The Louvre is one of the most stunning museums I have ever seen and is something I highly recommend you put at the top of your to-do list in Paris!
The site was originally a palace built in the late 12th century and has been added to and extended ever since. It was used in the past as a private residence before opening in 1793 as an art museum which it still is today. Because of this rich history the architecture is just as impressive as the artwork it holds.
At the centre of the Louvre is the ‘Pyramide du Louvre’ which was completed 30 years ago in 1989 and looks very modern in contrast to the surrounding historic building. It has become a landmark of the city of Paris. You can view the pyramid from the outside of the Lourve if you aren’t able to get inside, but it also provides stunning views from within.
The Louvre is also the home of the famed Mona Lisa. As I am sure most people will tell you this painting is actually very small and is in the middle of a room that is constantly crammed with people trying to get a look or a photo. The picture above shows you the closest I was able to get! Even if you could get close it is roped off and behind glass. It is not really possible to enjoy the painting itself but at least you get to say you have seen it in person.
As well as being a very impressive landmark, the museum is very very large and you could spend hours if not a whole day getting lost inside. Some of the most magnificent things to see are just the intricate ceilings, grand window frames and magnificent stair cases that wind around the grounds.
How do I get there and when should I go?
The Lourve is located in the 1st arrondissement. We walked there from our hotel near the Arc du Triomphe and it was absolutely stunning. This route takes you down the Champs Elysse and past many beautiful gardens. We went as the sun was rising and it is one of my favourite memories. You might even consider walking through these gardens after your visit.
There are a number of metro stations nearby the Lourve which make it easy to access by train too.
You should note that the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays as well as some other public holidays. Otherwise it is open 9am to 6pm including weekends. Double check the hours on the official website to avoid disappointment.
There are actually multiple entrances to the Lourve. The main one is at the pyramid which we were told is the hardest to get into, however we arrived first thing in the morning and did not have any trouble at all so perhaps the secret is just to arrive early. Otherwise there are other entrances such as the Rue de Rivoli and Porte des Lions entrances. Sight Seekers delight provides an excellent overview so I recommend looking at their page if you want to know a different way to enter.
I have also been told that booking a tour can be another way to get inside quickly however we did not go on a tour while we were there so I cannot comment on this ( I would love to hear if you have!).
What does it cost?
A ticket to enter the Lourve is around €15 which makes it a reasonably priced attraction especially as you could spend a lot of time there.
It is also free from 6pm on the first Saturday of each month as well as on Bastille Day – 14th July.
Anything else to note?
There are security checks at the entrances and items over 55 cm x 35 cm x 20 cm are not permitted inside.
There are a number of audio guides and maps available in various languages if you want some assistance in navigating this huge museum.