The Louvre – What You Need To Know To Visit The World's Most Popular Museum

From Leonardo da Vinci to the Venus de Milo to Greek and Egyptian sculpture, the Louvre Museum in Paris has the most extensive art collection in the world. The Louvre covers more than 4,000 years of art history going back to the ancient civilizations and the birth of art as we know it. You'll see the French masters as well as masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance. You'll even get to view the royal crowns of French emperors and kings.

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The Most Popular Louvre Skip-the-Line Tours

The Louvre's Greatest Masterpieces
Skip the lines and see a lot of art on this professionally guided tour. Choose from a private tour or semi-private (max 6 people.) The top choice.
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Louvre Private Tour with Reserved Entry
Head straight to the front of the queue, then journey through art history on a private tour with an your expert guide. Private or semi-private.
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Louvre Museum Skip-the-Line Guided Tours

Avoid the Lines at the Louvre

As you know by now, we hate standing in lines. However, we do love guided tours, especially in museums, and especially those that get us past the lineups. Since we started signing up for guided tours we've learned so much more, we've saved time, and we've had more fun. So, yes, we're converts. Read our guide to discover the best skip-the-line tours at the Louvre.

Masterpieces of the Louvre You Don't Want to Miss

Mona Lisa

Among the thousands of works at the Musée de Louvre you're going to recognize quite a few. That's because 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 the best works of art in the Louvre.

The 8 Departments of the Louvre Museum

How It's Organized

Like so many French museums, the Louvre's website is as rambling and as hard to navigate as the museum itself. But, don't worry. We have helpful tips and a few short lessons on how the museum is organized. We'll also include some highlights, history, and tips for each of the departments of the museum.

In short, the Louvre museum collections are grouped into eight curatorial departments. Take a peek into each department to help you map out your day at the museum —

  1. Egyptian Antiquities…
  2. Greek & Roman Art…
  3. Near Eastern Antiquities…
  4. Paintings…
  5. Islamic Art…
  6. Sculptures…
  7. Decorative Arts…
  8. Prints & Drawings…

Where to Eat at the Louvre

Where to Eat at the Louvre

Viewing forty centuries of magnificent art makes us… hungry. So, when we're going to spend a long day at a museum as big as the Louvre, we want to make sure we know what to do when we get hungry. Because it's in Paris, you can be sure that there will be at least a couple of good dining choices at the Louvre. In fact, we review seven restaurants and cafes found in and near the museum, and we reveal our faves.

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The Most Popular Paris Activities

The Food & Wine of the Marais
Starting at the oldest food market in the city, follow your expert guide through the historic Marais neighborhood to visit the top food & wine shops, tasting the best of French food.
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VIP Dinner Cruise with Bateaux Parisiens
This romantic, VIP dinner cruise is the #1 nighttime activity. Be sure to choose the Service Privilege option for the best seating, the most champagne, the best meal, and the ultimate experience.
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The Louvre Pyramid

Louvre Pyramid

The Louvre has seen plenty of changes over the centuries. But some of the most striking and most extensive changes to the museum occurred in the late 20th century, with a massive renovation of the building and the addition of the Louvre Pyramids to the courtyard. Learn more about the story behind this latest Paris icon.

The New, Improved Louvre

Nike of Samothrace Nike of Samothrace, a the top of the Daru staircase

The good news is the Louvre is infusing €60 million to revamp its entrance and ticket areas. Jean-Luc Martinez, the former director of the Louvre, wanted to ensure that the Louvre remains accessible and up to date and so began those improvements. Can you believe that in 1989 a mere 3 million visitors made their way to the Louvre? Today it's closer to ten million.

Monsieur-Director Martinez has created a rotating educational center and launched an ambitious plan to translate almost 40,000 art display descriptions into English. There will also be WIFI-downloadable explanations in other languages. The Louvre is hoping to raise €1 million from the public to restore the Nike of Samothrace and its connecting Daru staircase.

In an effort to save money Martinez will reduce the number of temporary exhibitions from 20 to 10 annually, focusing on shows that reinforce the museum's amazing permanent collection.

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 museum started life as a fortress, in the 12th century, and was later used as the royal residence for centuries of French kings, mostly named Louis. The royal palace persevered through revolutions, wars, occupations, and long periods of housing government bureaucrats to become the famous museum it is today.

  1. History of the Louvre – From the Beginning
  2. A Palace Fit for a King
  3. From Napoleon to the 20th Century

Go Local at Café Marly

Café Marly

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 while overlooking the courtyard of this most famous of museums. We don't recommend Marly as a lunch or dinner place, but it's perfect for a glass of bubbly and a little s.

It's hard to believe that until relatively recently (well, 1984), the courtyard was used as a parking lot for the bureaucrats who worked at to government offices that used to be houses in the Louvre!

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The Most Popular Ways to Visit Versailles

Your Own Private Versailles – Private Guided Tour with Hotel Pick-up
Experience Versailles on an exclusive private tour with access to areas seen only by dignitaries. See the Hall of Mirrors, the king and queen's private residences, as well as the magnificent gardens.
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Best of Versailles with Skip-the-Line Access + Grand Canal Lunch
Skip the long lines to experience the grandeur of Versailles on a guided tour. Stroll through the stunning gardens then meet up for lunch on the Grand Canal. Hotel pick-up is included.
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Louvre Museum Facts

A class in art history A class in art history, going to the source

The Louvre started rather modestly back in the twelfth century. Curing the intervening 900 years the building has seen a lot, and now it's the most popular museum in the world with something approaching ten million visitors every year.

  • The Louvre collection includes more than 380,000 pieces.
  • 35,000 works are displayed at the museum at any given time.
  • There are 4,000 paintings by French artists.
  • The museum's oldest collections are from the ancient civilizations in Egypt and Mesopotamia.
  • 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. (The rest of us had to settle for images in books!)

Louvre Museum Resources

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