some food and to rest our feet so we decided to leave the museum and get some gelato in the Jardin de Tuileries (across from the Louvre).
Overall, visiting the Louvre is a daunting task but can be done if you plan what you want to see! If there is something you have your heart set on seeing, I would definitely check the schedule of Room Closures to be sure it will be open on the day you are going to the Louvre. Remember that I’m no art expert or Louvre guide, but I think that my tips will help the average tourist visit this museum!
Stay tuned for more posts about Paris!
Au Revoir! Amanda