The Louvre is the most famous art museum in the world. Completed in 1674 under the Sun King, Louis XIV, it is also one of the largest royal palaces ever to have been built, which now houses the world's most extensive and most astonishing art collection.
To suggest that the Louvre is Paris' foremost attraction is to state the obvious, for no visit to Paris would be complete without a visit to the Louvre. For more on the Louvre and its galleries, see below, and for hours, admission fees, etc., see here.
In the top floor of the Richelieu Wing the works of Northern European artists, that is, Flemish, Dutch and German masters are displayed. Among the most important of these are Vermeer (The Lace Maker), Rembrandt (The Supper at Emmaus), Dürer (Self Portrait), and Hans Holbein the Younger (Nicolaus Kratzer) Furthermore in these corridors you will find such famous names as van Dyck, Jordaens, Rubens, Cranach, Breughel, van Eyck and many more.
In the floor below is the department of Objets d’Art, applied arts. Here are rooms filled with furniture, vases and jewelry from the time of Napoleon III. Also Renaissance tapestries and some beautiful pieces from the Monastery of Saint-Denis (including the Eagle of Abbot Suger from the mid-12th century) can be admired here. The first floor is devoted to French sculptures from the Middle ages to the late 19th century, the collections from ancient Mesopotamia and to Islamic art.
The Objets d'Art's pattern is repeated in the Sully Wing of what used to be the Cour Carrée: right at the top painting – in this case French masters of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, including Georges La Tour (Christ with St. Joseph in the Carpenter’s Shop), Lorrain, Charles Le Brun (Alexander in Babylon), Jovenet, Hyacinthe Rigaud (Portrait of Louis XIV), Jean Antoine Watteau (Pierot), Le Moyne, François Boucher (The Breakfast), Greuze, Jean Honoré Fragonard (Bathers), Louis David. One level lower you can admire the applied art of the 17th to 19th centuries, such as various wall clocks, snuff tins, and furnishings, and an exquisite collection of engravings from the Rococo period (rocaille). In the first floor, the main attraction of the Egyptian collection and the oldest piece of the Greek collection, are the Seated Scribe (Egypt, approximately 2500 B.C.) and the Venus de Milo (2nd century B.C.).
Finally the Grande Galerie in the Denon Wing, along the Seine is the realm of Italian painting (13th to 17th centuries). Here you will find the most famous painting in the world, Leonardo da Vinci’s La Gioconda ("Mona Lisa", 1503-1506), provided, of course, that the quite small painting, which is protected by thick bulletproof glass, is not hidden – as is usually the case – by a crowd of people. Here you can also admire important masterpieces by contemporaries of Leonardo and Italian artists from the late Middle Ages, for example Raphael (La Belle Jardinière) and Titian (The Entombment) or artists like Pisanello (Portrait of Ginerva d’Este), Fra Angelico (The Coronation of the Virgin) and Piero della Francesca (Portrait of Sigismund Malatesta). In addition two enormous rooms house the large scale paintings of French artists of the 19th century (David, Delacroix, Géricault, Ingres, and works by Spanish masters. On the first floor sculptures by Italian and Central European artists (Michelangelo, Canova, Luca della Robbia, Riemenschneider), as well as the art of Greeks and Etruscans, are on display.
The Louvre's Hidden Entrance
There is a hidden entrance to the Louvre beside the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. It is worth using this not only when there are the usual long lines at the main entrance (the glass pyramid designed by Ieoh Ming Pei, a US citizen of Chinese extraction, and opened in 1989), but for added interest. Along the way to the Louvre from the hidden entrance you also pass by the remains of an old city wall dating from the Middle Ages and can enter the huge underground shopping mall, Carrousel du Louvre, which contains several museum shops, fashion and jewelry boutiques, music shops and the like. The hidden entrance route receives daylight through a second glass pyramid standing on its tip. A further new entrance to the Louvre, the Porte de Lion, is the shortest way to the Italian masters and the Mona Lisa.
Ischgl is a small mountain village turned hip ski resort, with massive appeal among the party-hearty young crowds. It is... Read More
Andorra la Vella is its own little world, and not just because it’s a 290-square-mile independent principality (a fifth the... Read More
Bariloche (officially San Carlos de Bariloche) is the place to be seen. It is to Argentina what Aspen is to the... Read More
Aspen is America's most famous ski resort. And that's an understatement. For, as a ski complex, Aspen is unsurpassed. Its... Read More
Zermatt is a small but glamorous mountain resort town, with a population of approximately 5,700. It is one of Switzerland's... Read More
St. Moritz is a glitzy, alpine resort town in the celebrated Engadin Valley of Switzerland, with huge notoriety as the... Read More
Lake Tahoe is the premier lake resort of America, and the largest alpine lake in all of North America. It is an absolutely... Read More
St. Anton, Sankt Anton am Arlberg in German, is Austria's premier ski-bum resort! It's actually a small village cum... Read More
Kitzbühel, a small, Tyrolian resort town in the Kitzbüheler Alps, comes with international renown and huge snob appeal, and... Read More