The Louvre is one of the world’s great museums and a place you simply have to visit while you’re in Paris. This iconic museum holds some of the world’s most famous paintings, including the legendary Mona Lisa. You’ll also find some of the most important artifacts in French and world history in this fascinating location.
Large bags aren’t allowed in the museum, so it’s best to drop off your belongings at a Louvre luggage storage before you visit. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to enjoy everything this huge museum has to offer.
And beyond the famous paintings and statues the Louvre is best known for, there are lots of hidden gems to be discovered. See if you can track down some of these interesting objects next time you’re there, and turn your visit into a scavenger hunt.
The Louvre holds some impressive remains of one of the earliest civilizations in human history. The shedu date back to the eighth century BC and the glory days of the Assyrian Empire, and these imposing statues once stood outside the palace of King Sargon II.
Encountering these well-preserved remains is almost like coming across an alien civilization. It will give you a visceral experience of ancient history that is hard to get anywhere else.
The Louvre is such an icon of Paris that it can seem like it’s been around forever. But of course, that isn’t the case. The museum stands on what was once the site of a castle, and archaeologists working at the museum have uncovered the foundations of this castle so that you can now see them on a visit to the museum.
This is a fascinating glimpse into the medieval history of Paris, and it helps to bring the Louvre’s story right up to date.
The Crown Jewels
You might not expect to find the French crown jewels in the Louvre, but they’re actually on display in this world-famous museum. These impressive pieces were used in coronations until 1825 when they were put into storage. They weren’t seen again until they were brought out for a special exhibition at the Louvre in 1986, and they’ve been on permanent display there ever since. Talk about some fancy stuff!
The Blue Hippo
The Louvre’s collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts is impressive, but this small blue hippo is one of the most charming items on display in the Egyptian galleries. This little statuette is thought to have been used as a charm to protect children from harm, and it’s sure to bring a smile to your face as you explore the galleries.
Although the hippo is ancient, it’s as enchanting today as it was when it was first made, and it shows a more whimsical side to the ancient relics of this fascinating culture.
View of the Grande Galerie of the Louvre in ruins
How many museums can brag about having a painting of themselves in ruins? The Louvre can. Patrick Allan-Fraser’s painting shows the Grande Galerie’s destruction during the French Revolution. It’s a sobering reminder of the tumultuous history of France but also of the resilience of this great institution.
The Louvre has survived revolutions and wars, and it continues to be one of the most popular tourist attractions in Paris.
Virgin of the Rocks
Of course, the Louvre is famous for being the home of one of the great masterpieces of Renaissance painter Leonardo da Vinci, the Mona Lisa. But the Louvre holds many other paintings by this famous genius, and you can admire them without the crowds you’ll find at his better-known work. The Virgin of the Rocks is one of these hidden gems, and it’s a must-see for any art lover. This painting was refused by the patrons that commissioned it, and this is one of two versions of the scene that Leonardo attempted, with the other housed in the UK.
The Apollo Gallery
This stunning gallery was once the private collection of Louis XIV, and it’s filled with masterpieces from the French king’s personal art stash. The gallery’s highlight is the magnificent ceiling painted by Charles Le Brun, which depicts the Greek god Apollo surrounded by his muses. It’s a truly spectacular sight, and it’s well worth seeking out if you’re looking for a hidden gem at the Louvre.
Rembrandt’s Slaughtered Ox
Rembrandt is another towering figure in European art, and the Louvre is home to several paintings by this master. The Slaughtered Ox is one of Rembrandt’s lesser-known works, but it’s well worth seeking out – if you’re not too squeamish.
The Slaughtered Ox is just what you might think – a realistic painting of a butchered cow. It’s one of the more striking works in the museum, and the meaning behind the painting is unknown. Then again, that’s part of the fun of art appreciation since everyone brings their own meaning to the paintings they see.
Apartments of Napoleon III
After it was a medieval castle, but before it became a world-famous Art Museum, the Louvre was a palace for French nobility. The opulent apartments that were once home to French Emperor Napoleon III have been preserved and can be visited while at the museum.
These lavish apartments offer a rare glimpse into the life of French royalty, and they’re a must-see for anyone interested in French history. It’s also a good reminder of the changing fortunes and uses of this iconic Paris destination.
The Louvre is one of the most famous museums in the world, and it’s filled with hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. From the crown jewels to a painting of the museum in ruins, there’s something for everyone at this incredible institution.
Get here early to have the full day to wander around, and if it’s the busy season, booking tickets in advance is never a bad idea. One thing is for sure: the next time you’re in Paris, you won’t regret adding the Louvre to your itinerary. What hidden treasure will be your favorite?