Visiting the Louvre tips: must-know for an amazing visit
By Mathilde Vuillemenot | Last update on September 13, 2023
Hey there, fellow travelers! If you're planning a visit to the Louvre Museum in Paris, you're in for a treat. This iconic museum is a treasure trove of art and history, and I've got some visiting the Louvre tips (and tricks!) to make your visit absolutely perfect. Let's dive right into it!
- The best time to visit the Louvre
- How to get into the Louvre quickly?
- Must-sees at the Louvre Museum
- Useful tips for a perfect visit
- Things to do around the Louvre
- Louvre Museum: the checklist
The best time to visit the Louvre
The key to enjoying the Louvre without the crowds is arriving early. The museum opens its doors at 9 am. Trust me, it's worth setting that alarm! The Louvre sees a massive influx of visitors throughout the day, so starting early ensures you have some quiet moments to appreciate the art. But don't dilly-dally because even in the morning, it can get busy.
If you're visiting on a sunny day, be aware that the museum isn't air-conditioned everywhere. The AC is limited to specific galleries, like those showcasing religious art. So, it can get pretty warm inside. That's another reason why an early start is a great idea. Keep an eye out for floor grates – they release some refreshing air. Take a short break by them to cool down a bit!
The Louvre Museum entrance: how to get into the Louvre quickly?
Now, let's talk about how to enter the Louvre without wasting time in long lines. Use the Carousel entrance, which is located in the underground shopping mall. Surprisingly, it's not widely known, despite being mentioned on the tickets. If you have 9 am tickets, arrive about 15 minutes early, and you'll find a short queue. Even if you have tickets for later in the day, you'll still save time here. The best part? This queue is indoors, so the weather won't affect you.
You might be wondering if this 'secret' entrance will become crowded. Well, it's been around for years and has been shared on blogs, yet it's still not widely used. Most people follow their GPS to the pyramid entrance. So, you're almost guaranteed a shorter wait at the Louvre's underground entrance.
Must-sees at the Louvre Museum
Once you're inside and past security, grab a map, and take note: there's no printed map inside the museum. Instead, you'll find QR codes for a digital map (there's free Wi-Fi in the museum).
Start your Louvre journey with a visit to the Mona Lisa. Head straight from the Carousel entrance, then turn right to the official entry (where they scan tickets) along the Denon aisle. Follow the signs, and you'll get there. During my visit in September 2023, the long queue for Mona Lisa was free access, making it smoother to see.
After Mona Lisa, here's an optimized with the must-sees at the Louvre Museum:
- Delacroix, the Liberty Leading the People (Denon Aisle, +1)
- Winged Victory of Samothrace (Denon Aisle, +1)
- French Crown Jewels (Denon Aisle, +1)
- Greek statues, including Milo Venus (Sully Aisle, 0)
- Egyptian treasures (Sully Aisle, 0) – note there are also Egyptian collections on the first level, but they’re not as spectacular
- The Cour Marly and Cour Puget with majestic statues and a spectacular roof glass (Richelieu Aisle, -1)
- Napoleon III apartments (Richelieu Aisle, 1)
If you're not a museum aficionado, you can breeze through these must-sees in under 2 hours. Afterward, feel free to explore the museum at your leisure. Just be ready to walk and climb plenty of stairs. During my last visit, I logged 15,000 steps!
Useful tips for a perfect visit
What to bring to the Louvre? Here are some essentials to bring, especially during the summer: a water bottle (or a reusable one), a fan, and a piece of fruit (like a banana or apple). Let me explain: while you can buy water inside, why spend extra when you can bring your own? A fan provides some relief in crowded, warm spots, and a piece of fruit makes for a refreshing snack. Keep in mind that you can't eat in the aisles; you'll need to return to the central rotunda (under the pyramid) for your break.
Where to eat inside the museum? For a foodie break inside the Louvre, consider Angelina café. If you followed my recommendation of 9 am tickets and the must-see list, you'll likely arrive around 11 am, just before the lunch rush. Angelina café offers a delightful view of the pyramid, making it a great spot for both a delicious treat and stunning photos. It's on the pricier side, though. Alternatively, there are two options in the rotunda for a snack: Starbucks Coffee and Paul bakery (a French brand). Starbucks has more seating, while Paul has classic French pastries like croissants and pain au chocolat.
Things to do around the Louvre
After your museum adventure, it's time for some outdoor photos. The Louvre offers numerous photo-worthy spots, including the iconic pyramid. But don't stop there; explore the galleries to the right and left of the pyramid and the Court Square behind the Pyramid Court. You'll discover nearly empty areas with fantastic views of the Louvre building just steps away!
Feeling a bit tired? Consider some low-key activities, like a Hop On Hop Off Bus tour to rest while enjoying beautiful views. On a sunny day, a leisurely stroll and relaxation in the Tuileries Garden, right in front of the Louvre, can be perfect.
Louvre Museum: the checklist
Now, let's summarize all my tips into a checklist featuring the 10 best recommendations for your visit to the Louvre Museum. If you're using Pinterest, save it to your Pinterest account!
Enjoy your Louvre visit, and don't forget to savor every moment in this incredible museum. Happy exploring! Oh, and a quick tip: avoid visiting the Louvre on your first day if you're jet lagged or after a day at Disneyland. You'll want to be well-rested for this unique visit!
For more tips, check my page Paris travel tips. If you haven't booked your hotel yet, the Paris hotels guide for first time visitors will interest you. I also shared some great ideas of things to do in Paris when it rains, useful whatever the season!