The louvre

What to see in the Louvre after seeing the Mona Lisa

There’s something about his dark chocolate eyes, smirk and absent eyebrows that adds an element of mystery and fuels conspiracy theories. Maybe that’s why the mona-lisa, completed by Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci in the early 1500s, is the most visited (and most parodied) painting in the world.

You cannot visit the Louvre and not see Mona Lisa (as the mona-lisa is known to the locals). But once you’ve been jostled by throngs of camera-wielding tourists — and snapped your own photo of the masterpiece behind a velvet rope that keeps visitors at bay — you’ll want to admire these other works of art at the castle-turned-museum.

Pro Tip: Want to see the most common paths through the Louvre? Check out this interactive data from MIT.

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Venus of Milo

Ground floor, Sully wing

Discovered without her arms on the Greek island of Milos in 1820, the beautiful Venus de Milo has been on display in a prominent place in the Louvre for almost two centuries. Expertly carved from a cold, hard slab of marble, the statue of the Greek Goddess of Love and Beauty is so lifelike, she looks like she could wrap you in a soft, warm embrace (if only she had arms).

Pro Tip: Look for illustrated signs throughout the Louvre that direct guests to popular pieces like the mona-lisa and the Venus de Milo.

Nike of Samothrace inside the Louvre.

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Winged Victory of Samothrace (Nike of Samothrace)

Ground floor, Denon wing

When this larger-than-life statue of Nike was completed in Greece in the 2nd century BC. AD, it was placed on a pedestal designed to look like the prow of a ship. Discovered on the island of Samothrace in the mid-1880s, the headless Greek goddess is prominently displayed on a similar prow at the top of the grand staircase in the Louvre.

Nike is the Greek goddess of victory, so it’s no wonder Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight created a wing-like swoosh to represent their sneakers that bear her name!

Psyche revived by Cupid's kiss inside the Louvre.

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Psyche revived by Cupid’s kiss

Ground floor, Denon wing

The mythological Greek lovers Psyche and Cupid are depicted in several works of art in the Louvre, from paintings to statues. At Antonio Canova Psyche revived by Cupid’s kiss, Cupid revives his beloved Psyche after a flask from the underworld causes her to pass out.

The Coronation of Napoleon inside the Louvre.

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The Coronation of Napoleon

First floor, Denon wing

This massive oil painting (about 30 feet by 20 feet) depicts the coronation of Napoleon Bonaparte at Notre Dame de Paris in 1804. Because France had evolved from a monarchy to a republic after the French Revolution, Napoleon crowning himself emperor was seen by many French citizens as a major step backwards.

Pro tip: Napoleon Bonaparte’s nephew, Napoleon III, lived in a luxurious apartment in the Richelieu wing of the Louvre. Take a short break among the paintings and statues to admire the elaborate crystal chandeliers and plush velvet furniture in her apartment.

The wedding at Cana inside the Louvre.

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The wedding at Cana

First floor, Denon wing

Surprisingly, The Coronation of Napoleon is not the greatest work exhibited at the Louvre. This honor goes to The wedding at Cana, which illustrates the first miracle of Jesus. Italian artist Paolo Caliari captures the moment from John’s Gospel when Jesus turns water into wine at a wedding in Cana.

Some visitors are wrong The wedding at Cana for da Vinci The last supper. Leonardo da Vinci’s work is actually a fresco painted on a wall in the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, not a painting exhibited in the Louvre.

Liberty leading the people inside the Louvre.

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Liberty Leading the People

First floor, Denon wing

With a red, white and blue triband flag held high above her head, Lady Liberty leads a Wretched-era uprising in this oil painting by Eugène Delacroix. Originally purchased at the Salon by the French government to remind Louis Philippe I of the French Revolution of 1830 against his predecessor, the piece was returned to the artist after the Paris Uprising of 1832.

The Great Sphinx of Tanis inside the Louvre.

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Great Sphinx of Tanis

Basement, Sully Wing

If you can’t make it to Giza to see the Great Sphinx guarding the most famous pyramids in the world, don’t miss this sculpture in the Louvre. Not only is the Great Sphinx of Tanis one of the largest sphinxes outside of Egypt, but its lion paws and regal face are well preserved and quite detailed.

One of Marly's horses inside the Louvre.

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The horses of Marly

Basement, Richelieu wing

Built in the 17th century as an annex to the Palace of Versailles, the Château de Marly was sold during the French Revolution and demolished in the 19th century. But two massive horses carved from Carrara marble were considered such phenomenal works of art that they were spared. They have been on display at the Louvre since 1984.

Statues of slaves by Michelangelo inside the Louvre.

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Michelangelo’s slave statues

Ground floor, Denon wing

When I think of the works of Michelangelo, the David in the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence and his beautiful paintings inside the Sistine Chapel immediately come to mind. But did you know that statues by Michelangelo originally planned for the tomb of Pope Julius II are on display at the Louvre? Known as The rebel slave and The dying slave, the two pieces are exhibited in the Denon wing.

The inverted pyramid of the Louvre.

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The inverted pyramid

While visiting the Louvre, you cannot miss the large glass pyramid in the courtyard of the old castle which has served as the museum’s main entrance since the early 1990s. But fans of Dan Brown The “Da Vinci Code” may have a harder time locating the inverted pyramid featured in the book and in the movie starring Tom Hanks. This is because the fictional location of Mary Magdalene’s tomb is not inside the huge museum. Rather, the tip of the pyramid-shaped skylight pierces into the earth and connects to a small stone pyramid at the Carrousel du Louvre, an upscale underground shopping mall that connects to the Louvre.

The Death of the Virgin inside the Louvre.

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The death of the virgin

First floor, Denon wing

fans of The “Da Vinci Code” Don’t miss the painting torn from the wall by Louvre curator Jacques Saunière at the start of the thriller. This oil painting by Italian artist Caravaggio shows a group of mourners surrounding Mary, the Virgin Mother of God. The sobbing woman in the lower right, just below Mary’s outstretched left arm, is believed to be Mary Magdalene.

The Roman Catholic convent that commissioned this piece in the early 1600s did not approve of its imagery and rejected the painting.

Outside the Louvre in Paris, France.

Wise Scott

Tips for visiting the Louvre

  • At just under 800,000 square feet, the Louvre is the largest art museum in the world. Download a museum map, install the free Louvre app, and have other practical information handy before you go.
  • Welcoming more than seven million visitors each year, the Louvre is the most visited museum in the world. Avoid the lines by purchasing your tickets online before your visit.
  • Although the museum is closed on Tuesdays, it is open late on Wednesdays and Fridays (until 9:45 p.m.).
  • Remember that in Europe, “first floor” is the first floor above the ground floor (or second floor for US visitors). Keep this in mind when looking for the best art to see in the Louvre.
  • Consider having a drink or an aperitif while relaxing in the outdoor seating area of ​​Brasserie Le Café Marly. Although the brasserie can be a little pricey, the view of the sunset over the Louvre is second to none.

Want to enjoy Paris off the beaten track? Discover these hidden gems, charming boutiques, surprising things to do and lesser-known churches in the city.