Covering 652,000 square feet, the Louvre Museum can be overwhelming and daunting for any visitor, but especially for someone visiting for the first time. This first timer’s guide to the Louvre will help you plan your visit and will allow you to enjoy the museum, without leaving feeling defeated and exhausted.
Hours of Operation
The Louvre is open every day from 9:00am to 6:00pm except on Tuesdays, January 1, May 1, and December 25, when the museum is closed. There are also night openings on Wednesday and Friday evenings when it remains open until 9:45pm.
Advance Purchase via the Louvre’s website (linked below): 17.00 Euro
At the Museum: 15.00 Euro
- Admission is free to everyone on the first Saturday of every month.
- All visitors under the age of 18.
- Residents of the European Economic Area who are 25 and under.
- To all visitors on Friday nights from 6:00pm to 9:45pm who are under the age of 26 regardless of country of residence.
When to Purchase Your Tickets
There are two options when it comes to purchasing your tickets to the Louvre. You can either purchase them in advance on the Louvre’s website or you can purchase tickets when you arrive. I would highly recommend purchasing your tickets in advance for several reasons.
First, purchasing your tickets ahead of time allows you to skip to the front of the security line, which can get very long depending on the time of day you arrive.
Secondly, when you purchase your tickets in advance, you don’t have to stand in line after security to buy your tickets. That’s right, if you don’t purchase your tickets in advance, you’ll have to stand in line for security and then stand in line to purchase your tickets. This entire process could take an hour or more alone.
Entrances to the Louvre
The main entrance to the Louvre is through the glass pyramid located in the courtyard. There are a few other entrances; however, they tend to close pretty regularly, so I am not even going to mention them.
Getting Through Security
Like I mentioned above, purchasing your tickets in advance allows you to skip to the front of the security line during a 30-minute window on your ticket (I believe it’s 15 minutes before and after your scheduled time slot). This alone can save you upwards of an hour. The security line for non-ticket holders has been known to be nearly 2 hours long. That’s a lot of wasted time standing in line when you could just purchase and print off your tickets at home.
Large bags are not allowed inside the Louvre for safety reasons; therefore, I would recommend only bringing a small crossbody. Also, be mindful of pickpockets. It’s very common at the Louvre, especially in crowded rooms.
Best Time to Go
First and foremost, no matter what time you visit, you need to set aside at least half a day to visit the Louvre. If you are a huge art lover and museum junkie, I would recommend spending an entire day. Although, even if you spend an entire day, you still won’t see everything.
With that being said, the best time arrive is in the morning when the museum first opens. This is especially true if you are determined to see the Mona Lisa. We purchased tickets for 9:00am and went straight to see the Mona Lisa before we did anything else. The room was relatively empty and I was able to get right up to the barrier.
*Sidenote: It’s not that impressive in real life, but you can’t go to the Louvre and not see the Mona Lisa.
The next best time to visit is on Wednesday evenings. Because the Louvre is open until 9:45 on Wednesday nights, this is a great time to visit since the crowds will be significantly smaller at night compared to during the day.
I would avoid visiting on any days when admission is free.
For example, on the first Saturday of every month and on Friday nights from 6:00pm to 9:45pm
Navigating the Museum
Don’t expect to see everything in one visit because it’s just not going to happen, even if you spend all day in the museum. Look at a map of the Louvre before you arrive (you can find an interactive version here) and make a list of everything you absolutely have to see. By mapping out what you want to see and where it’s located in the museum ahead of time, you will save yourself so much time in the long run.
Some of My Favorite Exhibitions and Their Locations
**The Louvre makes a “U” shape around the glass pyramid (the one you enter through) and is comprised of three different wings: the Denon Wing, the Richelieu Wing, and the Sully Wing.
French Crown Jewels
- The French Crown Jewels Collection includes the crowns of the King Louis XV and Napoleon I, the Regent Diamond, the jewelry of Empress Marie-Louise, and a ton of other items.
- Located in the Richelieu Wing (Galerie d’Apollon) on the first floor.
- Located in the Sully Wing on both the ground and first floors.
- Located in the Denon Wing on the first floor (Room 6).
- Before the Louvre was a museum it was a fortress dating back to the 12th century and the reign of Philippe Auguste. Medieval Louvre allows visitors to see the original ruins of the castle.
- Located in the Sully Wing on the lower ground floor.
Well, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed my first timer’s guide to the Louvre and that it helps you plan your visit. Just remember, the most important thing is to enjoy yourself!
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FIRST TIMER’S GUIDE TO THE LOUVRE