Since the autumn of 2019, the Louvre museum has organized a remarkable exhibition dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci. The Mona Lisa has remained an enigma for art historians since the 16th century. Visiting the Mona Lisa can be quite a feat, as the Louvre draws in about 15,000 visitors per day. Here’s how to see the Mona Lisa in Paris and some tips to avoid the crowds.
Pro Tip: Planning to see the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris? Bookmark this post in your browser so you can easily find it when you’re in the city. Check out our guide to Paris for more planning resources, our top Louvre tours for a memorable trip, and how to visit the Louvre.
The Star of the Louvre
The Mona Lisa is one of the most iconic portraits in history. The painting was exhibited in the Palace of Versailles during the reign of Louis XIV, and was, therefore, part of the royal collections. She took up residence in the Louvre in 1804.
To see the Mona Lisa, you’ll be visiting the Louvre—the largest single-complex museum in the world at 800,000 square feet (73,000 square meters) with one of the most impressive collections in the world. For a more comprehensive guide, check out how to visit the Louvre.
Louvre Hours and Tickets
The Louvre is open nearly every day of the year from 9 am to 6 pm, except on Tuesdays when the museum is closed. The museum also has a night opening on Fridays where the museum stays open until 9:45 pm.
Keep in mind that the Louvre is closed on January 1, May 1, and December 25. The lines can be quite long. That’s why we recommend taking a guided tour that will get you skip-the-line access, helping you avoid some of the crowds.
- Monday: 9 am – 6 pm
- Tuesday: Closed
- Wednesday: 9 am – 6 pm
- Thursday: 9 am – 6 pm
- Friday: 9 am – 9:45 pm
- Saturday: 9 am – 6 pm
- Sunday: 9 am – 6 pm
Pro Tip: If you can, try to visit the Louvre in the evening for a more intimate experience. It’s typically less busy, giving you a chance to view the exhibits longer.
You can buy tickets at the museum for €15 or online for €17. Admission is free for anyone under 18 with an official ID document and residents of the European Economic Area under 26 with an official certificate of residence or valid ID document.
Mona Lisa Facts
Who Was the Mona Lisa?
According to the most probable hypothesis, the mysterious Mona Lisa was Lisa Gherardini, wife of wealthy Florentine cloth merchant Francesco del Giocondo. The portrait represents her sitting in a loggia, a kind of balcony. Behind her, you can see a landscape with valleys, a river, and a bridge.
What is the Mona Lisa looking at? Do you have the impression that she is staring at you? It is an optical illusion, called the “Mona Lisa effect.” No matter where you stand in the room, no matter what the angle is, the audience thinks that the Mona Lisa is staring at them.
Mona Lisa’s Smile
The Renaissance is the appearance of a new genre: the portrait and the expression of personality. The Mona Lisa represents a woman but is also the portrait of an expression. Her smile is a true enigma in the history of art.
Leonardo da Vinci was one of the precursors of portraits with a smile. The reason the smile seems so fascinating is that it is in contrast with the desolate landscape in the background.
The work of art became popular with the general public when it was stolen from the Louvre in 1911. The portrait was found, and the man responsible for the robbery was an Italian named Vincenzo Peruggia. He wanted to restore the work to his native country.
One of our best Louvre guides, Veronique Marie, says: “The man who stole the Mona Lisa believed that Napoleon stole the painting in the first place. This was not true, the Mona Lisa was bought. But this opinion made Peruggia inclined to bring the Mona Lisa back to Italy.”
Mona Lisa Tours
The best way to see the Mona Lisa is in a skip-the-line guided Louvre tour. Our passionate guide will share the secrets of Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, a work of art that has long intrigued those who look upon her. On our tours, we’ll head immediately to the Mona Lisa before seeing anything else to make sure you see the masterpiece with the least amount of crowds
Not ready to book a tour? Find out if a Louvre Museums tour is worth it.