As one of the largest museums in the world, the Louvre Museum holds around 35 thousand objects and it welcomes 10 million visitors each year. Previously, it was the castle of the French kings and even once the prison. Now it houses a great number of artworks are from all over the world and its collection includes paintings, statues, and many other pieces from Egyptian, Etruscan, Greek, Near Eastern, and Islamic cultures.
Although I have visited the Louvre many times, I never get bored with it. The Louvre is so immense that you can't possibly appreciate all the master pieces in just one day. To have an efficient tour, follow my steps to see how you can save time and get the best experience.
For transportation, take the metro line 1 to Palais-Royal–Musée du Louvre station. You can follow a small sign with a Louvre icon on it and then find the direction. Or you can get out at the exit 5. We recommend you to leave the station here because there is a very brilliant artwork "Le Kiosque des noctambules (2000)" by a French artist, Jean-Michel Othoniel. It awakens your aesthetic sense right from the start.
Exit the station and go straight to the crossway. You can see the Louvre on your left from a block away.
Enter the dark passage from the side of the Louvre. If you have your online ticket, here is your entrance to the museum. If not, go through it. The giant main buildings and the notorious pyramid are there. Take some nice photos, like finger pointing at the pyramid or a group shot jumping in front of the monuments.
If you see a long line waiting for entrance, do not go for it. A small arch (Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel) hides a secret entrance. Even if you need to wait in line from this entrance, at least you do not need to suffer from the hot or cold weather in different seasons.
In the basement, you can see an upside down pyramid, another perfect photo spot. The Louvre provides free cloakroom to set aside your heavy coats and bags. To secure your safety, it is required to check all baggage.
You can rent an audio guide which is a Nintendo 3DS. To our surprise, we can appreciate the arts with vocal explanations from masters and with photos. To rent a set it is 5€ or 3€ for people under 26.
In the Louvre, there are three wings - Richelieu, Sully and Denon. It is suggested to enter from Richelieu and go to the second floor (the 3rd for USA).
Our first stop (room 10) is at the Gabrielle d'Estrées and Her Sister. To see the misteress of King Henri IV, Gabrielle d'entrées, have her nipple pinched by her sister, can be shocking for some Asian tourists.
Next go to the central wing of Sully. In room A, there are paintings of Eugène Delacroix and Jean-François Millet. Although the paintings of Millet are not the most famous ones, you can find some pastoral scenes similar to the Gleaners (Des glaneuses) and The Angelus (L'Angelus), which are currently displayed in the Musée d'Orsay.
Continue to room 61. You can find the Valpinçon Bather (La Grande Baigneuse) by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres.
The next room (6o), normally you can find the Turkish Bath (Le Bain Turc) by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Currently it exhibits in another museum. However, we can see Picasso's masterpiece. Guess what he painted! It is one of his nude woman painting series - Reclining Nude (Nu couché).
At the end of this aisle, we go down to the first floor (2nd floor for USA). Do not be too excited. This floor are there some must-see. Go straight to the room 66. It is the Galerie d'Apollon. Its high vaulted ceilings plus splendid decorations are so eye-catching. The walls hang the portraits of some French kings and great architects.
Go to the next space. You can find a huge hall only for a statue - the Winged Victory of Samothrace (La Victoire de Samothrace). Her drapery seems to vividly flow by the wind as you closely look at it.
After this, do not go down to the ground floor. Or you will miss Mona Lisa (La Joconde). Remember to come back to the first floor. Mona Lisa is in Room 6.
Mona Lisa is not as big as you expect. The painting is small and constantly surrounded by visitors. You physically cannot get closer to see her smile. I have heard that the painting is famous because it was painted by Leonardo da Vinci and that her eyes will always follow you. However, the main reason it is familiar is because it was stolen and then retrieved back. This history makes it well-known all over the world.
In the Denon wing of the first floor, there are plenty of famous paintings. You can spend a lot of time in this area.
Giuseppe Arcimboldo is renown for using tree roots, fruits, vegetables to depict portraits.
Eugène Delacroix's famous painting - Liberty Leading the People (La Liberté guidant le peuple)
Théodore Géricault's the Raft of the Medusa (Le Radeau de la Méduse)The Coronation of Napoleon (Le Sacre de Napoléon) is a giant painting. There is another copy by the same painter, Jacques-Louis David. It is exhibited in the Palace of Versailles. There is a difference. Napoleon's sister in the painting (second girl from the left) in the Palace of Versailles wore in pink and the other wear in white. It is said that the painter liked his sister and the color stands for rose (love).Now let's go to the ground floor. In room 16, there is another must-see. It is a statue of Aphrodite, also called Vénus de Milo. Her attractive figure was carved in accordance with golden ratio.
Athena of Velletri
In the Sully wing of the ground floor, there are many Egyptian artifacts, like mummies. If you want to see more Egyptian objects, the British Museum seems to keep even more mummies.
You have made it to the end of the tour. Let me summarize what the must-see artworks are in the Louvre Museum. If you do not have much time, you can follow our itinerary and make a point to see these three artworks.
(1) Mona Lisa (La Joconde)
(2) The Winged Victory of Samothrace (La Victoire de Samothrace)
(3) Aphrodite, also called Vénus de Milo
Of course, there are still so many terrific antiques worthwhile to see. You can discover your own favorites too!
Last, we have some tips for you.
(1) You can buy tickets online to avoid waiting in line for the ticket.
(2) The peak time is between 11:00-16:00. Come earlier or later to avoid it.
(3) After your visit at the Louvre, you can shop in the Carrousel du Louvre. They have plenty of merchandises, like luxury, art, books and food.
(4) Behind the pyramid, there is a passage to the Cour Carrée. It is a nice lieu to relax and you can go out from the right passage. You will go directly to the Pont des Arts, which is the bridge that used to hang many love locks. Head through the bridge to the Rue Mazarine. There are many nice boutiques and galleries here.
(5) You can go back to the metro station (Palais-Royal Musée du Louvre). At the exit 5 on the right, there is the Palais Royal. An installation, called Les Colonnes de Buren, is located in the inner courtyard. It's the perfect place to take some beautiful photos.
Ticket: €15 for adults, free for under 18 and EEA residents aged 18-25
Museum Pass: 2-day pass: €42, 4-day pass: €56, 6-day pass: €69
Address: Musée du Louvre, 75058 Paris - France
Transportation: Palais-Royal Musée du Louvre (Metro Lines 1 and 7)
Open Hours: 09:00-18:00 every day except for Tuesday
*Extended hours until 21:45 on Wednesday and Friday
Take a look at the Map- O'Bon Paris Map