What to see at the Louvre Museum first: halls, pictures, sculptures? History of the former royal residence, open hours, ticket prices 2023. How to visit the Louvre for free, who has the right on a reduced price – investigated good Time for Trip.
What is the Louvre Museum in Paris? This question is asked both by people who are just starting to get acquainted with remarkable places in France, and by those who are trying to comprehend their significance for world history.
Without getting too far, the Louvre in Paris is probably the largest museum complex in the world. And sometimes the most visited – without doubt it is the greatest of all main attractions in Paris.
Unless the British Museum in London can compete with it in terms of the number of visitors. And even then, perhaps due to a significant competitive advantage – it has free entry.
The Louvre is located in the very center of Paris, in the former royal and imperial palace. The museum occupies the block between Rue de Rivoli to the north, Rue de Admiral Coligny to the east, Quai François Mitterrand to the south and Tuileries Garden to the west.
The total number of storage units is more than 450 000. Unfortunately, only a tenth of them is on display.
A collection of paintings and sculptures, ancient artifacts and other art objects from different eras are located in about 400 rooms.
Obviously, you will not be able to see even main masterpieces exhibited in the Louvre in 1 day. Moreover, you probably won’t be able to do it in 2-3 days!
Things to Do in the Louvre
The Louvre collections are located in three main wings: Richelieu, Denon and Sully. Before entering the Napoleon Hall, you can get a free map of the museum in English free of charge. As it will help to navigate…
The most famous works are exhibited in the
– the one that looks at the river Seine. Here, at this part of the Louvre you can see the most popular things.
Like the “La Gioconda” by Leonardo da Vinci, or one of his best paintings: “La Belle Ferronnière” also known as “Portrait of an Unknown Woman”.
In the Denon Wing are also displayed creations of Raphael, Veronese, Titian, Caravaggio, other brilliant Italian painters. As well as Pictures of the classics of the Spanish school of painting: El Greco, Zurbaran, Murillo, works by Francisco Goya.
Also here the most format creations of French painting of the period before impressionism are exhibited. As well as works of best known British painters: Turner and Gainsborough, Constable.
The Denon Wing is the most beloved part of the Louvre by tourists!
In the same wing there are located antique statues of Nike of Samothrace and Venus de Milo. As well as hundreds of samples of outstanding sculptural works from different eras.
It’s not easy to get close to Nika, as like as to Mona Lisa, because in almost every month of the year Paris is overcrowded with a mass of people who want the same. But due to the size (height – 3.28 m), the figure of Victory can be seen from afar.
Specializes mainly in Egyptian artifacts and items from the ancient world. There are few paintings, but, for example, is exhibited here on the second floor Vermeer’s “Astronomer”.
In the same wing you can thoroughly study the history of the palace-museum.
Most of the works by the masters of Northern European painting, the Flemings and the Dutch (Vermeer, Rembrandt, Van Eyck, Brueghel) are also displayed on the second floor, but already in the Richelieu Wing. The sculpture of French masters, objects of decorative art and the apartments of Napoleon III are also based here.
Immensely luxurious, which is generally characteristic of the style of the Third Empire, they were designed to demonstrate the greatness of France. How the emperor himself felt among such an abundance of gilding, history is silent.
How to Get Inside
The main part of the visitors enters the Louvre from the courtyard, the main entrance is located in the Great Pyramid. This design still causes fierce debate among art historians – some believe that it is absolutely alien to the spirit and forms of the museum.
But, one way or another, it has already taken root and even become a recognizable symbol.
Less well known are the four small pyramids flanked by the central one. There are versions that the entire building was almost supervised by the Order of Freemasons and has a deep hidden meaning.
How to Skip the Line at the Louvre
There are several options, and one of them is almost a win-win: go to the museum in the afternoon or before closing. As the bulk of art lovers tend to see the Louvre treasures “in the morning. Naturally, in that time tour groups also flow in a stream.
But in the evening the tourist gets tired and the queues thin out
There is an option to enter the Louvre without a queue from the underground shopping center Carrousel du Louvre. Where you can get both directly from the Palais Royal metro station or from the Rivoli Street. There are ticket machines on the underground tier, and you can buy the coveted tickets right there.
Another way ignored by most: La Civette du Carrousel kiosk. Where tickets are sold at a standard price for both the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay.
You will find it with ease, just look at the map
Also can buy a ticket online and get inside, bypassing the queue. Or make an even stronger move by purchasing the Paris Pass. For the next few days, becoming a regular at the greatest Parisian art museums and other interesting places.
A working, but expensive scheme is to visit the Louvre with a licensed guide. Although … about 35-50 € per person is not staggeringly expensive for a tour of the halls of the famous museum.
How to get there: metro Palais-Royal Musée du Louvre, Louvre – Rivoli
Opening hours: 09-18.00, on Wednesdays and Fridays you can explore the Louvre until 21.45, on Tuesdays the museum is closed. Also, it’s closed on 01.01, 01.05, 25.12 in every year.
Prices: 17 € costs an online-ticket for an adult, at the museum box office you will pay for it only 15 €. True, you need to take into account that there may not be tickets “on the spot”.
Yes, and cash payments at the box office of the Louvre are not accepted – louvre.fr/en/visit/hours-admission#ticket-prices.
How to Visit the Louvre for Free
Is it any wonder that all tourists, without exception, who visit Paris even for 2-3 days, strive to get to the Louvre. Of course, they want to walk around the halls not in the crowd. And also – if possible – save on some money – Paris is pretty expensive place.
In 2023, in order to visit the Louvre for free, there are several possibilities.
1. Without regard to nationality. You must be under 18 years of age and can prove this by presenting a valid ID.
It used to be possible to schedule a visit to the Louvre on the first Sunday of the month – admission was free for everyone. In the high tourist season, that is, from April to September when Paris in greatly overcrowded, this possibility disappeared. But in late autumn and winter, you could see the Mona Lisa for free.
2. If you are a citizen of one of the EU countries (as well as Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and have ages between 18-25, then you do not have to pay anything to enter.
3. Similarly, a free ticket to the Louvre will be available to teachers in the field of art and its history, related topics. As well as to journalists, holders of ICOM and ICOMOS cards.
People with limited legal capacity, persons accompanying them, the unemployed and recipients of other benefits have the right to visit museum free of charge.
4. Everyone, without exception, is allowed inside for free on Bastille Day, July 14th. But, of course, to be lucky, you have to stand in a giant queue.
Read more here – louvre.fr/en/visit/hours-admission#visitors-eligible-for-free-admission.
History of the Louvre
The Louvre is the former Royal Palace and some ages ago it was not a huge complex. Until the reign of Louis XIV, a relatively small castle was located on that place.
The palace so famous now was founded in the reign of Philip II Augustus at the end of the 12th century. But it was turned into a royal residence only under Louis IX, in the middle of the XIII century.
In the XVI century Francis I, who tried to instill in medieval France a spiritualized Italian Renaissance and rebuilt castles in the Loire Valley, tried to do something with the royal residence in Paris. The fortress was rebuilt, giving it a much less severe appearance.
The Lesko wing dates from the period 1546-1551. The grandiose Grande Galerie (architects Jacques du Cerceau and Louis Métezeau), which connected the Louvre and the palace Tuileries, dates back to the time of the king Henry IV. As well as the elegant pavilion of Flora.
Under Louis XIII, the father of the future “Sun King”, the architect Jacques Lemercier extended the Lescaut building. He added a building to it, later named after him. The Lemercier wing stands between the Sully tower and the Beauvais pavilion.
The most significant construction work in the palace unfolded under Louis XIV. Deciding that the King of France deserves a much larger residence. Although he already knew that in the future he himself would move to the luxurious interiors of the Palace of Versailles.
They built buildings that closed the Square Court from the city, expanded the gallery along the Seine. The architects who worked on the building: Louis Leveau and Andre Le Nôtre, as well as the artist and decorator Charles Lebrun, however, remained in history only as the creators of the residence in Versailles.
The east wing of the Louvre was built by Claude Perrault (1665-1680), brother of the famous storyteller. His exceptionally luscious classical style subsequently inspired many architects.
As they say, the building of the famous Metropolitan Museum in New York, built 2 centuries later (1874), reproduces the architectural solutions of a Parisian colleague.
The descendants of Louis XIV did not visit Paris so often. And therefore they were little interested in the Louvre, paying all their attention to the decoration of Versailles. The next stage of large-scale construction dates back to the era of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Under the first emperor of France, the famous Carousel Arch arose in the courtyard of the Tuileries Palace, and a building was built along the Rue de Rivoli. The Tuileries Palace became the main residence of the first consul, and then – the emperor.
The complex received its logical conclusion under Napoleon III. The courtyard was completely closed due to the construction of a building in the neo-baroque style from the side of the same Rue de Rivoli. The project was conceived and implemented (1852-1857) by the architects Louis Visconti and Hector Lefuel.
Unfortunately, in 1871, the Tuileries Palace, built under Marie de Medici (since 1564, architect Philibert Delorme), was destroyed during the Paris Commune. Since then, the museum’s courtyard has been opened wide to the Tuileries Garden, the Place de la Concorde and the Champs Elysees.
The latest addition to the architectural complex of the Louvre was 4 glass pyramids that grew right in front of the Sully tower. The construction of the pyramids was completed in 1989, and at first they were perceived with hostility by zealots of the architectural and historical heritage.