Megan Hill

Louvre Guide: 10 Things You Must See

Make the most of your visit with our Louvre guide and be sure to stop by the museum's top things to see!

As the largest museum in the world, there's lots to see in the Louvre and not nearly enough time. With over 35,000 priceless masterpieces and artefacts, the Louvre was originally built in 1190 as a fortress. Only after the French monarchy moved out to Versailles in 1793, did the Louvre re-open as a museum. As one of Paris' most popular attractions, it houses iconic artwork and centuries of history. If you're planning a visit but not sure where to start, let us help you with our quick guide to the Louvre and some of its most significant pieces!

Mona Lisa

Protected by a transparent wall, Leonardo Da Vinci's internationally renowned Renaissance work is a must-visit for any visitor to The Louvre. Always surrounded by a crowd, the captivating oil portrait is said to be Lisa Gheradini and was commissioned by her husband Francesco del Giacondo. A number of mysteries that surround this enigmatic masterpiece but one thing remains - it's one of the most recognisable artworks in the world.

Venus de Milo

This ancient Greek sculpture depicts Aphrodite, the goddess of love, and was found on the island of Melos in 1820. As an example of Hellenistic art, the marble statue was found partially damaged which gives the Venus de Milo its distinctive armless silhouette. Image via Musee du Louvre facebook

Slave Statues

Renowned artist Michelangelo was well known for his emotive realistic sculptures and The Louvre is home to The Dying Slave and The Rebellious Slave, works that captures the pain and beauty of his subjects. Commissioned for Pope Julius II's tomb in the 1500s, the statues have since found their way to Paris to be admired.

Liberty Leading the People

This 1830 cinematic painting by Eugéne Delacroix has become synonymous with France's revolutionary spirit, with an allegorical female figure of freedom proudly displaying the tricolour red, white and blue French flag. Nicknamed Marianne, she is shown leading people into battle and has since become an icon of the country with her likeness used in stamps and Euro coins. Image via Musee du Louvre facebook

Winged Victory of Samothrace

Another incredible work of Grecian Hellenistic art, the imposing winged goddess Nike greets visitors to The Louvre at the bottom of the Daru Staircase. She cuts a dramatic figure with windswept robes and was found on the island of Samothrace, where it's assumed she was built in celebration of a naval victory in 190BC.

The Raft of the Medusa

Straying away from the ancient Greek myth, this moody painting depicts the shipwreck of French frigate ship Medusa in which only 15 people survived through cannibalism. As a major work of French Romanticism, it was painted by Théodore Géricault in the early 1800s and depicts a significant moment in both French and artistic history.

The Coronation of Napoléon

Depicting a key moment in French history, Jacques-Louis David actually attended Emperor Napoléon's coronation in 1804 and was commissioned to recreate the ceremony in a gigantic painting. Spanning six by ten metres, it's impossible to miss and painstakingly details the emperor. Image via Musee du Louvre facebook

Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss

As one of the most romantic pieces in The Louvre, this marble sculpture was commissioned in 1787 and based off Ovid's depiction of Cupid and Psyche in his epic Metamorphoses. As a fantastic example of Neoclassicism in art, Antonio Canova's work is a delicate depiction of tenderness and breathtaking in its realism.

The Lacemaker

This detailed portrait of a woman tirelessly crafting intricate lace was once hailed by Renoir as the most beautiful painting in the world. Painted by Dutch artist Johannes ou van Vermeer, it's best known for its soft, mellow colours and painstaking, intimate detail to domestic life.

Les Noces de Cana

Depicting a biblical miracle in which Jesus Christ transformed water into wine at a wedding fesat, this vibrant painting is full of colour and is so big that it covers an entire wall in The Louvre. With over 100 wedding guests, the religious figure sits haloed in the centre of the artwork with the bride and groom off to the side.
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