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Musée du Louvre, 1st Arr.

Champigny-sur-Marne, France, Europe
Rue de Rivoli
France 75001
Tel: 33 1 40 20 53 17
Metro: Louvre–Rivoli or Palais Royal–Musée du Louvre
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The world's most famous museum, originally a royal residence, usually elicits one of two strong reactions from those who've never been before—exhilaration or dread. The most reasonable response may be a mixture of the two, since it's a lot of work to see even a small part of it. What's needed is some strategy. Download a floor plan from the website before you show up, and arrive with a list of what you absolutely can't miss (Leonardo's masterpieces, Veronese's like-it-or-loathe-it Wedding at Cana, Caravaggio's superb Fortune Teller, Michelangelo's Dying Slave sculpture, etc., etc.). If you're coming in summer, buy your ticket in advance on the website, and use an alternative entrance instead of I.M. Pei's mobbed glass pyramid (the best access point for first-timers is the Porte des Lions entrance, which drops you off almost directly at the Mona Lisa). No matter how you find your way in, prepare yourself for crowds: Attendance at the Louvre has gone up by over a million a year since the release of The Da Vinci Code, which is the subject of the most popular tours and audio guides now, much to the chagrin of authentic art lovers and historians. Try to see the most famous pieces at lunchtime or during dinner on Wednesday and Friday, when the museum is open until 10 p.m. Keep in mind that some rooms are closed on a rotating weekly basis; if you have your heart set on seeing something beyond the traditional masterpieces, check the website to make sure it'll be accessible. And don't forget that your ticket is valid all day long—you're not a bad person if you want to go sit on a bench in the gardens of the Tuileries or the Palais Royal for a time-out.

Open 9 am to 6 pm (until 10 pm on Wednesdays and Fridays). Closed Tuesdays.

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Once in a lifetime

Breathtaking to be viewing the real originals of so many famous works of art........and amazed at the gigantic size of some of the paintings. Plus the ambiance of... more