The Louvre Paris, France – Museum Review
The Louvre is one of the most visited museums in the world. There’s a good reason for that. The collection includes Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan, Roman, and Islamic antiquities as well as art from the middle ages to modern times. It’s also the largest art museum in the world, so there is an enormous number of pieces on display. Before you go, you need to realize, you will not see it all. You will need to come back to see the rest, and that is ok, you’ll going to want to see Paris again! I have visited on three occasions and have not wandered through all of the galleries yet. I need to go again.
As you may have heard the lines to enter can be long. It’s especially long if you don’t have a ticket or museum pass. Buy advance tickets online at the Louvre website https://www.louvre.fr/en or Paris Museum Passes at the Paris Museum Pass Website http://en.parismuseumpass.com/ to go thought the shortest lines. If you plan on visiting more than one or two museums the pass may save you money, so definitely check on that. You will still wait to go through security but not wait in line for tickets. Many have suggested the Carrousel entrance underground from the shopping mall and Louvre Metro station Palais-Royal Musée du Louvre. In our experience the line isn’t shorter, but it may be more convenient if arriving by Metro. In my opinion, there’s nothing like entering in the glass pyramid at the main entry. However you enter, get tickets ahead of time or you will be standing in line for a long time. You have limited time on your vacation, don’t waste it standing in line. You will also go through security, and your bag will be searched, just like every other museum in Europe these days. Do your research before you go!
The Louvre’s official website not only has information on tickets and opening times, but a downloadable 3d map showing how to find the most famous works. The museum includes 3 wings all branching out from under the glass pyramid, with multiple floors in each wing. The map is essential in wayfinding. There are signs throughout to get to the most famous works, like the Mona Lisa, but not for everything you may wish to see. The gift shop, bookstore, and café are all located in the middle under the pyramid. There are visitor services kiosk at each wing entry, and security staff throughout, should you need help in finding something. Maps are also available at the entrance when you arrive. Get orientated with the layout before you go, so you will know where your must see pieces are located.
The Louvre Museum Wings
The Denon Wing houses, Egyptian art, Islamic Art, Roman antiquities, Greek antiquities, and paintings from France, Spain, and Italy to name a few. The wing also includes the world famous Mona Lisa. See our article titled “Mona Lisa, Louvre – Travel Vignette” For more information on her.
The Richelieu Wing has Near Eastern antiquities, Decorative Arts, French sculptures, and paintings from France and Northern Europe. This wing has the Napoleon III apartments that we enjoyed viewing.
The Sully Wing includes exhibits on the palace and history of the Louvre as well as Egyptian antiquities, decorative arts, Greek antiquities, Roman antiquities and French paintings. I especially liked the information on the palace itself and you can see the original castle foundations.
Decide what you really want to see before you go. View the collection and map mentioned above from the Louvre’s website, and make a list of must sees. If you really want to see the Winged Victory of Samothrace in room 703 of Denon floor 1, add it to your list. If you are really interested in Egyptian archaeology, add those galleries in Sully to your list. Then make a plan. If you want to see the Mona Lisa, or some other really famous work, visit this one first as early in the day as possible, to avoid crowds. Then branch out from there. Don’t be surprised if something on your list is under restoration, or the gallery that it is in is closed. It took three trips for me to finally see the Winged Victory of Samothrace. There’s plenty more to see if this happens, just move to the next item. You’re coming back remember! You may also find many recommended itineraries in guide books and online if undecided about a plan of action. It’s ok if that is what you decide, using information to guide you is what is important. Decide a plan of action before you go.
The Louvre From the Tuleries Paris France
My personal must see recommendations:
- The Mona Lisa – you can’t miss this one and she’s ever so famous. Denon Wing, Floor 1, Room 711 (follow the crowd).
- Italian Paintings – wow there are many masterpieces and masters represented here, not just da Vinci. There are paintings by Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, Botticelli, and more. Denon Wing Floor 1.
- French Paintings – well you are in France, Right? 1350-1850 Richelieu and Sully Wings, Floor 2. With more 1780-1850 at Denon Wing, Floor 1.
- Egyptian Antiquities – If you can’t make it to Cairo you can see ancient artifacts from Egypt at the Louvre. Sully Wing Floors 0 and 1.
- Napoleon III Apartments – To get a glimpse of what the Louvre was like as a palace go see. Richelieu Floor 1.
- Near Eastern Antiquities – these galleries include Mesopotamia the birthplace of civilization. Richelieu and Sully Wings floor 0.
- The Pavillon de l’Horloge – For the history of the Louvre from Castle to Palace to Museum. Sully Wing, Floor -1.
Be realistic about what you expect to see and the time you will need. You can spend all day or more here, there’s just too much to see. You will need a minimum of 2 to 3 hours just to see the highlights. Expect at least 4 hours for your visit, and more if your group really likes art, history, or just museums. On my three visits, 2 were for the whole day and the last visit was only for the morning (about 3 hours to see just the highlights), as we had other scheduled events to attend (guided tour of the Palais Garnier – Paris Opera). Plan for enough time to not run though the galleries, who knows what you might see on the way to your selected work.
Take a break. Visiting such a large museum and mingling with the crowds can be tiring. Don’t forget to take a break. Sit in one of the many benches throughout and get a longer look at the pieces nearby. Go to the Café to get some coffee and a bite to eat. Meander through the gift shop and bookstore, for a break from all the serious art. Oh, and eat a good breakfast before you go. Take care of yourself, so you can enjoy all the masterpieces.
So we established that the museum is big, and it is crowed. But it is so worth a visit. Where else can you see so much under one roof? You will be blown away by the sheer size and quality of the collection. The galleries are full, and I mean jam packed, of priceless artifacts and art. Also, the buildings are lovely, including the pyramid glass entrance by I. M. Pei. We loved the Louvre, if you are planning a trip to Paris, it’s a must see to include in your itinerary. Take your Family to a Museum! Go Artway Today!
Louvre visit 1994, July 2014, October 2017.
I shared my list of must sees at the Louvre. What would you recommend as must sees to travelers whom haven’t been – YET (thanks Tai for introducing me to the power/potential of YET). Go Artway Today!