Louvre Museum Guide by Locals [2023 Update]
If you ever find yourself in the French capital, don’t miss the Louvre Museum, one of the top things to do in Paris.
The Louvre is one of the world’s largest museums, home to incredible artworks. From Ancient Egypt statues to Baroque portraits, there’s something for everyone in the Louvre!
Located on the Seine River’s right bank, in the first Arrondissement, the Louvre Museum is also a landmark in itself, and it is consistently rated one of the top views of Paris.
After visiting the Louvre Museum many times (at least twice a year), we have put together this quick Louvre Guide to help visitors with the latest information, the best Louvre entrances, a Louvre must-see map, and our most precious Louvre tips. Use this Guide to the Louvre Museum to plan your visit and decide what to see at the Louvre. Enjoy!
Table of Contents
- Why You Must Visit the Louvre Museum
- Best Time to Visit the Louvre Museum
- How to Visit the Louvre After the Pandemic
- Louvre Map of Entrances & Best Entrance to the Louvre 
- A Peek Inside the Louvre (Take a Map of the Louvre!)
- Best Way to See the Louvre
- What to See at the Louvre (Louvre Highlights)
- Other Tips for Visiting the Louvre
The Louvre Museum is one of the top sights to visit in Paris. We recommend visiting the Louvre in the following Paris itineraries:
- 2 days in Paris itinerary
- 3 days in Paris itinerary
- 4 days in Paris itinerary
- 5 days in Paris itinerary
- 6 days in Paris itinerary
- 7 days in Paris itinerary
Why you Must Visit the Louvre Museum
Haters will tell you to skip the Louvre Museum because it’s expensive and the lines are long. But the 10 million people who visit the Louvre Museum annually are no fools, carried along by clichés. Come to visit and experience this incredible space for yourself!
The Louvre Museum is the world’s largest art museum and also the most visited. The Louvre Museum houses a collection of more than 35,000 works of art spread over 60,000 square meters that ranges from ancient civilizations from the 6th century BC to the 19th century. If you have minimal interest in the arts, you will find something you like when visiting the Louvre!
Thanks to the Louvre’s Glass Pyramid, designed by the Chinese-American architect I. M. Pei, the Louvre Museum is also one of Paris and France’s most iconic monuments and one of Paris’s top photo spots for photographers. When it gets dark, the illuminated Louvre Pyramid is a must-see of Paris at night.
In the Louvre, you will find some of the world’s most famous paintings and sculptures. The Mona Lisa, the Venus of Milo, the Code of Hammurabi, the Regent Diamond, and Napoleon I’s Coronation are just a few examples.
The Louvre is also part of the history of France. The Louvre was built in the 12th century by King Philippe Auguste II as his royal palace. Over the years, the Louvre Palace was the symbol of the French monarchy’s wealth, power, and decadence and its rooms and halls are stunning.
Best Time to Visit the Louvre Museum
When is the best time and best day to visit the Louvre? The table below shows the estimated visitor flow in the Louvre, and it is divided into days and time slots for the low season and high season. The green colour means fewer visitors while the red colour means more crowds. The Louvre is closed on Tuesdays.
» The best day to visit the Louvre Museum depends on the season (low season or high season). Generally speaking, it is a good idea to visit the Louvre during the week rather than during the weekend.
» Since the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays see more visitors. Therefore, the best days to visit the Louvre are Mondays and Thursdays.
» What is the best time to visit the Louvre? Arrive early in the morning, before the Museum’s opening.
How to Visit the Louvre After the Pandemic
LOUVRE OPENING HOURS
The Louvre Museum is open every day (except Tuesdays) from 9 am to 6 pm. The Louvre is closed on 1 January, 1 May, and 25 December. The last entry is one hour before the closing time.
Before the pandemic, the Louvre also held night sessions on Wednesday and Friday, from 6 pm to 9.45 pm. Currently (2023) the night session is back only on Fridays.
BOOK YOUR TIME SLOT ONLINE
Due to the current circumstances, the Louvre has reduced the number of daily visitors. This means that there are fewer Louvre tickets to sell each day.
We strongly advise buying your Louvre tickets online in advance. When you buy the tickets online, you choose a specific date and time slot, ensuring a quick entry to the Museum in less than 30 minutes.
Visitors entitled to free admission also need to use the online booking system. At the end of the process, the cost will be 0€. This allows the Louvre to fully control the number of daily visitors — Click here to buy your Louvre tickets
GOOD TO KNOW: During the low season (from 1 November to 31 March), there may be a small number of time slots available to purchase on-site the same day. But only online booking can guarantee your entrance to the Museum on a specific day.
ENTERING THE LOUVRE THROUGH THE GLASS PYRAMID
The Louvre Glass Pyramid is the museum’s main entrance. To access the Louvre Museum through the Pyramid, you will find several controls:
- before joining the line to access the museum, there’s a first ticket control to ensure you are on the right day and time slot, and the right line.
- right after entering the Glass Pyramid, you will be asked to use the hand sanitiser, and then, there’s the security control (scanner).
After the scanner, you will take the stairs down to the main hall. You can see the entrances to the three different Louvre wings from the main hall: Denon, Sully, and Richelieu. They are located on the mezzanine.
Choose the Louvre wing that appeals to you most and take the stairs up to the mezzanine. Here, there’s the second ticket control. If you are entitled to free admission, you will be asked to show proof of free admission at this moment.
There’s no right or wrong Louvre itinerary. You can tour the museum by walking through the different Louvre wings or come back to the central hall and then head to another Louvre wing (or the restaurants). If you opt for the second, you will have to show your Louvre ticket once again to access any of the other Louvre wings.
Any exit from the Louvre Museum is final, and you won’t be able to come back with the same ticket.
Louvre Map of Entrances & Best Entrance to the Louvre 
There are five official entrances to the Louvre, shown on the Louvre Map of entrances here below: Porte des Lions, the Glass Pyramid, through the Carrousel du Louvre, and Passage Richelieu.
Map of Louvre Entrances 
The Glass Pyramid, Carrousel du Louvre, and Passage Richelieu are Louvre entrances that are always open, while the Porte des Lions is closed on Fridays.
» The Glass Pyramid is the main Louvre entrance, and anybody can use it. In the Glass Pyramid, there are four different lines with different colours:
- Yellow line for visitors with special passes, such as annual visitor cards or tourist cards
- Orange line for visitors without a pre-purchased ticket
- Green line for visitors with tickets with a specific time slot
- Blue Line for disabled visitors, pregnant women, visitors with strollers, or visitors with mobility issues. These visitors have access to the lift down to the main hall.
» Passage Richelieu entrance is for guided groups or visitors with a membership card (Amis du Louvre, Louvre Pro, Ministère de la Culture, Pass Education, ICOM).
» Porte des Lions is another option, but it is closed on Fridays. If the ticket office is closed, this entrance is reserved for visitors who already have a ticket.
» Galerie du Carrousel (99 Rue de Rivoli) is another entrance to the Louvre Museum that anybody can use. The advantage of this Louvre Museum entrance is the direct access from the Parisian metro (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.
A Peek Inside the Louvre (Take a Map of the Louvre!)
The Art Treasures of the Louvre are grouped into eight curatorial departments or Louvre sections:
- Egyptian Antiquities
- Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities
- Near Eastern Antiquities
- Islamic Art, Paintings
- Decorative Arts
- Prints and Drawings
The Louvre’s treasures are exhibited in the Museum’s three interconnected wings: Richelieu Wing, Denon Wing, and Sully Wing, clearly marked on the map of Louvre.
In addition, the Museum’s inner courtyards are used to display the biggest sculptures.
On the Louvre map, you will find the Denon Wing facing the Seine River. Denon Wing is named after M. Denon (1747-1825), the first director of the Musée du Louvre. In Denon Wing, 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 the Denon Wing.
As you can see on 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, the Egyptian Antiquities, and the Venus of Milo.
On the Louvre map, you will find the Richelieu Wing facing rue de Rivoli. 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, French paintings and sculptures, Napoleon III apartments, and Near Eastern Antiquities.
Take a Map of the Louvre
Taking a map of the Louvre is paramount for visiting the Louvre. You have paper versions (Louvre map with highlights) in the information kiosk in the central hall, and there are also some QR codes with the Louvre Museum map to flash while you are waiting in line to enter through the Pyramid.
The Louvre map with highlights comes with the plans of the four floors, and you can find all the Louvre sections by floor and wings and some of the Louvre highlights.
Best Way to See the Louvre
With 403 rooms, 14.5 km of rooms and corridors, and 72.735 m2 of exhibition spaces, 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.
Five Ways to Visit the Louvre
In our opinion, there are five ways to visit the Louvre:
1- Enter the Museum and start walking through galleries and galleries randomly. This is not the best option 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. Remember to grab the Louvre must-see map at the main hall.
3- Join a small group Skip the Line Louvre guided tour and visit the Louvre must-see with a professional guide.
4- Write down a Louvre bucket list, study it at home with the help of the Louvre Map, and try to make an itinerary that makes sense from a logistics point of view to avoid walking unnecessary kilometres.
TIP: Click here to see how to visit the Louvre in 2 hours or less
5- Pick a specific department (e.g., Italian Paintings) and focus your attention on this department only to get the most out of it. This is our favourite way to visit the Louvre because I am local in Paris and can visit the Louvre whenever I want. This way of touring the Louvre is also perfect for Paris frequent travellers or people interested in a specific subject.
Whatever you decide, grab a map of the Louvre highlights upon your arrival, take a break from time to time and use the restrooms when you see them (I never find the restrooms when I most need them, lol).
What to See at the Louvre (Louvre Highlights)
If you visit Paris for a few days, you probably don’t want to block a full day of your Paris itinerary for a single museum, especially when the weather is good outside. Or maybe you are not much interested in Arts but still want to get a glimpse of the best museum in the world during your 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.
If you are wondering what to see in the Louvre in one day, we can help. Everybody has a different list of what to see in Louvre, but some Louvre artworks appear on everybody’s Louvre bucket list.
Louvre Highlights (Louvre Museum’s List)
The Louvre has its own selection of masterpieces that you can check on its website. There are 11 artworks in total :
- The Caryatids
- Venus de Milo
- Winged Victory of Samothrace
- Venus and the Three Graces Presenting Gifts to a Young Woman (Botticelli)
- La Belle Ferronière (Da Vinci)
- Sainte Anne (Da Vinci)
- Mona Lisa (Da Vinci)
- The Raft of the Medusa (Gérciault)
- Liberty Leading the People (Délacroix)
- The Slaves (Michelangelo)
- Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss (Canova)
- The Glass Pyramid
Must-See at the Louvre (CNN’s List)
To honour Louvre’s 220th anniversary, CNN asked its users through its Instagram account about the must-see at the Louvre. Here is the list of CNN’s best things to see at the Louvre:
- The Winged Victory of Samothrace
- Mona Lisa (Leonardo da Vinci)
- Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss (Canova) is one of the famous Greek Mythology stories.
- The Louvre Building
- The Raft of the Medusa (Gérciault)
- The Consecration of Emperor Napoleon and the Coronation of Empress Joséphine on 2 December 1804 (David)
- Venus of Milo
- The Young Martyr (Delaroche) – depicts the sacrifice of a young Christian woman into the Tiber River.
- The Virgin of the Rocks (Da Vinci) – another of Leonardo’s masterworks.
- The Lacemaker (Vermeer) – with this painting, the achievement of Vermeer’s maturity is complete.
What to See in the Louvre (World in Paris’ List)
Our Louvre bucket list is a combination of the two lists above plus some other Primitive Italian artworks (Duccio, Cimabue), The Wedding Feast at Cana (Veronese) – sharing the room with the Mona Lisa, and something by Caravaggio.
On this bucket list, there’s also the oldest exposed item: the statue of Aïn Ghazal, dated around 7000 BC (Sully Wing, Ground Floor, room #303).
We complete the list with the most bizarre item exposed, The Hermaphrodite (Sully Wing, Ground Floor Salle des Caryatides #348).
Other Tips for Visiting the Louvre
The Louvre Ticket is a Combined Ticket
Few people know that in addition to the permanent collections and temporary exhibitions of the Louvre, the Louvre ticket gives you to the Musée Eugène-Delacroix (6 rue de Furstenberg, Paris 6) within 48 hours of first use.
Louvre Dress Code: Dress Like an Onion!
What to wear in the Louvre? There is no Louvre dress code; you can wear what you want for visiting the Louvre. Just have in mind that you will walk A LOT. Wear comfortable shoes. And dress in layers, like an onion!
Wearing layers is perfect in wintertime, when it is cold outside and warm inside.
Accessibility to the Louvre
The Louvre is accessible to disabled visitors, with various elevators and wheelchair lifts and even a Tactile Gallery.
At the Glass Pyramid, there’s a line (blue line) for disabled visitors or visitors with mobility issues. These visitors have access to the lift down to the main hall.
Walking sticks, folding bags, strollers, baby carriers, and wheelchairs are available free of charge for visitors.
Bring your Own Snacks and Water
Inside the Louvre, there are a couple of restaurants, but they are overpriced and the food is so-so. Bring your own snacks, sandwich, and water if you travel on a budget. There are no restrictions on bringing your own refreshments to the Louvre.
Eating inside the Louvre exhibition rooms is forbidden, but there are a couple of benches in the central hall (mezzanine), just before the ticket 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 return to the exhibition areas. You can drink water wherever you want.
TIP: fans of Angelina Paris tearoom will be happy to know that there is an Angelina inside the Louvre with no line! Angelina Louvre is located in the Richelieu wing, 1st floor, between the Napoleon III Apartments and Decorative Arts galleries.
Beware of Pickpockets
I never had any problem when visiting 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, ignore him and walk away. It is a scam.
TIP: travel safely; use an anti-theft shoulder bag or an anti-theft backpack
Visit the Louvre Museum More than Once (If You Can)
If you are interested in the Arts, you will have to revisit the Louvre Museum to enjoy other paintings and sculptures 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 😉
And there you have it, a quick guide to the Louvre Museum with the best Louvre tips. Use this Louvre guide to plan what to see at the Louvre, to get the shortest lines and the best experience inside!
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