No trip to Paris could be complete without a visit to the Louvre Museum. It holds more than 380,000 objects, with 35,000 works of art displayed in 652,000 square feet. On average, 15,000 people visit the Louvre every day, making it the most popular museum in the world.
Planning Your Visit to the Louvre
The Louvre is located It is impossible to witness all of the works in the Louvre during a single visit (or even in a week for that matter) so it is best to get a map of the museum beforehand and decide which parts of the museum you wish to see.
Near Eastern Antiquities: The Louvre’s Near Eastern department includes works from the first settlements and early civilizations in Mesopotamia, Persia and Levant up to the introduction of Islam.
Egyptian Antiquities: The Louvre holds over 50,000 Egyptian artifacts, spanning from Ancient Egypt to the Byzantine era. After an influx of Egyptian artifacts beginning with Napoleon’s conquest of Egypt in 1789, the Egyptian Antiquities department was formed by a decree from Charles X in the early 19th Century. Today, the collection is displayed in over 20 rooms, including pypyrus scrolls, jewelry, clothing, musical instruments, weapons, and dozens of mummies.
Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities: This department includes artifacts from the Mediterranean Basin from the Neolithic Period up to the 6th Century, with the fall of the Roman Empire. Along with pottery, jewelry and art, the halls are crowded with row after row of famous statues art lovers and historians would recognize from their text books, including the Venus de Milo and the Apollo Belvedere.
Islamic Art: This collection spans three continents, including over 5000 works of art in ceramics, glass, metal, wood, and ivory.
Sculpture: The Sculpture Department contains all sculpture that does not fit into the other department categories up to 1850. (Any works created after that date were moved to the Orsay Museum in 1986.) Pieces include such works as Daniel in the Lions’ Den and the Virgin of Auvergne.
Paintings: The Louvre’s collection of paintings includes over 6000 works of art from the 13th Century to the 1848 Revolution. The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci is included in this collection. (Besides being the most popular piece in the museum, it is encased beneath bullet-proof glass and is the most protected painting in the world.) The works of Caravaggio, Raphael, Michelangelo, Jacques-Louis David, and hundreds of other famous painters draw thousands of visitors daily, only 65 percent of which are tourists.
Other departments in the Louvre are Prints and Drawings, Decorative Arts (including vases, ceramics and stained glass). The museum also hosts the apartments of Napoleon III, which gives visitors a stunning experience in what life in 19th Century France was like, at least for the elite.
For more information visit the official Louvre website.
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Louvre Photo Credit: Christina Hawkins.