Blanca Valbuena

Tips for Visiting The Louvre Museum

  • The IM Pei Pyramid is the main entrance to the Louvre, and the most congested
  • African art at the Louvre
  • The Louvre has an outstanding Mosaic collection
  • Canova's Kiss at the Louvre
  • One of many restaurants in the Tuileries Gardens
  • Sleeping Hermaphrodite at the Louvre
  • How to see Nike of Samothrace with no crowds
  • The Mona Lisa is very hard to see
  • Smart travelers can enjoy a tourist free Louvre
  • Going to the Louvre early in the morning means less crowds
  • The best entrance at the Louvre on a Wednesday morning
  • When you see the door with the lions at the Louvre choose that entrance
  • Map of alternate entrances to the Louvre
  • Picture of the Cour Caree in the Louvre
  • The Louvre has a huge section just for sculptures
  • IM Pei's Iconic Glass Pyramid
  • Tips for Visiting The Louvre so you don't waste time on line

I am a huge fan of museums...guess that comes along with being an Art History major in university. When you go to Paris, you absolutely MUST go to the Louvre (but only after you've read these Tips for Visiting The Louvre). That being said, it is one of the largest museums in the world. This means it is full of tourists. There are various types of tourists here:

  1. The selfie stick mafia. These guys get validification from having all their friends know they went to the Louvre. For them it is not about the art, but about being seen with the art. Yes, you saw the Mona Lisa...so did a trillion other people...you are not that special - seriously.
  2. Masterpiece Hunters. These tourists that go see only the main pieces. You will see them with an outlined map and they will head from Nike to Mona to Venus. Snap a shot and walk away. Very similar to the selfie stick mafia.
  3. The Tour Groups. These are my least favorite. They come in groups of 10-20 and wear headsets so they can hear their guide. They will trample you because they are afraid of getting lost and will stop to take a quick picture of a piece of art that catches their eye and then run to rejoin their group  - which is basically just doing the Masterpiece tour.
  4. The Smart Museum Goer. Let this be you. You prepared. You purchased tickets ahead, entered the right way, and know to be done with the Louvre before 11:30am when it gets really crazy. Now I will give you all the tips you need to become this type of tourist.





As I said, the Louvre is HUGE! it is over 60,000 square meters long. There are more than 35,000 pieces of art on permanent exhibit, and there are more than 10 million visitors per year. This is the museum with the most visitors in the world. This means if you did not buy tickets for the Louvre ahead of time, you'll be standing on line for a long time. It means that if you get there at the wrong time you won't be able to see the pieces you want to see, and it means that you'll have an unpleasant visit...unless you keep reading. 

IM Pei's Iconic Glass Pyramid

The IM Pei Pyramid entrance to the Louvre

Before I go into all my tips, understand that you cannot see the museum in one day. It's too big, and there is too much amazing art. If you're in Paris for a short time, pick and choose what you want to see, but if you see something that catches your eye..stop and enjoy it. There are some amazing pieces there...this is the best part of the museum. I've been there three times...and I have yet to see the entire thing. This is perfectly alright. You don't have to do it all, it's much better to do it well.

The Louvre has a huge section just for sculptures

The sculpture collection at the Louvre is massive

Tips for Visiting The Louvre Museum

1) Pick the time you want to go (either early AM or late PM)

Tuesdays are out of the question since the Louvre museum is closed. It is also closed on January 1, May 1, and December 1. I recommend that you check their website in case things change.

The museum's hours are  from 9 am to 6 pm, but on Wednesday and Friday, it is open until 9:45 pm. On these days, the admission price is reduced if you come in after 6 pm. There are less crowds and not as many school groups. This is the best time to come.

The second best time to come is super early in the morning. If you arrive at 8:45, you can enter by 9 am and beat most of the crowds.

The best entrance at the Louvre on a Wednesday morning

This was the line at 9am on a Wednesday at the Porte de Leons. A total of about 10 people were waiting with me

2) Purchase your Louvretickets ahead of time. 



Do not. I repeat - DO NOT purchase your Louvre tickets on the day of. Don't show up at the Louvre museum at 11am without tickets. You'll stand in line for hours, get tired, and you'll have to fight tons of tourists. Instead, go to a FNAC. This is sort of like a Barnes & Noble mixed with Ticketmaster and a Best Buy. You can go and purchase tickets for a specific day and time. You can also purchase them online to pick up at the FNAC. This means you will save yourself tons of time wasted on line.

If you did not purchase your Louvre tickets ahead of time, you can buy them after you've gone through security. There are automated machines to pick up your tickets.

Picture of the Cour Caree in the Louvre

The Cour Caree was touched by multiple architects including Pierre Lescot, and Jean Goujon.

3) Free Entry

If you're on a budget and you still want to visit the Louvre, you can go for free the first Sunday of each month. It won't be as easy of a visit as if you visited at night, but you can still make it work.

When you see the door with the lions at the Louvre choose that entrance

The best entrance at the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa is the Porte des Leons

4) Paris Museum pass



I'm not a fan of these because I am not the type of person who will rush past a museum. I am also an art dork. The Paris Museum Pass gets you admission (line free) to 60+ museums and monuments in Paris. This includes the Louvre. I do not consider these a good deal unless you do the 6 day pass. Again, I like to spend tons of time in one museum, so this is more for those who are masterpiece chasers. The breakdown of pricing on the Paris Museum Pass.

2-day pass: €42
4-day pass: €56
6-day pass: €69

Map of alternate entrances to the Louvre

Map of the best entrances to the Louvre Museum

5) Use the Right Entrance

Don't be a sucker and stand on line to enter at IM Pei's Pyramid entrance. There are a few entrances you can take...I will leave my favorite for last:

---Carousel Du Louvre Entrance: This is the entrance to the underground shopping mall. This will  lead you into a smaller inverted pyramid next to the Apple Store. The security line here is more lax and there are a lot more ticket machines, so less of a line if you don't have tickets. If you happen to have the Paris Museum Pass, your wait will be incredibly short.

---Passage Richelieu: This entrance also works. Much shorter lines and security is a breeze.

PRO TIP: Porte des Leons: This one is the least used and leads into the African art collection. If you want to see the Monalisa, this is an awesome entrance as you can be there 10 minutes walk from entry.

Going to the Louvre early in the morning means less crowds

You will be rewarded for your early morning wake up call with an almost empty Louvre museum

6) Skip the Line for the Audio Guide

I love audio guides. That being said, this will just tack on more time to your visit. Instead download either the Louvre app which has a decent amount of information on some of the most notable pieces in the Louvre, or check out the Rick Steves podcast. Warning, this one will put you in the same trajectory as most tourists, so while the content is great...it is not my favorite type of experience.

The Mona Lisa is very hard to see

Seriously. I know you want to. I know you're gonna...but just skip the Mona Lisa. It's not all that great.

7) Know what you want to see in the Louvre

The Louvre is huge. It is a beast you can easily get lost in. If you have pieces you absolutely MUST see, plan ahead. Check their website, find out where it is and go there first. I would suggest that you either grab a museum map, or keep one on your smart phone for reference.

The Louvre website has a handy plan your visit area where they have interactive plans that you can download and study before you go.

Smart travelers can enjoy a tourist free Louvre

Use these tips and you too can enjoy the Louvre like this - empty

8) Wear comfortable travel shoes



This is good advice for any trip you take and any museum you visit. The marble staircase to see Nike of Samothrace is super slippery (I almost fell there the other day with my leather bottom boots). Wear shoes with non slip bottoms and tons of arch support.

How to see Nike of Samothrace with no crowds

Nike of Samothrace around 9:30 am. Not so bad yet, about 30 minutes later, it was atrocious

9) Getting to the Louvre

You can take the Paris metro, but it is usually quite crowded. The bus...or your feet can be quite a nice experience.

---Metro/Subway: Take the #1  and get off at the Palais-Royal–Musée du Louvre station.
---Bus: Take either the 21, 24, 27, 39, 48, 68, 69, 72, 81, 95, or the Paris Open Tour bus and get off at the Pyramid.
---Car: You really are a masochist if you drive...seriously. If you do, there is an underground parking garage on Avenue du Général Lemonnier.
---Batobus: Take the boat bus and get off at the Louvre stop (Quai François Mitterrand).

One of many restaurants in the Tuileries Gardens and other Tips for Visiting The Louvre

Jambon Beurre & Cheap rose make a perfect lunch after a day at the Louvre

8) Food at the Louvre.

There are plenty of places to eat at the Louvre. I counted about 15 different places inside the museum and in the Tuileries gardens. Most happen to be a pricey (it's all about location). That being said, I love Cafe Diana. Grab a Jambon Beurre and a carafe of rose. You can enjoy little kids playing in the park and while not cheap, it won't break the wallet either.

Sleeping Hermaphrodite at the Louvre

Don't miss out on this piece. It packs on a surprise

9) After your visit to the Louvre

Stop by the miniature Arc de Triomphe du Carousel and stroll in the Jardin Des Tuileries.  It is a stunning park with fountains, flowers, sculptures, and tons of people.  If you're still feeling energetic, test yourself out and see how close you can make it to the actual Arc de Triomphe.

The Louvre has an outstanding Mosaic collection

Check out less explored parts of the museum for a wonderful experience

10) Use the Bathroom when you see it

You will want to use any bathroom you see when they are available. Otherwise you will find when you need it it will be impossible to find. Trust me. If you want to try something different, try the paid bathrooms on the Richelieu exit. For 2 Euros, you can try the Japanese spa bathroom...don't ask me. It's something you need to learn about yourself.

African art at the Louvre

There is incredible art from Africa, Latin America, and many other parts of the world at the Louvre

11) Small purses.

I am known for only carrying a clutch. I am not a fan of large handbags. Ladies...this one is for you. If you wear a large bag you will piss off everyone and waste not just your time, but mine. So...please leave baggage at home. Nobody likes people with baggage.

Canova's Kiss at the Louvre

Even I could not resist stopping by to see this masterpiece - Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss” . It's too damn charming

12) Walk Around the Art

When looking at art, if possible, walk around it. You will most likely be pleasantly surprised by the details. On a similar note, don't be an asshole. Don't touch the art, don't lean on the art, and don't put your purse on the art. I will yell at you, call a guard over and get you kicked out. You've been warned.

13) Pickpockets

Yeah...so...I've never had an experience getting pick pocketed in Paris or at the Louvre. But I've been traveling for a long time. I've heard stories of people being pick pocketed...but has not happened to me yet. Just be smart and you'll be just fine. Oh, and the people that come up to you asking you for your email and a donation. Just ignore, walk away, or give them a very mean "NO". It's a scam.

In closing. Leave the selfie sticks at home, skip the tour groups, go early, and have an amazing time. And if you have other Tips for Visiting The Louvre,  or a particular question on your visit, let me know in the comments.

 

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Blanca Valbuena

I am the co-founder of FriendsEat and Socialdraft. I've got an unhealthy obsession with Burgundian Chardonnay, ASOIAF, and travel.

38 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Tips for Visiting The Louvre Museum”

  • Rachel

    December 1, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    Some great tips here. I went to the Louvre a few years ago and have to admit to being a masterpiece hunter -only because we were only in Paris for the day and I wanted to see as much of the city as possible!

    • Blanca Valbuena

      December 1, 2016 at 2:40 pm

      Lol…if you only have a day, then it’s totally acceptable. That just means you need to schedule a return trip 😉

  • Kimberly

    December 1, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    What beautiful pictures! I would love to visit! You are one lucky girl!

    • Blanca Valbuena

      December 1, 2016 at 9:51 pm

      Thanks. It’s a great museum if you know how to navigate it well. I go to Paris yearly so I have a lot of practice.

  • Christina Aliperti

    December 1, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    This is a dream trip for me! One day I will visit the Louvre and I am sure I will spend an entire day there.

    • Blanca Valbuena

      December 1, 2016 at 9:54 pm

      It’s amazing. I think you’ll do multiple days…although there are so many amazing museums in Paris. One of my faves is the Delacroix museum.

  • Amber

    December 2, 2016 at 2:17 am

    Great tips! I was there years and years ago. I’d love to go back.

    • Blanca Valbuena

      December 2, 2016 at 9:25 am

      You should schedule a trip back asap. I was there just this year and it was wonderful.

  • Annemarie LeBlanc

    December 2, 2016 at 6:01 am

    I have been to Paris once but missed out on visiting The Louvre Museum. My goodness, it is massive! I’d have to plan for another trip and make sure I make time to marvel at the masterpieces. Thank you for the tips. I would keep them in mind.

    • Blanca Valbuena

      December 2, 2016 at 9:23 am

      It’s so hard to pick places to go when you are in Paris. It’s got so much to offer, I always recommend that (if possible) people do a minimum of 14 days there. It’s one of my top 3 favorite cities along with Rome and Lisbon.

  • Elizabeth O.

    December 2, 2016 at 7:28 am

    That’s an awesome guideline for people going to the Louvre for the first time and those who are planning their return visit. There’s no doubt that it’s one of the most famous museums so you’re going to deal with different kinds of people.

    • Blanca Valbuena

      December 2, 2016 at 9:21 am

      You are so right. This is the case in all tourist places, but I find the three worst (when it comes to annoying tourists) are the Louvre, Versailles, and Venice. But there are ways to make your visit to all those places way more pleasurable.

  • dana vento

    December 2, 2016 at 8:22 am

    This louvre museum is great! I’m so amazed seeing those photos. Very impressive. Love to visit someday.

    • Blanca Valbuena

      December 2, 2016 at 9:19 am

      It is wonderful. What’s even more impressive is that each wing is from a different time period and a different monarch.

  • Annette Yedlin

    December 2, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    What a beautiful place. I would love to be able to visit it.

    • Blanca Valbuena

      December 2, 2016 at 1:39 pm

      When you do, let me know. I go there every year, so I can give you some tips on where to stay in Paris and how to save a little money on your visit.

  • Ana

    December 2, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    You have an art history major? That is pretty cool what is your favourite art period? Mine is Cubism/surrealism, I would love to go to the Louvre museum.

    • Blanca Valbuena

      December 5, 2016 at 12:20 pm

      Lol…yeah, I decided to go into what everyone considers “basket weaving”. Loved every second I spent learning about art. I’m big into religious icons. I love the marketing aspects of it, all those subtle tiny things that say so much.

  • victoria

    December 2, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    Sounds like you had an awesome day and amazing museum, Love to go there

    • Blanca Valbuena

      December 5, 2016 at 12:17 pm

      I always have a good time at the Louvre, and each time as I get to know its insides better, it gets to be more and more enjoyable.

  • Alesia

    December 2, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    Art is so fundamental for human life. God created us to be creative. This is a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing.

    • Blanca Valbuena

      December 5, 2016 at 12:16 pm

      Thanks for checking it out. The Louvre is ridiculously amazing. So many amazing pieces created by humans throughout time.

  • tauyanm

    December 3, 2016 at 4:24 am

    thanks for the tips! this is very informative! i might visit next year and this will dfntly a great help for me! I love visiting museums too, but as a instagrammer + vlogger I have to admit and feel guilty you mentioning about the selfie stick, i dont use selfie stick but some how i need shots that I am with the art or the place hahaha. Nice and fun to be reading this! looking forward to be here next year!

    • Blanca Valbuena

      December 5, 2016 at 12:15 pm

      What time of year are you going? Paris is wonderful year round, but Spring is definitely the best time to visit Paris.

  • Rosey

    December 4, 2016 at 11:18 am

    I have only been once. I definitely want to return. I liked reading your tips.

    • Blanca Valbuena

      December 5, 2016 at 12:12 pm

      Maybe it’s time you book a return trip. It’s really a wonderful museum.

  • Echo

    December 4, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    These are fantastic tips! The Louvre is definitely on my list of must sees, so I appreciate this guide very much!

    • Blanca Valbuena

      December 5, 2016 at 12:08 pm

      It really is wonderful, the collection is outstanding. But make sure to check out all the smaller museums in Paris. There are some lovely ones to see there.

  • Claudia Krusch

    December 5, 2016 at 3:10 am

    I loved visiting the Louvre! Also loved looking at your pics and reading your tips!

    • Blanca Valbuena

      December 5, 2016 at 12:06 pm

      Thanks. I can’t wait to go back in 2017. It never gets old.

  • Kathy

    December 5, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    These are some great tips you have. That museum looks like a very lovely one. I hope that I can visit it someday. I love checking out all kinds of museums.

    • Blanca Valbuena

      December 7, 2016 at 12:27 pm

      You should. The Louvre is wonderful…and that means you’d be in Paris, so you can experience so much more. The city is really one of my all time favorites.

  • Enricoh Alfonzo

    December 5, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    Se manifique! Loved the photo journal and descriptions.
    belíssima fotografia.
    wanna visit all these

    • Blanca Valbuena

      December 7, 2016 at 12:22 pm

      Oui. C’est vraiement magnifique! Thank you for your kind words.

  • Amy Jones

    December 7, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    This is such a magic location!! It’s my dream to go to Paris at least once in my life, I’m so jealous!!

    • Blanca Valbuena

      December 12, 2016 at 12:32 pm

      When you’re ready to go, don’t be shy about messaging me. I go to Paris every year for at least a month, so I can give you plenty of tips to make your Paris trip affordable and enjoyable.

  • Melanie Smith

    December 9, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    Louvre museum is one of my dreams. I wish I could go there anytime soon and follow your tips ;D

    • Blanca Valbuena

      December 12, 2016 at 12:34 pm

      It’s got an incredible collection and the building itself is stunning. There’s a smaller museum on the side that does some more modern exhibits too! When you decide to head to Paris, message me. I’ll be more than happy to share my secret tips for an affordable Paris vacation.

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