What To See At The Louvre Museum: 17 Best Artworks Not To Miss
Planning to visit the most famous museum in Paris but are not sure how to spend your time? This article will show you what to see at the Louvre museum for an amazing visit!
If you are a history buff and love everything art, there’s a lot you will like about the Louvre museum in Paris.
This museum is the epicenter of arts in the world, with about 38,000 art treasures compiled over a lifetime on display, including the revered Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo.
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Whether you are a sucker for the works of renowned artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, or you prefer to admire ancient artifacts and sculptures, this museum has just the right masterpiece to spark your imagination.
However, choosing what to see at the Louvre museum from a large collection of exceptional pieces of work can be difficult. In fact, even if you were to spend just 30 seconds in front of each artwork, you’ll need more than 100 days to see everything.
So, to help you not miss the most famous and interesting pieces, I have rounded up the top 17 Louvre artworks for you to appreciate.
But before we look at famous things in the Louvre museum, there are a few tips you should know to make your visit smooth.
Useful Tips For Visiting the Louvre Museum
Buy your entry ticket in advance
Being the most famous museum in Paris, the Louvre is always crowded and you can easily spend hours in queues.
However, by buying this Louvre museum timed entry ticket, you’ll be able to beat the long lines. With this timed ticket, you can be guaranteed entry in less than 30 minutes.
Opt for a guided tour
Besides being popular, this museum is huge, and finding your way around can be quite hectic.
To make sure you find your way around easily while also learning the different stories, myths, and facts about the artworks you see, I recommend booking this Louvre museum guided tour.
If the tour is a bit too pricey for you, make sure that you buy this entry ticket with an audio guide. The experience may not be the same as with a live guide but you’ll definitely be better off than without.
Wear comfortable walking shoes
While still on the topic of size, you can be sure of walking and the best way to be comfortable is by wearing walkable shoes when going to the museum.
Book a combined ticket to save money
If you plan to visit the Louvre museum and also take a Seine Cruise, the best way to save money is by purchasing this combined Louvre museum and Seine cruise ticket.
Learn more about the Louvre
Before visiting this iconic museum, it would be ideal to learn more history about it. To do so, you can read my previous post on the fun facts about the Louvre museum and if you want to stay near this landmark, you can check out these hotels near the Louvre museum.
Know how to get there
To visit the Louvre museum, you can either take Palais-Royal / Musée du Louvre on metro lines 1 and 7 or Pyramides on Metro line 14.
Get a Louvre map
However much I’ve added room locations of the Louvre highlights mentioned below, it’s still essential and useful to take a map. The museum offers free maps at the entrance, so you can pick one.
Artworks in the Louvre occasionally move
As you continue reading this article, you’ll realize that I’ve added where to find each piece.
While these are correct at the time of writing this article, some Louvre artworks change locations. It’s not the case for most of them and it rarely happens but if they do, the map you picked up at the entrance should guide you.
Before You Go, Here’s How to Plan Your Visit To Paris: Practical Quick Tips
WHERE TO STAY
Best Eiffel Tower Views: Hôtel Le Walt (9.0)
Luxury stay: Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel (8.2)
Mid-range stay: Hôtel Eiffel (8.7)
Budget Stay: People – Paris Bercy (8.9)
Apartment Rental: Résidence Charles Floquet (9.1)
BEST GUIDED TOURS
Louvre Museum guided tour: (4.5/5)
Seine River Dinner Cruise: (4.7/5)
Montmartre Walking Tour: (4.8/5)
Le Marais Walking Food Tour: (4.5/5)
Versailles Guided Tour: (4.8/5)
Eiffel Tower Guided Tour: (4.4/5)
- Considering travel insurance for your trip? World Nomads offers coverage for more than 150 adventure activities as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation, and more.
- Prepare your trip extensively with this Paris Travel guidebook.
- Don’t forget a universal travel adapter, a travel neck pouch, and comfortable walking shoes.
- Consider getting either the museum pass or the Paris city pass if you plan to visit a lot of attractions. The city pass comes with free transportation and access to the hop-on-hop-off bus. You can read my Paris museum pass review to see if it’s right for you.
- Book this private transfer from CDG airport to Paris to avoid the hustle of figuring out how to get to Paris.
What to See at The Louvre Museum
Now that you know some useful practical tips, let’s look at the best things to see in the Louvre museum.
1. The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci (Room 711, Denon wing, Level 1)
Have you really visited the Louvre if you don’t admire the most famous artwork in the Louvre Museum, and easily the most popular painting in the world — The Mona Lisa? Certainly not!
Stand in front of this portrait in the Salle des États — the largest room in the museum and savor the carefully captured face and mysterious smile of the muse.
Leonardo da Vinci flaunts his self-devised sfumato technique with this piece, using soft blending to meticulously and deftly paint who is believed to be Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, a Florentine silk merchant, against a mountainous backdrop.
The realistic position of the muse, as if she is making eye contact with you regardless of where you’re looking at her from, makes this artwork an absolute eyecatcher, and tops this list of what to see at the Louvre.
But one interesting fact about Mona Lisa that most people don’t know is that despite being famous and the most valuable painting in the world, it’s actually small in size measuring just 77 cm x 53 cm (2.5ft x 1.7 ft). You can learn more about this iconic piece by reading these fun Mona Lisa facts.
2. The Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault ( Room 700, Denon wing, Level 1)
The Raft of Medusa is another highlight of the Louvre Museum. Completed in 1819, Géricault’s passion for mundane topics birthed this illustration of the aftermath of the Méduse‘s — a French Royal Navy shipwreck on 2nd July 1816.
The ship sank after running aground the coastline of today’s Mauritania. About 147 people onboard squeezed onto a hastily built raft and began the journey to Senegal.
After 13 days on the ocean and having practiced cannibalism to survive, all but 15 famished and dying men sighted a ship approaching the horizon.
Kept in the Red rooms of the Louvre, Géricault’s painting captures the scene of this tragic event including the raft and its inhabitants, both dead and dying.
This lifesize artwork should be on your list of what to see at the Louvre if you want to marvel at an authentic painting that perfectly relays a historical event.
3. The Venus de Milo by Alexandros of Antioch (Room 344, Sully Wing, Level 0)
Sculptured by Alexandros between 150 and 125 BC and discovered in 1820, this 6.8 ft (2.04 m) tall ancient Greek sculpture captures who we believe is a half-clothed Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, with a bare torso.
Although it is missing both arms, the Venus de Milo is still a top Louvre attraction that depicts feminine beauty and grace.
Earning her name from the Roman counterpart of the goddess of love, Venus, and the location of her discovery, Milos, the artwork is one of the most significant sculptures in the Louvre museum worth stopping for.
4. Sleeping Hermaphroditus by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (Room 348, Sully Wing, Level 0)
Excavated on the grounds of Santa Maria Della Vittoria, next to the Baths of Diocletian in 1618, the sleeping Hermaphroditus is a life-size nude sculpture of Hermaphroditos, the child of Aphrodite and Hermes, carved out of marble.
While the main sculptor of the antique sculpture is unknown, Gian Lorenzo Bernini carved the realistic mattress upon which it lays in 1620.
You will find this sculpture in the room dedicated to the Gods and heroes of the ancient Greek world, but don’t confuse it with a beautiful female Greek god. It only has a feminine body but sports a male s*xual organ.
Related Post: Best free museums to visit in Paris
5. The Wedding Feast at Cana by Paolo Veronese (Room 711, Denon wing, Level 1)
Another famous painting in the Louvre, the Wedding at Cana, sits opposite the Mona Lisa in the Salle des États, so don’t spend all your time on the famed Mona Lisa as this painting is also a beauty to behold.
In 1563, Veronese brought to life the biblical wedding at Cana, where Jesus transformed water into wine.
Feed your eyes on Veronese’s harmonious blend of figure, light, and colors to recreate a painting of 130 people present at the miracle of Jesus.
In the artwork, you will see Jesus seated with Mary and some of his disciples to his right.
The picture looks so real you will feel present at the scene, and the size of the painting adds the final topping, standing at 6.77 m (22.2 ft) with a width of 9.94 m (32.4 ft), making it the biggest painting in the Louvre.
6. The Winged Victory of Samothrace By Unknown ( Room 703, Denon wing, Level 1)
Missing a head and arms, this sculpture was supposed to be a full representation of the goddess Niké, but who says sculptures need complete body parts to command attention?
Chiseled around 190 BC and rediscovered in the 1860s, the Winged Victory Of Samothrace is one of the surviving originals of the Hellenistic statues and shows the goddess majestically descending on the bow of a Greek Hellenistic naval vessel as her clothing and wings are blown aback by the wind.
Sitting atop the iconic Daru staircase, the sculpture is believed to be a tribute to the Ancient Divine beings after a successful Naval battle.
It has undergone extensive periods of restoration to become one of the most famous sculptures in the Louvre.
Related Post: Famous paintings in Paris not to miss
7. Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix ( Room 700, Denon wing, Level 1)
Bold, daring, and another Red Rooms gem, Liberty Leading the People was painted by one the most famous French painters, Eugène Delacroix.
Delacroix used colors to reconstruct the “Three Glorious Days” when Parisians rose against King Charles X in July 1830.
You can see daring Parisians breaking through a barricade, led by a bare-breasted woman wearing a Phrygian cap.
She waves the flag of the French Revolution and carries a musket in another hand while gingering the crowd to march forward.
This historic painting represents liberty and freedom fights, and the woman leading the crowd is regarded as a symbol of Liberty.
This artwork is no doubt one of the best paintings by Eugene Delacroix.
8. The Slaves: the Dying Slave and the rebellious slave by Michelangelo (Room 403, Denon wing, Level 0)
A series of sculptures made for the tomb of Pope Julius II between 1513 to 1516, the Rebellious Slave and the Dying Slave together forming the slaves, are artworks of two naked men made by the iconic Michelangelo.
The Rebellion Slave was crafted first and shows a naked big-boned man with his top drawn upwards just above his chest and his neck angled to the left as if he is trying to be freed from the constraints used to bind him.
Following closely is the Dying Slave, a depiction of another naked, muscular man, deep in sleep and at peace as the last drop of life leaves his body.
9. The Lacemaker by Johannes Vermeer (Room 837, Richelieu Wing, Level 2)
This small painting shows a focused woman clothed in a yellow dress and meticulously holding a pair of bobbins and a needle that she uses to make lace on a blue pillow.
Completed around 1669 and 1670, the intriguing part of this painting is how laser-focused the muse is. That’s the same level of attention you should pay to this effortless masterpiece.
Displayed in the Richelieu Wing, Vermeer’s perfect synchronization of an ordinary woman performing an everyday activity birthed an artwork that illustrates domestic virtue and industriousness.
Related Post: Famous Paintings by Claude Monet
10. The Coronation of Napoleon by Jacques-Louis David ( Room 702 (Salle Daru), Denon wing, Level 1)
In 1807, Jaques-Louis, the official painter of Napoleon, painted a large portrait of Emperor Napoleon’s coronation in Notre Dame de Paris.
The piece shows Napoleon holding up his crown as if to place it on the head of his wife, Joséphine de Beauharnais while kneeling in submission and surrounded by spectators.
Jaques-Louis even included himself in the painting and Napoleon’s mother even though she didn’t attend the ceremony.
Napoleon designed the Red Room in the Louvre to fit his imperial status, and it is only right that a painting as good and large as this one graces the walls of the majestic room.
Needless to say, this is my favorite painting in the Louvre museum.
11. Diana of Versailles by Praxiteles (Room 348, Sully Wing, Level 0)
Another must see at the Louvre museum is the sculpture of Diana of Versailles.
Praxiteles crafted this lifesize sculpture of Diana, the Roman goddess, holding a deer adjourned to her feet with her left hand while pulling out an arrow with her right as she goes on a hunt.
While many parts of this piece have been redone and amended, it doesn’t take away the astonishment of the artwork.
The size, the agility of Diana, and the precision of both the artist and Barthélemy Prieur and Bernard Lange, who revamped the sculpture in 1602, and 1802 respectively, all add up to make this piece the wonder that it is.
12. Lamassu (Winged Bulls) (Room 229, Richelieu wing, Level 0)
Lamassu or Winged bulls were considered mythological guardians and that’s why they were always kept at the doorways of palaces.
They have the body of a bull, with five legs, attached to a human head, and are usually molded to the wall.
What makes this artifact eye-catching is the different views you get depending on where you stand to admire them.
Look directly at the piece, and you feel like the head is staring directly at you but if you view the sculpture from the side, the bull looks like it is walking.
The winged bulls are among the best things to see at the Louvre, and the oldest copy is housed here.
Related Post: Famous French Paintings Not to Miss
13. Portrait of a woman by Leonardo da Vinci (Room 710, Denon Wing, Level 1)
Once again, Leonardo proves why he deserves to be considered one of the greatest artists to grace the earth, with this Portrait of a woman.
The detailing on the unknown woman’s dress, the emblem on her neck, and the finishing touches to her eyes, what is there not to love about this piece?
Often mistaken as La Belle Ferronnière, the woman depicted in this painting remains unknown. This somewhat intensifies the mystery around this picture. Who could she be?
14. The Seated Scribe (Room 635, Sully wing, Level 1)
The first ancient Egyptian art on this list of what to see in the Louvre museum is the Seated Scribe from Saqqara.
This limestone sculpture depicts a scribe sitting in a cross-legged position writing on Papyrus, an ancient paper.
Discovered in 1850 at Saqqara and crafted around the 5th or 4th dynasty, the face of this statue, especially the eyes, is a worthy mention as it is real, attentive, and delicately modeled with rock crystal and magnesite.
The scribe’s fixed gaze on you as if ready to jot down your words will immediately catch your attention.
15. The caryatids by Jean Goujon (Room 348, Sully wing, Level 0)
Walk into the Salle des Cariatides, and you will find four similar female figures using their heads as architectural support in the musician’s gallery.
Stealing inspiration from the Forum of Augustus, Goujon crafted these lifesize figures of what has come to be known as the first Parisian caryatids, in 1550.
Formerly a ballroom, the Salle des Cariatides used to be the reception for glamorous royal celebrations and now houses iconic sculptures like the sleeping Hermaphroditus we mentioned above.
You will find many of these Ancient Greece caryatids scattered all over Paris, but these ones are especially special because of their location.
Related Post: Famous Paintings by Auguste Renoir
16. Athena of Velletri by Kresilas (Room 344, Sully Wing, Level 0)
While several copies of this stature have been made, with the original made by Kresilas around 430 BC, the Louvre holds the most famous of these copies which stands at a staggering 10 ft (3.05 m) and was restored by Vincenzo Pacetti after it was rediscovered in 1797.
Pacetti added the forearms, hands, feet, and adorned it with snakes, and fixed the helmet’s peak.
Thanks to him, we can see what the original piece looked like. Visit the room for Copies and Replicas, and you will find this Athena statue on display since 1803.
17. Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss by Antonio Canova (Room 403, Denon wing, Level 0)
Who doesn’t love a good love story? Well, this sculpture tells an unforgettable one. In 1793, Canova carved the love story of two Mythological lovers: Cupid and Psyche.
Once upon a time, the god Cupid finds Psyche lost in eternal sleep after inhaling a forbidden potion. Approaching her, Cupid lowered his face and planted a kiss on her.
What followed is an awakened Psyche locked in a loving embrace with her “savior.”
Kept in the Michelangelo Gallery, you can watch this story come to life by just staring at the sculpture chiseled from white marble.
Pay attention to the meticulous details; from Cupid’s wings to the forbidden potion jar, Antonio sure was as invested as we are in a love story.
Final Thoughts on the must sees in the Louvre Museum
The Louvre is truly a unique place to appreciate preserved artworks from all over the globe.
While there is so much to see in the Louvre, it is impossible to see everything in one visit. However, start with these famous Louvre highlights and if you have more time, venture into others.
So, if you’re planning to visit this Parisian landmark and are wondering what to see at the Louvre, I hope this article has given you plenty of ideas to consider.
Check out these posts to help you plan your trip to Paris
- Famous Churches to visit in Paris
- Fun Free things to do in Paris
- Best Neighborhoods in Paris
- Beautiful Covered Passages of Paris
- Fun non-touristy things to do in Paris
- Fun facts about Paris
- Interesting facts about the Arc de Triomphe
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