How to Tour the Louvre

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With nearly 35,000 objects on display at any given time, the Louvre can be an overwhelming place and deciding how to approach the world’s most visited museum is often a daunting task for first-time visitors. On one of our walks, you will come away from with a better comprehensive understanding of the history of this space that attracts more than 8 million visitors annually as well as the art that it curates. Below is more information on Context Travel tours at the Louvre but also other information to help you prepare your visit to the museum.


PLANNING YOUR VISIT

Due to the immensity of the Louvre and to tread lighter on the museum, we offer visits to the different collections of the Louvre. However, for those with less time, we also have our Louvre Crash Course which reveals the history and richness of the museum through key masterpieces. Below you will find advice on which walking seminar is best for your group and our scheduling suggestions. More information to many commonly asked questions about the Louvre Frequently Asked Questions page.

When to Visit the Louvre

The best time to go to the Louvre is when it is open late: Wednesdays and Fridays until 9:45 p.m. In the evenings the museum is much less crowded and noisy. By going later in the day rather than first thing in the morning, visitors don’t spend as much time and energy jostling for space in front of the masterpieces and will have more time to linger over their favorite works. The evening can also make for a pleasant date night: leisurely taking in some of the world’s finest works of art before heading out to a late dinner at one of the many fine restaurants near the museum.

The Louvre is open every day (except for Tuesday) from 9 am to 6 pm. The museum is open until 9:45 pm on Wednesdays and Fridays. Closed on the following holidays: January 1, May 1, December 25.

Nearest metro stops: Palais-Royal Musée du Louvre (Line 1)

Skip the line! We include advance skip the line tickets with all of our walks

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Louvre Tour Options with Context

Louvre Crash Course

A stimulating and interactive introduction to art history at the world-renowned Louvre Museum, in the company of an art historian. We will begin by learning about the history of this former palace, transformed into a museum during the French Revolution, before tracing a course through time, exploring how art has evolved from the ancient world through the mid 19th century.

Gods, Queens & Heroines, Louvre Crash Course For Families

Our 2.5 hour Louvre walk for families is led by specially trained family friendly art historians and provides an engaging learning experience on art for children based on the themes of gods & goddesses, kings & queens and heroes & heroines.

Louvre Antiquities

An in-depth walk focused on the work of early civilizations from early Mesopotamia and Egypt to Ancient Greece and Rome. Artifacts such as ancient writings (the earliest art form), religious objects, and various forms of art will also allow us to gain access into the everyday lives of these ancient civilizations.

Louvre Italian Masters

A focused walk on the development of Western Art from the Early to High Renaissance. We will first study antique sculptures to see how ancient art influenced the Renaissance. We then move on to the grand galleries where many of the important masterpieces of Western art are showcased. We will also explore the political social impact of the Renaissance, which especially spread from Italy to the rest of Europe.

Louvre French Masters

The perfect in-depth walk to take at the Louvre, this walk chronicles the evolution of French art using the impressive collections at the museum. We will look at a variety of works from Gothic sculpture to monumental statues commissioned under the Sun King and the bucolic paintings of Watteau to the grand format paintings of David and Delacroix.

Louvre Dutch and Flemish Masters

A detailed walk on the sometimes overlooked school of “Northern” painters, we will trace Dutch and Flemish art from the 14th century including works by Bosch, as Rubens, Vermeer and Van Eyck. Subjects also include the Reformation, the New World, and social commentary on the morals of the “new” Dutch society.

Louvre History & Architecture  

From fortress to museum of artistic treasures, this walk explores the building’s rich history and its transformation into a palace under the reign of Francois I through President Francois Mitterrand and still today.


Louvre Resources

Additional Advice on Visiting the Museum in our Insider Tips Blog

Louvre Official Website

Video of Context Docent Robin Emlein on the Louvre

Louvre Virtual Online Tour

Louvre Interactive Floor Plans


Additional Reading

The Louvre: All the Paintings – Vincent Pomarède

Paintings in the Louvre – Lawrence Gowing

Inventing the Louvre: Art, Politics, and the Origins of the Modern Museum in Eighteenth-century Paris – Andrew McClellan

A Key to the Louvre: Memoirs of a CuratorMichel Laclotte


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Louvre Timeline

12th c. Museum began as the Palais du Louvre, a fortress built under Phillippe-Auguste, to protect the capital from the Anglo-Norman threat

14th c. Charles V converted the building into a royal residence with the help of architect, Raymond du Temple.

1546 AD Francis I renovated the Louvre into a French Renaissance style; These new additions were designed by Pierre Lescot and decorated by Jean Goujon. This work was completed by Henri II and finalized under Henry IV.

1682 AD Louis XIV chooses Versailles as his primary residence; Louvre becomes a residence for artists

mid 18th c. Increasing interest in creating a public gallery; proposals for the conversion of the Grande Galerie of the Louvre into a public museum, but due to the French Revolution, such proposals remained incomplete

1750 AD Louis XV sanctioned 96 pieces of art for public viewing at the Luxembourg Gardens

1791 AD National Assembly decreed that the Louvre and Tuileries Gardens together will be used to hold all the monuments of the sciences and the arts.

1793 AD Louvre opened as a museum on August 10th, the first anniversary of the monarchy’s demise.

1798 AD The museum obtained numerous paintings and antiquities from the Vatican and the Venetian republic.

1882 AD Burning of the Tuileries with multiple ruins destroyed; This turning point  resulted in the Louvre being fully devoted to culture.

1989 AD Opening of the glass Pyramid built by Chinese architect, I. M. Pei.


Additional Sites of Interest

Eugene Delacroix Museum

This workshop houses everything from paintings and drawings to letters and other collectables of the famous French painter. His home and studio since 1857, it now serves as a museum to commemorate his work. Open every day (except Tuesday) from 9:30-5 pm. Closed on January 1, May 1, December 25.

Tuileries Garden

This historic public garden deserves a visit while at the Louvre. It is situated right next to the Museum and expands far along the Rue de Rivoli up until the Place de la Concorde.  Filling the role as the largest garden in Paris, it is stocked with beautiful sculptures and a view Les Champs-Elysées in the distance.


Louvre Images

Some inspirational snapshots to get you ready for your next trip to the Louvre.


 

Louvre Videos

 


 

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