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Louvre Museum

Home to the Mona Lisa, and instantly recognizable by its glass pyramid, this landmark has vast collections of well-known art from France and around the world. 

With miles of corridors and 15 acres (six hectares) of exhibition space, Paris’ largest museum is one of the biggest in the world. Its official title is Musée du Louvre, but is known to locals simply as “the Louvre.”

This world-class museum has three wings: Denon, Sully and Richelieu. You can easily spend the entire day exploring the paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, Near Eastern antiquities, Egyptian antiquities, Islamic art, prints and drawings, and Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiquities. The objects in the collections range in date from 5,000 B.C. to the 19th century.

Perennially popular works include the marble statues Winged Victory of Samothrace and Venus de Milo, and the Mona Lisa to name just a few. The lines to view these masterpieces can move slowly, but there’s plenty to observe — both art and people — while waiting.  

The Louvre’s vast collection can seem overwhelming, but a little planning in advance will ease the pressure. Make a succinct list of key works you wish to see. The Louvre website is an excellent resource, with features such as a detailed floor plan of the permanent and visiting exhibits, and an online catalogue of works. 

Buy your entry ticket in advance from the website or from many stores in France. With advance purchase tickets, you will use an entrance where the lines are much shorter. Still, don’t miss the main entrance, as it is where you’ll find the Pyramide du Louvre (Louvre Pyramid), in the center of the main courtyard, the Cour Napoléon. 

Like the Eiffel Tower and the Pompidou Centre, the Louvre Pyramid, a creation by Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei, was initially criticized for being too modern. Unveiled in 1989, the steel and glass structure was built as part of a new entrance foyer designed to better accommodate the thousands of daily visitors. Today the pyramid is regarded as an iconic symbol of Paris.

Once inside the museum, take a guided 90-minute tour for a good introductory overview of the museum and key pieces. You can also rent audio guides in the form of a Nintendo 3DS or a buy a smartphone application.

The Louvre is located in the center of Paris, along the Right Bank, in the neighborhood known as the 1st arrondissement. There are three entrances: the main entrance at the pyramid, an entrance from the Carrousel du Louvre underground shopping mall, and an entrance at the Porte des Lions (near the western end of the Denon wing). The museum is accessible by public transportation, including boat, and there is parking available.


Guide to Exploring Louvre Museum


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Hotel Europe Saint Severin Paris £67
Hotel Europe Saint Severin Paris

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    3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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    K+K Hotel Cayre Paris £163
    K+K Hotel Cayre Paris

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    4 Boulevard Raspail, Paris, Paris
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Paris City Center, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Orsay Museum and Le Bon Marche. Tuileries Garden and Saint-Sulpice Church are also within 15 minutes. Rue du Bac Station is only a 2-minute walk and Solferino Station is 4 minutes.

      Hôtel Lutetia, The Leading Hotels of the World
      Hôtel Lutetia, The Leading Hotels of the World

      Hôtel Lutetia, The Leading Hotels of the World

      45 Boulevard Raspail, Paris
         
        5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        This family-friendly Paris hotel is located in the shopping district, within a 10-minute walk of Le Bon Marche and Saint-Sulpice Church. Luxembourg Gardens and Odeon Theatre are also within 15 minutes. Sevres Babylone Station and Rennes Station are within a 5-minute walk.

        Hotel Eiffel Turenne £68
        Hotel Eiffel Turenne

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          3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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          Hôtel Lion d'Or Louvre £121
          Hôtel Lion d'Or Louvre

          Hôtel Lion d'Or Louvre

          5 Rue de la Sourdière, Paris, Paris
             
            3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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            Hotel Monceau Wagram £61
            Hotel Monceau Wagram

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              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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              Hotel Britannique £66
              Hotel Britannique

              Hotel Britannique

              20 Avenue Victoria, Paris, Paris
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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                Hotel Eugène en Ville £104
                Hotel Eugène en Ville

                Hotel Eugène en Ville

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                  4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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