My name is Flora Goldenberg. I am a fully licensed tour guide in Paris, I work with Louvre Museum as a tour animator for more than a decade.
In this article, I will introduce you to the Louvre museum as a monument building with an amazing history, as a Palace and as the biggest and the richest national museum on earth.
The Louvre History
The Musée du Louvre was not originally a museum. It was built as a Parisian fortress in 1190. The building was meant to keep the invaders away from the old center of Paris.
The louvre is then renovated in the 16th century and became a Royal Palace
It was only in 1793, after the French Monarchy moved to the Palace of Versailles, that the first Louvre museum was opened to the public, and offered just 537 paintings.
Today, the Louvre counts more than : 380 000 objects | 35 000 works of art | 8 curatorial departments | More than 652,000 sq ft dedicated to the permanent collection !
It takes nearly 100 days to see everything !
You need to pre-book a timed ticket with your name on it and do not forget to bring your id with you.
Price : 17 euro Per adult – Free for children under 18
You can ask me to buy the tickets for you.
The Louvre is a busy Museum.
Only with a licensed tour guide in Paris, you can skip-the-line at a anational museum.
The experience of the Louvre is easier when you hire a licensed tour guide, to bring to life all the masterpieces, to enjoy more of your precious time discovering and appreciating the stories behind each rare and valuable piece displayed in Louvre.
1 – Louvre Guided Tour: Highlights Tour – 2 Hours
I invite you to discover some of the masterpieces of the Louvre. From the great Sphinx of Egypt, and the Greek sculptures like the Venus of Milo or the Winged Victory, we’ll also go through the Italian department of paintings.
You’ll of course learn about all the great mysteries of the Mona Lisa, and you’ll also see the biggest painting in the Louvre, the Wedding in Cana.
Learn about the French History too, by discovering the famous painting “The Liberty guiding the people” by Delacroix, or “the Coronation of Napoleon Bonaparte”.
2 – Evening Louvre: Highlights Tour – 2 hours
Only on Wednesdays and Fridays – 2 hours in the evening : maximum 6 people in the group
Not possible anymore under Covid strict rules.
During this special Louvre guided tour by night, you’ll have the privilege to spend more time with the masterpieces in an empty museum.
While the other visitors and groups are leaving, you will be alone in huge fascinating rooms, more focused and free to explore more pieces.
I truely believe that it is one of the best ways to experience the visit of the Louvre, on a new light, with your private guide.
I myself, go spotting a new room in Louvre, on early evening, before diner. I use this time to review for a new tour or exibition.
Book directly by Email : Flora.firstname.lastname@example.org
I will answer you shortly. Thank you.
Note for Jewish Travelers
It is possible to ask for this guided Louvre tour to be mixed with a Jewish Walking Tour Paris as it is not far from le Marais, in order to show you the great Art donations made by Jewish Bankers like the son of Nissim de Camondo and his cousin Izaak, more Famous Jewish personalities and figures who lived in the Paris of the Belle Epoque.
The french jewish society was known for their refined taste in Art, for their generosity and their donations to the School of the Louvre, to the French national museums, to the building of private synagogues in Paris and many more.
What happened to all the paintings and sculptures during the war?
When I guide in the Louvre, my tourists often ask me what happened to all the paintings and sculptures during the war.
Did the Germans steal them all? Are they destroyed? Where were they destroyed? Did they really confiscate the Crown Jewels?
I am always happy and proud to explain that thanks to a smart, courageous and honest man, the Mona Lisa as well as 4000 other art objects were hidden and saved from pillage and theft. The name of this hero is Jacques Jaujard, he was at the time the director and head of curators of the Louvre.
How did he organise the salvation of The French masterpieces ?
At the end of the 1930-s Jaujard was convinced a Second World War would break out and from 1938 started organizing what would become the most important project of his life: moving 4000 art objects into a hiding place so the Germans would not be able to steal them.
During one year he set up a plan and in September 1939 took the paintings out of their frames, put the statues in wooden boxes and rolled up the biggest paintings as if they were tapestries.
The packing of the art objects was done by workers of the Louvre museum, students at the famous art school, École du Louvre, as well as a number of workers that were dispatched from the very beautiful and chic department store called: La Samaritaine*(see below)
The pieces were loaded into trucks and all together 37 convoys of 5 to 8 trucks left Paris by night accompanied by trucks filled with water in case a fire broke out during the trip.
Each convoy was accompanied by at least one Art expert and curator.
The trucks drove south, towards the center of France. In total 44 castles were chosen to hide the art objects.
One of them was the amazing castle of Chambord in the Loire valley and another was the castle of Valençay in the Berry region.
These two castles welcomed a large part of the art objects.
Chambord was chosen because it was huge, isolated and protected by a surrounding wall of more than 20 miles.
Valençay was owned by a duke who also owned land in German occupied land and therefore was well considered by the Germans.
This reduces the chance of being interrogated.
His name was the Duke of Valançay and after the war he refused to receive any reimbursement from the French government and took in him to cover the extra cost induced by hiding the art work as well as the cost for having two curators of the Louvre that lived with him in the castle for 6 years.
One painting, the famous Raft of the Medusa of Eugene Delacroix, was too fragile to be taken out of its frame, so it had to be transported in its entirety.
This painting is larger than 16 X 24 feet so you can imagine that mounted on a truck it reached high into the air. When the truck passed by the town of Versailles, the painting touched the electricity lines and provoked an electricity cut all over the town of Versailles . So it was agreed that the painting would remain in the palace of Versailles until a solution was found to bring it to a safer hideout.
During the war, Jacques Jaujard was put in contact with a representative of the French Resistance.
Her code name was Mozart.
She was the stunning and talented actress Jeanne Boitel. Jacques and Jeanne worked together for the resistance throughout the war and while doing so, fell in love and married.
At the end of the war all the paintings found their way back to the Louvre, but it took Jaujard one full year to do so.
Jacques Jaujard, who was a modest hero and who was given the legion of honor by the future president of France, Charles de Gaulle, resumed his activity as director of the Louvre after the war.
La samaritaine is beautiful department store in Paris located next to the Louvre, 5 minutes walking.
During summer 2021, a recently opened department store is located right next to the Louvre after a long period of restoration : La Samaritaine .
The same Samaritaine existed since 1869, and the workers from la Samaritaine helped conceal and package the Art works so they look like La Samaritaine’s product. They passed the nazis check points this way. The building is new owned by Bernard Arnault, one of the wealthiest people in Europe. He is a French investor, businessman and art collector. Arnault is, as of August 2021, the third-richest person in the world.
This building is a jewel, the Art Deco central staircase is a “must see” and La Samaritaine should definitely be on your bucket list.
Contact Flora for a private shopping tour of Paris:
Benjamin: Licensed tour guide
Do you want to do the Jewish Louvre guided tour in Paris with a new tour guide?
Benjamin is one of the rare Jewish Parisians who is an excellent tour guide.
Born and raised in Paris, graduated from Sorbonne University, big fan of Judaïca and he has served in the French Army.
When Ben was young, he played yiddish music in our Goldenberg family’s restaurant in le Marais, Rue des Rosiers, and then we worked together in the Shoah Memorial. I trust him with his training and his excellent work.
Benjamin is trained on the same Jewish Louvre.