- INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT THE LOUVRE
- LOUVRE OPENING HOURS AND LOUVRE ENTRANCE FEE
- SKIP THE LINE LOUVRE E-TICKETS AND BEST LOUVRE ENTRANCES
- LOUVRE DRESS CODE: DRESS LIKE AN ONION
- BRING YOUR OWN SNACKS AND WATER
- HAVE A PLAN FOR YOUR VISIT (AND TAKE A MAP OF LOUVRE!)
- WHAT TO SEE AT THE LOUVRE IN 2 HOURS (BEST LOUVRE ARTWORK)
- ENJOY THE LOUVRE PALACE WITH A RICH HISTORY
- BEWARE OF PICKPOCKETS
- VISIT THE LOUVRE MUSEUM MORE THAN ONCE (IF YOU CAN)
Paris Travel Blog 2018. Last Update: February 2018
Despite we love to talk about lesser-known places in Paris we understand that Louvre Museum is too special to skip it during your first trip to Paris. Actually, even if we are locals in Paris, we also enjoy visiting the Louvre from time to time! But visiting one of the biggest museums in the world can be a painful experience without a little bit of planning. As locals who have been to the Louvre many times, we would like to help you with our Louvre tips (Louvre tickets, hours, artwork . .) and the best things to see at the Louvre to get the most out of this fantastic museum. This is our Louvre Museum Guide.
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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. Built in the XIIth century by king Philippe Auguste II as his royal palace, it was over the years a symbol of the wealth, power and decadence of the French monarchy. 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 of 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.
The treasures of the Louvre are exhibited along the museum’s three wings: Richelieu wing, Denon wing, and Sully wing. In addition, the museum inner courtyards are used to display the biggest sculptures. 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.
Did you know? Louis XIV was the king who decided to leave the Louvre Palace (it was too old and not enough for him) and move with his family and court to the new built Chateau de Versailles. Ironically, Louvre Museum honors its once main guest with an equestrian statue originally designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. You cannot miss Louis XIV equestrian statue, it’s just in front of the Pyramid!
LOUVRE OPENING HOURS AND LOUVRE ENTRANCE FEE
The Louvre is open every day except Tuesday. 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, so the Louvre opening times for these two days is from 9 am to 10 pm. The museum closes on 1st May and on 25th December (public holidays).
Louvre entrance fee costs 15€ when you buy it at the museum (the Louvre Museum entrance fee is 17€ if bought online). However, in some cases, you can visit the Louvre for free:
» Louvre entry fee is always free under 18;
» Louvre free under 26 if you are living in one of the UE countries (bring a proof of residence with you);
» Louvre free on Sundays (every first Sunday of the month, from October to March);
» Louvre admission fee is free during special events, like the Museums’ Night (end of May – beginning of June);
» Louvre entry fee is free on 14th of July (France’s National Day).
PRO TIP: in addition to the collections of the Louvre, the Louvre Museum ticket price includes the 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 visiting the Louvre at the museum itself, online (Louvre’s website or Paris Museum Pass’ website) and in stores in Paris like FNAC France.
SKIP THE LINE LOUVRE E-TICKETS AND BEST LOUVRE ENTRANCES
How to avoid the lines at the Louvre? First of all, let us tell you that zero line is not possible because all the museums in Paris have a security control (Louvre has a scanner and a metal detector). BUT the line can be more or less longe depending on different factors like the Louvre entrance or the day and hour.
Choose the Best Day and Time Slot for Visiting the Louvre
The best time to visit the Louvre depends on the season. Generally speaking, it is a good idea to go during the week, maybe arriving half an hour before the opening time.
READ MORE – Skip the line at Paris Tourist Attractions
Buy Skip the Line Louvre E-Tickets (or the Paris Museum Pass)
One of our best tips for visiting the Louvre is to buy Skip the Line Louvre e-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 that day we entered through the pyramid immediately. Skip the Line Louvre e-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.
You can buy just Louvre Skip the Line Tickets or combine them with an audio guide or a guided tour. The truth is that a guided tour is a temptation difficult to resist in one of the most interesting museums in the world!
Another interesting option to consider is the Paris Museum Pass. The Paris Museum Pass offers visitors free and direct access to 55 of Paris top attractions and museums in Paris, Louvre Museum included. The Paris Museum Pass is a very good deal for serious sightseers, for those people planning to visit 2-3 Paris attractions a day.
Best Louvre Entrances
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 used by guided groups only and individual visitors are not allowed to use this Louvre entrance.
» There are 5 official Louvre Museum Entrances shown on the map of Louvre below: Porte des Lions, the glass Pyramid, through the Louvre Carrousel and Passage Richelieu.
» Individual visitors with e-ticket Louvre (or the Paris Museum Pass) enter via the Pyramid through a special line.
» Louvre Museum Pass entrance (and other special passes) is through Passage Richelieu.
» Guided groups enter through Porte des Lions.
» Visitors without e-ticket Louvre can enter through the Pyramid or Galerie du Carrousel.
» Disabled visitors or visitors with mobility issues enter through a special line at the Pyramid without having to queue. The Pyramid has a lift down to the main hall.
Louvre Museum Map with Louvre Entrances
LOUVRE DRESS CODE: DRESS LIKE AN ONION
There is no Louvre dress code, you can wear for visiting the 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 winter time, 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 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 to enter the exhibition area again. 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.
HAVE A PLAN FOR YOUR VISIT (AND TAKE A MAP OF LOUVRE!)
We are sorry to say that it is impossible to visit all the 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. So to get the most out of your day at 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.
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 in a huge museum like the Louvre.
2- Follow the experts at your own path 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 is great this audio guide/app option 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 guide.
4- Make your own wish list, study it at home with the help of the interactive Louvre Museum Map here and make your own (logistically smart) itinerary to avoid walking unnecessary kilometers.
5- Pick one department and focus your attention only on this department to get the most out of it. That’s our favorite way to visit the Louvre because we live in Paris and we can go to visit the rest of the museum whenever we want. It can also be perfect for Louvre second, third-timers or people interested (expert) on a specific subject.
Whatever you decide, grab a paper map of Louvre at your arrival, take some breaks from time to time and use the bathroom when you see them (I never find a bathroom when I really need it, lol).
WHAT TO SEE AT THE LOUVRE IN 2 HOURS (BEST LOUVRE ARTWORK)
If you are visiting Paris for a few days, probably you don’t want to block a full day for a single museum, even if it is the Louvre! 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, here are some lists of best things to see at the Louvre.
READ MORE – Quirky Paris: Louvre Treasure Hunt
Famous Artwork in the Louvre (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 Thilster |The Rape of the Sabine Women | Winged Human-Headed Bull |
Best Louvre Artwork (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 things to see at the Louvre:
The Winged Victory of Samothrace | Mona Lisa | Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss (Denon Wing) | The Louvre Building (Louvre Palace) | 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 (Denon Wing) | The Virgin of the Rocks (Denon Wing) | The Lacemaker (Richelieu Wing) |
World in Paris’ Top Things to See at the 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. We could also add the oldest exposed item, the statue of Aïn Ghazal dated around 7000 BC (Sully Wing, Ground Floor, Levant Hall D) and the most bizarre item exposed, the Hermaphrodite (Sully Wing, Ground Floor Salle des Caryatides Hall 17), look for the Hermaphrodite at Louvre and try to guess why 😉
ENJOY THE LOUVRE PALACE WITH A RICH HISTORY
The Louvre Palace was designed in the XIIth century as a fortress to prevent invasions from the north. The arsenal 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.
In the 14th century, the city had spread far beyond its borders and a new series of defenses was constructed on the outskirts of Paris. For this reason, the royal fortress ceased to be used for defensive purposes in 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 include a couple large salons where Napoleon III 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 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’s story.
BEWARE OF PICKPOCKETS
We never had any problem in Louvre but it seems 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 sections or the Louvre artwork that you missed during the previous visit. Paris is always a good idea and another visit to the Louvre is the perfect excuse to come back to Paris 😉
Have you been to the Louvre Museum? Would you have some additional Louvre tips for our Louvre Museum Guide?
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