Set in Louis XIV's palace, with the magnificent Tuileries as its back garden, and housing around 35,000 works of art, this overwhelmingly pre-eminent museum demands a planned visit, so decide in advance what you would like to see, buy your tickets online and avoid the queues. The main entrance is through I.M.
Pei's thrilling glass and steel pyramid in the Cour Napole?on, but advance-ticket holders can enter via the passage Richelieu from rue de Rivoli. Inside, the huge collection includes European art from the Middle Ages to the mid-19th century, artefacts from the Islamic world, Egypt and Rome, decorative arts and sculpture. Among the superstar moments are the world's most famous painting, the Mona Lisa, known as La Joconde in French; Gericault's apocalyptic La Radeau de la Me?duse; and Liberty Leading the People by Delacroix.
Don't miss the Michelangelo and Donatello sculptures, the amazing Titians on the rear of the mobbed Mona Lisa, nor Cranach's Anne of Cleves. When it all gets too much, escape to Cafe Marly (see Snack) or Le Fumoir (see Eat). On top of the permanent collections, the Louvre puts on regular blockbuster shows; and concerts and so on take place in the 450-seat auditorium located beneath the pyramid.