When Dante and Virgil entered Hell, they encountered the shades of two lovers: Paolo and Francesca. The story goes that this brother and sister-in-law fell in love which led to Paolo's murder by the furious husband. Their tragic story along with the imagery described by Dante has inspired numerous artists. There are perhaps 100+ world class paintings and sculptures of Paolo and Francesca in American, Canadian, and European museums. It's been a sporadic hobby of mine to see all of them.

One of the best known paintings is Francesca da Rimini and Paolo Malatesta Appraised by Dante and Virgil. The artist made several copies and one of them is in the Wallace Collection in London and there is another version in the Louvre.


Source: Wallace Collectioni, Fair Use

I would like the thrill of seeing both paintings in a single day.

Assuming I start at the Wallace Collection the minute it opens. And then a GBP 6 taxi from the Wallace Collection to catch the Eurostar from St Pancras to Paris 'Gare du Nord' followed by an approximate EUR 12 taxi to the Louvre. Telling the taxi driver where to let me out is a crucial decision.

Question: Time is short, which entrance to the Louvre is the shortest route to the Paolo and Francesca painting? Is there anything else I can do to reduce the time getting in to the Louvre and ultimately to the painting?

Secondarily, if time permits I could leave the Louvre and get across the river to the Rodin museum and see his sculpture of Paolo and Francesca (also known as "The Kiss"). Seeing three in a single day would be a spectacular feat!

Source: By own photo of the sculpture of Rodin - own photo in the Rodin Museum, Paris, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4145510

I have been there lots of times, so is there another option to see a painting/sculpture of this famous couple before everything closes? Or alternatively is there a special time when museums are open late so as to make this feat easier?

  • 7
    Would you consider doing it the other way, from Paris to London? That way, the one-hour time zone difference works in your favor, rather than against you. It effectively gives you two extra hours. Commented May 30, 2016 at 6:17
  • 2
    Darn. Starting in Paris, it would hardly be a challenge: get to the Louvre when it opens at 9:00 CET, spend a leisurely hour or two admiring the artwork there, then hop the Metro (20 min or so) to catch the 11:43 Eurostar from Gare du Nord. Arrive at London St Pancras at 13:00 GMT, take 20 or 30 minutes getting to the Wallace Collection by public transport, and you have more than three hours to study the painting before the gallery closes at 17:00. Commented May 30, 2016 at 6:27
  • 3
    In fact, you could do it starting in London, if you get up very early and take the 5:40 Eurostar, arriving in Paris at 9:17 CET. To get a little more time at the Louvre, maybe return on the 12:43 train, getting back into London at 14:00 GMT; still plenty of time to get to the Wallace Collection and browse, and sleep in your own bed that night. Commented May 30, 2016 at 6:35
  • 2
    Note that the Louvre closes at 6pm on most days (with some rooms being closed from 5:30pm), but 9:45pm on Wednesdays and Fridays (with some rooms closing from 9:30pm), which makes quite a difference (it is also closed on Tuesdays). You also need to consider tickets, as there may be quite a queue in some cases, so you're probably better off buying the ticket online and printing it at home beforehand.
    – jcaron
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 9:41
  • 2
    Another important point as you mention taking a taxi: the queue for taxis in Gare du Nord can be quite long (having to wait 30 minutes or even an hour is not unheard of). Options: be sure to be at the very front of the train, and run to the the taxi stand as soon as you arrive (but this won't help much if another train, especially a Thalys, got there just before yours), or book your taxi in advance. Or use public transport: Bus 39 is the most direct, bus 48 is a close second, or you can use any combination of RER B-M1, RER D-M1, M4-M1, M4-M7, M5-M7.
    – jcaron
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 9:57

1 Answer 1


1. Go on a Wednesday

I would try to do this on a Wednesday, since this is the day in which both the Rodin Museum and the Louvre are open late. The former closes at 20h45, the latter at 21h45. This is to maximise the time available to get this trip done, thus reducing its time-criticality.

2. Reserve your Tickets

I can't stress this enough: reserve your museum tickets in advance to avoid most queues. The Wallace Collection is free (gotta love the UK). Rodin Museum tickets can be booked here. Louvre tickets can be booked here.

3. Wallace Collection -> Eurostar

The Wallace Collection opens at 10h00. You obviously want to be there as soon as it opens. Once in, go to the first floor and aim for West Gallery III:

Wallace Collection West Gallery III plan

Assuming it takes you one hour to get to the painting and admire it in its full glory, you should be out of there and into a taxi by 11h00.

You'll then be on a taxi for 16-17 minutes towards St Pancras. Once there you will get the the 12h24 train to Gare du Nord.

12h24 Eurostar to Paris

This leaves you enough time to check-in, go through passport controls and drink an extra-hot skinny hazelnut frappuccino whilst waiting for the train.

4. Gare du Nord -> Musée Rodin

You'll arrive in Gare du Nord at 15h47. From there you either take a 25-30 minutes taxi ride to the Musée Rodin. In alternative, you can use any RATP combination available including (ordered by closeness and number of changes):

In any case we are looking at an average 50-60 minute journey. You'll get to the Musée Rodin at 16h30/17h00 on average.

5. Musée Rodin -> Louvre

Now it's 17h00 and you have 3 hours before the Musée Rodin closes, and 4 before the Louvre does. Plenty of time to see what you want to see. Having pre-booked the tickets means that you do not need to queue with the rest of the visitors. Head to the sculpture, gaze at it with awe and wonder, let your eyes sparkle. I'd say you'd stay one full hour in the museum to fully enjoy the experience.

At this point it's 18h00. You need to get to the Louvre. You can take a 13-14 minute taxi ride to the museum. Or you can spend 20 minutes in the metro taking:

  • Line 13 from Varenne to Chaps-Elysées-Clémenceau -> Line 1 to Palais-Royal (Musée du Louvre)

6. Sneak in the Louvre

Here is the interesting part. It's now 18h30, the museum closes in three hours. Three hours I tell you! More importantly, since you pre-booked your museum tickets, you can use the entrance at Passage Richelieu and beat the crowds:

Louvre entries marked

Say that it took you 30 minutes to locate the entrance, get your bags checked and descend in the Louvre. You now have 2h45 to find Francesca da Rimini and Paolo Malatesta Appraised by Dante and Virgil. The painting can be located on the first floor of the Denon Wing, Room 77:

Louvre 1st floor Denon Wing Room 77

Given the Louvre map, all you have to do is cross the louvre from the Richelieu wing to the Denon wing, and then take go up two floors from -1 to 1.

Hey it's not 19h30 and you have two hours and some spares to admire you painting. This also means that you have plenty of spare time in case you were delayed at the Rodin museum or on public transports.

Louvre -> London

Unfortunately it seems you won't be able to make it back to London on the same day since the latest outbound train from Gare du Nord seems to leave at 20h01. That's not a problem, find a bistrot, have some dinner and use their wifi to book an accomodation.

  • Alternately just go to the musee d'orsay, which is much better.
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 12:05

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