Editors' Picks

Musée du Louvre

99 Rue de Rivoli, 75004 Paris, France

33 (0)1-40-20-53-17

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The best way to see the Louvre—its 35,000 works of art and some twelve miles of walkways can be overwhelming—is in short, enjoyable visits. The first time I visited the museum, as an eleven-year-old, in 1972, my mother had compiled a cheat sheet of the things she wanted her four children to see. Before arriving, she explained that the museum was the former residence of the French royal family and that it became a museum in 1793, after the French Revolution.

Mom’s list works just as well today. Starting at the Porte des Lions entrance, here’s what not to miss: The museum’s two most famous paintings, Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Véronèse’s massive Wedding Feast at Cana. Then, visit three more da Vinci masterpieces (Madonna of the Rocks; Saint Jean-Baptiste; The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne) as well as Giotto’s St. Francis of Assisi Receiving the Stigmata, Mantegna’s Saint Sébastien and Caravaggio’s magnificent Fortune Teller. Among the many exquisite French paintings in the museum, Ingres’ La Grande Odalisque and Géricault’s The Raft of the Medusa are standouts. And don’t miss the Winged Victory of Samothrace, a headless second-century Greek statue at the top of the museum’s grand staircase, and Michelangelo’s sculptures Dying Slave and Captive Slave.

Tip: Some rooms close on a rotating weekly basis, so if you’re desperate, say, to see the Egyptian collections, check the museum’s Web site to make sure the rooms are open the day you visit. Avoid the crowds at the museum by going at night; the Louvre has late hours Wednesday and Friday. Closed Tuesday. 

Indagare members can contact our Bookings Team to arrange visits with one of our preferred guides, including art historians who specialize in education and are specially trained to engage children. We can organize everything from a half-day tour of the museum's can't-miss attractions to a treasure hunt-themed outing for families.

Written by Sandy Flick

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