Louvre, Paris

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  • Louvre Museum, Paris, France
    Louvre Museum, Paris, France
    by Parisforless
  • The Lady with an Ermine by da Vinci.
    The Lady with an Ermine by da Vinci.
    by breughel
  • Une Odalisque
    Une Odalisque
    by mindcrime
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    by Dabs Updated Apr 17, 2014

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Michelangelo's Slave
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    Last visit April 2014

    Although my favorite art museum in Paris (and perhaps the world) is the Musee d'Orsay, a visit to the Louvre, even for a short bit, is a must see in Paris. The Louvre is a very, very large place and it is quite useful to sit down with the map and figure out where you are going. The massive building now housing the art collection was a palace from the time of Francois I, it ceased being a palace during the French Revolution. Napoleon took it back from the people and restored it to being a palace, he married his 2nd wife Marie-Louise here. Be sure to find David's Coronation of Napoleon should you have an interest in French history.

    If your time is short or you have an uninterested non art lover with you, you can make a quick visit to see the must see's, DaVinci's Mona Lisa (good luck getting near to it if it's busy), Venus de Milo, Winged Victory and Michelangelo's Slaves. If your interests are more varied, you'll find Egyptian, Greek, Oriental, Etruscan and Roman antiquities, Italian renaissance paintings, European and French paintings. If impressionist art is your passion, that collection is at the Orsay. If you have several days in Paris and you have a Museum Pass, you might consider making several smaller visits to avoid museum overload.

    The Louvre is included on the museum pass, the pass says that there is a special entrance in the Richlieu passageway for card holders, however, the last two times that I've visited, there has been a separate line for pass holders that cuts the queue going through I.M. Pei's glass pyramid. Both times was on a late night, from the website it looks like the Passage Richelieu entrance is only open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

    Check the website below for current information on opening times, etc. Currently the Louvre is open late on Wednesday and Friday until 9:45pm, closed on Tuesday and free on the 1st Sunday of the month and July 14th (Bastille Day).

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    by breughel Updated Mar 28, 2014

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    Mona Lisa smiling at the crowd.
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    NEW: A second Mona Lisa?!
    Since an amateur of art found a painting showing the alleged upper part of the body of the model painted by Courbet for his famous (scandalous according to some) "L'Origine du Monde" (ref my tip Scandalous Nudes at Orsay ) a foundation pretending that there is an earlier version of Leonardo da Vinci’s most celebrated painting "Mona Lisa" reached the media.
    About this Henri Loyrette director of Le Louvre said (Le Figaro 15/02/2013): «il n'y a qu'une et unique Joconde, celle du Louvre, dont l'historique est parfait puisqu'il vient directement de Léonard de Vinci dans les collections royales françaises.» "There is only one Joconde-Mona Lisa, the one of the Louvre, whose history is perfect since it comes directly from Leonardo da Vinci in the French royal collection".


    At the beginning of the sixties I visited for the first time Le Louvre.
    There was no pyramid; the facades of the Louvre were of a dirty grey colour as most of the buildings of Paris. No queue at the entrance of the museum. We were only four visitors in front of Mona Lisa. I returned in the nineties; the pyramid was standing there as well as the queues. We were more than forty to admire Mona Lisa.
    In the spring of 2005, I was again in the Louvre where the Joconde had just been installed in a new bigger room (Wing Denon, 1st floor, room 6). By curiosity I went to this new room to find inside and around a crowd of about 400 persons.
    In 40 years there had been a hundredfold increase of visitors to Mona Lisa!

    I abandoned and went to the Richelieu wing with on the 2nd floor the collections of the Dutch and Flemish painters. I was almost alone and could admire in all quietness (room 38) two Vermeer "The Lace maker" and "The Astronomer" and one painting of Pieter de Hooch.
    Shall I add that there are only few museums in the world which have two Vermeer's.
    On the first floor I paid a visit to the tapestries of Brussels with the famous "Hunting's of Maximilien".
    A bit before the closing time I returned to the room of La Joconde which I could finally approach.
    I was amazed at the Mona Lisa's bad look; she showed a greenish complexion; or is it the effect from the thick glass panel which protects her?
    I read that the Joconde would need a restoration; the wooden panel bends. But who in France will dare to make the decision to remove Mona Lisa from the Louvre for a restoration?
    By her attraction on the world tourism, Mona Lisa represents an important part of the GNP of France! There were 9,7 million visitors in 2012 at Le Louvre, about 31000 per day!

    No mystery anymore.
    Experts of the University library of Heidelberg have found a book belonging to Agostino Vespucci, an acquaintance of Da Vinci. A note in this book indicates that Mona Lisa was Lisa del Giocondo wife of Francesco del Giocondo a rich merchant of Florence. That's why in French we say La Joconde and not Mona Lisa.

    If you came to Paris only to see La Joconde -Mona Lisa there is a shortcut in the Louvre avoiding the procession of tourists moving slowly from the Pyramid entrance to La Joconde.
    See my tip "A shortcut to La Joconde - Mona Lisa" .

    Monday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday: from 9 to 18 h.
    Wednesday, Friday: from 9 to 21.45 h.
    Closed on Tuesday.
    Entrances to the museum:
    - Pyramid and Galerie du Carrousel entrances: from 9 to 22 h.
    - Passage Richelieu entrance: from 9 to 18 h.
    - Porte des Lions entrance: from 9 to 17.30 h, EXCEPT WEDNESDAY AND FRIDAY.

    Price tickets for the Permanent Collections €12 (2014) full-day access to the Louvre, except for temporary exhibitions in the Hall Napoléon (13 €) also valid in combination with the Musée Eugène Delacroix (16 €).
    Free less than 18 yr. Free 18 - 25 yr from the EU.
    NEW in 2014: From April to September: NO free admission on the first Sunday of each month.

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    Géricault "Le Radeau de la Méduse".

    by breughel Updated Mar 28, 2014

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    Louvre - G��ricault
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    Congratulations; you followed my tip "Mona Lisa in the crowd" and thanks to your height over 1.90 m, weight of 100 kg and your practice of rugby or football you were able to approach "La Joconde" the goal of your quest for the "Holy Grail".

    After the immobility of Mona Lisa you might like to discover the movement of the 19th century with the Romantic school as expressed by Théodore Géricault and his famous large painting (5 x 7 m.) "Le Radeau de la Méduse" (wing Denon, room 77).
    The terrible story of the wreck of the French frigate "La Méduse" is a real one (1816) and Géricault put a lot of realism in his painting.
    From the 150 man on the raft only five survived and it was said that there was cannibalism!
    No doubt that Géricault expressed a paradox: how to make a strong painting of a hideous motive, how to reconcile the art and the reality? He refused the constraints of the classic standards and looked for a more free way of painting. He used morbid, macabre colours, illustrating the death. Unfortunately, for the conservation of this painting, Géricault used dark pigments based on bitumen which don't dry well and, by passing through the paint layers, cause cracks and a general darkening effect.

    The horror of this subject fascinated and divided critics when it was shown at the Salon of 1819 as well as it does now in contrast with the placid Mona Lisa.

    For the full story of the "Méduse" I recommend (in French):

    Monday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday: from 9 to 18 h.
    Wednesday, Friday: from 9 to 22 h.
    Closed on Tuesday.

    Entrances to the museum:
    - Pyramid and Galerie du Carrousel entrances: from 9 to 22 h.
    - Passage Richelieu entrance: from 9 to 18 h.
    - Porte des Lions entrance: from 9 to 17.30 h., except Wednesday & Friday.

    Price tickets for the Permanent Collections (2014)
    €12 - full-day access to the Louvre, except for temporary exhibitions (13 €) in the Hall Napoléon
    Free less than 18 yr.
    Free 18 - 25 yr from the EU.
    NEW: From April to September: NO free admission on the first Sunday of each month.

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    Musee du Louvre

    by mindcrime Updated Mar 24, 2014

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    Pyramid, the main entrance
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    I can’t easily write about this amazing museum, how can you describe a place that houses about 380,000 objects with some of them are world’s finest pieces of art?

    There are so many galleries that it’s much better to choose one and enjoy it more. You have to plan ahead anyway, I had so many must sees that I made my own guide the first time and I read some books about my favorite artists and their works in Louvre.

    There are some tours in English daily but I didn’t use them as I wanted to see specific parts of the museum. You can return for a second visit anyway, we will return for sure. There’s no way to see it all and it’s kind of stupid to stand in line for hours and pay the expensive ticket and go to see only Mona Lisa, there’s so much more in Louvre… Actually when I saw tourists in front of Mona Lisa taking pictures of themselves in front of the painting and not looking at the painting itself at all I didn’t know if I had to laugh or cry, for some reason I remembered the opening titles of Charlie Chaplin’s masterpiece The Kid :A picture with a smile and perhaps a tear

    Some of my favorite paintings are located at Louvre, I love almost everything by Delacroix but there are so many more. The famous sculptures Venus de Milo and Winged Victory of Samothrace are also not to be missed from the greek collection but also some great sculptures at the Italian gallery

    Pic1:people get inside the Pyramid (main entrance to Louvre)
    Pic2:girl admires the Grande Odalisque, the beautiful oil painting by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1814)
    Pic3:woman copies Titien’s The Virgin and Child with Saint Catherine (1530)
    Pic4:girl admires Michelangelo’s Dying Slave (1513-16)
    Pic5:the larger than life greek sculpture of Venus de Milo, created by Alexandros of Antioch between 130 and 100BC

    The museum is open Wednesday to Monday 9.00-18:00 (Wednesday and Friday till 21.45)

    The entrance fee is €12(free admission on the first Sunday of each month). You can also find tickets at FNAC (1e extra fee).
    It’s much better to use the metro entrance to come in than the one by the pyramid that is usually full of crowds.

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    Louvre: Musée Charles X

    by Nemorino Updated Mar 21, 2014

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    Room 27
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    Charles X reigned as King of France from 1824 to 1830. To celebrate his coronation at the cathedral of Reims, the great Italian composer Gioacchino Rossini (1792-1868) was commissioned to write an opera for the occasion. What he came up with was a light-hearted, irreverent (but not unfriendly) comic opera called Il viaggio a Reims (The Journey to Reims), which I have described in one of my Frankfurt tips as The world’s first tourist opera.

    Legend has it that the new king fell asleep during the festive premiere of the new opera, but everyone else seems to have liked it, and it is still quite popular today whenever it is performed.

    Since he enjoyed commissioning things (and didn’t mind spending other people's money), Charles X later commissioned some of the leading architects and painters of his day to redesign and redecorate a suite of nine rooms in the Louvre, to display parts of the Egyptian, Greek, Roman, medieval and Renaissance collections. The decorations turned out to be very lavish and impressive, and the rooms were proudly inaugurated by Charles X in 1827.

    Since then the exhibits have been rearranged several times, but today the first four rooms of the Musée Charles X are still (or again) used to display part of the collection of Egyptian antiquities. Under the current arrangement, the first four rooms of the Musée Charles X are the last four rooms of the Egyptian department, dealing with the later periods of ancient Egypt.

    Second photo: In room 28, the second room of the Musée Charles X, the exhibits are about Egyptian Princes and courtiers in the period from 1295–1069 BC, but the ceiling painting by Horace Vernet (1789-1863) shows something completely different, namely the Pope Julius II ordering Bramante, Michelangelo, and Raphael to build the Vatican and Saint Peter's in Rome.

    Third photo: In Room 29 the exhibits are about the Third Middle Period of ancient Egypt, from about 1069–404 BC. Here the ceiling painting also has to do with Egypt. It is L'Egypte sauvée par Joseph (Egypt saved by Joseph) by Alexandre-Denis Abel de Pujol (1785-1861).

    Fourth photo: The southeast corner of the Louvre. The Musée Charles X is located here, in nine of the inner rooms on the first floor (not the ground floor, but one flight up).

    Related tips/reviews:
    Reims Cathedral
    Bust of Charles X in Versailles Palace
    The world’s first tourist opera

    Directions: Vélib’ 1025
    GPS 48°51'34.56" North; 2°20'20.26" East
    Métro: Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre
    Telephone: + 33 (0)1 40 20 53 17
    Website: http://cartelen.louvre.fr/cartelen/visite?srv=sal_frame&idSalle=149&langue=en

    Next review from January 2012: Carrousel du Louvre

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    by breughel Updated Mar 15, 2014

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    Line at Le Louvre Pyramid.


    Visiteurs Individuels
    Les visiteurs sans titre d'accès doivent emprunter les entrées de la Pyramide, de la Porte des Lions (sauf le vendredi et les soirs de nocturnes) et l'entrée du Carrousel.
    Les visiteurs avec un billet ont un accès par l'entrée de la Pyramide avec une file réservée.
    Les visiteurs porteurs de cartes (adhérents, enseignants, les partenariats et les mécènes) ont un accès par l'entrée du passage Richelieu.

    Visiteurs en groupe
    Les groupes d'adultes ayant leur propre guide ou conférencier doivent emprunter les entrées du passage Richelieu ou du Carrousel.
    S'ils possèdent leur ticket de réservation ou leur numéro de réservation, le sticker du droit de parole et les billets du droit d'entrée, ils peuvent accéder sans attendre aux collections.
    Si le groupe n'a pas effectué de réservation, seul le responsable de groupe est autorisé à se rendre à l'accueil des groupes afin de retirer sa réservation, son droit de parole ainsi que les billets d'entrée.
    Le passage Richelieu est ouvert jusqu'à 18h30 les soirs de nocturne, 17h30 les autres jours. L'accès s'effectue alors par les entrées du Carrousel ou de la Pyramide.

    Les groupes d'adultes et les groupes de jeunes encadrés par des adultes ayant réservé une conférence, un atelier avec un conférencier ou un intervenant du musée, doivent emprunter l'entrée du passage Richelieu ou du Carrousel.
    Ils doivent alors présenter aux agents postés aux accès la feuille de réservation émise par le musée afin de pouvoir rejoindre avec leur groupe l'espace de l'accueil des groupes où ils s'aquitteront de leur visite et des billets du droit d'entrée.

    Visiteurs en situation de handicap.
    Les visiteurs handicapés ou à mobilité réduite bénéficient d'un accès prioritaire à l'entrée de la Pyramide.

    Visiteurs munis de cartes/billets.
    L'accès est privilégié et sans attente par le passage Richelieu, pour les porteurs de cartes : Amis du Louvre, carte Louvre jeunes, carte Louvre professionnels, Carte American Friends of the Louvre, partenariats particuliers (sur présentation de ladite carte), mécènes.

    L'accès pour les visiteurs munis de billets et de Paris Museum Pass se fait par l'entrée de la pyramide avec une file réservée.

    Here is the official text in English (somewhat different from the French text):

    Entrances for individual visitors:

    Visitor with advance tickets (including Paris Museum Pass): entrance via the Pyramid without having to queue.

    Holders of one of the Louvre member passes: Passage Richelieu entrance.
    This includes members of the Société des Amis du Louvre and the American Friends of the Louvre, as well as holders of the Carte Louvre Jeunes and the Carte Louvre Professionnels.
    Members of partner organizations and companies can also use these entrances on presentation of their passes.

    Visitors without advance tickets or member passes: Pyramid, Porte des Lions or Galerie du Carrousel entrances.

    Entrance for visitors with special needs:

    Disabled visitors and visitors with mobility impairments can enter directly at the Pyramid entrance, without having to queue.

    Entrances for groups:

    Groups of adults with their own guide or lecturer must enter either by the Passage Richelieu or the Galerie du Carrousel.
    Groups that already have a reservation, an authorized tour guide sticker, and tickets may enter the museum directly.
    If a group does not have an advance reservation, the group leader should go alone to the group reception desk to make a reservation, acquire a tour guide sticker, and purchase the necessary tickets.

    Groups of adults, or groups of young people accompanied by adults, who have made reservations for a lecture or a workshop should also enter by the Passage Richelieu or the Galerie du Carrousel.
    At the entrance, the group must present the reservation form issued by the museum. They may then proceed to the group reception desk to get their tickets.

    On the contrary of my previous review and experience (August 2013) visitors without advance tickets or member passes can also enter by the Porte des Lions (not on Friday and evenings with nocturnes) or Galerie du Carrousel entrances.

    Here the most recent official links in French and English: http://www.louvre.fr/comment-venir and http://www.louvre.fr/en/getting-here

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    by breughel Updated Feb 5, 2014

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    Long line in the rain !
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    NEVER GO TO LE LOUVRE WITHOUT BUYING YOUR TICKET IN ADVANCE. You will be lining up, sometimes a several hundred meter long line and maybe in the rain like you will see from my photos on a Sunday of end August at the Pyramid.

    But where to buy your tickets in advance?
    On the contrary of the Musée d'Orsay you CAN NOT PRINT AT HOME THE TICKETS BOUGHT ONLINE on the:
    TicketWeb (permanent collections), Canada and US addresses only.
    FNAC (permanent collections and temporary exhibitions, auditorium events, lectures and symposia, workshops).
    Ticketnet (tickets for the permanent collections and temporary exhibitions).
    Note that these tickets must be picked up at the stores listed on each website or send by post to your address (with surcharge for the post). They can not be picked up at the Louvre museum (still valid in 2014).

    I use to buy them at the FNAC shops; there are many in Paris. You pay 13,60 € instead of the official 12,00 € (2014) price at the Louvre.
    The difference is well worth not waiting in the line.
    But note that with this advance bought ticket you can only enter by the special fast line at the Pyramide; you can not enter by the underground Carousel entry reserved for groups I understood.
    So if it is raining don't forget your umbrella because you have to walk to the Pyramide and stand a few minutes in a short file because the "brilliant" architect who created the Pyramid has only foreseen two small doors to enter and two small escalators to go down to the main hall (where are several ticket counters and machines for those who stood in the long line outside).

    NEW: From April to September: NO free admission on the first Sunday of each month.

    N.B. Maybe I'm wrong to write such warning tips to avoid the lining?
    If every tourist going to the Louvre reads VT and buys tickets in advance the long line will be the priority line on the left at the Pyramid! But I have seen from experience that few visitors read VT; my first tip on VT about avoiding lines is from 2006 with photos of people standing in the rain and in 2013 the tourists are still lining up!

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    Ladies competing with Mona Lisa.

    by breughel Updated Feb 4, 2014

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    The Lady with an Ermine by da Vinci.
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    La Joconde is an old acquaintance of mine. We met in 1962 when I visited for the first time Le Louvre.
    There was no pyramid; the facades of the Louvre were of a dirty grey color as most of the buildings of Paris. No queue at the entrance of the museum. We were only a few visitors in front of Mona Lisa!
    There were even no pickpockets in those blessed years of the golden sixties!

    Since then I have been several times to the Louvre passing by the Mona Lisa -La Joconde.
    From an academic point of view 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 and I have seen many portraits of women painted in the 15th and 16th century when lived Leonardo da Vinci.

    For example these ladies I met at the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin, "Gemäldegalerie - Extraordinary paintings.". I had a real "coup de coeur" for these women painted by Van der Weyden, Petrus Christus and Botticelli in the 15th c.
    Or this lady by Robert Campin (1435) at the National Gallery, London. "Sainsbury wing"
    A paradoxical example of portraits for which I felt more interest than Mona Lisa was from da Vinci himself "The Lady with an Ermine" (Krakow museum)!

    These ladies gone since centuries made me think of "La Ballade des Dames du Temps Jadis" (Ballad of the Ladies of Times Past) a poem from François Villon (1461)

    Dictes moy ou n'en quel pays
    Est Flora le belle Romaine

    Qui beaulté ot trop plus qu'humaine.
    Mais ou sont les neiges d'antan?

    Tell me where, in which country
    Is Flora, the beautiful Roman;

    Who had a beauty too much more than human?
    Oh, where are the snows of yesteryear!?

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    Van Eyck & Vermeer in wing Richelieu.

    by breughel Updated Feb 4, 2014

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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).

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    More than a museum a state of mind,Louvre

    by gwened Updated Feb 1, 2014

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    Egyptian temple inside Louvre
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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, so I will say that there is a free day on the last Sunday of the month, most crowded. That if EU citizen under 26 you get a discount; and that there are several entry points the best being the carrousel du Louvre/
    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.

    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 will pop up soon !!! read all about on the links to follow
    only the Louvre is opening branches in Lens north of France (opening Dec 2012!) and Abu Dhabi (2014) lol!

    Enjoy it,it really deserves a whole day at least. UPDATE
    The museum had record visits in 2012 at 10 millions visitors (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.

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    The Louvre Pyramid - Pyramide du Louvre.

    by breughel Updated Jan 25, 2014

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    Pyramide du Louvre and Cour Napoleon.
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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 8,9 million in 2011.
    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 some would like to impose on VT.
    But nobody is obliged to read my tips.

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    Winged Victory of Samothrace renovation.

    by breughel Updated Jan 17, 2014

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    Winged Victory of Samothrace.

    Since September 3, 2013 the Winged Victory of Samothrace is undergoing a conservation treatment.
    My photo on 25/08/2013 is therefore one of the last made of the Victoire de Samothrace, one of the highlights of Le Louvre. The project is expected to take about 18 months to complete and will involve a certain reorganization. The Victory will be unavailable for viewing till summer 2014.
    The purpose of the conservation project is to clean the monument, which is made of different kinds of marble. Once the statue has been removed from its boat-shaped base, the 23 blocks that form the boat and pedestal will be dismantled for cleaning."

    The French press mentioned that this restoration would cost 4 million Euros.
    Three millions were raised through 3 sponsors (Japanese, French and American).
    One million came from a campaign to appeal for donations from individuals or companies. The average donation was 134 Euros of which 92% were French.

    If the monument should be back next summer the Daru staircase which provides the perfect setting for the Winged Victory of Samothrace and usually very crowded with visitors heading for the Joconde-Mona Lisa, will have its walls, floors, vaulted ceilings and railings refurbished. The cleaning of the staircase should be complete for the spring 2015.

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    Mona Lisa at the Louvre

    by GentleSpirit Updated Nov 25, 2013

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    The Mona Lisa
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    A lot of people want to see the top ten pieces at the Louvre. The most famous is, of course, DaVinci's Mona Lisa, which is a portrait of the wife of Francesco del Giacondo, presumably painted between 1503 and 1506. The painting was acquired by King Francis I of France and now belongs to the French Republic.

    I got to the Louvre very early and eventually I got to see the Mona Lisa. Back then, there were fewer security measures, you could basically go right up to the painting and take a picture with the Mona Lisa. I did it and the girl that took my picture with Mona did it too, nobody said anything. Today, you are not allowed to get quite as close and the painting itself is protected by glass so that some nutcase won't try to take a knife to it. Security is relatively low key. (Photo 2 shows you the Mona Lisa as displayed in Oct. 2013)

    You imagine the Mona Lisa is a huge painting, it is not! It's famous, sure, and its a great painting, no doubt about it. Perhaps no painting in the history of humanity has had so much commentary and analysis made about it. Who the person in the painting actually was, was it perhaps the artists portrayal of himself etc etc.

    In honesty, I was somewhat underwhelmed by the Mona Lisa after seeing her live. Great painting-absolutely. A bit smaller and darker than I had thought it might be. In a museum of so many great paintings, this one seemed well....a bit ordinary, really.

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    I love the Louvre!

    by goodfish Updated Sep 24, 2013

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    It's one of the largest and most revered in the world.
    It sprawls across the site of a former medieval fortress whose ancient foundations still exist.
    It has over 35,000 fascinating sculptures, paintings, prints and decorative objects spanning multiple millennia.
    You would put 12 miles on your sensible walking shoes trying to see all of it.

    Between jet lag and a serious fit of the tizzies over seeing the Mother of Paris Art Museums, we were up at 3:30 our first morning and wandering deserted streets looking for coffee. We finally found a McCafé over on Rue de Rivoli that opened early and so fortified with latte and pastry, we were ready to conquer the vast and hallowed halls of Palais du Louvre.

    Much has been written about best ways to get yourself inside without hours of standing about, and the rules have changed since our last visit but suffice it to say that you'll spend less time standing about in ticket lines if you have an advance ticket, Paris Pass or Paris Museum Pass in your hand. Individual entrances are assigned to ticket/passholders and those without; see this page for what those are:


    The website is your best source of current information, and it is a wealth of it: interactive floor plans; virtual tours; visitor amenities; rules and regulations; etc. Do spend some time browsing the contents before your visit as it'll help you hit the ground running!

    In a nutshell:
    • Open every day from 9:00 - 6:00 except Tuesdays and some holidays. See website for current ticket prices, EEA free admission, etc. Children under age 18 are free.

    • Open until 9:45 PM on Wednesdays and Fridays. This is a great way to spend an evening when other museums are closed! I will mention that some of the windowed galleries are very dimly lit so their paintings will be difficult to see after dark.

    • Your ticket/museum pass allows you to leave/re-enter the museum during the day. A Paris Museum Pass allows you as many visits as the duration days of your pass.

    • Photography and video recording are allowed but no flash

    • Multimedia guides are available for rent in 6 different languages, and multiple profiles (adult, child, hearing-impared, etc.)

    • There are free maps of all three wings at the visitor's entrance hall. If there is a very popular piece you want to see - such as the Mona Lisa - I would suggest knowing the location before you go and making a beeline to it when the doors open. The floor plans on the website will help you locate the most visited pieces or genres of art: click "floor plans" under "Plan your visit."

    • The background and architecture of this former palace is as impressive as the collections so a read of its history is highly recommended: http://www.louvre.fr/en/history-louvre

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    The Richelieu Wing of the Louvre

    by Nemorino Updated Sep 17, 2013

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    Metsys: Sainte Madeleine
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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

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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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