As France’s largest repository of both French and world heritage, the Louvre is a blockbuster museum on a scale rarely seen anywhere else. Everything about it, from its storied 800-year history to its gigantic proportions, is a testament to France’s creativity, power and wealth. What should be impressive, however, can quickly become oppressive. To avoid the burnout that an experience of the Louvre may provoke, following a few of our in-the-know tips and advice will make your visit as effortless and enjoyable as it should be.
Let’s start with the basics. Getting to the Louvre early will give you plenty of time to familiarize yourself with the museum and it’s 8 curatorial departments. Being there first thing in the morning will give you an edge on those visitors wishing to see the Mona Lisa without the attendant crowds. With more than 35,000 works on show, it’s advisable that you pick only a single section to focus on. Trying to fit everything in during one visit is wishful thinking and will only lead to overload and exhaustion.
If you plan to see the Louvre in the space of a day however, it is advisable to do it on either a Wednesday or a Friday when the museum stays open until 9:45pm. Break the day up into a series of mini-visits. Your ticket, which is valid for the day, will allow you to leave and come back as many times as you wish. This will give you time to take a long lunch, a quick coffee, or even a nap if your hotel isn’t too far away.
Monday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday: from 9am to 6pm
Wednesday, Friday: from 9am to 9:45pm
Remember, the Louvre is CLOSED on Tuesday
Getting to know the Louvre before your visit can give you an added advantage over the hapless wandering crowds that clog the main galleries of the museum. Reading up about the Louvre in our travel guide will give you an overview of the masterpieces presented in the museum and some of the less well-known works and sections that will allow you to escape the crowds. Reading a short history of the museum in our guide will provide a historical context for your visit so you can focus all of your attention on the artworks themselves.
Take a guided tour of the museum
If you haven’t time to read our guide or just want to hear it from the horse’s mouth, taking a tour of the Louvre is the perfect way to get familiar with the history of the museum, its collections and masterpieces. Our expert guides are eager to answer your questions and to provide a visit that is both enlightening and hassle-free. Plus you’ll benefit from our exclusive skip-the-line-access tickets, meaning you won’t lose any time in those notorious queues.
Admission on Sunday
From October 2014 to March 2015 admission to the Louvre is free on the first Sunday of each month.
From April to September 2015 there is no free admission on the first Sunday of each month.
Metro: Palais-Royal-Musée du Louvre station (Line 1)
Bus: 21, 24, 27, 39, 48, 68, 69, 72, 81, 95
Car: Underground parking is available. Entrance is located on Avenue du Général-Lemonnier. Open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Batobus: get off at the Louvre stop, Quai Francois Mitterrand
From Orly Airport: Take RER C Train, direction Champ de Mars-Tour Eiffel, and get off at Saint Michel Notre-Dame. Walk to place Saint Michel and take bus no. 27, direction Saint-Lazare. Get off at the Louvre in front of the pyramid.
From Charles de Gaulle Airport: Take RER B Train direction Massy-Palaiseau, and change at Châtelet-les-Halles for line 1. Get off at Palais-Royal–Musée du Louvre.
Vélib' stations (bicycle sharing system)
No. 1015: 2 place A. Malraux
No. 1023: 165 rue Saint-Honoré
No. 1014: 5 rue de l’Echelle
No. 1013: 186 rue Saint-Honoré
Buying tickets and skipping the line
If you haven’t booked tickets beforehand and wish to avoid the long queues that snake the main courtyard and into the glass pyramid, take the Porte des Lions entrance instead. It is situated near the river in the south-western wing of the Museum. Another way to avoid queues is to buy your tickets in advance online. With advance tickets you can skip the line at the entrance via the glass pyramid.
There are three entrances to the Louvre. The principal entrance is found at the glass pyramid, the second less busy is at the Porte des Lions (found on the south-western wing, which overlooks the river Seine) and lastly one floor down in the the Galerie du Carrousel, which you can access either directly at the metro station or via the entrance on 99 rue de Rivoli.
Grabbing a quick bite to eat at the Louvre is never going to be much hassle, considering there are many restaurants and eateries in the museum itself. Below are a few ideas that should help to fend off hunger during an intense visit.
Les Cafés de la Pyramide
There are three cafés located directly underneath the pyramid in the main entrance of the museum. These cafés serve food all day and are an ideal pit stop if you don’t feel like straying too far from the museum.
Le Café Mollien - Denon Wing
This is another handy café located on the first floor by the large staircase of the Denon wing. The café Mollien is perfect for light snacks or a quick coffee stop.
Restaurants near the Louvre
Le Café Diane
Tuileries Gardens, 75001
Hours : Every day during Tuileries Gardens opening hours
Le Café Diane located in the heart of the Tuileries Gardens, just in front of the Louvre, is an ideal place to stop and watch the world go by. Salads, sandwiches, soups, and hot meals are available with incredible views of the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre.
Average price for lunch: 10-15€
14 rue Chabanais, 75002
Hours: Closed Wednesday
Hokkido is a great Japanese restaurant near rue Sainte-Anne which serves noodle-gyoza and ramen dishes. Perfect if you’d like a break from French cuisine.
Average price for lunch: 10-20€
34 rue de Richelieu, 75001
Hours: Closed Saturday for lunch and all day Sunday and Monday.
If you’re looking for something a bit more sophisticated than a sandwich, or you wish to experience an informal lunch that you plan to savour, the chic bistro les Bistronomes is the spot for you.
Average price for lunch: 20-35€
Bookshop and Gift store
The gift store of the Louvre is a treasure trove of objects, jewelry and incredible reproductions of statues that you may have seen on your visit. Lavishly illustrated art history books will make for ideal presents or as souvenirs of your day spent in the museum. The main gift shop is located between the large glass pyramid and the inverted pyramid in the Allée du Grand Louvre.
There are many shops to be found in the Louvre and in the shopping centre that connects the metro Louvre-Rivoli with the museum. Apple, Mariage Frères, Starbucks, Printemps and other gift stores are all located in this part of the museum.
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Agathe was absolutely delightful! Her knowledge and charming personality made her an excellent tour guide. I would highly suggest this tour!!
Jesica was a great tour guide and made the experience one of the highlights of our entire trip to Paris. It certainly met our expectations.
Marjorie was just great! I didn't really want to do the Louvre but she made the history come alive in stories and I just LOVED our experience!
Alberto was a great guide, he was very informative. The Catacombs were just awesome. Would definitely recommend this to everyone!!
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