Visiting the Louvre and what to see

Everyone has already heard of the Louvre in Paris. It is, after all, the most famous museum of the French capital and also the biggest art museum in the world. This gigantic art collection of more than 70,000 square meters, exhibits more than 38,000 works of art (and a total of 380,000 objects!) And in 2017 it was even the most visited museum in the world with 8.1 million visitors.
Impressive is an understatement! In this article I tell you more about this beautiful art museum and what to see in the Louvre.


Louvre Paris

The 8 most beautiful things to see in the Louvre

If you’re visiting the Louvre, then you must of course also like a little bit of art. Objects and works of art from Antiquity until now. You can find pretty much everything here. Actually, everything that you see here is impressive, but if I have to list a few must see’s in the Louvre, then they are the following:

The Mona Lisa

If you talk about the top things to see in the Louvre, I can’t help but start with the Mona Lisa, also known as La Gioconda.
Until today, people aren’t completely sure who she is exactly, but most people think that it’s a portrait of Lisa Gherardini. The wife of the client of the painting (Francesco del Giocondo). Many people only come to the Louvre to see this masterpiece with their own eyes. This tiny panel (it’s only slightly larger than an A2 piece of paper!) is therefore firmly guarded. It stands behind bulletproof glass and is guarded at all times by two bodyguards.
These strict security measures came after a theft in 1911. An Italian (Vincenzo Peruggia) had helped to frame the artwork behind glass and in the evening he had hidden in a closet so he could silently do his thing after closing time. The man walked out with the famous painting under his coat, as it were a cheap souvenir from Paris! He waited patiently for two years before offering it for sale in Italy. Of course he was quickly caught…
Before the work was brought back to Paris, it was exhibited at the Uffizi in Florence and the Galleria Borghese in Rome. Occasionally this famous painting is now exhibited in other museums too. It already flew to New York, Tokyo and Moscow.

Leonardo Da Vinci has many other paintings in the Louvre, but this is without a doubt the best known and most visited.

louvre paintings mona lisa

The most famous painting in the Louvre: the beautiful Mona Lisa.

The Venus of Milo

The Venus of Milo or the Aphrodite of Melos was made in Greek antiquity. Presumably made by Alexandros of Antiochia.
This sculpture symbolizes eternal beauty, but if you ask me, the facial features and shapes of this image really start to fade… And that’s quite logical too! If you know it’s been completed already quite some centuries ago!

The statue came into the hands of France as a gift for the French King Louis XVIII. Since then it has been shown in the Louvre, but not without a struggle. For there was a dispute between many nations (the Italians and Germans, among others) about this impressive sculpture.
Eventually everyone got away and France was allowed to keep this world-famous artwork in the Louvre.

things to see in the louvre venus of milo

The Venus of Milo. One of the most valuable works of art in the Louvre.

The Nikè of Samothrace

Another Greek Hellenistic statue that is world famous and is located in the Louve is the Nikè (the goddess of victory) of Samothrace.
This sculpture is so special because it is one of the only surviving images from classical antiquity in an originally Greek form. The statue looks surprisingly good, if you know that it was completely broken into little pieces when it was found. It was joined together in 1863, and a few years later other parts of the image were found as well. With the help of these original finds, a mirrored cast was made of the right wing, the left breast and the back.
Quite a lot of work was done to restore this sculpture back to its original glory, but when you’re gazing at it you don’t notice any of that!

louvre must see nike of samothrace

The Nikè of Samothrace has some dozens of curious visitors around it at any time of the day.

The Lamassu

The Lamassu was a mythological figure in ancient Mesopotamia. These winged bulls with human heads were placed at entrance gates to protect the cities or palaces against enemies. In addition, they were also very important in the architecture of many buildings, because they also functioned as a kind of pillar. These gigantic pillars (four by four meters!) are now showing off in the Louvre and are impressive to say at the very least.
For me, these were some of the most spectacular things to see in the Louvre.

lamassu louvre

These mythological creatures are without a doubt one of the most beautiful works of art in the Louvre!

The mummy of the Louvre

The Louvre also has one of the best preserved mummies in the world in its collection. This man was carefully wrapped in linen many centuries ago and also received a beautiful mask, a wide chain over the neck, an apron over the legs and finally a wrapper around the feet.
All these jewels are also depicted with some typical Egyptian customs and gods. They had to make the transition to death easier.

mummy louvre

You don’t have to go to the distant Egypt to see a real mummie. There is also an impressive copy in the Louvre.

The Pyramids of the Louvre

There are several pyramids in the Louvre, but I am talking about the glass structures at the entrance and exit. Above the entrance, the most impressive example is: 21.65 meters (71 ft) high and 35.42 meters (116,20 ft) wide. There are another three smaller pyramids built around it. At the exit (at the shopping center) there is also an inverted pyramid (the Pyramide Inversée).
All these pyramids weigh 450 tons together and consist out of 603 rhombus-shaped glass panels.

louvre pyramid

The pyramid at the front of the Louvre is probably the best known, but there are many more. I found this inverted one the most impressive!

The Sphinx of Tanis

In the Egyptian section (I think the most impressive part of the Louvre!) You can find many impressive sculptures and artworks, but the Sphinx of Tanis really steals the show. This gigantic sculpture is even one of the largest sphinxes outside of Egypt! Once this mastodon stood in Tanis, in ancient times the capital of Egypt.

sphinx of tanis louvre museum

The Sphinx of Tanis. Quite impressive to see such a giant in a museum!

Ceilings, floors and architecture

The architecture and design of the Louvre is also really beautiful.
From the moment you enter you are immersed in the beautiful architecture of the Louvre. The entrance is quite modern, but the halls where the paintings and artworks are exhibited are often a bit more classic. Be sure to pay attention to the ceilings (colorfully painted, or ceiling paintings that reminded me of the Vatican museum) or the very detailed doors and gates. Some parts of the floors and walls are also incredibly beautiful.
You’ll notice soon enough when visiting the Louvre; in this museum everything seems to be elevated to some form of art!

louvre museum art

The entrance (under the glass pyramid) of the Louvre. The architecture of this building can certainly also be called art!

louvre artworks

Personally, I didn’t think of this as the most beautiful work of art, but it’s surprising and impressive in any case!

The other artworks and paintings in the Louvre

There are of course many more beautiful things to see in the Louvre. Other famous paintings include the Freedom of the People by Eugène Delacroix, Botticelli’s Three Graces, John the Baptist by Leonardo da Vinci, The Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault and much, much more.

Don’t only see the most famous works in the Louvre museum in Paris. After all, art is different for everyone. What I like, can perhaps be horrible (or vice versa) for you. One thing is certain: in the Louvre everyone will find something that he or she loves!

john the baptist leonardo da vinci louvre

John the Baptist of Leonardo da Vinci.

A little bit of history

The Louvre in Paris wasn’t always a crowded museum! Originally, it was even a strong fortress that had to defend Paris against possible attacks. As the city grew steadily, this bastion lost its defensive use and the French kings began to settle here from then on.
That was of course counted without the Sun King (Louis XIV), because he then built the world-famous Versailles, where he retreated. Because of this choice, the Louvre actually started with its function as a museum. Louis the Fourteenth used this former fort as a storehouse for all his royal art. But it was only a century later, during the French revolution, that it was decided to make an actual museum of the Louvre.

On the opening day, August 10, 1793, 537 paintings were exhibited. Quite a lot less than the 38,000 artworks that you can see nowadays! Fortunately, the collection grew considerably larger because of, among others, Napoleon, Louis XVIII and Charles X, and another 20,000 pieces were added during the Second French Republic.
In the years that followed, the museum continued to grow (even after a violent fire, which luckily didn’t damage any of the artworks!), and during the world wars all art was safely hidden.

The famous glass pyramid in the courtyard of the Louvre wasn’t built until 1989.

louvre visit fort

You can also visit the old fortified walls of the Louvre. There you’ll also find more information about the history of the Louvre.

Book your Louvre museum tickets online

Every day the Louvre gets about 15,000 visitors. That’s a lot! So you can be pretty sure that you’ll have to wait a long time before you can enter.
That’s why I advise you to purchase your ticket for the Louvre online and in advance.

For a skip-the-line ticket you pay €18.50. That’s only €1.50 extra (the booking cost) on top of an ordinary ticket (€17). And that really is nothing if you compare the -sometimes- very long queues…
For a priority ticket with a guided tour you pay between €55 and €65.
Would you rather take an audioguide with you in the Louvre? Then expect to pay €37 per person.

Don’t forget that young people (under 26) with a European identity card can visit the museum for free. To be allowed inside for free you have to wait in line, though.

Are you planning to visit more than just the Louvre? Then take a look at the Paris Museum Pass. With these special passes you get access to 60+ sights and museums in Paris for a fixed price. If you plan to visit a lot, this can be much cheaper than paying all the entrances separately. You pay €53 for two days. In addition to the Louvre you can also visit the Orsay museum, the Panthéon, Versailles, the Arc de Triomphe, the Centre Pompidou, Sainte-Chapelle and much more.


» All tours and entrance tickets in Paris

6 Interesting facts about the Louvre

  1. Every day there are about 15,000 visitors who come to the Louvre. Of these, 65% are foreign tourists.
  2. If you were to view every object in the museum for only 30 seconds, you would need 100 days to see everything.
  3. For the recordings of the book of the same name, ‘The Da Vinci Code’ was also filmed in the Louvre. The museum received no less than $2.5 million for the filming rights!
  4. There are 2000 people working in the museum. That goes from supervisors to guides, to people who work in the restaurants.
  5. The museum and its art collection have been discredited several times. After Napoleon’s reign and the Nazi dictatorship during World War Two, the Louvre had received many artifacts in their hands of which they weren’t the rightful owner. Many of the objects were returned after a fierce debate, but to this day there are still hundreds of works still in the hands of the Louvre.
  6. Did you know that there are two Louvre museums? The second Louvre is in Abu Dhabi.
louvre tickets online

There is much more to see in the Louvre than just paintings! All kinds of beautiful art objects and valuable artifacts are exhibited here.

Some tips to make your visit to the Louvre more pleasant

  • Wear comfortable shoes. If you plan to see a lot in the Louvre, comfortable footwear is a must. You quickly walk a few miles when you’re visiting the Louvre museum.
  • Put your stuff in the free lockers. The Louvre museum in Paris offers free lockers. If you’re wearing backpacks, handbags, jackets or other items, you should drop them in such a safe first. Write the number of your locker somewhere, because otherwise it’ll be quite hard to find your items back! You can open and close the lockers as often as you want. If you have an umbrella, you can also drop it of in the room where the lockers are located.
  • Plan your visit. Try to have an idea about what you want to see, because there is just too much to see in the Louvre. You can’t keep your concentration for so long and many beautiful works of art are quite far away from each other. If necessary, you can also visit the museum more than one day.
  • Take a guide. These people immediately take you to the most famous (and impressive) works of art and also tell you interesting facts and figures about the museum and its objects. You can also ask them any questions you want. I don’t really recommend an audio guide.
  • Don’t necessarily eat out in the restaurants. There are some restaurants in the Louvre itself, but these are often very expensive. You’re not allowed to bring food into the museum, so if you’re hungry and don’t want to spend too much money you should look for another alternative. Right next to the Louvre is the Louvre shopping center. Here you’ll also find many (fast food) restaurants with very different possibilities. There is something for everyone!
lockers louvre

The museum has hundreds of free lockers. Don’t hesitate to use them!

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