How to visit the Louvre: 16 tips for a perfect time there
The Louvre is probably one of the most famous museums in the world. Almost everyone knows the iconic pyramidal construction and it’s a spot visitors to Paris always have on their list. But, the Louvre is also one of the biggest museums in the world, with more than 35,000 works of art and 300 rooms it’s sometimes overwhelming for the people visiting it. So if you’re thinking about how to visit the Louvre and enjoy your time there, fear no more! Here are some tips so you have the perfect visit to the Louvre.
1. First of all, you don’t have to visit the Louvre
Yes, it’s one of the most important museums in the world but if you’re not that into art or you feel like you’d rather visit other important spots in Paris, simply don’t go. Every visitor is different and everyone has different interests. It’s valid to skip places you’re not interested in. Really, if you’re just going so you can get a picture of the Mona Lisa, just skip it, you’ll probably enjoy more doing other things.
2. You won’t see everything, even if you visit it many times
The Louvre is HUGE so you’ll never be able to see everything in one visit (not even in two or three). Accept that you won’t see all of it and stop rushing it. I’ve seen so many people going from room to room, rushing it, trying to see everything. My guess is that they get out of the museum tired and cranky. Remember you’re probably on vacation, enjoy what you can in the time you have, don’t rush it.
3. How to visit the Louvre depends on you
With so many works of art and rooms to offer, the best thing to do is to plan beforehand what do you actually want to see in the Louvre. Before visiting, check the plans of the Louvre. Take your time to check the interactive map (I spent hours there before visiting) on the website of the Louvre. This interactive map will give you a better idea of where everything is. You can also print or save in your computer a map with all the information on the wings and rooms.
To have a general idea of the artworks housed in the Louvre check also the 8 curatorial departments the museum is divided in Egyptian Antiquities; Greek, Roman and Etruscan Antiquities; Near Eastern Antiquities; Islamic Art; Decorative Art; Sculpture; Paintings; and Drawings & Prints.
4. Know how to get there
Since the Louvre is so famous, there are many ways to get there. You can use public transportation (which is better) or get there by car (there’s an underground place to park on Avenue du Général Lemonier). Most of the times it’s better to use the bus since the metro lines serving the Louvre can be crowded. Also, there are Vélib’ bike stations near the museum.
|Métro||Palais-Royal Musée du Louvre: lines 1 and 7|
Pyramides: line 14
|Bus||21, 24, 27, 39, 48, 68, 69, 72, 81, 95|
|Vélib’ bike stations||1015: 2 Place André Malraux|
1023: 165 Rue Saint-Honoré
1014: 5 Rue de l’Echelle
1013: 186 Rue Saint-Honoré
|Batobus||Get off at the Louvre stop, Quai François Mitterrand|
5. Buy your tickets in advance
If you want to avoid lines, buy your tickets in advance. Go to the official website of the Louvre to buy them. Another option is to have the Paris Pass, which gives you access to several museums around Paris and you can also take the fast track lane.
6. Know where to enter
Most visitors enter the Louvre through the glass pyramid of the museum. Once you’re there, you’ll see signs like these:
This entrance is good if there’s no line but it’s safer to go into the museum through the Carrousel du Louvre. This is an underground shopping mall and you can enter the Louvre near an inverted glass pyramid that’s near the Apple store. There are almost no people in this line so it’s quicker. The Métro line 1 station is connected to the Carrousel du Louvre.
7. If you’re not sure, get a guide
Maybe you’re not that into art but you’re interested in seeing what the Louvre has to offer. In that case, the best option is to get a guide. There are guided tours in English every day at 11 am and 2 pm. These tours will take you to the Mona Lisa, the Winged Victory of Samothrace, the Venus de Milo, and a great selection of masterpieces. Book your “Welcome to the Louvre” tour here for 12 €.
8. Get there early or during the evening
Most guides recommend getting to the Louvre super early to beat the crowds… and since most guides do this, most people do this too. It’s true that there are fewer people at 9 am when the Louvre opens but also consider getting there after 3 pm (right after Parisians have their food). And for the best experience, visit the Louvre for the late-night opening: arrive after 6 pm on Wednesdays or Fridays and enjoy the museum up until 9:45 pm.
9. Wear comfortable clothing
Especially, wear comfy shoes. Avoid bringing big bags or backpacks, you won’t be able to move as freely as you’d want.
10. Respect the art
If you’ve gone to enough museums, you know how this works. Don’t smoke, drink, eat, raise your voice, touch artworks or run inside the museum. You can be asked to walk out in case you don’t follow this rules (and really… why would you even smoke inside the Louvre?).
Taking pictures and videos is permitted in the permanent collection exhibition rooms, don’t use flash or other lighting equipment. In the temporary exhibition rooms, you can’t take photos or videos.
11. Be careful of pickpockets
Since there are many tourists (and people in general) it’s a place where you may get robbed. Just be careful of your belongings and exercise your common sense.
12. Use the bathroom
Before entering the wings there are restrooms, don’t miss the chance to go. Believe me, you wouldn’t want to miss on something just because you want to go to the bathroom… not that it has happened to me????.
13. Use the elevators
Save time and energy with these. If you check the map beforehand, you’ll see the elevators marked there so you don’t get lost.
14. Get out of the museum if you need to
The ticket you buy to enter the Louvre is good all day and for multiple entrances. If you’re planning on visiting different wings, a good idea is to exit the wing and cross through the entrance hall to enter other wings It’s faster and you don’t have to walk through the museum again.
15. Enjoy the building itself
The Louvre was originally a fortress but then it became one of the main residences of French kings. In 1793 (!) it became a museum so the building itself its worth a look. Don’t miss:
- Apollo Gallery (first floor, room 66) which seems to be covered in gold
- Islamic Galleries (ground floor and lower level) that is one of the newest wings of the Louvre
- Napoleon III Apartments, Richelieu Wing (first floor, rooms 82 to 92) where you can see the high style of living Napoleon had
- Marly Court, Richelieu Wing (ground floor and lower level), a white marble and stone courtyard full of sculptures
- Summer Apartments of Anne of Austria, Denon Wing (ground floor, rooms 22 to 28) where you’ll be able to see breathtaking ceilings commissioned by King Louis XIV in 1655.
16. Visit the Tuileries Garden
A nice place that also the kids will love. These gardens are between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde. This is the largest and oldest public park in Paris and you’ll love its landscape art, sculptures, and a relaxing vibe. After relaxing there, have a nice hot chocolate in Angelina (a true Parisian thing to do!).
We hope these tips were useful, enjoy your visit to the Louvre!