The Louvre, which used to be a palace, is home to many of the most famous works of art in the world, like the Mona Lisa, The Winged Victory of Samothrace, Venus de Milo, Liberty Leading the People, Lacemaker, and more than 480,000 other incredible works of art in the collection between here and Musée National Eugène-Delacroix, though around 35,000 are on display at the Louvre at any given time. The largest single-building art museum in the world, the Louvre, is 800,000 square feet of art space, meaning it’s nearly impossible to see everything in a single day (we tried, but it didn’t happen, haha). The Louvre museum is a paradise for art loves, and even the building’s architetself is art. Here are my tips for making the most of your visit while in Paris, France, and some of my favorite works of art here.
Don’t forget to read my Museum Etiquette guide before visiting!
Our Visit to the Louvre Museum
We arrived at the Louvre museum before it opened. We had booked our tickets two weeks in advance, and I recommend doing the same whenever you visit because they may be sold out, and this is not something you want to miss out on. We had to wait in a security line for about twenty minutes, but we got in right as the museum opened, and therefore, we were some of the very first people inside. It was incredibly special to see the galleries and statues, like The Winged Victory of Samothrace, Artemis of Versailles, and Venus de Milo, without anyone else around.
The Venus de Milo statue was particularly special to me because I walked past a 1:1 replica of it within my all-girls dormitory, Martha Cook, at the University of Michigan every single day that I lived on campus. Seeing the real thing was even better!
I can’t stress the importance of good walking shoes enough. We surpassed 50,000 steps this day, most of which happened within the museum. There are stairs and spiral staircases, long hallways, and meandering gardens to explore, so you’ll want to be comfortable without a doubt. I was so thankful to have worn sneakers, like nearly every other museum guest. Here are three of my favorite pairs of white tennis shoes, all of which are great for walking.
We stayed the entire time from open to close and still didn’t manage to see everything. I would have loved to spend a week straight here admiring the art, reading the information, exploring the various galleries, and going at a leisurely pace. It didn’t feel like we had nearly enough time with the art, but I think that’s part of the Louvre’s charm. We had to prioritize museum, which required some planning in advance.
If you have only a few hours to spend inside the Louvre, I recommend prioritizing the things you want to see the most. Their website and the maps available inside the museum are great ways to decide where to go first.
Art & Artifacts at the Lourvre
I was in awe of the vast array of treasures, antiques, paintings, sculptures, and intricate frames on display here. Everything is beautifully presented and displayed in such incredible ways that admiring the frames or displays was another layer of enjoyment of the art here. Perhaps it’s the photographer in me, but I left pondering where on Earth I could procure such fine framing!
Here are just a fraction of the incredible works of art at the Louvre.
I want to start this off with the sculpture of one of my ancestors. Do you see the family resemblance? There were so many incredible statues, sculptures and busts here it was overwhelming. The level of detail on these was unbelievable, and the movement the master sculptors were able to capture using stone is truly breathtaking.
How to Reach the Museum & Get Tickets
Reaching the Louvre
The nearest metro stops are Palais-Royal / Musée du Louvre (lines 1 and 7) or Pyramides (line 14). We took the metro Palais-Royal line in and wound up right inside the Louvre’s mall entrance. Of course, one could also walk, ride share, ride a bike, or drive to the museum. There iss parking nearby for an additional fee, but ride sharing or taking public transportation is the most convenient.
I recommend booking your tickets in advance. We reserved ours two weeks in advance to get opening-hour admission so we could be some of the first ones on that day. Click here for ticket information.
The Architecture of the Louvre Museum
The building itself is almost as breathtaking as the work within it. The sweeping open-arm staircases and gardens outside, the iconic glass pyramid, and the beautiful exterior give visitors a taste of what awaits them. As this was once a palace, it’s no wonder that the interior is so gorgeous. Part of the museum displays artifacts that were once inside the Louvre Palace and others from around France and beyond. It’s like stepping back in time.
Other Quick Facts About the Louvre Museum
The Louvre was first built as a fortress, converted into a palace, and now, nearly 800 years later, it’s one of the greatest museums on Earth. It was the first museum in France open to the public in the 1700s, and when Germans occupied Paris during World War II, they burned thousands of works of art taken from the museum, but thousands more were smuggled out before the oppressors could destroy them.
The Louvre receives millions of visitors annually and as many as 45,000 daily, although these numbers have been reduced since the pandemic began.
Early in the morning and just before closing, the museum is generally not as busy as it is in the middle of the day. One-fourth of da Vinci’s paintings reside in the Louvre, and the Mona Lisa is most famous not only for the technical brilliance of the painting but because it was stolen and brought to Italy before being brought back to France. Every year people try to damage or harm the Mona Lisa, and while we were there, there were numerous guards around it, layers of bullet-proof glass, a wooden block to prevent people from getting near it, ropes to control the crowds, and other protective measures in place.