Enigmatic Portrait of Mona Lisa - The Louvre, ParisParis city breaks and holidays

Combining art collection and royal palace, with parts of the medieval castle hidden in the basement, the Louvre is a fabulous wealth of treasures and arguably the world’s largest and certainly most visited art museum. The Louvre contains Classical sculpture, Egyptian relics and Mesopotamian antiquities as well as fabulous galleries of Italian Renaissance paintings, Rembrandts and Rubens, medieval artefacts and French neoclassical and Romantic painting. How do you take it all in? In one visit it is impossible, the secret to enjoying the Louvre is to combine a few key works you really want to see with the discoveries you make just by meandering aimlessly around.

Of course the most famous painting in the world can be found in the Louvre – the enigmatic portrait of Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci has crowds flocking to see her and at most times of the day you will struggle to see her clearly, visit early or late in the day. Wheelchair users are be allowed to go the other side of the barrier and get a wonderful close-up view.

Louvre Museum Paris - top city break attractionThe inverted glass pyramid in the centre of the complex brings light into the building, and echoes the pyramid at the main entrance designed by I M Pei.  The Carrousel de Louvre is an underground visitor’s complex with galleries, toilets, information and shops. Bearing in mind the Louvre can receive 30,000 visitors per day, people do move freely but ticket queues can be long, to save time and money purchase your Paris Pass in advance.

Don’t miss the Louvre’s new Islamic department which opened in September 2012, with eleven centuries of Islamic works of art displayed under a steel roof, created to look like a flying-carpet, by Mario Bellini and Rudy Ricciotti. Of special interest, of course, is the Venus de Milo dramatically lit at the end of a hallway, it is believed to represent the goddess Aphrodite and Jan Vermeer’s masterpiece ‘The Lacemaker’ painted about 1665 is the highlight of Louvre’s Dutch collection.

On a Paris holiday of weekend break don’t expect to be able to see everything in Musée du Louvre in one day or even several, enjoy wandering through the galleries and immerse yourself in the wonderful art around you and look forward to your next visit.

Disabled Access – go to the front of the queue at the main entrance and in the lower ground concourse pick up a special information guide most of the museum is accessible.

Paris holiday or city break guide to best hotelsAddress:
Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris

Opening times:
Wednesday -Monday, 9am-6pm
Some galleries open until 10pm on Wed and Fri
Closed on Tuesday

Adults €10
Free for EU nationals under 26
Free for everyone on first Sun of the month
Extra charges for special exhibitions and collections