Table of Contents
- Interesting Facts About the Louvre
- Louvre Opening Hours
- Louvre Ticket Price
- Free Saturday Night Session at the Louvre: Is it Worth it?
- Skip the Line at the Louvre
- Best Louvre Entrances 2019
- Inside the Louvre: the 3 Louvre Wings (Take a Louvre Map!)
- Best Way to See the Louvre
- Must See at the Louvre (Best Louvre Artwork)
- Enjoy the Louvre Palace with the Best of Louvre History
- Louvre Dress Code: Dress Like an Onion
- Bring your Own Snacks and Water
- Beware of Pickpockets
- Visit the Louvre Museum More than Once (If You Can)
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Despite we prefer talking about lesser-known places in Paris we understand that the Louvre Museum is on many people’s Paris Checklist during their first trip to Paris. Actually, even if we are locals in Paris, we also enjoy visiting the Louvre from time to time, especially during winter in Paris when it’s too cold outside.
After visiting the Louvre many times – for general visits or to visit a specific Louvre section – we have put together a quick Louvre Museum Guide with Louvre opening hours, best Louvre entrances, prices, visitors trails, and our best Louvre tips 2019 – 2020 to help you plan your Louvre visit.
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Interesting Facts About the Louvre
» The Musée du Louvre, located in Paris 1, opened its doors to the public on August 10th, 1793.
» The Louvre was built in the 12th century by king Philippe Auguste II as his royal palace. Over the years, the Louvre Palace was a symbol of the wealth, power and decadence of the French monarchy.
» The King and his court left the Louvre in 1682 when Versailles Palace became the main residence of the French Court and government. King Louis XIV moved not only the aristocracy to Versailles but also the main body of administration. Since then the Louvre was inhabited on a very few occasions when the King had to attend important events in Paris.
» Visitors can still see parts of the medieval Louvre, like the Louvre walls, the moat or part of its keep.
» Today that Louvre Palace is the world’s largest museum (460.000 works of art in total) and, according to TEA/AECOM Museum Index, also the most visited museum on the planet (8.7 million visitors in 2015).
» Louvre artwork covers Western Art from the medieval period to 1848, formative works from the civilizations of the ancient world, and works of Islamic art. Louvre Artwork date from the 7 millennium BC to the 1850s.
Louvre Opening Hours
What are the Louvre opening times? The Louvre opens every day except Tuesday.
» The Louvre opening hours are from 9 am to 6 pm.
» On Wednesday and on Friday the museum also has a night session, from 6 pm to 9.45 pm.
» Since January 2019, there is also a night session, from 6 pm to 9.45 pm, on the first Saturday of the month New!
» The museum closes on 1st January, 1st May and on 25th December (public holidays).
Louvre Ticket Price
» Louvre entrance fee costs 15€ when you buy it on site. This is the cheapest Louvre ticket price but it also means that you need to wait in line for purchasing your tickets and then there’s another line for the security control.
» Louvre admission fee is 17€ if you buy the Louvre ticket online. With Louvre electronic tickets you can get into the museum in less than 30 minutes. This is because when you purchase your Louvre e-ticket, you need to choose a specific time slot.
IMPORTANT: In days of high attendance, the Louvre stops selling on-site tickets, being online tickets the only option to visit the Louvre. In view of the high attendance expected, the online booking of your time slot, which can only guarantee entry to the museum, is highly recommended.
» However, in some cases, you can visit the Louvre for free:
- People under 18;
- No Louvre entry fee for people under 26 and living in one of the UE countries (proof of residence may be requested);
- No Louvre admission fee on the first Saturday of the month, at night; New!
- Free admission during special events, like the Museums’ Night (end of May – beginning of June);
- No Louvre entrance fee on the 14th of July (France’s National Day).
PRO TIP: in addition to the collections of the Louvre, the Louvre ticket price includes access to temporary exhibitions the same day and the access to Musée Eugène-Delacroix for 48 hours!
Where to buy Louvre tickets? You can buy your tickets for your Louvre visit on-site, online, and in all FNAC France stores, located in the main Arrondissements of Paris.
Free Saturday Night Session at the Louvre: Is it Worth it?
The Louvre Museum offers the possibility to visit the museum for free every first Saturday of the month from 6 pm to 9.45 pm. Is this free Saturday night session at the Louvre worth it? Last Saturday 5th October we decided to try it by ourselves . ..
We arrived at the Carrousel du Louvre around 5.30 pm and we started to wait in line. In the past, we have visited the Louvre many times during free Sunday sessions and usually, the average waiting time to get through the security check was 40 minutes. This time, we had to wait for 1 hour.
This is probably because the time window to visit the Louvre for free has been reduced from 9 hours to 3.5 hours so there are more people who want to get into the Louvre at the same time.
Once we were in, we were disappointed to learn that we could not visit the Richelieu Wing. During free Saturday night sessions, the Richelieu Wing is available only through a (free) guided visit by the École du Louvre and other Louvre’s teams. This guided visit, subject to availability, must be booked in advance through the museum’s Facebook page. Bookings usually open 10 days before the night event.
Also, during this night all the second floor is closed to the public (paintings Northern Europe and paintings France)
In the end, our Louvre visit was limited to three floors of the Sully Wing and Denon Wing (see the yellow marks on the Louvre map):
So what did we miss during this free Saturday Night at the Louvre?
- Sculptures of France
- Cabinet of Paintings and Drawings
- Near Eastern Antiquities (some rooms)
- Arts of Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas
- Paintings of Spain
- Italian Paintings (some rooms)
- The Galerie d’Apollon
- The Pavillion de l’Horloge
- Greek and Roman Antiquities (some rooms)
- Decorative Arts /Europe
- Napoleon III Apartments
- All the second floor (Northern Europe paintings and France paintings)
During our visit, we found the Louvre more crowded than ever. This is probably because of the reduced time window to visit the Louvre for free but also because all the visitors were concentrated in lesser rooms. Some rooms were really crowded!
Free Saturday Night Session: Our Verdict
We cannot say that we enjoyed this visit to the Louvre. It was more crowded than ever and – due to time restriction and room closures – we could not see all that we wanted to see that day.
In addition, we found that some rooms were not well illuminated at night and some artwork – or artwork descriptions – were difficult to read or appreciate under the moonlight.
However, things are not black or white. If you are not that interested in Arts and you just want to spend a couple of hours in the Louvre to see some beautiful artwork and to be able to say “I was there!”, this Saturday night session for free will work just fine. If you are passionate about art and you are looking forward to seeing some specific artworks, you might be disappointed if the rooms are closed or too crowded.
Skip the Line at the Louvre
How to skip the line at the Louvre? First of all, let us tell you that zero waiting time is not possible because all the museums in Paris have a security control check (the Louvre has a scanner and a metal detector). However, the line can be more or less long depending on different factors like the Louvre entrances, the day of the week or the time slot.
READ MORE – Skip the line at Paris Tourist Attractions
Choose the Best Day and Time Slot for Visiting the Louvre
» The best day to visit the Louvre depends on the season. Generally speaking, it is a good idea to go during the week rather than during the weekend.
» Since the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays sees a higher flow of visitors. Therefore, the best days to visit the Louvre are Mondays and Thursdays.
» What is the best time for visiting the Louvre? Arrive early in the morning, before the museum’s opening, or on night openings.
» The tables below do not consider the free night sessions on the first Saturday of the month.
Buy Skip the Line Louvre Tickets
One of our best tips for visiting the Louvre is to buy Skip the Line Louvre tickets in advance. This is something that you can do at home or in your hotel, with no rush.
Skip the Line Louvre Tickets are always a good investment because there is a special line for these tickets (with 0 or few minutes waiting time) and you are in very fast. We have tested this option once and on that day we entered through the pyramid immediately!
Skip the Line Louvre tickets are valid only for the chosen date and time slot. If you arrive at the pyramid later than your time slot you won’t lose your ticket but you will be subject to the same admission and waiting conditions as visitors without tickets.
Another interesting option is to buy a Louvre Skip the Line Tour with a small group and a knowledgeable Louvre guide. The truth is that a guided tour with interesting explanations about the Louvre artwork is a temptation difficult to resist in one of the most interesting museums in the world!
Buy a Paris Tourist Pass
Paris Tourist Passes usually include a skip-the-line Louvre ticket. Amongst them, the Paris Museum Pass is the most popular Paris pass.
The Paris Museum Pass offers visitors free and direct access to 55 of Paris top attractions and museums in Paris, including the Louvre Museum. This Paris visit card is available for 2 days, 4 days and 6 days. You can read our Paris Museum Pass review here.
In Paris, there are other Paris Tourist Passes, and some of them include a Paris travel card or a free transfer from Paris airport to the city.
Best Louvre Entrances 2019
NB: we are tired of reading Skip the Line Louvre posts that claim to be updated and propose Porte des Lions as the best entrance to skip the line at Louvre. Porte des Lions is not a Louvre fast track entrance. Porte des Lions is NOT the best Louvre entrance. Porte des Lions used by guided groups only and individual visitors are not allowed to use this entrance to the Louvre.
There are 5 official entrances to the Louvre, shown on the Map of Louvre Entrances here below: Porte des Lions, the glass Pyramid, through the Louvre Carrousel and Passage Richelieu.
Louvre Map with all the Louvre Entrances 2019
» The Pyramid is the main Louvre entrance and it can be used by anybody. Individual visitors with a Louvre Museum Skip the Line ticket or a Paris tourist pass enter via the Pyramid through a special line.
» The Pyramid is also the entrance to the Louvre Museum for disabled visitors or visitors with mobility issues. These visitors enter through a special line (the “blue line”). The Pyramid has a lift down to the main hall.
» Visitors with a Louvre Museum Pass (and any other special Louvre fast pass) enter through Passage Richelieu entrance.
» Guided groups enter through Porte des Lions entrance.
» Galerie du Carrousel (99 rue de Rivoli) is another entrance that can be used by anybody. The advantage of this entrance is direct access from the Parisian metro (station Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre, line 1). Also, this is the best Louvre entrance to wait in line during rainy days in Paris.
Inside the Louvre: the 3 Louvre Wings (Take a Louvre Map!)
The treasures of the Louvre are exhibited in the museum’s three interconnected wings: Richelieu Wing, Denon Wing, and Sully Wing, clearly marked on the map of the Louvre.
In addition, the Museum’s inner courtyards are used to display the biggest sculptures.
The Art Treasures of the Louvre are grouped into eight curatorial departments: Egyptian Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities; Near Eastern Antiquities; Islamic Art, Paintings; Sculptures; Decorative Arts and Prints and Drawings.
Denon Wing is named after M. Denon (1747-1825), the first director of Musée du Louvre. It is in Denon Wing where visitors find important artworks such as the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci or The Winged Victory of Samothrace.
If you want to concentrate on one Louvre Wing only, we suggest visiting the Denon Wing.
As you can see in the Louvre Museum Map, the Sully Wing is located between the Denon Wing and the Richelieu Wing.
The Sully Wing is named after M. Sully (1559-1641), Chief Minister of King Henri IV. In the Sully Wing, visitors can find the Medieval Louvre, as well as the Egyptian Antiquities or the Venus of Milo.
The Richelieu Wing is named after Cardinal Richelieu (1585-1642), Chief Minister of King Louis XIII. In Richelieu Wing visitors can find, amongst other Louvre artwork, the French paintings and sculptures, Napoleon III apartments, and the Near Eastern Antiquities.
Louvre Construction Works 2019 – 2021
Several construction projects are currently underway in the Louvre Museum. These works are significantly affecting the visitor experience in the Louvre’s most popular rooms, without access to some important artworks. Here’s the list of the main rooms affected by the Louvre construction works:
» Salle Daru (Denon wing, 1st floor, room 702). This room is closed until November 2019.
Unavailable works include:
– David’s Coronation of Napoleon
– David’s Oath of the Horatii
– Girodet’s Entombment of Atala
» Galerie d’Apollon (Denon wing, 1st floor, room 705). This room is closed from March to December 2019.
Unavailable works include:
– The Crown diamond and jewel collection
» Etruscan and Italic collections (Sully wing, 1st floor, rooms 660 to 663 and room 650 (Denon wing, ground floor, rooms 420, 421 and 423). These rooms are closed from April 2019 to January 2021.
» Mastaba chapel (Sully wing, ground floor, rooms 332 and 333). These rooms are closed until July 2020.
Best Way to See the Louvre
We are sorry to say that it is impossible to visit the entire Louvre in one day. Actually, if you spent one minute seeing each Louvre artwork, it would take you 64 days to see everything in the entire museum! If you want to get the most out of your day at the Louvre YOU NEED A PLAN.
The collection is grouped into eight Departments: Paintings, Egyptian Antiquities, Greek Etruscan and Roman Antiquities, Near Eastern Antiquities, Sculptures, Decorative Arts, Islamic Art, and Prints & Drawings. There are 403 rooms in total, 14.5 km of rooms and corridors and 72.735 m2 of exhibition spaces.
What is the best way to visit the Louvre?
In our opinion there are five ways of visiting the Louvre:
1- Enter the museum and start walking through galleries and galleries randomly. This is not definitely what we recommend to do in a huge museum like the Louvre.
2- Follow the experts at your own pace with a Louvre Museum audio guide or a phone app. You can buy your skip the line Louvre ticket + audio guide online in advance and you pick up the audio guide when you arrive at the museum. Also, Louvre has official applications for free that you can download at home.
WARNING: while the content of the Louvre Museum audio guide /app is great, it may put you on the same track than many other tourists.
3- Join a small Louvre Museum Skip the Line Guided Tour and get the most out of Louvre with a professional Louvre guide.
4- Make your own wishlist of best things to see at the Louvre, study it at home with the help of the interactive Louvre Museum Map here and try to make an itinerary which makes sense from a logistics point of view to avoid walking unnecessary kilometers.
5- Pick specific a department (e.g. Italian Paintings) and focus your attention on this department only to get the most out of it. This is our best way to see the Louvre because we are locals in Paris and we can go to visit the rest of the museum whenever we want. This way of visiting the Louvre is also perfect for Louvre frequent visitors or people interested in a specific subject.
Whatever you decide, grab a paper Louvre Map at your arrival, take a break from time to time and use the toilets when you see them (I never find the toilets when I really need them, lol).
Must See at the Louvre (Best Louvre Artwork)
If you are visiting Paris for a few days probably you don’t want to block a full day of your Paris itinerary for a single museum, especially in Paris in the spring or Paris in the summer when the weather outside is good. Or maybe you are not that interested in Arts but still, you want to get a glimpse of the best museum in the world during your first trip to Paris.
In both cases, two hours is a decent amount of time to see some of the main art treasures of the Louvre without finishing exhausted.
The museum’s website displays the best pieces of art for each department, with a short description and picture, so you can make your own Louvre bucket list at home by surfing the web a little bit. If you need some help to decide what to see at the Louvre, here are some lists of the must-see at the Louvre.
Best of Louvre Artwork (Louvre Museum’s List)
The Louvre has its own selection of masterpieces that you can check on their website. There are 24 artworks in total :
Located at Sully Wing
- Venus de Milo
- Frieze of Archers
- The Marly Horses
- Louis XIV Portrait
- The Cheat with the Ace of Diamonds
- The Seated Scribe
Located at Denon Wing
- Diamond, known as “the Regent”
- July 28: Liberty Leading the People
- Mona Lisa
- Portrait of a Woman Known as “The European”
- The Consecration of Emperor Napoleon and the Coronation of Empress Joséphine on December 2, 1804
- The Coronation of the Virgin
- The Lacemaker
- The Raft of the Medusa
- The Rebellious Slave
- The Wedding Feast at Cana
- The Winged Victory of Samothrace
- Une Odalisque Woman with a Mirror
Located at Richelieu Wing
- Law Code of Hammurabi King of Babylon
- Leaf of a Diptych: the Emperor Triumphant
- Dürer’s Self-Portrait Holding a Thirster
- The Rape of the Sabine Women
- Winged Human-Headed Bull
Top Things to See at the Louvre (CNN’s List)
To honor Louvre’s 220th anniversary, CNN asked through its Instagram account what were users’ top Louvre Attractions. Here is the list of CNN’s top ten things to see at the Louvre:
- The Winged Victory of Samothrace
- Mona Lisa
- Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss
- The Louvre Building
- The Raft of the Medusa
- The Consecration of Emperor Napoleon and the Coronation of Empress Joséphine on December 2, 1804
- Venus de Milo
- The Young Martyr
- The Virgin of the Rocks
- The Lacemaker
World in Paris’ Best Things to See at Louvre
Our favorite Louvre Artwork list would be a mix of the two lists above plus some other Primitive Italian artworks (Duccio, Cimabue), and something by Caravaggio.
In our Famous Artwork at the Louvre list, we could also add the oldest exposed item: the statue of Aïn Ghazal dated around 7000 BC (Sully Wing, Ground Floor, Levant Hall D).
Finally, we would complete the list with the most bizarre item exposed, the Hermaphrodite (Sully Wing, Ground Floor Salle des Caryatides Hall 17).
Enjoy the Louvre Palace with the Best of Louvre History
The Louvre Palace was designed in the 12th century as a fortress to prevent invasions from the north. The Medieval Louvre included bastions at each corner, a surrounding moat and a massive, fortified tower (or keep) at its center.
Today visitors still can view the remains of part of the fortress’ medieval masonry in the 13th century Salle Basse, or Lower Hall.
READ MORE – Le Palais du Louvre, best of Louvre Palace
In the 14th century, the city had spread far beyond its borders and a new series of defenses were constructed on the outskirts of Paris. For this reason, the royal fortress ceased to be used for defensive purposes and it was razed to make way for a lavish royal residence in Renaissance style. With King Francis I, dozens of new wings and freestanding buildings were constructed at the site. These buildings were eventually connected by a series of galleries and pavilions giving the building its unifying facade.
Today most of the Louvre Palace’s rooms are public museum space. An exception is Napoleon III large and luxurious apartment, which has been kept intact and it’s really something to see. Highlights of this apartment include a couple of large salons where then nephew of Napoleon I met his European counterparts and other important people and the dining room.
Like in any other palace-visit, don’t forget to look up: some of the ceilings in galleries and halls of Palais du Louvre are very impressive!
If you want to know more about the Louvre itself – the palace, its history, missions and the kings who actually lived there – visit Le Pavillon de l’Horloge. Located in renovated historic areas between the Cour Carrée and the Cour Napoléon and opened only since 2016, this new area welcomes visitors with Interactive models, digital displays, films, and artworks to tell the Louvre history.
Louvre Dress Code: Dress Like an Onion
Does the Louvre have a dress code? There is no Louvre dress code, you can wear to visit Le Louvre what you want. Just have in mind that you are going to walk A LOT. Bring comfortable shoes. Dress in layers, like an onion!
Louvre Museum is very warm inside plus some areas of the Louvre are very crowded. The layers thing is especially good in wintertime, when it is very cold outside and very warm inside.
Bring your Own Snacks and Water
There are a couple of restaurants inside the Louvre but they are overpriced. If you are traveling on a budget, the best idea is to bring your own snacks and water.
Eating inside the Louvre rooms and halls is forbidden but there are a couple of benches at the central hall, just before the tickets control, and nobody will bother you if you are eating a sandwich or a snack there.
Once you are done and with some energy back, show your tickets again to go back to the exhibition area. You can drink water wherever you want.
PRO TIP: fans of Angelina Paris tearoom will be happy to know that there is an Angelina Louvre with no line! Angelina Louvre is located at Richelieu wing, 1st floor, between the Napoleon III Apartments and Decorative Arts galleries.
Beware of Pickpockets
We never had any problem in the Louvre but it seems that pickpockets are an issue in this museum. Never leave your bag unattended and if somebody comes to you asking for your email or a donation, just ignore him and walk away, it is a scam.
Visit the Louvre Museum More than Once (If You Can)
If you are really interested in Arts, you will have to come again to enjoy some other famous artwork in the Louvre that you missed during the previous visit. Paris is always a good idea and another visit to the Louvre may be the perfect excuse to come back to Paris 😉
Did you like our Louvre Guide and tips for visiting the Louvre? What are your favorite things to see at the Louvre?
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