Formerly a royal palace, the Louvre is one of the world’s top art museums, home to a collection of paintings, sculptures, and antiquities that spans from the 7th millennium BC to the 19th century. With three wings and five levels, the Louvre can be overwhelming for visitors, but here are five sections you won't want to miss.
Italian Paintings, 13th to 18th century (1st floor Denon wing)
When you spot the mass of people gathered around a painting that’s smaller than you expect, you know you’re in the right place. This is where Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa can be found, as well as The Wedding Feast at Cana and works by Raphael and Caravaggio.
Napoleon III Apartments (1st floor Richelieu wing)
Part of the museum’s Decorative Arts collection, the tucked-away Napoleon III Apartments are overlooked by many visitors who head straight to the big-name paintings and sculptures. This respite from the crowds highlights the lavish, gilded decor of the 18th and 19th centuries.
Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities (ground floor Denon and Sully wings, 1st floor Sully wing)
Spread across three floors, this large collection includes two Greek sculptures that draw most of the attention—Venus de Milo (Aphrodite), circa 100 BC, on the ground floor and The Winged Victory of Samothrace, circa 200 BC, on the first floor.
French Paintings, 14th to 19th centuries (2nd floor Richelieu and Sully wings)
The Louvre’s art collection stops just before the start of the Impressionist period in the mid-1800s, so don’t expect to see Monet. The French paintings here include works by La Tour and Delacroix.
Northern European Paintings, 14th to 19th centuries (2nd floor Richelieu wing)
Further down the Richelieu wing from the French paintings, you find Dutch masters Rembrandt and Vermeer with works such as Bathsheba at Her Bath, The Lacemaker, and The Astronomer. German and Flemish pieces are also on display.