Louvre Tour: French Painting History Crash Course

An amazing Louvre tour to follow the evolution of the French art of painting from the 14th century to the mid 19th century. A three hours challenge with your own licensed guide lecturer.

Photo of bookshelves full of references books to illustrate the synthesys of 500 years of pictural arts knowledge of our Louvre French painting challenge crash course.

Our crash course French painting Louvre tour challenge is a synthesis of 500 years of pictural art evolution. Credit Joshua Coleman Unsplash.

French Painting History Crash Course in the Louvre

From 180 € for 1 to 2 people +30 € for any extra person

  • +/- 3-hour guided tour in English
  • Really private tour = your party only (6 people max.)
  • Postgraduate (MPhil) certified French national guide
  • Flexible schedule
  • Availability: not on Monday, Tuesdays, Wednesday
  • Easy meeting point inside the Museum below the pyramid
  • Skip-the-line ticket to buy online (22 € per adult)

Skip-the-line ticket clarification: they are just standard online tickets.


Your Private Tour Guide in the Louvre

Certified French national guide
BA, Magna Cum Laude, Heritage Developpement & Preservation from Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers
Postgraduate from Paris Dauphine-PSL University

Know more about Yves, your private tour guide in Paris

What’s in the tour?

15th century onset

16th century Renaissance

17th century Classicism

17th century Baroque

18th century Enlightenment

18th century Rococo

18th & 19th centuries Neo-classicism

19th century Romanticism

The Tour Masterpieces

Jean II King of France; “Charles VII King of France” & “Portrait of Guillaume Jouvenel des Ursins” by Jean Fouquet ; “François I King of France” by Jean Clouet. “Artemisia drinking the ashes of Mausolus” by Niccolò dell’Abbate; “The charity of St. Martin” by Martin Freminet and other works of the Fontainbleau School.

“Three girls playing dice” by Laurent de La Hyre; “Hesselin Madonna” & “Presentation of Christ in the Temple” By Simon Vouet; “Still life with Water Wafers” by Lubin Baugin; “The Judgment of Solomon” by Nicolas Poussin; “The Judgment of Solomon” by Valentin de Boulogne; “Saint Sebastian Tended by Saint Irene” By Georges de la Tour; “The Disembarkation of Cleopatra at Tarsus” by Claude; “Peasant Family in an Interior” by le Nain Brothers.

“The Embarkation for Cythera” by Watteau; “The Ray” by Chardin; “Diana Leaving the Bath” by François Bouchet; “Madame de Sorquainvillee” by Jean-Baptiste Perronneau; “Marie Leczinska Queen of France” by Louis Tocqué; “Peace bringing back abundance” by Elisabeth Vigé Lebrun; “Abbé de Saint-Non (Fanciful Figure)” by Fragonard; “Broken Pitcher” by Jean-Baptiste Greuze; “Psyche Receiving Cupid’s First Kiss” by François Gérard; “Portrait of Madeleine” by Marie-Guillemine Benoist. 

“The Valpinçon Bather” by Ingres; “Derby of Epsom” by Gericault; “Orphan Girl at the Cemetery” by Delacroix; “The Death of Géricault” by Arry Scheffer; “The Toilette of Esther & Venus of the sea” by Théodore Chassériau.

A selection of carefully selected other masterpieces to better explain the historical context and artistic evolution of the French painting. 

Why a French Painting Crash Course AT the Louvre?

Because the Louvre if obviously the best place in the word for that.

It is the best place to understand the evolution of French painting from the middle age (1350) to the pre-industrial era mid 19th century.

The French paintings collections in the Louvre are hudge so the problem there is  where to look at? How not to lost oneself in the never ending corredors trying to understand things. 

This is what our tour is for. To show you a selection of works of arts in a coherent order to make the all thing controlable and understandable. 


Organization of the Tour

The tour is organized based on two pillars.

  • Chronology
  • Historical & art context

The tour is designed to help you understand the evolution of French painting during the half-millennium reference. We show you famous masterpieces but also some less famous works when they are useful to clarify the context.

We don’t go to Denon Wing where are the famous huge 19th-century French paintings (coronation of Napoleon, etc.), but we will discover the sketches of some of the most famous ones with first of all: “the Raft of the Medusa” by Géricault.

FAQ: Should we Follow the Crash Course or the Full Series of 4 French Paintings Tours?

If you want to go more in detail, if you are a French painting enthusiast, it is obviously better to follow the full series. Yes, you will learn more in 4 tours of 2 hours than in one tour of 3 hours. Nevertheless, you have to take into account that for each 2-hour tour we spend some time passing through the gates of the museum, reaching the gallery of the tour, to present the tour previous period and to conclude with the next period. All that 4 times for the 4 tours. In the 3 hours crash course, we are doing all that only once. All the French galleries we see are one after the other in (mostly) the right chronological order. So yes, in the 3-hour tour there are fewer details, less content, fewer paintings but clearly there is more efficiency.  So this is your choice. Knowing that last point, a 3-hour tour painting in one go at le Louvre is a little challenging.

Don’t miss the opportunity to discover French painting following some of the world’s most famous dedicated galleries in the Louvre Museum!

Content of the Tour

14th & 15th centuries

  • 1350 Jean Le Bon Portrait
  • Tempera and golden leaf
  • International Gothique
  • Burgundy and the Early Flemish

16th century

  • Italian influence
  • French Renaissance
  • Court Portraits
  • Fontainebleau Schools I & II

17th century

  • Styles: from Baroque to Classicism and Parisian Atticism.
  • Classification: History painting, Portrait, Genre painting, Landscape, Still life.
  • Creation of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture or how France took the lead in arts in Europe.

18th century

  • The influence of the new ideas of the Enlightenment on arts, how for example the notion of portrait changed along the 18th century.
  • The frivolity of the Regency and the reign of Louis  XV with the Rococo style.
  • The Neoclassical reaction or the return to a “serious painting”.

19th century

  • The Salons de Peinture: their influence on art evolution.
  • Styles: Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Saint-Sulpician, Academicism, Historicism, Orientalism, Beginning of the Barbizon School.

Things to know before Booking

Clarification: Skip-the-Line Tickets Are Just Standard Online Ones

Louvre website says "All visitors, including those entitled to free admission (including Paris Museum Pass bearer), must book a time slot. Buy your ticket online on www.ticketlouvre.fr... During off-peak times, there may also be a limited number of time slots for same-day visits available for booking at the museum. However ... to guarantee your entry ... we strongly advise booking your time slot in advance online." Conclusion no magic: During your time slot, you are entitled to enter the online booking security line, so yes, you skip the line... of those who come without a ticket!

Louvre Museum Tickets Fare

Museum tickets are not included in the tour price.

  • Online Louvre tickets: 17 € per adult
  • Free for all kids under 18 years old
  • Free under 26 years old for the European Union residents


  • Private tour means a tour for you & your party only, not that the museum is privatized.
  • Tour duration & content are purely indicative, they may vary due to contingencies.
  • In case of unexpected closed galleries you accept to follow a substitution content.
  • Prices do not include transportation, food, drinks or any other extra services.

Attention Points

  • Check the Louvre galleries closure schedule before planning your Louvre coming
  • Tour on foot in Louvre's huge galleries, so good health & comfortable shoes are mandatory
  • Photos are authorized, but without flash. Selfie sticks are not allowed.
  • WARNING proof of ID is mandatory as tickets are nominative!
  • WARNING print your tickets or at least upload them before coming to the Louvre (last minute problem uploading tickets may spoil the tour)

Meeting Point

Easy one Inside or outside the museum (detail during booking)

Access: Metro Line 1 station Palais-Royal

Book your Louvre Private Tour

Just request the date, time, number of people you want for your Louvre tour in our calendar and follow the below 4 steps online easy process.
(1) Receive our OK email (48h free pre-booking)
(2) Buy your Louvre tickets online (compatible schedule)
(3) Once you have your tickets pay your tour online
(4) Receive our
confirmation (email)
Nota bene: Step (1) free pre-booking is lost if no step (3) payment is received after 48h. Buy your ticket on Louvre official web site. Louvre is closed on Tuesdays. Open hours:  9 am - 6 pm. Any exit is final.
The Louvre, Paris, France

Saint Sebastian Tended by Saint Irene by Georges de la Tour. Credit The Yorck Project – GNU Free Documentation License.

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