The Best way to visit the Louvre Museum
Originally written by Marie in December 2019 and updated by Natalie in June 2021 and Vanessa in May 2023.
The Louvre Museum is the most famous museum and the world’s largest museum. It is also the most visited museum in the world, welcoming over 10 million visitors per year! There’s a reason for that, as it is the home to so many well loved pieces. Are the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, the Winged Victory of Samothrace, or Liberty Leading the People ringing any bells?! They should be, as you’ll find all of these oeuvres at the Louvre!
There are unique pieces of art in this museum, but there are also many ways to get lost in it too! You could spend weeks in the Louvre Museum, exploring all the rooms, but, if you do not have a whole week to visit it, here are the best ways to visit Louvre Museum!
Entry fee: 15-17 euros
Opening hours: Every day except Tuesday 9am-6pm, Wednesday & Friday until 9:45pm
Address: Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris
Metro station: Palais-Royal Musée du Louvre / Pyramides
Buy your tickets in advance
Take this advice and cherish it folks, because it will save your life in Paris. This rule applies to visiting any monument in the city, especially if you’re in Paris during the summer, as everything becomes very crowded, and lines to enter famous places like the Louvre can be extremely long and tedious.
The best thing to do before visiting the Louvre Museum is to buy your ticket before going to the museum, so that you won’t have to wait in what can be super long line at the security entrance (30 minutes to 2 hours) and then wait in a ticket line (usually shorter) inside the lobby.
Where to buy Louvre tickets
If you’ve already bought your tickets to the Louvre in advance, you can head straight to the pyramid if you choose to use this entrance.
You can buy advance tickets online for any day (we have yet to see them sold out) with Louvre ‘fast-track’ ticket partner Tiqets. These are smartphone tickets so you don’t have to print them. Yay for the planet. You just have to pick a time slot.
At the entrance go directly to the guard at the front of the Pyramid entrance. There is a separate line for ticket holders, you still have to go through security, but you are merged near the front and once inside you already have a ticket so no second line.
Remember: The museum is free for children under 18 and for young adults from the European Union under 26. Young adults just have to show their ID to the museum staff.
When to visit the Louvre
Visit the Louvre at night for a really unique experience.
Before you head to the Louvre, you should also know the opening and closing times! The Louvre Museum is open every day but on Tuesdays (Mondays are usually very busy). It opens at 9 am and closes at 6 pm.
On Wednesdays and Fridays the museums stays open until 9:45 pm. And every first Sunday, from October to March, access to the museum is free for all visitors! For other useful information, you can visit the Louvre Museum website.
My favorite time to visit the Louvre is definitely on Wednesday and Friday evenings for their special nocturne hours. It is a lot less stressful without all of the crowds, and there’s something so…”Night at the Museum” about visiting after dark!
Plus, you won’t have to worry about pushing through crowds, or rushing past a painting that you really want to spend some time admiring. It’s also a great time to snap some photos without any other visitors getting in your way!
Alternatively, try to get to the museum as soon as it opens at 9am. You’ll also find that there are less crowds this early, but that being said you’re going to want to show up around 8:30am, especially in the summertime.
Another tip for visiting the Louvre would be to try to visit during the week. Sure, there will be other tourists there with you waiting to admire all of the amazing art, but all of the Parisians will likely be working during the week!
Pick the right entrance
The Carrousel du Louvre entrance on rue de Rivoli.
It’s so easy and pleasant to lose time in the Louvre, but it would be really too bad to lose time outside of it! The best way to visit the Louvre Museum is, first of all, not to enter in the Louvre by the pyramid entrance!
If you want to take wonderful pictures of the Pyramid, feel free to exit the museum by this entrance, but do not come in by it. It is constantly incredibly crowded and the queues are extremely long! I prefer these entrances:
- The Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre metro station (on line 1)
- The Carrousel du Louvre entrance located at 99, rue de Rivoli is your best bet if you haven’t already bought your tickets (but you really should in advance!). However, you can also enter here if you have you tickets already.
- The Porte de Richelieu entrance located at the entrance of the sculpture section of the Louvre, between the Louvre courtyard (you know, where that massive glass pyramid is!) and the rue de Rivoli. Here, you must have already purchased your tickets in order to enter.
Know precisely where your favorite masterpieces are
The Louvre is one of the biggest museums in the world with many different historical pieces of art. Whenever one comes to Paris, going to the Louvre Museum is a must! There’s always one or two masterpieces we cannot afford to miss! (Also, take a look at the top 10 paintings to see here.)
If you have some artwork that you really want to see more than anything but don’t feel like losing time looking for it, take a look at the museum map before coming in. That way, you will know exactly where to head!
Once you get inside the museum, you will quickly figure out that there three different entrances to get to the many floors: the Richelieu entrance, the Sully entrance and the Denon entrance.
At ground level, you will find many Roman, Greek and Egyptian sculptures and antiquities. When you arrive, my advice is to go to the Apollo Gallery, which is the place where you will admire the fabulous ceiling as well as the King’s crown! Then, you can go to the level 1 of the museum, which I think is the most popular.
Located on the Denon wings of the museum, you will be able to Italian paintings from the Renaissance, like Leonardo Da Vinci’s work (the famous Mona Lisa lives on at the Louvre Museum).
Then, keep going to French paintings where you will see French masterpieces, such as “La Liberté guidant le Peuple” (Liberty leading the People) by Delacroix, or even “Le Sacre de Napoléon” (Coronation of Napoleon) by Jacques-Louis David. Finally, you can go to see “La Vénus de Milo” (Aphrodite from Milos).
If you are not too tired yet, you can just walk through the museum, go to the many different galleries or just take a look at a map of the museum and find some galleries that best suit your interests! You can also read this article to check a few paintings that are worth having a look at!
Roughly speaking, the best way to visit the Louvre Museum is to plan your visit in advance! The Louvre Museum is very popular so it is always a little crowded. But if you manage to know where the pieces of art you can’t afford to miss are located, you will save some precious time and will actually get to see your favorites!
The Top 5 Masterpieces in the Louvre
1. The Mona Lisa
A roundup of Louvre masterpieces simply wouldn’t be complete without this worldwide marvel at the top of the list. It’s safe to say that 99 out of every 100 people who visit the Louvre, have a priority to see Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
This is the “best known”, most visited, and apparently the most sung about painted portrait on the planet. She’s known for being a confusing character, and the paining itself is often deemed underwhelming when people see its real life size.
Why is Mona Lisa so famous?
The Mona Lisa is an unmistakable masterpiece. The Mona Lisa, painted by Leonardo da Vinci during the Italian Renaissance, is widely regarded as the most written about and discussed portrait of all time. The Mona Lisa is also well-known due to its exhibition at the Louvre and its extensive reproduction in popular art and culture.
There are various reasons why the Mona Lisa is so famous, including the aesthetic success it represents as well as several notable events in the painting’s history.
Part of the Mona Lisa’s fame can be attributed to the painting’s distinction from other Renaissance portraits of women. While most women of the time were painted in a serene profile, the woman posing in the Mona Lisa is rendered at a three-quarter angle, making her presence much more visible to the viewer.
What also distinguishes her is that she appears before the audience in very modest garb, as opposed to the highly ornate garments and appearances commonly seen in paintings of the social elite throughout the Renaissance. Another reason is the portrayal of emotion in the woman’s face was particularly unusual during the period.
Upper-class sitters were often depicted with stoic, controlled expressions to suggest their preference for tranquility and humility over eruptions of overwhelming emotion. This enhanced the Mona Lisa’s smile, leaving the visitor to speculate about her identity and experience. As a result, the Mona Lisa became a focus for reflection on human nature and emotion.
2. La présentation au temple
Ambrogio da Fossano was an Italian Renaissance artist, and you’ll find a few of his works here in the Louvre Museum. This particular one, la Presentation au Temple, is believed to have been made sometime in 1494.
This set of works entered the Louvre collection in 1863, and is housed on the 1st floor, in Denon Alley. The colors and mood of this series denote a sense of history that is moving, even for the untrained observer.
3. Une odalisque
In 1814, the creation of this painting was ordered by Napoleon’s beloved sister, Caroline of Murat. The artist was Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, and it is one of my favourite pieces in the entire museum.
This whimsical painting has come under a lot of duress in its time. Many say that the representation was not realistic, due to the lengthy nature of the women’s limbs. This aside, there is something undeniably cheeky and fun about the portrait — find it in the Louvre!
4. Saint Paul Ermite
Jusepe de Ribera was a Spanish Tenebrism artist. He was known for his use of dark colors and moody contrast. This particular piece was completed in 1625, but only found its way into the prestigious Louvre in 1875.
Even those who are not familiar with de Ribera’s works tend to find themselves hovering longer than usual around this particular painting. There is so much to take in.
The piece depicts Saint Paul Ermite, one of the first Christians to flee to the Egyptian deserts from the persecutions.
Finally, this melancholic piece by 19th-century French painter, François Biard. I wouldn’t recommend leaving the Louvre without seeing it in real life.
In 1839, Biard set sail on a scientific expedition across the arctic. When he returned, he did so with a mind full of extraordinary ideas just waiting to be put to paper. This painting gives us a glimpse into what potential near death situations Biard encountered against nature while out at sea. It’s almost like a photograph, long before it’s time.
The best time to visit the Louvre Museum
I would recommend going to the Louvre Museum early in the day, before the Parisians do. The locals love going to the museum whenever they can, so the tend to get overcrowded pretty quickly.
Sometimes, visiting the Louvre Museum can be a bad experience. Because you can’t see the paintings due to the amount of people standing in front of you, you can be bothered by the noise, so you can end up not fully appreciating the museum.
Having worked all week, Parisians invade the museums during their only free time: on weekends, especially during Sunday afternoons. So, if you want to avoid the Parisian crowd, it would make sense to schedule your visit to the Louvre Museum during the week.
The best way to visit the Louvre museum and to have a quiet visit is to go in the morning before the crowd gets in and you will be able to enjoy your visit in a peaceful museum.
If you’re an early bird, visiting a museum at its opening guarantees you a good visit. To avoid waiting in line, you can buy Louvre tickets with Tiqets, follow our link to get all the information !
If you prefer, join me on a free 90 minute guided walking tour of Paris Landmarks – a great introduction to Paris – and I will point you some of the best places to see in this beautiful neighborhood.
What to get from the Louvre gift shop
Stop by the Carrousel Louvre, the Paris Louvre Museum Giftshop, and browse some of the most interesting businesses in the museum’s core.
The Carrousel du Louvre is a popular shopping mall in Paris for both inhabitants and visitors. It’s a nice place to unwind after seeing the iconic paintings and artworks at the Louvre. The luxury mall, which is open seven days a week, has dozens of retailers, a gourmet food court, and an appealing, expansive atmosphere.
If you’re looking for a restaurant near the Louvre, the Carrousel is a great option. It’s also the place to go if you need new clothes, jewelry, art books, as well as art artifacts, replicas, and souvenirs relating to temporary and permanent exhibitions a particular gift to bring back with you.
A guided tour of the Louvre Museum
A guided tour is one of the greatest ways to make the most of your visit to the Louvre. Louvre guided tours provide a rich and meaningful experience that combines your passion for art with education. Here’s all you need to know about booking a guided tour at the Louvre.
- The museum is enormous! You can easily and quickly navigate the museum with the help of a tour guide.
- At the Louvre, there is always a large crowd. With small tour groups, guided tours provide a hassle-free experience.
- The Louvre guided tours include a skip-the-line option, which allows you to circumvent huge admission lines and go directly in.
- A guided tour teaches you about the palace’s history, the value of each artwork, and interesting stories about the creators.
- Get deeper insights and new views from a local expert who knows the museum and everything inside it inside and out.
Here are some Louvre Museum Guided Tour Options for you;
- 2-Hour Louvre Museum Must-See Guided Tour
- My first time in Paris with tickets to Louvre and Seine cruise
Virtual Tour of Louvre Masterpieces
Do you want to take a virtual tour of the Louvre? If you enjoy art, the Louvre is almost certainly on your Paris or Museum wish list. The Louvre is the world’s largest, busiest, and most visited museum. It houses 35,000 items of art dating from the sixth century BC to the nineteenth century AD.
It is an opulent Renaissance mansion in and of itself. The Louvre, as you might expect from that description, can be an intimidating madhouse. It’s a riot of flashes, selfie sticks, and people trying to skip lines and touch the art.
It can appear to be overwhelming. You can now skip the crowds and tour the Louvre virtually at your leisure from the comfort of your own home. I’ll show you how to visit all of the Louvre’s must-see artworks from the comfort of your own couch.
You now know the best way to visit the Louvre Museum! My final advice is for you to relax around the museum after the long visit of the Louvre. Once you get outside the museum, cross the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel to reach the Jardin des Tuileries and simply relax and have long conversations about all the great art you just saw and about the meaning of life! This is the best way to end the visit of the Louvre Museum in Paris!
Also, the gardens that separate the Louvre from the Place de la Concorde are a lovely spot for walking and culture for both Parisians and tourists; Maillol statues coexist with those of Rodin and Giacometti. The two ponds in the gardens are ideal locations to unwind.
If you’re still itching to see more art, there are also two other museums located within the Jardin des Tuileries: l’Orangerie and the Jeu de Paume. You’ll find an impressive collection of Monet’s Water Lillies paintings at the l’Orangerie, and the Jeu de Paume is a photography museum! There is seriously no shortage of art and museums in this city, which is one major reason why I love it.
Another great thing to do after or even before your visit of the museum is to join our Hidden Gems tour. It starts right next to the Louvre pyramid entrance at 11am and it’s perfect if you want to know charming secret places only the locals know.
Explore the marvels of Paris through our guided walking tours.
I hope to see you soon in Paris!
Additional information :
- The best tips to see Mona Lisa at the Louvre
- Buy tickets with our partner Tiqets
- Learn more about the Top 10 paintings to discover in The Louvre