Things You Need to Know to Plan a Visit to The Louvre
Louvre Paris, is the most visited museum in the world. It displays items originated throughout most meridians and from different eras. But the Louvre is much more than a museum, which becomes obvious upon entering its courtyard. Before becoming a museum, it was a royal residence. Even that isn’t the point zero of its existence. The story of the Louvre is even more complex, which you are about to find out.
How you should organize your visit?
Before we get to the point, though, you need to know how to organize a visit to the Louvre. The museum’s operating hours vary. Best days for a long visit (which the Louvre fully deserves) are Wednesday and Friday. On these days, hours of operation are from 9 am to 9:45 pm. On other days, the museum closes at 6 pm. Note, however, that closing of the exhibition rooms starts 30 minutes prior to the final closure. Tuesday is a day off.
You may know that the worst queues in Paris are just in front of the Louvre (and the Eiffel Tower). Thankfully, you have a few options to avoid waiting. Arriving early is usually the first thought, but many people think this way. What works most of the time is avoiding the most obvious entrance – the one by the pyramid. Take Carrousel Shopping Mall from Rue de Rivoli and you will significantly shorten waiting time.
Paris Museum Pass is even a better solution, but only if you intend to visit some other museums and attractions as well. Skip the Line: Louvre Museum Ticket is also a good option. As good as private and small-group tours if you need an introductory tour of this, by all standards, great museum. Family tours are also available.
Entry costs and free admissions
Full price tickets cost €15. However, several categories of visitors benefit of free admission. These are some of them:
- Visitors under 18 years of age.
- Visitors of the European Economic Area up to 25 years of age.
- Disabled people and people that accompany them.
- Teachers of art, applied arts and history of art.
In addition, Musee du Louvre grants free entrance on every first Sunday in month from October to March. Entry is free on Bastille Day (July 14), too. Bear in mind, though, that crowds tend to be immense on these days. Consequently, the quality of your visit will probably be lesser than on other days.
Managing inside the Louvre, Paris
Once you get inside, one way or another, you’ll wonder where to go first if you are a first-time visitor. The Louvre used to be a royal residence, and a huge one at that. Given the circumstances, an introductory guided tour would be extremely useful. You would have a comprehensive overview of the building and of the highlights on display. A big plus is that you are free to remain after the tour.
If time is your ally, though, you have a wide range of useful tools at disposal to facilitate getting around. The museum consists of three wings (Richelieu, Sully and Denon), and each of them has 4 floors. Take an information map at the main desk. Besides in French, you have maps in a dozen languages, including English, Spanish, German and Chinese. You can also download the map by landing on this page.
You can identify each department by a color. For example, blue color marks the Antiquity section, red stands for the Paintings section and so on. Furthermore, every room has its number.
For gaining an in-depth insight into the museum’s collection, consider renting a 3D audio guide. The additional amenity for first-time visitors is the “Masterpieces tour”, which leads from one highlight to another. The rental fee of this handy device is €5. The audio guide would be of great assistance if your French isn’t average. Written descriptions of the exhibits are available only in this language.
Another limiting factor can be an inconsistent Wi-Fi access. Wi-Fi hotspots are only sporadically available throughout the museum’s premises.
If you travel on the budget and would like to have some sort of souvenir, buy the “All the Louvre” guide. By the end of the guidebook you have printed plans of each wing and its floors. The price of All the Louvre guidebook is around €15.
The Louvre museum is an art and antiquities museum located at the center of Paris in the ancient Louvre palace. It is one of the world’s largest museums with more than 72 735 square meters of exhibition space. Its collections include more than 460 000 art works. They present western art from the middle Ages to 1848; as well as Eastern, Egyptian, Etruscan, Greek and Roman art. What’s more, 35,000 works are displayed at the museum at any given time. There are 4,000 paintings by French artists.
This museum of the 1st arrondissement of Paris is best known for its glass pyramid in the main hall, built in 1989 in the Napoleon courtyard. With approximately nine millions visitors per year since 2011, the Louvre is one of the world’s most visited museums.
If you wish to come to the Louvre before a journey, you can count on self-service lockers. Dimensions of these lockers are 55x35x20 cm and they are free of charge. You can’t take any larger items into the museum. Toilets are omnipresent.
During a prolonged visit, you will need refreshment sooner or later. There are over a dozen cafés and restaurants available throughout the property. Note that waiting lines tend to form due to high occupancy. So, if you see an available table as you pass by, don’t calculate. Take it right there and then.
What times for the visit are best?
In general, the Louvre is laden with tourists most of the day. But, different sections aren’t equally crowded. If your aim is to tour masterpieces, better book a guided tour or come early. For examining Mona Lisa go as early as possible. Otherwise, you will have a throng of people ironing your spine while taking photos. Aside from ultimate masterpieces, though, you shouldn’t have trouble to examine works of art.
Peak hours are in general between 12 pm and 6 pm (Wednesdays and Fridays) and from 12 pm until 5 pm (other days). Not one day of the week can be singled out as least or most crowded. However, the impression is that fewer people visit the museum in winter than during other seasons. The busiest months are in the summer.
Sections and highlights of the Louvre
The Louvre doesn’t only exhibit works of art. It is a work of art itself. Before the construction of the present building started, a 12th century fortress assumed its place. To see the remains of this stronghold, head to the low section the Sully Wing. Take a look at ramparts and moats there. While you are about, take a staircase on the first floor that looks at the glass pyramid outside. This is the oldest stairway in ex-royal palace, decorated with King Henri II’s monograms and hunting scenes.
The monumental Greek sculpture Victory of Samothrace dominates between ground and 1st floors of Denon Wing. As you walk ground floors of Denon, Sully and Richelieu wings, you will traverse Roman, Greek, Egyptian and Near Eastern Antiquities. Highlights of these sections are the Venus de Milo (Greece) the Paleo-Christian mosaic (Rome), the Tanis Sphinx (Egypt) and the Bulls with human heads (Mesopotamia).
But if you like sculptures, head to the Marly Court that occupies 2 stories of Richelieu Wing. Each piece of art there is just outstanding. Besides the Marly Court, Richelieu Wing houses the endlessly sumptuous Apartments of Napoleon III on the 1st floor. Don’t miss this section.
On the 1st floor of Denon Wing, numerous paintings (including the Mona Lisa, Great Odalisque and the Coronation of Napoleon) are on display. The 1st floor of Sully Wing exhibits Greek ceramics and items dating from Pharaonic Egypt.
2nd floors of Richelieu and Sully wings house French, German and the Netherlandish paintings. Lower ground floor of Denon Wing showcases European sculpture, Islamic Arts, Coptic Egypt and pre-classical Greek exhibits. Also, you can examine works of art from both Americas, Oceania and Africa on the ground floor of the same wing.
While examining exhibited items in the Louvre, don’t allow yourself to be carried away. Be aware of the surroundings and keep your valuables safe.
To appreciate the grand architecture of the museum in full, arrive there at night. Subtle illumination and lack of crowds make the entire place enchanting.
|Musée du Louvre|
|Address||Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France|
|Station||Palais Royal Musée du Louvre / Chatelet Les Halles|
Palais Royal /
Musée du Louvre /
Louvre – Rivoli
|SkipLine Pass||Skip the Line: Louvre Museum Ticket|
|Hotels near Tour Eiffel||Featured hotels near Louvre|