The Louvre Museum, like the Eiffel Tower, is one of the main symbols of Paris and is a must for every tourist. But it’s not easy to orient yourself inside the Louvre. That is why we have prepared this post with all the information to make a perfect visit to the Louvre Museum.

The Louvre Museum: how to plan your visit

As you may know, the Louvre museum is huge. Here are some figures to give an idea of its size:

  • The Louvre is the largest art museum in the world, with a collection of 554,731 artworks.
  • Out of this, about 38,000 artworks are exposed, in an area of 72,735 m².
  • If you could spend 30 seconds in front of each work, it would take you 100 days to walk through the entire museum.

In addition, the museum is always overcrowded. In 2019, the Louvre attracted 9,6 million visitors!

Louvre Museum: Winged Victory of Samothrace with tourists. Photo: Thomas Ulrich from Pixabay

But don’t despair. Visiting the Louvre may not be easy, but it’s definitely worth it – after all, you don’t always have the chance to admire some of humanity’s main masterpieces in the same place.

Our tip is: plan your itinerary in advance! And don’t try to see as many artworks as possible. Otherwise, you’ll get out of there exhausted, frustrated and confused.

Below you will find all the information you need to plan your visit to the Louvre.

Louvre museum is divided in wings and departments

Louvre Museum, Sculpture Hall. Photo: Michel Denance

  • The Louvre Museum: departments and wings

The works exhibited at the Louvre Museum date from Prehistory to the 21st century, and are divided into eight departments:

  1. Near Eastern Antiquities
  2. Egyptian Antiquities
  3. Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities
  4. Islamic Art
  5. Sculptures
  6. Decorative Arts
  7. Paintings
  8. Prints and Drawings

These eight departments are distributed over three wings, called Denon, Sully and Richelieu.

  • The Louvre Museum map

The first step is to download the official map of the Louvre Museum (here the English version). In addition to all the practical information, the map gives an idea of the main artworks exhibited in each of the wings.

The Louvre Museum: what to see?

If this is your first visit to the Louvre Museum, our tip is: see “only” the museum’s main masterpieces

How long does it take to see the main works of the Louvre Museum?

You’ll spend between 1,5 and 4 hours. It all depends on what kind of experience you want to have and how much time you want to dedicate.

As the Louvre is immense, we have made a selection of 6 major masterpieces for those who cannot spend more than 1,5 hours, without a guide: 

    • Aphrodite, known as the “Venus de Milo”: ground floor, Sully wing, room 346, Department of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities.
    • Egypt – daily life and mummies: ground floor, Sully wing, Department of Egyptian Antiquities.
    • The Rebellious Slave – Michelangelo: ground floor, Denon wing, room 403, Department of Sculptures: Italy.
    • Winged Victory of Samothrace: ground floor, Denon wing, Department of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities.
    • Mona Lisa – Leonardo da Vinci: first floor, Denon wing, room 711, Department of Paintings: Italian painting.
    • The Lacemaker – Vermeer: second floor, Richelieu wing, room 837, Department of Paintings: Dutch painting.

Since these are also the most visited artworks, locate them on the official map of the museum and find the corresponding rooms.

Louvre Museum, main artworks

Louvre Museum, Mona Lisa. Photo: Antoine Mongodin

 

Watch this video for some history of the Louvre:

 

 

The Louvre Museum: opening hours

The museum is closed on Tuesdays. On other days, the opening hours are:

    • Monday: 9:00 – 18:00
    • Tuesday: closed
    • Wednesday: 9:00 – 21:45
    • Thursday: 9:00 – 18:00
    • Friday: 9:00 – 21:45
    • Saturday: 9:00 – 18:00 (until 21:45 on the first Saturdays of each month)
    • Sunday: 9:00 – 18:00

The Louvre is closed on the following holidays: January 1st, May 1st and December 25th.

Which are the best days and times to visit the Louvre Museum?

We certainly recommend night visits on Wednesdays and Fridays, after 6 pm. At that time, the groups have already left and most of the tourists are already seated at café and bistros.

Louvre Museum: less crowdy at night!

The Louvre Museum: tickets and pass

Important: before visiting the Louvre Museum, you should buy your ticket. But which one? Here are two options:

  •  Individual ticket

The individual ticket is the most popular one. You must choose the day and time of the visit, which generally guarantees the entrance without queues.

  • Paris Museum Pass

The Museum Pass is a unique ticket that gives access to over 50 museums and monuments in Paris and the Paris region. It can last 2, 4 or 6 days and costs 52, 66 or 78 euros respectively.

Their validity starts from the first entrance to one of the sites. So the PMP is valid for 48 hours, 96 hours or 144 hours in a row.

You can buy your tickets online here.

The Louvre Museum: when is it free?

A visit to the Louvre Museum is free in 5 cases:

    • visitors under 18 (identity required).
    • for everyone on the first Saturday of every month, from 6 pm to 9:45 pm. Just get in line at the Pyramid or Carousel (the underground mall whose entrance is at 99 rue de Rivoli). The drawback is that on these days the museum usually gets even busier. On free Saturdays there are also special activities – for them, you must make a reservation about 15 days before (click here).
    • 18-25 year-old residents in the European Economic Area (proof of residence required)
    • Every Friday from 6 pm to 9:45 pm, admission to the museum is free for visitors under the age of 26 regardless of country of residence
    • for everyone on Bastille Day (14 July)
Louvre Museum and his pyramid

Louvre Museum, the Pyramid. Photo: Olivier Ouadah

The Louvre Museum: directions

  • Where’s the Louvre?

The Louvre Museum is located in the city centre, on the banks of the River Seine, in the 1˚ arrondissement.

Address: Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France

  • How to get to the Louvre Museum?

It’s very easy:

    • Louvre Museum: walking

Paris is small and flat, and if you are staying in a central district (like 75001, 75002, 75004, 75005, 75006) you can walk – just check the distance on the map.

    • Louvre Museum: nearest metro stations

Palais-Royal Musée du Louvre (lines 1 and 7) or Pyramides (line 14)

    • Louvre Museum: bus lines

I’d rather take the bus in Paris than the subway. The price is the same, but you circulate through Paris on the surface, discovering the city and enjoying a real sightseeing tour. Here are the numbers of buses passing through the Louvre: 21, 24, 27, 39, 48, 68, 69, 72, 81, 95.

The Louvre Museum: where is the entrance?

  • If you reach the Louvre walking:

There are 2 entrances that allow access to the Louvre Museums:

    1. The Pyramid is the main entrance to the Louvre and the line in front of the security control can be huge. If you want to avoid the queue choose the night timetables indicated above.
    2. The second entrance to the Louvre is at 99 rue de Rivoli: it is the shopping centre Le Carrousel du Louvre which is located inside the museum. After the entrance, you will go down the escalator to the inverted pyramid level. Here you will pass through the museum’s security checkpoint, the shops and arrive at the main space where the escalators will take you to the three different wings.

Louvre Museum – The inverted Pyramid

Which of the two Louvre entrances is better? We usually prefer to pass through the Carrousel du Louvre, especially when it’s very cold or raining. This entrance is always emptier, because tourists mainly know the main one.

  • If you arrive by subway:

Get off at Palais Royal – Louvre Museum station, cross Rivoli street and take the Richelieu pass. You will exit at the Pyramid esplanade and enter the museum through the main entrance – the Pyramid itself. If you want to take the second entrance indicated above, walk to number 99 of Rue de Rivoli.

If you walk along the banks of the Seine, you can choose between 3 passages:

  • the first is in front of the Pont des Arts bridge
  • the second one in front of the Carrousel bridge
  • the third is called Porte des Lions, to the left of the Carrousel Bridge

Here’s a video showing all the accesses:

Which other attractions can be combined with the Louvre museum?

As the Louvre Museum is located in the heart of Paris, we list below other attractions you can combine with it:

  • The Louvre Pyramid

The Louvre Pyramid is considered today one of the museum’s main attractions. The goal of the initial project was just to create an entrance that would be more comfortable for the public and would help the museum’s administration to manage the flow of visitors. But this new entrance became one of the Louvre’s most visited artworks. Curious fact: the number of tourists who reach the Pyramid, take a selfie, and go away is greater than the number of visitors who are interested in the dazzling collection of the museum. What a shame!

If you want to know more about the Pyramid, watch this video:

  • The Tuileries Garden

The Tuileries Garden (Jardin des Tuileries), which is part of the Louvre domain, is the largest and oldest public garden in Paris. This garden is on the list of must-see places in the city both for its location and its collection. Tuileries is a true open-air museum of sculptures. Visitors can admire more than 200 statues and vases of enormous artistic value from the 17th to the 21st century.

When organizing your visit to the Louvre also include a tour of the 23 hectares of Tuileries. Admire the wonderful flower beds and, if you are in a romantic mood, take a photo in front of the old carousel. To complete the tour properly, have a glass of wine or a simple coffee in one of the four Tuileries cafés.

  • The Champs Élysées Avenue

You can combine a visit to the Louvre Museum with a visit to the Champs Élysées. As you descend the main avenue of Paris, you will cross the Concorde Square to the Tuileries Garden. Upon entering the garden, you will already be inside the Louvre Domain, as the Tuileries belongs to the museum. Follow to the end of the garden, and you will see the small arch, called Carrousel of the Louvre, and soon after the famous Pyramid, the main entrance of the museum.

  • Other attractions near the Louvre:

    • The Royal Palais
    • The Paris Opera
    • The islands of Paris: Cité and Saint Louis
    • The River Seine and its bridges

The Louvre Museum: restaurants and cafés

As the museum is huge, there are several restaurants and snack bars in all its eight departments.

  • Our favourite restaurants and cafeterias of the Louvre Museum:

    • Le Café Richelieu/Angelina – The famous Angelina has a tea room in the Louvre. There you can have a light snack or lunch. Where: on the first floor of the Richelieu Wing, between the apartments of Napoleon III and the art objects rooms. 
    • The terrace of Café Mollien – When the weather is good, the terrace of Café Mollien offers us a beautiful view of the Pyramid and the Carrousel Garden. Also, it is next to Mona Lisa. Where: on the first floor of the Denon Wing, at the top of the Mollien stairs. 
    • Café Marly – The famous Café Marly is situated next to the Pyramid, under the arches of the Louvre. We recommend Marly for an aperitif after visiting the museum.
  • Favourite restaurants near the Louvre Museum:

Below we mention some good restaurants near the Louvre that we have been tested and approved:

Restaurants near the Louvre Museum – Loulou

    • Brasserie Du Louvre by Bocuse – The Brasserie du Louvre is next to the Louvre, you just need to cross Rue de Rivoli. It opened in 2019 and is the first brasserie of the Bocuse group in Paris. The Brasserie du Louvre is the restaurant of the Hotel du Louvre which has just been completely renovated. What to order? Onion soup au gratin (soupe à l’oignon gratiné) and chicken with cream sauce and mushrooms (poulet de Bresse à la crème et aux champignons). And for dessert, crème brulée or glacé meringue with chocolate. Address: 1 Place du Palais Royal.
    • Loulou – Trendy, chic, beautiful decor, elegant clientele. The Loulou is inside the Louvre building, with entrance through Rue de Rivoli. Its great secret is the terrace placed in the Tuileries garden with a view of Eiffel tower. What to order? Veal with tuna sauce. Address: 107 Rue de Rivoli.

Souvenirs, Shops and Bookshops

Nobody leaves the Louvre without a little souvenir. Below the great Pyramid, in the wing leading to the shopping centre Le Carrousel du Louvre, you can find souvenir shops and bookstores with proposals for every budget. Take a moment to browse through them all: you can choose between a keychain or a work of art, a bookmark or a jewel, a diary or a beautiful art book.

If you want to enjoy some shopping, the Carrousel du Louvre shopping mall has various brands as Caudalie, Fragonard, Delfonics, Kusmi Tea, Lacoste, Lancel, L’Occitane.  Also restaurants and snack bars, like Starbucks and Mc Donald’s. And not far away there is Galeries Lafayette, the Paris iconic department store. 

The Louvre Museums in other cities:

  • Louvre Museum Lens

Not everybody knows that in France there are two Louvre Museums: as of 2012, a satellite branch was opened in the city of Lens, in the Nord-Pas de Calais region.

If you have already visited Paris a few times and want to escape the traditional itineraries, think about a quick visit to Lens. The Louvre Lens Museum is stunning, and it attracts over one million visitors every year. To make the trip even more pleasant, you can combine culture and gastronomy, enjoying an unforgettable meal at the restaurant of star chef Marc Meurin.

  • Louvre Museum Abu Dhabi

The Louvre Abu Dhabi, who opened its doors in 2017, is the result of a historic agreement between France and the United Arab Emirates. The agreement established the construction of a universal art museum presenting both ancient and contemporary works of historic, cultural, and sociological interest from around the world.