06 May Tips and advice for visiting the Louvre Museum
The Louvre Museum is one of the largest Art Museums in the world. Over its eight centuries of existence, it has acquired nearly 460,000 works representing Egyptian Antiquities, Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities, Islamic art, the Decorative Arts and much, much more.
It’s a unique place that is fascinating for both tourists, who may only ever get the chance to visit it once in their lives, and for the art enthusiast who gets to know it better with each successive visit! So, it is no coincidence that the Louvre is the most visited museum in the world. Every year, more than 10 million people pass through its doors to see its masterpieces and treasures dating back hundreds of years.
Below you will find practical advice to help you better prepare and enjoy your visit to one of the most prestigious museums in the world.
How to get to the Louvre?
The Main entrance to the Louvre Museum is at its famous glass Pyramid, where the queues can go on for ever.
To avoid the crowds, try one of the secondary entrances often overlooked by tourists:
- You’ll find one at the Centre Commercial du Carrousel, located at 99 rue de Rivoli. This entrance not only has the advantage of being close to the Metro exit, but as it is inside, it also allows you to avoid the weather, whether it be too hot, too cold or too wet!
- The recent opening to the public of the Porte des Lions (Lions Gate) entrance isanother alternative which although a bit further from the main entrance, can be very useful on busy days. If you have the Pyramid behind you, it is found to the left of the Carrousel’s Arc de Triomphe.
- Last but no least, holders of e-tickets or an annual subscription card, such as the Paris Museum Pass, can access the museum via the Passage Richelieu.
Where to get tickets?
It’s perfectly possible to buy your ticket to the museum on the day of your visit. Just head to the ticket counters located under the Pyramid, they are impossible to miss! The standard price of admission is €15. This ticket gives you full access to the permanent collections, temporary exhibitions as well as the Delacroix Museum in Paris’ 6th arrondissement. This latter museum needs to be visited on the same or following day if you want to use the same ticket.
Two of the best ways to avoid the crowds and long queues during your visit to this vast and overwhelming museum is to purchase either a priority access e-ticket or a skip-the-line ticket with host, choosing in advance the day and time that suits you best.
The time you choose for your visit will be printed on your e-ticket. At the chosen time and for the following half an hour, you and your party are entitled to priority access to the Museum. Please note however, that if you miss your timeslot, you will lose your priority access and will have to queue like everyone else.
Armed with your previously downloaded e-ticket, head to the Passage Richelieu entrance (opposite the Rue de Rivoli) and present it to the museum staff to access the Museum.
If you come by Metro, get off at the station Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre on Line 1 and head towards the exit Passage Richelieu.
Another way of avoiding the crowds and calmly enjoying your time in the museum is to visit the less well-known but equally interesting sections with their many fascinating albeit less famous artistic wonders. There’s so much more to the Louvre than just the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo!
And if you’re not sure what to look for and would like to optimise your time, why not opt for a guided tour? This option has numerous advantages. Not only do you benefit from priority access to the museum, you also won’t waste time getting lost in the Louvre’s labyrinthine rooms and passageways! And of course, your friendly, expert guide will take you around to a careful selection of the museum’s most interesting works and fascinating treasures while filling you in on the history and importance of these works of art.
Good to know:
Please be aware that if you leave the museum through either the Pyramid or Porte des Lions exits, you can no longer re-enter on the same ticket.
Access to the museum is free for:
– anyone under the age of 18
– European citizens between the ages of 18 and 25 upon presentation of valid ID.
– the unemployed or individuals receiving state benefits (on presentation of relevant proof dated no more than a year in advance)
– teachers on presentation of their Pass Éducation stamped and validated by their institution. Warning, your Pass Éducation must be up to date.
– disabled visitors and the person accompanying them (on presentation of a disability card)
– last but not least, the museum is free to all visitors on the first Saturday of each month from 6pm until closing at 9.45pm.
The Louvre is closed on Tuesdays and some holidays, notably January 1st, May 1st and December 25th.
What about security controls?
All visitors to the Louvre must pass through a security control before entering. Following the recent terrorist attacks in France, security measures have been stepped up with a corresponding increase in waiting times to get into the museum. Please factor this in to any time calculations you make. Avoid large backpacks or luggage. You will not be allowed to enter the museum with them and neither are they accepted in the cloakrooms. Take the necessary precautions to keep your personal items safe and away from pickpockets who operate both in the Louvre and in Paris in general. They are very good, be extra careful! It’s worth repeating: Pickpockets operate both inside and outside the museum!
Are there cloakrooms?
Cloakrooms are free and are located under the Pyramid. You can leave your coats, sweaters and other small objects in the lockers as well as umbrellas in the locations provided specifically for this purpose. You’ll also find a help desk near the cloakrooms for any questions you might have.
How to orient yourself under the Pyramid?
Arriving under the Pyramid, you will probably be looking for the museum entrance; you will find not one however, but three! Here’s a guide to help you navigate:
- The Entrée Denon is the entrance to take if you’d like to see such iconic works as the Mona Lisa and The Winged Victory of Samothrace.
- The Entrée Sully will take you to visit the medieval Louvre; where you can see Egyptian antiquities and the Venus de Milo:
- The Entrée Richelieu will take you to the French sculptures, the apartments of Napoleon III and the department of Near Eastern Antiquities.
Photos and videos
You can take photos and videos in the museum; just make sure to turn off the flash.
Some works belonging to the temporary exhibitions can not be photographed however.
Avoid room closures
It would be a shame to go to the museum and find out that access to certain rooms is not possible due to refurbishment or some other reason. See the rooms’ opening schedule if you want to see some works in particular and thus avoid disappointment.
As an example, the Egyptian Antiquities halls are closed every Friday and room 702 containing The Coronation of Napoleon is closed for renovation until the autumn of 2019.
When is the best time to visit the Louvre?
The Louvre is open every day except Tuesdays from 9am to 6pm.
If you’re an early riser, try and be there as soon as the museum opens in the morning. Otherwise, aim for late in the day. On both Wednesdays and Fridays the museum is open late until 9.45 p.m.
If at all possible, try to avoid going between 11am and 4pm when the museum is at its busiest due to the hoards of tourists and school groups.
Visitors can connect to free Wi-Fi in some areas of the museum, but please be beware that connection time is limited to 60 minutes and the network signal is rather weak (especially under the Pyramid).
How about food?
Please note that food and drink is strictly prohibited inside the museum. But don’t panic, there are plenty of good options on site and surrounding the museum if you get hungry!
Inside the museum:
– Bistrot Benoîtwith its Parisian bistro decor does traditional cuisine and is located under the Pyramid.
Outside the museum:
– You’ll find the Aux Castelblangeois bakery with sandwiches and takeaway options at 168 rue Saint Honoré.
– Prêt à Mangerfor fast-food and take-aways is at 36 Rue du Louvre.
– Valentino, a small and reasonably priced pizzeria, is at 26 rue du Bouloi.
– Zebulon is a more up-market restaurant and can be found at 10 rue de Richelieu.
Often crowded, the toilets under the pyramid are the closest to the entrance.
If you can, opt for those found inside the museum which tend to be less crowded and consequently cleaner!
Where’s the exit?
The main exit is that which takes you from the Pyramid to the Carrousel shopping centre.
Have a great visit!