The Louvre Museum can be an overwhelming place to visit and no wonder, it spans over 652,000 square feet with 35,000 pieces of art on exhibit. So, how do you see it all? Well, honestly, you can’t. There is simply too much to see but you can manage to see some of the more famous works of art like Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo.
The Louvre is a series of buildings connected together to form a U-shape and is broken down by 3 wings, 5 levels and eight departments.
Here is a quick overview of the 3 wings:
The north wing is Richelieu which holds primarily decorative arts, French, German, Dutch and Flemish paintings and Near Eastern art. In this wing you’ll find the Marly Horses, Napoleon III’s apartments, Vermeer’s Lacemaker and the Medici gallery.
The south wing is Denon. In this wing, you’ll find more paintings including English and 19th century French painters; as well as, Greek and Roman masterpieces. There are a several famous pieces in this wing including Mona Lisa, Winged Victory of Samothrace, The Coronation of Napoleon and Liberty Leading The People.
The east wing is Sully and it connects the two other wings and contains overflow works of art including French paintings, decorative arts, Greek and Roman art but also Egyptian antiquities and the medieval parts of the building. Key items to see in this wing include Venus de Milo, statue of Ramesses III and the moat from the medieval fortress.
Overview of the levels:
Unless there is a temporary exhibit, there are no pieces of art in the Napoleon Hall. This level is where you will find the information desk, restaurant, bookstore, souvenir shop and can buy your museum tickets. This level is free and is located under the glass pyramid.
All the wings except Denon have art on all levels.
Overview of the eight departments:
The eight departments include Paintings; Egyptian Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities; Near Eastern Antiquities; Sculptures; Decorative Arts; Islamic Art; and Prints and Drawings.
While all the art is categorized in one of these eight departments, you will find these works through out the museum wings and floors. For example, you’ll find paintings in all three wings.
There are many ways to see the museum. If you don’t want to wander leisurely around, the Louvre offers guided tours and self-guided audio tours via its app. You can also experience the museum by taking a treasure hunt with THATLou.
Whichever way you choose, I hope you add the Louvre Museum to your Paris itinerary.