Table of Contents
- INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT LE LOUVRE
- LOUVRE OPENING HOURS
- LOUVRE TICKET PRICE
- SKIP THE LINE LOUVRE
- BEST LOUVRE ENTRANCES
- INSIDE THE LOUVRE: THE 3 LOUVRE WINGS (TAKE A LOUVRE MAP!)
- HOW TO VISIT 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)
Despite we love to talk about lesser-known places in Paris we understand that the 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, especially during winter in Paris when it’s too cold outside. 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 Museum many times, we would like to help you with our must-see at the Louvre list and our best Louvre tips and tricks to get the most out of this fantastic museum. Welcome to our Louvre Museum Guide!
Paris Travel Blog 2019. Last Update: March 2019
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INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT LE 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 XIIth 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. Louis XIV moved not only the aristocracy to Versailles, but also the main body of administration. Since then the Louvre was inhabited in 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 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. Louvre Artwork date from the 7 millennium BC to the 1850s.
Did you know? King Louis XIV decided to leave the Louvre Palace and move with his family and court to the new built Château of Versailles. During his childhood, Louis XIV was shocked by the episode of the Fronde, where the French people and nobility contested the authority of the royal power and the physical integrity of the young Louis was even threatened. Since then, Louis XIV considered Le Louvre and Paris not safe and he moved to Versailles as soon as he could. Ironically, the Louvre honors its once main guest with an equestrian statue by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. You cannot miss Louis XIV equestrian statue, it’s just in front of the Pyramid!
LOUVRE OPENING HOURS
What time does the Louvre open? 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.
» In addition, on the first Saturday of the month, the Louvre also opens from 6 pm to 9.45 pm New!
» The museum closes on 1st May and on 25th December (public holidays).
LOUVRE TICKET PRICE
» Louvre entrance fee costs 15€ when you buy it at the museum. This is the cheapest Louvre ticket price but it also means that you need to wait online for purchasing the ticket and then there is another line for the security control.
» Louvre entry 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.
» However, in some cases, you can visit the Louvre for free:
- Louvre admission price is always free under 18;
- Louvre free admission under 26 and living in one of the UE countries (proof of residence may be requested);
- Louvre free admission on the first Saturday of the month, at night; New!
- Louvre museum admission is free admission during special events, like the Museums’ Night (end of May – beginning of June);
- There is no Louvre entrance fee on 14th of July (France’s National Day).
PRO TIP: in addition to the collections of the Louvre, the Louvre 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 your Louvre visit inside the museum itself, online (Louvre e tickets), and in stores in Paris like FNAC France, located in the main Arrondissements of Paris.
SKIP THE LINE LOUVRE
How to avoid the lines at the Louvre? First of all, let us tell you that zero lines are not possible because all the museums in Paris have a security control (the Louvre has a scanner and a metal detector). BUT the line can be more or less longe depending on different factors like the Louvre entrances or the day and hour.
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. The best days to visit the Louvre are therefore 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.
» On the first Saturday of the month, the Louvre is also open from 6 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. and the and the Louvre admission is free for all visitors (but the rooms will be packed with visitors!)
Buy Skip the Line Louvre E-Tickets
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 e Louvre 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.
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 NOW: Louvre Museum Skip the Line Tour
Buy the Paris Museum Pass
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. This Paris travel card is available for 2 days, 4 days and 6 days. You can read our Paris Museum Pass review here.
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 not a Louvre fast track. 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 that we have represented on the map of Louvre entrances here below: Porte des Lions, the glass Pyramid, through the Louvre Carrousel and Passage Richelieu.
» The Pyramid is the main Louvre entrance and can be used by anybody. Individual visitors with a Louvre Museum Skip the Line ticket or the Paris Museum Pass enter via the Pyramid through a special line.
» 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 the direct access from the Parisian metro (station Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre, line 1) and it saves you from waiting, depending on the weather, in the rain or under a blazing sun.
» Disabled visitors or visitors with mobility issues enter through a special line at the Pyramid (the “blue line”) without having to wait in line. The Pyramid has a lift down to the main hall.
The Louvre Map with all the Louvre Entrances
INSIDE THE LOUVRE: THE 3 LOUVRE WINGS (TAKE A LOUVRE MAP!)
The treasures of the Louvre are exhibited along the museum’s three interconnected wings: Richelieu Wing, Denon Wing, and Sully Wing.
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 choosing Denon Wing.
Sully Wing is named after M. Sully (1559-1641), Chief Minister of King Henri IV. In Sully Wing, visitors will find the Medieval Louvre, as well as the Egyptian Antiquities or the Venus of Milo.
Richelieu Wing is named after Cardinal Richelieu (1585-1642), Chief Minister of King Louis XIII. In Richelieu Wing visitors find the French paintings and sculptures, Napoleon III apartments, and the Near Eastern Antiquities.
HOW TO VISIT 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. 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.
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 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 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 wish list 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 second, third-timers or people interested in a specific subject.
Whatever you decide, grab a paper Louvre map at your arrival, take some breaks 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 in summer when the weather outside is nice. 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 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.
On our best things to see at 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 Palais du Louvre was designed in the 12th century as a fortress to prevent invasions from the north. The Louvre Medieval 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 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 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 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 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.
PRO TIP: travel safe, use an anti-theft shoulder bag
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 pieces 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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