The Louvre Art Museum – History, Secrets, Artwork & How to Visit

From Leonardo da Vinci to the Venus de Milo, the Louvre has the most extensive art collection in the world. With so much to see, a visit to the the Louvre art museum can be overwhelming, so it's good to plan your visit beforehand. Especially since the line-ups are always very long.

To avoid those lines, here's our best tip — like 60 other Paris museums and monuments, you can avoid the long line-ups for tickets at the Louvre by making sure you have a Paris Museum Pass before you leave home. The Museum Pass is included as part of the Paris City Passes, and that's our recommended way of buying it, because the city passes also give you unlimited rides on the Metro.

Louvre Museum Tours – Skip the Lines

Louvre Art Museum Tours

7 million people a year visit the Louvre, which means you can spend a loooong time waiting in lines.

But as we mentioned, by planning ahead, you can skip the lines and go directly to the Mona Lisa on a Louvre art museum tour. Check out our list of recommended tours of the most visited museum in the world.

See Paris + Visit the Louvre in Style

A Paris Insiders Guide Recommendation

City Tour and Louvre Visit

This is a good idea for first-time visitors (or those in a hurry) — a private tour of Paris by car followed by a skip-the-line tour of the Louvre.

We like this idea because there's nothing for you to figure out or worry about. Our Paris Concierge has it all arranged for you, so you know it's going to be good. A private, bilingual driver picks you up at your accommodations for a tour of the City of Lights. Full day or half day, you choose.

After that your driver drops you off at the Louvre where you meet your licensed guide. He takes you past the line-ups through the special guide's entrance and right to the highlights of the museum.

Venus di Milo

And Other Masterpieces of the Louvre

Venus di Milo

Among the thousands of works at the Musée de Louvre you're sure to recognize quite a few.

Some of the most famous paintings and sculptures ever produced have found their way into the permanent collection of this museum.

To help with your planning we've put together a guide of some of the best works of art in the Louvre.

What is The Paris Museum Pass?

Free entry to 60 museums + skip the lines…

Paris City Pass

The all-inclusive Paris Museum Pass get you free entrance to all the major museums plus scores of hidden and small museums that you probably haven't heard of.

But the greatest benefit, in our opinion, is that you get to bypass the ticket lines and walk directly into the museums. Saving time in Paris is even better that saving money! Read our guide to learn how it works.

History of the Louvre –

Fortress, Palace & Museum

History of the Louvre Art Museum

The history of the Louvre is as fascinating as the story of the works of art it contains.

The Louvre started life as a fortress, in the 12th Century, and then later was used as the royal residence for centuries of French kings. It lasted through revolutions, wars, occupations and long periods of housing government bureaucrats to become the famous art museum it is today.

The Louvre Pyramid

Louvre Pyramid

Yes, the Louvre has certainly seen plenty of changes over the centuries.

But some of the most striking and extensive changes to the museum occurred in the late 20th century, with the complete renovation of the building and the addition of the Louvre Pyramids to the courtyard. Learn more about the story behind this latest Paris icon.

Go Local at Café Marly

Looking for a shorter line-up? Use the Galerie du Carrousel entrance to the Louvre. Take the stairs found in the Tuileries, near the Arc du Carrousel.

After a visit to the museum we like to take in the view of the Louvre pyramid from a table in the colonnade at Café Marly. It's great to enjoy a glass of champagne with Parisians while overlooking the courtyard of this most famous of museums. It's hard to believe that until relatively recently, the courtyard was used as a parking lot for the bureaucrats housed in the Louvre!

Louvre Facts

The Louvre started rather modestly back in the twelfth century. In the 900 years since then it has seen a lot, and now it's the most popular museum in the world with 9.3 millions visitors every year!

  • The Louvre collection includes more that 380,000 pieces.
  • 35,000 works are displayed at the museum at any given time.
  • There are 4000 paintings by French artists.
  • The museum's oldest collections are the Greek and Roman antiquities.
  • The exhibition area is over 650,000 square feet.
  • In addition to the art, you'll also find classes of French school children learning about art in the Louvre. (Most of the rest of us had to settle for images in books!)

Practical Information

  • Open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
  • Late Nights: Wednesdays and Fridays until 9:45 pm
  • Closed Tuesdays, December 25, January 1 and May 1
  • Metro: Palais Royal - Musée du Louvre
  • Museum Website
  • Free admission is included with the Paris Museum Pass

le Petit Journal

Don't Miss a Single Paris Travel Tip — Sign Up For Our Newsletter Today