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The Louvre Museum In Paris

The Louvre was originally a royal palace that was built on the site of an old castle and added to by different Kings, but with the construction of Chateau de Versailles the royal residence became obsolete and was then turned into a museum back in the 1700's.

First of all it was given the name Musee Central des Arts, then it changed to the Musee Napoleon and from that changed its name again to the official title of Musee du Louvre, which is what it has been known as ever since, but is affectionately known as just The Louvre.

It is one of the oldest and largest museums, plus it has become the most famous and most visited art museum in the world with over 8 million visitors coming here every year and anyone who has ever visited will understand why, especially since it is home to probably the most well-known painting in the world, the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci.

Also, this impressive palace is located in the 1st arrondissement by the River Seine, which is an easily accessible part of Paris and once again The Louvre incorporates the beautiful Carrousel and the Tuileries Gardens that are a great place for a casual stroll, yet this means that it brings the museum outside with sculptures and statues from artists such as Aristide Maillol and Auguste Rodin.

The Louvre Museum In Paris
The Louvre Museum

There are many fabulous pictures of The Louvre, but most people find it recognisable by the large glass pyramid that is located in the central courtyard and serves as the main entrance to this awe inspiring Paris museum, but did you realise that designed by Pei, and commissioned by President Francois Mitterrand, it was only actually built in 1989!

It is from this point that tourists can access different temporary displays, the fascinating history of this world famous museum, along with the bookshop, Le Cafe Marly restaurant, etc, but also outside there is an equestrian statue of King Louis XIV that constitutes the starting point of an historical axis and yet the palace is not aligned on this axis as the main entrance is in alignment with the Champs-Elysees axis.

And apart from some very famous paintings like the Mona Lisa, even if you are not a fan of art, you will still thoroughly enjoy your time at The Louvre, as it houses some very impressive collections, which include Egyptian, Roman and Greek artefacts, sculptures and other works of art dating back to the Middle Ages, right through to around 1850.

Many people say that you need at least a day, or even more at The Louvre and this is so true as only allocating a few hours does not do the place justice, but it is extremely worthwhile obtaining a map of the place, as it is so vast you could end up missing exhibits you specifically wanted to see, especially if you have time restraints on your visit.  Yet don't be concerned that the exhibits are not all on one level as there are lifts which still make them accessible to wheelchair users. 

However, it also gets extremely busy, especially on the first Sunday of the month when this and many other museums in Paris are completely free to enter, however, arriving early and making a bee-line for famous exhibits like the Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa or Delacroix's Liberty Leading the People, will ensure you get a good view before they get too crowded!

Yet when you need a well earned rest or need to refuel your body, then there is an enormous different choice of food on offer in the cafeterias and restaurants and incredibly, there are six different cafes and restaurants to choose from, that are open every day except for a Tuesday.

Another popular things to do whilst visiting The Louvre is to venture into the bookstore that is open every day from 9.30am to 7pm and located in the Hall Napoleon under the glass pyramid.  Along with visitors guides available in more than ten different languages, it also stocks the largest selection of books on art history in France, plus has numerous other books, a children's section and even sells prints made up from the museums collection, with absolute thousands to choose from.

Now we quickly mentioned visitors guides, and if you are not fluent in the French language, then we would say that this is a must to fully appreciate the place, as many of the exhibit descriptions are not in any other language bar French, although some items do have an English description.

Alternatively, if you plan your visit to the Musee du Louvre in advance, you can have a guided tour that lasts about 2 hours and takes you round the most well known exhibits, which will then leave you free to wander around the rest of this museum at your own leisure.

But whatever you decide to do whilst on your holidays in France, The Louvre definitely lives up to its reputation as 'the' museum to visit when in Paris and the plus side is that there will definitely be something of interest for everyone including the children.

Just one last point we would like to make though, the museum itself is open from 9am to 6pm every day except for a Tuesday and on National holidays when it is closed all day, yet they also do have a late night opening which is until 10pm on a Wednesday.


The Louvre



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