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Paris Travel Guide:

Best Places to Visit in Paris - The Louvre and Surrounding Attractions

 

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Skip the line - Louvre Museum Guided Tour

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This section of our Paris City Guide describes the Louvre and surrounding attractions. Click the links below to go directly to a specific place or just continue reading to explore this section of Paris.

The Louvre  Place de la Concorde  Jardin des Tuileries  Place Vendome  Opéra Garnier

We provide concise descriptions of the leading attractions and link these to detailed maps of the areas described. The blue numbered location symbolized on the maps are linked back to the descriptions of the attractions so you can click them and return to the feature's description on this page.

  • The Louvre is the tourist magnet in Paris and some of the  attractions described below are good walk-bys while on your way to the Louvre.
  • The area between the Champs Elysées and the Louvre is yet another section of Paris that requires a great deal of walking to see the main sites.  Pace yourself.  Plan your route before you leave for the day.
  • Don't forget that our pictures will show captions when you "mouse" them in Internet Explorer or Firefox.
  • In addition to our "print-style" maps of Paris, we have added a more detailed street map based on Google maps.  To examine a satellite view of  the tourist attractions in Paris, click the airplane symbols that accompany the descriptions of most attractions. 
    •  The symbol looks like this 

 
In the description following the name of each attraction, the first notation is the arrondissement.   The second notation is R for Right Bank, L for Left Bank or IC for Île De La Cité. The "map symbol number" indicates the numeric "id' of the symbol showing the location of the attraction on the map

The Louvre   Top of Page

Venus de Milo - One of the Louvre's many treasures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Place de la Concorde attracts everyone - even Napoleon.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Louvre and Surrounding Attractions

The Musée du Louvre     (1ér) (R) - map symbol 7

The buildings of the Louvre house one of the world's great museums and a visit to this treasure trove of history is a must for any tourist lucky enough to be in  Paris. The Musée du Louvre contains many of civilization's greatest artistic triumphs and most important antiquities.  See the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and the Winged Victory of Samothrace. Be sure to see the stunning collection of Egyptian antiquities.

The Louvre can be overwhelming due to its physical size and the complexity of its collections. Do yourself a favor: either join a tour or decide what you want to see before you go. If you do not have an agenda when you enter the Louvre, it is likely that you will miss the most important attractions simply because you will not be able to find them in this massive museum. (Bring your best walking shoes, as touring the Louvre is a hike.)

As you might suspect, DaVinci's Mona Lisa (La Gioconda) is the Louvre's most popular attraction.  Mona may have been moved since the last time you visited.  She is now hung on her own wall in the museum's Salle des Etats. The mid-sized painting, which dates from the 16th century, is approximately 30 inches by 20 and painted directly on a panel made from poplar.  The picture is  protected by security glass and other countermeasures to deter theft and damage.

  • The painting was stolen in the early 20th century and returned several years later.  The Mona Lisa was  also damaged on two occasions.  in the 1950's, one irate visitor tried to douse the famous picture with acid, damaging the bottom of the painting.  Another patron caused minor damage by bruising the artwork with a thrown rock.

The physical museum is comprised of different architectural styles (for example, the New Louvre, the Sully Wing, and the Old Louvre) that are worthy of note.  Recently, the controversial newer entrance (the glass pyramid) designed by I. M. Pei  has attracted even more attention due to its role in the best selling novel "The Da Vinci Code". Visit the Louvre's official web site here.

Closed Tuesdays, as well as December 25, January 1, May 1, and August 15. Hours are from 9 a.s. to 6 p.m., except on Wednesday and Fridays, when the museum remains open until 10 p.m.

     

Place de la Concorde     (1ér) (R) - map symbol 3

The Obelisk at the center of this square came from the Egyptian temple at Luxor and was installed in the center of the Place de la Concorde in the 19th century. The obelisk and fountains have come to be landmarks of Paris. It was in the Place de la Concorde that Marie Antoinette, Louis XVI, Robespierre and many others from the French royalty were guillotined in the center of the square at the end of the 18th century.

The Place has been renamed many times and is now used to host large gatherings. The Place de la Concorde separates the Tuileries Gardens on the east from the Avenue des Champs Elysées to the west. The Place de la Concorde is not an end destination but a waypoint on a visit to the Tuileries, Orangerie, or Louvre.

If you are in the mood for shopping, follow  Rue Royale north from the Place de la Concorde for the delightful shopping area around the Place de la Madeline, an area known for its gourmet quality food shops.  While on Rue  Royale keep and eye out for Ladurée Royale, a tea salon, and its famous pastries at number 16 Rue Royal.

Jardin des Tuileries (1ér) (R) map symbol 4

Located east of the Place de la Concorde, the Tuileries Gardens provide a pleasant transition to the Louvre.

The Tuileries Palace, which included the gardens, was destroyed by fire during civil unrest in the 19th century.  Originally the palace and gardens were built by  Catherine de Médici in the mid-sixteenth century.  Louis XIV lived in the palace at the Tuileries while Versailles was being constructed.  The name, tuileries, derives from the fact that the area was once used for tile making (tuile (f) is tile in French).

The Museum Orangerie sits amidst the Tuileries.  The Orangerie is world famous as the home of Monet's Lily Pond paintings (the Nymphéas), although it contains works by several other noted artists.

  • The Musée Orangerie reopened in May 2006 after 6 years of construction that were required to resolve problematic additions made to the structure in the last century.
  • The "new" Orangerie is spectacular and Monet's Nymphéas, the prime focus of the redesign, are once again bathed in natural light. Monet created these stunning, large paintings of the lily ponds and Japanese bridge in Giverny near the end of this life and gifted them to the French people after the end of World War I.
  • The Musée is open to  visitors from 9 a.m. to 6.p.m.  It is closed Tuesdays, May 1st and Christmas. See this official website for more information.
Place Vendome and the Colonne de la Grande Armée    (1 ém) (R) - map symbol 5  

One of the best squares in Paris from an architectural point of view, it now houses many upscale stores, great shopping, and the original Ritz Hotel. The Column (the Colonne) was commissioned by Napoleon (whose statue once adorned the top of the column) and is faced with plates made from enemy cannons taken at the battle of Austerlitz. The Place Vendome is worth a short look if you are nearby (in the Tuileries, Place de la Concorde, or the Louvre).  Of course, there is shopping, featuring Cartier, Chaumet (fine jewelry), Charvet (one the world's best known custom shirt tailors) and others.

Opéra Garnier      (9 ém) (R) - map symbol 6 

A richly decorated monument built for Napoleon III by the well-regarded architect Garnier. The Opera has recently been refurbished and the major roof statuary re-gilded to magnificent effect. The Opera is not an end destination but a walk-by on your way to local shopping along the Grand Boulevards.  Visit the official website for more information.


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The glass pyramid at the Louvre

 

The Sphinx from the Egyptian Collection at the Louvre

 

 

 
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The Obelisk at Place de la Concorde

 
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The Best Places to Visit in Paris

Champs Elysées
Marais
Latin Quarter -Île de la
Cité

Invalides
Eiffel Tower
Montmartre

Or consider Daytrips to
Versailles  
Fontainebleau
Giverny
Chantilly

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