You can’t say you've been to Paris if you don’t make a stop at the fantastic Musée du Louvre—one of the most significant landmarks of the city of love.
The Louvre is one the cultural highlights of Paris, housing around 35,000 works of art spread across eight wings from different regions like Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Greece.
The main aim of the museum is to showcase western art from the middle ages through 1848, with artists from France, Italy, and the Netherlands, among others.
The treasures of the Louvre
The museum opened for the first time in the 18th century when the royal family that inhabited the land moved to Versailles. At the time it only had 2,500 works of art. In 1989, to decorate the main entrance, architect IM Pei designed a 21-meter-high glass pyramid—another icon of the Louvre.
Perhaps most visitors step into the Louvre to admire the magnificent Mona Lisa, also known as La Gioconda, by Leonardo da Vinci. This painting is considered the most iconic image in art history and showcases the brilliance of da Vinci and the subtle genius of his skills. He used a technique called sfumato, not frequently used at the time, which is one of the reasons the Mona Lisa is so acclaimed.
Overall, the Denon Wing where the Mona Lisa is located is filled with masterpieces from renowned artists that are worth ogling. Other highlights to check out in the paintings section include Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix and the Wedding at Cana by Paolo Veronese.
In the sculpture section, the ancient Greek Venus de Milo statue is another huge attraction. Sculpted from marble around 100 BC, it is believed to depict the God of Love Aphrodite and was only rediscovered in 1820. While the Louvre is celebrated for its works of art by greats such as Caravaggio, Raphael, and Michelangelo, the museum also has irreplaceable artifacts from the ancient Egyptian, Persian, and Roman worlds.
Good to know
The Louvre Museum is a must-see on any trip to Paris. It's not only the largest museum in the world, but it's also a great spot to capture some beautiful pictures both inside and outside the building. Remember that photography is prohibited in some areas, and use of flash or other lighting equipment is prohibited inside the Louvre. Be sure to check with the museum about where you can take photos.
Ensure you plan a whole day to admire the grandiosity of the Louvre. Buy your tickets online and avoid the lines at the entrance. Tickets can be used for the whole day, so if you feel like taking a break, you can leave and come back again. Check the Louvre's online calendar for days with evening opening hours for a quiet and poetic experience.
Fully take in the courtyard, where the central glass pyramid offers a spectacular composition of modernity juxtaposed with classicism. Photo tip: The lighting is exquisite at night!