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Louvre Museum, Paris
Come along on a virtual tour of the Louvre's top attractions ...

Saying that the world-famous Musée du Louvre in Paris is intimidating is an understatement. With more than 35,000 works of art displayed over 60,000 square meters of space, the quantity and caliber of the Louvre's collection have made it one of the most renowned and visited art museums in the world.

As you may have guessed, it's impossible to truly experience all the Louvre has to offer in just one visit.

Just up ahead, check out the crash course on the museum's greatest hits, along with directions on how to find them quickly and easily:

Mona Lisa
Mona LisaThis simple portrait of a sublimely smiling Italian noblewoman is undoubtedly the Louvre's best-known piece. As such, signs pointing visitors in the direction of the masterpiece are plastered around the museum. Painted by Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) in the first part of the 16th century, the portrait is said to be of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo, a Florentine nobleman.

Find it: Go to the first floor and make your way to the Grande Galerie. When you reach the statue of Diana the Huntress, turn right: the Mona Lisa is in front of you.

The Wedding Feast at Cana
Wedding Feast at CanaThis massive canvas, which dominates the room that also displays the Mona Lisa, depicts the setting of Jesus Christ's first miracle, when he turned water into wine at a marriage in Cana. The painting was completed by the Italian Renaissance master Paolo Caliari, also known as Veronese, between 1562-63. Caliari reimagines the celebration as a sumptuous 16th-century Venetian feast, complete with rich details and elegant architecture.

Find it: After paying homage to the Mona Lisa, turn around to admire the Wedding Feast at Cana.

Venus de MiloVenus de Milo
The Venus de Milo, or Aphrodite of Melos, is one of the most magnificent remnants of the Hellenistic period of Greek history. The statue, by an unknown artist, depicts the mythical goddess of love and beauty in pure white marble. Details like the figure's elongated silhouette, position in space and realistic nudity lead scholars to believe the statue was completed at the end of the 2nd century BC.

Find it:
Take the elevator down to the ground floor to Greek Antiquities. The Venus de Milo, is on your left when you enter Room 7.

Winged Victory at the LouvreWinged Victory
The Winged Victory is a reconstruction of an original Greek statue that was discovered in pieces on the island of Samothrace in 1863. The masterpiece features the personified winged figure of Victory, appearing to bring favor upon a ship. Scholars believe the statue may have been created as an offering to the gods from the Rhodians, as thanks for a naval victory.

Find it: One of the easiest masterworks to find at the Louvre, the Winged Victory stands proudly above the ultra-grand "Victory of Samothrace" staircase on the ground floor.

Liberty Leading the People
LIberty Leading the People, LouvreThis heavily symbolic work of art, painted by French artist Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863), caused an uproar when it was unveiled at the Salon of 1831 in Paris. The painting, a commentary on the "Les Trois Glorieuses" riots of 1830, depicts the allegorical female figure of the Republic waving a French flag and beckoning the masses to follow her in reinstating the French republic.

The message, along with the unruly, half-naked image of the female figure, were too provocative for the time; the newly-crowned King Louis-Philip purchased the work and hid it away!

Find it: On the 1st floor, make your way to Room 77 (Romantic paintings). You will find Liberty Leading the People on your left.

Louvre travel basics

Louvre Museum - The official site, in English

Paris Metro: Metro stop Palais-Royal-Musée du Louvre (Line 1)

Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday; 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Wednesday and Friday. The Louvre is closed on Tuesdays.

Admission (prices current as of 2015): €12 regular admission; €16combined ticket for the permanent collection and special exhibitions.

Free: under 18, unemployed individuals, disabled visitors and others.

The museum is free for all visitors on the first Sunday of each month and on Bastille Day July 14, and free for visitors under the age of 26 every Friday from 6 p.m. to 9:45 p.m.

Louvre fun facts

• The Louvre first stood as a medieval fortress. Four centuries later it was demolished and reconstructed as a royal palace. Later, King Louis XIV packed up and moved the royal residence to the Palace of Versailles. It was only in 1793 when the Louvre became the museum as we know it today.

• The size of 35 American football fields, the Louvre is the third largest museum in the world after the Metropolitan Museum in Art of New York and the Hermitage in St Petersburg 

• Most Americans and Anglophiles pronounce Louvre as "loov" (rhymes with move). French speakers say "loovruh".

• Famed for one of the world's largest collection of Egyptian antiquities, the museum is said to be haunted by a mummy called Belphegor who roams the corridors by night!

• Designed by the famous architect I.M. Pei and completed in 1989, the Louvre Pyramid is made up of 673 panes of glass and serves as the entrance to the museum .Accepting the commission to build it, Pei became the first architect from outside France to work on the museum.

• As an important backdrop to 2003 movie, The Da Vinci Code, the Louvre went Hollywood in 2003 and instantly became recognizable to movie audiences worldwide. Today, the museum's website offers a virtual tour leading visitors around important artworks that feature in the plot.


More about the Louvre around the Web:

Louvre - Wikipedia

Six Things You May Not Know About the Louvre

About the Author... Jessica Arriola Marati

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