Louvre, Paris

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  • Louvre Museum, Paris, France
    Louvre Museum, Paris, France
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  • The Lady with an Ermine by da Vinci.
    The Lady with an Ermine by da Vinci.
    by breughel
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    by adema29 Updated Jul 22, 2015

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    I have spent half day in Louvre, getting only a vague idea about all the treasures they accommodate in the biigest Museum on the planet.
    It was much easier that I expected to get the ticket, the only challenge was to find a logic itinerary.
    What else I can say about it? Nothing that…. Go there!

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    Le Louvre

    by Gypsystravels Updated Jun 22, 2015

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    Le Louvre should be on everyone's list of places to see while in Paris and I am sure that it probably is. Here you will find the famous Mona Lisa, Winged Victory of Samothrace, Venus di Milo and Michealangelo's "Dying Slave" to name a few.

    I love visiting the Louvre and wandering its many wings. Because the museum is huge my word of advise, if you are limited in time or are overwhelmed by the size, just pick a wing with your interests and go explore. Its the best way to concentrate on just one era or exhibit without getting the overwhelming feeling you can get when you are faced with way too much.

    Check out my travelogue for a few pics from Le Louvre.

    Pyramid at the Louvre at night Le Louvre Another view of the pyramid at night. Odelisk Mona Lisa
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    More than a museum a state of mind,Louvre

    by gwened Updated May 24, 2015

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    the most beautiful museum in the world, I have been to a few of the better known, but the Louvre history, layout,and content is unmatched by any. You must see it.

    A lot has been written on it. That if EU citizen under 26 you get a discount; and that there are several entry points the best being the carrousel du Louvre. The rules have change and from April to September there is no free entry on the first Sundays of the month anymore. From October to March the first Sunday of the month to the permanent collections is free for all.
    individual visitors can go by the Pyramide, porte des lions( except Fridays and nocturnal events in the evenings) and the carrousel du Louvre,the best. If you already have a ticket you can come thru the pyramide on a reserve line for quicker entry. Those with discount cards or friends of the museum or the museum pass can come by the entry on the passage Richelieu. The Porte des LIons is accessable on Wednesdays afternoon after school and friends of the museum however, I have seen individual ticketholders go by there too, and now you can even purchase tickets there!

    The best is to check the site as there can be changes to hours, prices, entries etc.

    You reach the museum from metro lines 1 and 7, station Palais-Royal/musée du Louvre
    By bus with No 21,24,27,39,48,68,69,72,81,95 as well as the touristic Paris l'Open Tour , stop facing the pyramide
    bicycle Velib stations near the museum are :
    n°1015 : 2 place A. Malraux
    n°1023 : 165 rue Saint-Honoré
    n°1014 : 5 rue de l’Echelle
    n°1013 : 186 rue Saint-Honoré

    Batobus, at escale Louvre in quai François Mitterand

    by car, there is an underground parking reachable by avenue du général Lemonier,every day from 7h00 -23h00.

    En Batobus : Escale Louvre, quai François Mitterrand

    From Aéroport d'Orly : RER C direction Champs de Mars-Tour Eiffel, get off at Saint-Michel Notre-Dame, walk to Saint Michel, take bus no. 27 direction Saint Lazare, get off at Musée du Louvre, in front of the Pyramide.

    From l'Aéroport Charles de Gaulle : RER B direction Massy-Palaiseau, change at Chatelet les Halles, take line 14 direction Saint-Lazare, stop at Pyramides ,walk to the musée du Louvre or take metro line 1 and get off at Palais-Royal / Musée du Louvre.

    You can buy your ticket before arrival see instructions here

    For mobility impaired persons contact for further info and help email

    The webpage has plenty of information in English plus those visitors who have tips about it here at VT.,

    And new Louvre is open in Lens the Louvre is opening branches in Lens north of France (already open and more than 600K persons per day!!!) and Abu Dhabi (under construction expected open in 2015) lol!

    Enjoy it,it really deserves a whole day at least. UPDATE
    The museum had record visits every year (almost twice as any other museum in the world), orders for limiting the time inside is already been mentioned in the French press,and other sites open first in Lens in the north and then in Abu Dhabi. The renovation around the pyramide de pei has been postponned costing about 10M€ so long lines will continue for a while.
    The new director Jean-Luc Martínez, effective this month. A native Parisien, and up to today the head of the Department of Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans antiquities.

    a pdf file in French but will help get your orientation around it

    the crypt of Osiris inside the Louvre Egyptian temple inside Louvre Egyptian antiquities inside the Louvre the ceilings of salle Apollon inside the Louvre salle Michaelange inside the Louvre
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    Surreal to see such famous art in person

    by chattygirl7491 Updated May 22, 2015

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    Our Bredon tour guided found local people to show us the highlights and make in interesting. I'd love to go back some day but it was a must if your in Paris. With that said I truly have never understood the allure of the Mona Lisa but seeing it in person it was even .. less so. It was much smaller and darker than I'd imagined ... our Brendon rep told us we could take pics there as long as we didn't use a flash .. the Louvre staff did not agree ... so my only picture is blurry.
    We could have explored more there but we only had a few days in Paris and so much more to experience .. Paris is amazing.

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    Richelieu - Paintings of Northern Schools.

    by breughel Updated May 7, 2015

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    As soon as you reach the Second Floor of Wing Richelieu by the main escalator you will see the large Gallery Medicis with 24 large paintings (1622-1625) by Rubens (photo 5).
    These paintings ordered by Queen Marie de Medicis glorify this famous Queen of France (wife of Henri IV and mother of Louis XIII).
    From here you may visit about 40 smaller rooms with a large collection of Flemish, Dutch and German paintings from the 15th to the 17th century.

    The highlights of this collection are from the Flemish School (Flemish Primitives):
    Jan Van Eyck "La vierge du Chevalier Rolin" (1434), Rogier van der Weyden "L'Annonciation" (1435). Room 5 shows six paintings of Hans Memling (photo 4) what makes of Le Louvre the second museum outside the town of Brugge to have so many Memling's. From the 16th c. is shown the famous painting "Prêteur et sa femme" (1514) from Quentin Metsys (photo 1) and a small Pieter Bruegel "Les mendiants" (1568).

    The Dutch School is very well represented by two Vermeer's "La Dentellière" and "l'Astronome" in room 38 (photo 2). I was pleased to see that tourists, mainly from Asia, have now discovered the existence of these two Vermeer's at the Louvre; on my previous visits I was nearly alone in that section, no more now. Nearly all famous Dutch painters of the 17th c. are on display here: Rembrandt with "Bethsabée au bain" (1654), Frans Hals with the excellent "la Bohémienne" (1666) (photo 3), Pieter de Hooch, Van Ruysdael, Wouverman and many others shown in small cabinets.

    The German school is present with great names such as Dürer, Cranach and Holbein with a famous portrait of "Erasmus" (1523).
    Even the tourist on a 1 day visit of Le Louvre should not omit to spend some time on this 2nd Floor of Richelieu Wing.

    Louvre - Quentin Metsys Louvre - The two Vermeer, room 38 Louvre - Frans Hals Louvre - Hans Memling Louvre - P.P. Rubens at Medecis gallery, room  18.
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    by spassky64 Updated Apr 18, 2015

    Bonjour everybody, Louvre is something you cannot discuss, as Prado, Uffizi and National Gallery, but I can olny recommend to visit is completely alone and, please, without children crying. Thank you and regards

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    The Louvre Pyramid - Pyramide du Louvre.

    by breughel Updated Feb 24, 2015

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    I have seen Le Louvre for the first time in the early sixties (*) well before the pyramid which dates from 1989 but also well before the huge renovation works outside and inside undergone by the Palais du Louvre.
    A photo from the 1950s shows that there was a garden where now stands the Pyramid. That's how it looked at my first visit; cars could park along that garden. The entrance was in the left building because the part of the Louvre seen from the roof on the right was the Ministry of Finances till 1989. Presently it is the Richelieu wing .

    I found an engraving from the time of Emperor Napoleon III (1860s) showing in perspective how the Palais du Louvre and the Palais des Tuileries (no more existing see my Palais des Tuileries) were joined.
    Since 1793 part of the palace was already a museum.

    I have been asked if I like the Pyramid or not.
    For me the Pyramid is only a small part of the titanesque project called Grand Louvre which officially started in 1983 and aimed at transforming all the Palais du Louvre and the Tuileries in a grandiose museum increasing its surface from 57000 to 161000 m2.
    My favorite is this huge renovation work of the Palais du Louvre of which the Pyramid from Ming Pei was the only controversial part. For me it is a detail compared to what is on display inside the museum.
    Presently I'm used to it standing in the main courtyard (photo 1) called Cour Napoléon. If I want to see what it looked before I go and look at the Cour Carrée (photo 2) in the back.

    The problem with the Pyramid, now twenty years old, is that it can not handle the enormous number of visitors. It was conceived for 4 millions visitors/year and there were 9.3 million in 2013.
    That’s why I recommend the other entries in my tip " Avoiding The Queues" or "Buy your ticket in advance."

    There is now a projet aiming, after modifications, to increase the capacity at 10 million visitors.

    (*) Can you imagine that on my first visit in 1961 we were only 4 visitors in front of "La Joconde"!

    NB. I have a problem with Le Louvre. There is so much to see in the eight departments, all of utmost importance for art and history, that the dilemma is the following: should I write one sole tip about Le Louvre; if yes I could review it all by "Wow, this is great!" and load up photos.
    I apologize but I'm unable to follow that trend.
    But nobody is obliged to read my tips.

    Pyramide du Louvre and Cour Napoleon. Cour Carree du Louvre. Queue at Pyramid. Louvre and Cour Napoleon in the 1950s. Louvre and Tuileries around 1860.
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    Van Eyck & Vermeer in wing Richelieu.

    by breughel Updated Feb 24, 2015

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    Van Eyck & Vermeer.

    Two of the best painters of their time can be admired on level 2 from the Richelieu wing (room 38), which is far away from La Joconde in the opposite wing Denon with its crowds.
    Everybody knows Vermeer from the Dutch 17th c. "Gouden Eeuw" (Golden Age) school. The Louvre has "La Dentellière - The Lace maker" and the "Astronomer".
    "The Astronomer" and "The Geographer" (Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt) are the only paintings by Vermeer showing a male person, probably the same man in the same interior.
    On my first visits here in the 1990s there were nearly no visitors in this section of the Richelieu wing. Now there are some but no crowd like in front of the Vermeer in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. See Rijksmuseum Gouden Eeuw and Rijksmuseum.

    But let go back by two centuries to the years 1400 with what we call in Belgium the "Flemish Primitives" with a future icon of Le Louvre: "La Vierge du Chancelier Rolin" by Jan van Eyck in 1435 (room 5).
    I say a future icon of Le Louvre because this painting is now already marked as one of the highlights on the museum map; guides with school groups make a long stop here and the French TV showed a 20 minutes document about all aspects - symbolism, techniques, perspective - of this highlight of the Flemish primitives. Van Eyck was one of the first artists to use oil paint.

    Nicolas Rolin (1376?–1462), who was chancellor to Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy, is kneeling before the Virgin and Child. The Virgin is seated on a marble throne wearing a full, embroidered cloak adorned with precious stones.
    Here I must say that the red color of her cloak seemed somewhat dull and brownish as compared to photos on the website of Le Louvre, who show a brilliant red which is not what one sees on the wall of the museum. I fear that the glass protecting the painting is the reason of these dull colors (the same happens with La Joconde looking greenish). In a second photo I saturated somewhat the red color.

    The idealized landscape in the back is imaginary, full of architectural symbols.
    Despite numerous attempts, it is impossible to identify the cities on both sides of the river with towns in Flanders. These are symbolic images of the earthly and the heavenly Jerusalem, traditionally placed on the left and right, separated by the river of life.

    I observed that the texts on the explanatory panels for all the works of art in wing Richelieu have been extended and are well documented. (They are only in French but visitors can use audio guides and I don't remember having seen explanations in another language than English in the museums of the UK).
    If you would like to know more about this highlight of Le Louvre go the website http://musee.louvre.fr/oal/viergerolin/indexFR.html (in French).

    The two Vermeer. The explanatory panel.
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    Tapestries "the Hunts of Maximilian".

    by breughel Updated Feb 24, 2015

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    When you are in the Richelieu wing on the first floor which shows the decorative arts from the Middle Ages to the 19th c. you must visit the large room 19 of the Renaissance section.
    Here are hanging 12 of the most beautiful tapestries in the world called the "Hunts of Maximilian". Archduke Maximilian of Habsbourg, later emperor of Austria was the brother of Emperor Charles V (Charles Quint born in Gent, Belgium) who in that time had his palace in Brussels. He liked to go hunting in the forest of Soignes (still existing) just outside Brussels. The 12 large (about 5 x 7 m) tapestries show scenes of hunting at the 12 months of the year.
    The picturesque, realistic and detailed landscapes show, in the back ground, the still existing abbey of Rouge Cloître, the village of La Hulpe and the town hall of Brussels.

    The inspiration is from the Italian renaissance, the technical mastery is that of the painter and cartoon designer Bernard van Orley and the weavers from Brussels (ref. my tip on Brussels tapestries at the Musée d'Art et d'Histoire, Cinquantenaire, Brussels).
    They were manufactured between 1531 and 1533 probably by Guillaume Dermoyen.
    The "lissiers" tapestry weavers used two type of weaving loom: the horizontal loom called "basse lisse" and the vertical one "haute lisse". In both case the weavers worked on the back side. It has been calculated that one "lissier" would weave about 1 square meter in one month!

    Although ordered by the Habsbourg, in the 16th c. they belonged to the French Ducs de Guise, then Mazarin and King Louis XIV. These tapestries contain gold wire but fortunately escaped the destructions of the French revolutionaries.
    The French Manufacture des Gobelins made a number of copies of the original tapestries around 1700.

    These 12 marvellous tapestries are very well presented in the large room 19.
    It is sad that so few visitors of the museum stop here to really look at them.

    Louvre - Tapestries Louvre - Tapestries -December, killing a wild boar Louvre - Tapestries - hunting a stag
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    La Musée du Louvre

    by Arial_27 Updated Feb 21, 2015

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    I would definitely recommend to anyone to visit the Louvre, especially if you're interested in the fine arts, culture and history. The Louvre is very big and easy to get lost in.. but once you figure out the very confusing map they give you' you'll easily be able to find everything. One thing I really liked was how you can enter and exit the museum in an escalator under the large, glass pyramid outside the building. It costs € 11,00 to get in, but it's extra if you want to see the Napoléon Hall. Some of the highlights for me at the Louvre were seeing some of the paintings from the Renaissance, including the Mona Lisa (which is actually only a foot big, but there is always a large crowd of people standing in front of it.) I also liked seeing the paintings from the Neoclassical period (especially 'The Raft of the Medusa' by Gericault.) It's my favourite painting.
    The apartments of Napoléon were facinating, as they were very luxurious, looked similar to the inside of the Chateau de Versailles. You will also find a post office in the museum, along with a money-exchange office, a bookstore and a gift shop.

    The Louvre is open every day except for Tuesdays. I would set aside a couple hours of line-up time if you are going on a weekend, or during a holiday. Afterwards, I'd give yourself a few hours of exploration time inside. If you get hungry, you can leave the museum and re-enter with your ticket without having to queue up again which is good.
    There are plenty of upper-scale shops underground around where the upside down pyramid is (where this photo was taken.) It's a great place to buy nicer souvenirs and gifts for people.
    There is also a luggage check which is free to visitors.

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    by breughel Updated Feb 19, 2015

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    The department of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities underwent reorganization in order to improve the exhibition spaces. On my visit in August 2009 rooms 7, 14 - 16 on the Sully ground floor were closed.
    The rooms devoted to the classical Greek and Hellenistic art (Sully, rooms 7-17) were completely refurbished, and are again open to the public since July 7, 2010.
    The Venus of Milo stands in room 7 (will be moved to room 16).
    The highlight of the museum, the Winged Victory of Samothrace stands at the staircase linking the Denon and Sully wings (28 on the museum map).

    To these highlights of the Western art was added in 2004 a remarkable acquisition; a life-sized horse's head (photo 1), fragment from an Archaic Greek sculpture dating from the 6th century BC.

    We spent some time admiring the Greek terracotta figurines - arranged chronologically, geographically, and thematically - in rooms 35 - 37 of what is called the Musée Charles X.
    You will find here an amazing combination of a palace décor from 1827 evoking Homer, Pompeii and Herculaneum, executed by the best artists (a.o. Ingres, Vernet, Fragonard) from the reign of Charles X and antiquities collections.
    These rooms have been renovated and are just wonderful by the décor and the content (photo 2).

    The terracotta figures ("Tanagra figurines") date from the Archaic, Pre-Classical Hellenistic and Roman periods. I much liked a small and quite elegant "Victory with wings" from 190 BC (photo 3).

    Here are also on display in new and elegant showcases a large number of Greek vases of all shapes (the Louvre collection counts 2700 vases): amphora, krater, hydria, long shaped lekythos, cups and some interesting rythons with a head of a donkey. Unique is this oenochoe (wine jug) in the form of a head from a black slave (photo 4 - room 43).

    Le Louvre - Greek-Attic horse Le Louvre - Charles X rooms - Greek antiquities Le Louvre - Le Louvre - Greek rythons.
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    La Joconde - A last visit.

    by breughel Updated Feb 7, 2015

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    Ten years ago I wrote here a somewhat ironic comment about "Mona Lisa in the crowd".
    Last summer I returned to the Louvre and arriving early I could admire at ease the famous painting of Da Vinci.
    Standing on the first line, in the centre, I could contemplate during several minutes this work which is the centre of attraction of the Louvre museum.
    From an academic point there is no doubt for me that this portrait is excellent. The enigmatic- ironic smile of the model certainly contributed to its glory.
    But … if on my first visit in 1962 I felt curiosity "so that's Mona Lisa", I never felt on my many visits that emotion, attraction, complicity which I often felt with other portraits.
    It seems that between La Joconde and me there is no rapport, no feeling.
    This visit was thus my last one, a good-bye visit.


    Il y a dix ans j'ai écrit ici un commentaire quelque peu ironique sur Mona Lisa.
    Je suis encore retourné en été au Louvre et étant arrivé tôt j'ai pu admirer à mon aise le célèbre tableau de Da Vinci. J'ai pu rester en première ligne, au centre, pendant plusieurs minutes pour contempler le plus objectivement possible cet œuvre qui est le pôle d'attraction du musée.
    D'un point de vue académique il est certain qu'il s'agit d'un excellent portrait dont le sourire énigmatique ou ironique a fait la gloire. Cependant en ce qui me concerne je n'ai jamais ressenti face à ce portrait cette émotion, cette attraction, ce sentiment de connivence que j'ai souvent ressenti avec d'autres portraits.
    Entre la Joconde et moi le courant n'est jamais passé. Cette visite est donc un adieu; elle ne m'en voudra pas, je lui ai rendu visite pendant quarante ans.

    La Joconde.
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    The Louvre, a definite must-see

    by Beausoleil Updated Feb 6, 2015

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    If you go to Paris, there are a few things that are almost obligatory, Notre Dame, the Latin Quarter, the Ave. des Champs Elysées, the Arc de Triomphe, Place de la Concorde, the Musée d'Orsay and certainly, the Louvre.

    The others don't take quite as much time as the Louvre, so you need to plan your visit to the Louvre carefully. You could spend weeks inside the museum, never leaving it and constantly seeing something new. It is huge. If you have a particular period of art or a particular artist, it would be a good idea to look them up on the Louvre web site ahead of time, get the excellent map when you buy your ticket and go straight to what you want to see. If you have time left, you can wander . . . nearly forever.

    There are several things in the Louvre that are at the top of many people's list, the Mona Lisa (called La Giaconda in France), the Winged Victory of Samothrace, Venus de Milo and the Apartments of Napoleon. If you want to see only these, the museum map is invaluable. Just locate them, walk to them and you have accomplished your goal.

    If you have more time, enjoy your walk between the exhibits above. If you have other interests, locate them before you start so you can see them on the way to the Big Four. I love the Houdon busts of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin so we always visit those no matter what else we are visiting that day.

    One word of caution . . . If you are a fan of the Impressionists, don't look for them in the Louvre. They are across the river in the Musée d'Orsay. Many people are disappointed to discover this after they've bought their ticket. You can't get a combination ticket (that I know of) for the Louvre and the Orsay, but you can get a combination ticket for the Musée d'Orsay and the Orangerie which is a bargain since they are smaller and can be visited in one day.

    If this is your first visit to the Louvre or you don't know a lot about art, you might enjoy the audio guide that is available. It's very popular. There are also guided tours by museum-approved tour guides that are brief (hour and a half) but informative and help you get oriented. Then you can wander at will. I've never liked audio guides so the hour and a half guided tour seems excellent to me. Afterwards, the museum is yours for the day.

    Guided Tours of the Louvre

    The museum is closed on Tuesdays so factor that into your travel plans. The hours and costs are at the official Louvre web site listed below. From October to March the first Sunday of the month is free admission. We've done that and it was fine but expect huge crowds. You will stand in line for hours if you go to the main entrance so don't. Go to one of the other entrances listed on the museum map. Our favorite is the Lion's Gate but if you enter at either the Carrousel de la Louvre or Metro Entrances, the lines will be much shorter so try those.

    The Louvre from the Arc du Carrousel The Pei Pyramid in the Courtyard Venus de Milo The Lion's Gate Entrance to the Louvre Underneath the Pei Pyramid inside the Louvre
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    Tapestries at the Louvre (1st)

    by Nemorino Updated Jan 28, 2015

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    On the first floor of the Richelieu Wing of the Louvre there are several large rooms devoted to sixteenth-century Renaissance tapestries. I recently had the privilege of going through these rooms with VT member breughel (Eddy), who is a connoisseur not only of paintings but also of tapestries, especially those from his home country of Belgium.

    I was especially interested in seeing these historic tapestries because a few weeks earlier I had toured the Gobelin manufactory in Paris and seen how tapestries are made by traditional weaving methods – a very slow and laborious process!

    One of the large galleries in the Louvre, room 19, displays all twelve tapestries of the series “The Hunts of Maximilian”. Since there is one tapestry for each month of the year, we can infer that the hunting season was open all year round in those days – at least for Maximilian I, who was the emperor and could hunt whenever and wherever he pleased.

    In addition to hunting, Maximilian I was also a big fan of jousting. In German he was known as der letzte Ritter (the last knight), because he kept on jousting in tournaments even after this sort of combat had become obsolete on the battlefield.

    When he wasn’t hunting or jousting, Maximilian I also fought several wars to expand his empire, but in fact the largest expansions of his empire came through the marriages that he arranged for himself, his son and his grandson.

    All these hunting scenes take place in the outskirts of Brussels or the nearby Sonian Forest. Eddy told me that some of the buildings in the background still exist in Brussels today. He also pointed out the symbol in the lower left hand corner of some of the tapestries:



    This means that the tapestry was woven in “Brussels in Brabant”.

    The designs (known as ‘cartoons’) for these tapestries were made by a painter named Bernard van Orley. Apparently the tapestries were commissioned by Maximilian’s grandson, Emperor Charles V, or by someone at his court. Sixty weavers worked for two years to produce the twelve tapestries.

    The one in my first photo is from the month of March, which as Eddy explained was at that time the first month of the year.

    To learn more about medieval and renaissance tapestries, please have a look at the many reviews on this subject by VirtualTourist member breughel, who has described tapestries on display in Paris, Krakow, Toulouse, Beaune and Brussels, among other places.

    Fifth photo: This is an entirely different tapestry from room 10 on the first floor of the Richelieu Wing. It shows three phases of working with wool. The girl on the left is holding a sheep that she is going to shear. The young man in the middle is winding the wool into a ball and the girl on the left is weaving on a small portable loom.

    This was known as a "Noble Pastorale" tapestry because is shows young lords and ladies playing at being shepherds. This was evidently a popular pastime for young aristocrats and is also reflected in numerous operas including Mozart’s La finta giardiniera ("The Pretend Garden-Girl") and Il rè pastore (“The Shepherd King”).

    This style of tapestries is also called mille-fleurs meaning a thousand flowers, because of the many flowers in the background.

    Next review from September 2013: Claude Lorrain at the Louvre

    The hunts of Maximilian: March The hunts of Maximilian: July The hunts of Maximilian: October The hunts of Maximilian: room 19 Working with wool, room 10
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    The Richelieu Wing of the Louvre (1st)

    by Nemorino Updated Jan 28, 2015

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    The Louvre, being such a huge museum, is divided up into three “wings”:

    • The big hollow square at the back, meaning the East, is called the Sully Wing, named after Maximilien de Béthune, the first Duke of Sully (1560–1641), who was the Finance Minister and chief advisor to King Henry IV.

    • The north wing, which runs for several blocks along the Rue de Rivoli, is called the Richelieu Wing after Cardinal Richelieu (Armand Jean du Plessis, 1585–1642), who was not only a Cardinal but also the Chief Minister of King Louis XIII, the son of Henry IV.

    • The south wing, which stretches along the right bank of the Seine, is called the Denon Wing after Dominique Vivant, Baron Denon (1747–1825), an archeologist, diplomat, author and artist who was appointed by Napoléon as the first director of the Louvre Museum in 1802. The Denon Wing is the most popular of the three (and hence the most crowded), because the Mona Lisa is on display there, also the Crowning of Napoleon and other well-known works.

    In 2013 I had the great pleasure of spending a day at the Louvre in the company of VT member breughel (Eddy), who is our resident expert on paintings and tapestries. We decided in advance to concentrate on the Richelieu Wing, where I hadn’t been for six years, because he wanted to show me some of his favorite paintings there and because I wanted to see the large collection of medieval and renaissance tapestries under his guidance.

    My first photo on this tip is a portrait of Saint Madeleine (aka Mary Magdalene) by the Flemish painter Quentin Metsys (1466-1530). This is a fairly recent acquisition, having been bought by the Louvre in 2006 for a reported five million Euros. It is on display in room 9 on the second floor of the Richelieu Wing, along with three other paintings by the same artist.

    Second photo: This is another painting by Quentin Metsys, called The Moneylender and His Wife. Here we have a contrast between the greedy money-lender, who is weighing pearls, jewels, and pieces of gold, and his pious wife, who is being distracted from the religious book she is reading. The Louvre’s website says that this painting “is an allegorical and moral work, condemning avarice and exalting honesty,” and that it was once owned by the painter Peter Paul Rubens.

    A point to note is that the moneylender’s wife is reading a religious book, but it is not the Bible. Reading the Bible was a capital offense in Catholic Flanders in the sixteenth century, because it was considered a subversive act, something only Protestants would do. In 1543, thirteen years after the death of Quentin Metsys, his sister Catherine and her husband were both put to death for reading the Bible – his head was chopped off and she was allegedly buried alive in the square in front of the church.

    Third photo: Another painting in the same room is this one of Saint Jerome in the desert by Joachim Patinir (1480-1524). Patinir was a student and friend of Quentin Metsys; when Patinir died in 1524, Metsys became the guardian of his children.

    Fourth photo: Next door in room 10 is this famous French painting from the Fontainebleau school of the late 16th century. It is presumed to be a portrait of Gabrielle d'Estrées, the chief mistress of Henry IV, and her sister, the Duchess of Villars. According to the Louvre’s website, the “ostentatious gesture” of the Duchess pinching her sister’s nipple “may be an allusion to Gabrielle's pregnancy and the birth in 1594 of César de Vendôme, the illegitimate son of Henry IV.”

    Fifth photo: Here Eddy (VT member breughel) is taking pictures of two famous paintings by Johannes Vermeer (1632–1675). On the left is The Lacemaker from 1669-1671, and on the right is The Astronomer from 1668. These paintings are on display in room 38 on the second floor of the Richelieu Wing.

    Next review from September 2013: Tapestries at the Louvre

    Metsys: Sainte Madeleine Metsys: The Moneylender and His Wife Patinir: Saint Jerome in the Desert Ecole de Fontainbleau Two paintings by Vermeer
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Museum Visits

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Comments (2)

  • Jan 12, 2014 at 6:36 AM

    Breughel's review describing her first visit to The Louvre in 1962 brought back memories of MY first visit to the city and the museum that same year. It was Easter weekend and there were no queues and just a few people (maybe 10) clustered around The Mona Lisa. A totally different experience from today's museum visitors.

  • gwened's Profile Photo
    Apr 3, 2013 at 5:06 AM

    after getting to reach record attendance and multisites, the director of the Louvre has been replaced effective this month.Jean-Luc Martínez, that was before the head of the antiques greeks, etruscans, and romans of the museum will be the new director. He is a native Parisien as well.

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