The Louvre: A Guide to Paris' Top Tourist Attraction
For many people all over the world, a visit to the Louvre in Paris is a major bucket list experience. It is not only the most visited museum in the world, but it is also one of the largest. With a total length measuring nearly two miles, and housing 38,000 works of art; the thought of visiting can also be daunting. But with a little research and preparation, it's definitely possible to scratch this experience off your bucket list.
The Louvre was first commissioned by King Phillipe-Auguste in 1190, and intended to be used as a fortress to protect the French from Viking raiders. After several hundred years, the Louvre was eventually reconstructed and became a royal palace by King François I. Each successive monarch after him made their own mark on the building by adding and extending the Louvre’s grounds and grandeur.
After 100 years, Louis XIV moved his royal court and vast collections to Versailles. The Louvre eventually became the home of artists, until the late seventeen hundreds, when the French Revolutionary government turned the Grande Galerie of the Louvre into a fine-arts museum.
The Louvre exhibits a wide variety of sculptures, paintings, drawings, and archaeological finds. Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is arguably the most famous painting in the world, especially after going missing for a few years. Along with the Winged Goddess of Nike, which is the Louvre’s top three most important pieces. During WWII she was evacuated with the Mona Lisa, Michelangelo’s Slaves & Venus de Milo to Château de Valençay.
Find out more about the Louvre Museum's permanent collection guide here.
Open on Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. Rooms begin closing 30 minutes before museum closing time.
The museum is closed every Tuesday and on the following dates — January 1st, May 1st, May 8th and December 25th.
For more detailed information on opening hours of current exhibits or events at the Louvre, click here.
Tickets purchased at the museum cost 15 euros and are valid for a same-day visit to the Louvre (permanent collections and temporary exhibitions) and the Musée Eugène-Delacroix.
Every Friday after 6 p.m., admission to the museum is free for those under the age of 26 to all nationalities with a valid ID. Also free admission from October to March, for all visitors on the first Sunday of each month.
The Louvre receives millions and millions of visitors per year. In order to really explore and enjoy the museum, avoiding peak hours is key. Try to avoid days when admission is free, like the first Sunday of every month.
With the many Louvre collections, exploring can seem a bit overwhelming. Rather than take it upon yourself to conquer every exhibit; booking a guided tour can be a better choice — especially for first time visitors. The Louvre offers a range of guided tours likely to suit most visitors' needs and interests.