Louvre Museum Guide
All about the Louvre: must-see, map of the Louvre entrances, and top tips for planning your Louvre itinerary.
If you ever find yourself in the French capital, don’t miss the Louvre Museum, one of the top things to do in Paris.
Located on the Seine River’s right bank, in the first Arrondissement, 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!
After visiting the Louvre Museum many times (at least twice a year), I have put together this Guide to the Louvre Museum to help visitors with the latest information and my most precious Louvre tips. Use this Louvre Guide to decide what to see at the Louvre and plan your Louvre itinerary. Enjoy!
Table of Contents
- Why Visit the Louvre Museum
- Opening Hours and Best Time to Visit the Louvre Museum
- How to Visit the Louvre Museum
- Map of the Louvre Entrances  & Best Louvre Entrance 2024
- A Peek Inside the Louvre (Take a Louvre Map!)
- Best Way to Visit the Louvre
- What to See at the Louvre (Louvre Highlights)
- Other Tips for Visiting the Louvre Museum
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
1. Why Visit the Louvre Museum
Haters will tell you to skip the Louvre 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 Museum 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 range 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 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.
You will find some of the world’s most famous paintings and sculptures in the Louvre. 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 symbolized the French monarchy’s wealth, power, and decadence, and its rooms and halls are stunning.
2. Opening Hours and Best Time to Visit the Louvre Museum
The Louvre Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday to Monday. The last entry is one hour before the closing time, and they start evacuating the rooms at 5.30 p.m.
The Louvre is closed on 1 January, 1 May, and 25 December.
Before the pandemic, the Louvre held night sessions on Wednesday and Friday from 6 p.m. to 9.45 p.m. Currently (2024), the night session is only on Fridays.
2.1 The Louvre is Free for All Visitors on the First Friday of the Month (after 6 p.m.)
The Louvre Museum is free for all visitors on the first Friday of the month, night session (except in July, August, and 14th of July).
Given the interest in visiting the Louvre for free, only online reservations guarantee free entry to the Museum on Friday night. Reservations for the free Louvre Friday nights open a few days before the end of the month. Your booked ticket will cost 0€ and will be valid only on the selected date and time slot.
2.2 Best Day and Best Time to Visit the Louvre
The table below shows the estimated visitor flow in the Louvre Museum, 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, visiting the Louvre during the week rather than the weekend is a good idea.
» 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.
3. How to Visit the Louvre Museum
How to visit the Louvre? While most people opt for a Louvre self-guided tour, a Louvre guided tour (private or with a small group) is an excellent idea if you are visiting the Louvre for the first time. Benefit from the special Louvre entrance for groups, with 0 waiting time, and see the major Louvre highlights with the explanations of a certified and passionate English-speaking guide.
- Priority Entrance Ticket + Small Group Guided Tour
- Priority Entrance Ticket + Private Guided Tour
- Other Louvre Guided Tour Options
If you prefer to visit the Louvre on a self-guided tour, you can buy your Louvre ticket with an audio guide for the best Louvre experience.
3.1 Book Your Louvre Timed Entrance Ticket 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, as only online booking can guarantee your entrance to the Museum on a specific day. When you purchase 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
3.2 Leave Your Coat and Backpack in the Cloakroom
Under the Glass Pyramid, a Cloakroom provides you with lockers and places for umbrellas free of charge. Remember that suitcases and bulky bags are prohibited. In case of difficulty, you can contact the help desk next door.
4. Map of the Louvre Entrances 
There are five official Louvre entrances, shown on the Louvre Map here below: Glass Pyramid, Porte des Lions, Carrousel du Louvre, and Passage Richelieu.
The Glass Pyramid, Carrousel du Louvre, and Passage Richelieu 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. It is also the most impressive access to the Louvre.
» 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).
» 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, take exit #6). Also, this is the best Louvre entrance to wait in line during rainy days in Paris or when it is too cold outside.
» Porte des Lions is another option, but it’s a bit eccentric and only available for visitors with a ticket. There’s no Cloakroom nearby, so you will be denied access if you carry bulky objects. Please note this access is closed on Fridays, and sometimes the Museum management closes it without notice.
4.1 Best Louvre Entrance 2024
The best Louvre Entrance is Passage Richelieu, with zero waiting time. This entrance, however, is reserved for guided groups or people with membership cards.
The Louvre Glass Pyramid is the most popular entrance, and you can see long lines in the high season and on weekends. That said, in January 2024, I entered the Museum through the Glass Pyramid with a timed entrance ticket and only had to wait 10 minutes (low season, weekday).
The Carrousel du Louvre entrance is less crowded than the Pyramid, and you avoid the hazards of the weather. Personally, I find it a bit claustrophobic when it is overcrowded.
Porte des Lions can be a good entrance, but it’s a bit hit-and-miss, as sometimes it is closed without any previous notice.
4.2 Entering the Louvre through the Glass Pyramid
The Louvre Glass Pyramid has different lines marked 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.
The green line is split into two lines, and each line is for different time slots. Before waiting in line, check that you are in the line for your time slot!
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, time slot, and line (picture above).
- Right after entering the Glass Pyramid, you will be asked to use the hand sanitizer, and then, there’s the security control (scanner).
After the scanner, you will take the stairs down to the Main Hall, with the Information Desk, Cloakroom, Visitors’ Assistance Area, one of the restaurants and Paul’s bakery. 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, you can pick up the audio guides (on the desktop right before the tripods), and 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.
5. A Peek Inside the Louvre (Take a Louvre Map!)
5.1 Louvre Sections
The Art Treasures of the Louvre Museum 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
5.2 Louvre Layout
The Louvre’s treasures are exhibited in the Museum’s three interconnected Wings: Richelieu Wing, Denon Wing, and Sully Wing, clearly marked on the Louvre map.
In addition to these Wings, the Museum’s inner courtyards 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.
The Sully Wing is located between the Denon Wing and the Richelieu Wing and 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 map of the Louvre, 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 French paintings and sculptures, Napoleon III apartments, and Near Eastern Antiquities.
5.3 Take a Louvre Map (with Highlights)
Taking a map of the Louvre Museum 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 the Glass Pyramid.
The Louvre map 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.
6. Best Way to See the Louvre
With 403 rooms, 14.5 km of rooms and corridors, and 72.735 m2 of exhibition spaces, visiting the entire Louvre in one day is impossible. If you spent one minute seeing each Louvre artwork, it would take 64 days to see everything in the Museum!
How to navigate the Louvre? There’s no right or wrong Louvre itinerary. You can decide to visit just one Wing, all floors, or walk through the different Louvre Wings. If you return to the Central Hall and then head to another Louvre Wing, you will have to show your Louvre ticket again.
Any exit from the Louvre Museum is final, and you won’t be able to come back with the same ticket.
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 vast 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 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 Louvre guided tour and visit the Louvre highlights with a professional guide. After the tour, you can visit other artworks, but you’ll surely have covered the basics.
4- Write down a Louvre bucket list, study it at home with the help of this Louvre Map, and try to make a Louvre itinerary that makes sense from a logistics point of view to avoid walking unnecessary kilometres.
TIP: Do you need some help for a quick visit? 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 on this department only to get the most out of it. This is my 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 frequent Paris travellers or people interested in a specific subject.
Whatever you decide, grab the Louvre highlights map 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 need them most, lol).
7. What to See at the Louvre (Louvre Highlights)
If you are wondering what to see at the Louvre in one day, we can help. Everybody has a different Louvre must-see list, but some Louvre artworks appear on everybody’s bucket list.
7.1 Louvre Must-See Guide By the Louvre Museum
The Louvre has a selection of masterpieces that you can check on its website. This is the Louvre best route if you don’t have particular interests and want to cover the basics. 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
7.2 Louvre Must-See List by CNN
To honour the Louvre’s 220th anniversary, CNN asked its users through its Instagram account about the Louvre highlights. Here is the Louvre must-see list by CNN:
- 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.
7.3 Louvre Highlights (World in Paris’ List)
My Louvre must-see 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).
I complete my personal Louvre must-see guide with the most bizarre item exposed, The Hermaphrodite (Sully Wing, Ground Floor Salle des Caryatides #348).
8. Other Tips for Visiting the Louvre Museum
8.1 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. To visit the Musée Eugène Delacroix for free, you need to purchase and visit the Louvre Museum first.
8.2 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 when visiting the Louvre. Just keep 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.
8.3 Carry a Power Bank
A power bank is essential if you want to take pictures and navigate the Louvre with your phone all day. The last time I visited, I entered the Louvre at 9.30 a.m., and two hours later, my phone was dead.
Remember that you must show your Louvre ticket whenever you want to access the rooms from the Main Hall, so keeping your phone charged is essential if you have your ticket stored in it. Print out the ticket if you don’t want to carry a power bank.
8.4 Accessibility in the Louvre
The Louvre is accessible to disabled visitors, with various elevators and wheelchair lifts and even a Tactile Gallery. If you have mobility issues, look for the disabled symbols in the Louvre Museum map and adapt your Louvre itinerary accordingly.
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 at the Visitors Assistance Area, located in the Main Hall (level -2), behind the Information Area and next to the Cloakroom. An ID card will be requested as a caution.
8.5 Bring your Snacks and Water
Inside the Louvre are a couple of restaurants, but they are overpriced, and the food is so-so. Bring your snacks, sandwiches, and water if you travel on a budget. There are no restrictions on bringing your refreshments to the Louvre.
Eating inside the Louvre exhibition rooms is forbidden, but there are some 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 have 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.
8.6 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.
8.7 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 Louvre Museum guide with the best tips for visiting the Louvre Museum. Use these Louvre tips to find your best way to see the Louvre, to get the shortest lines and the best experience inside!
Some interesting articles in the blog
Pin it now & read it later