The Louvre is one of the biggest art museums in the world and since a few years it’s also the most visited museum. Around 9 million people wander through the halls of the Louvre every year, taking selfies with DaVinci’s Mona Lisa and taking pictures of them putting their finger on the Louvre pyramid. Want to get the most out of your visit? Here are some practical tips for your visit to the Louvre!
When to go
While most museums in Paris are closed on mondays, the Louvre is closed on tuesdays. So on mondays, the Louvre is more crowded, because all the other museums are closed. Another really busy day is the first sunday of the month. Everyone has free access on this day, so it will be really crowded. When you’re on a tight budget, this is of course a great opportunity, but if you want to visit the museum on a more quiet day, I have been told that wednesdays and fridays late in the afternoon/evening are the more quiet times.
Waiting in line and buying tickets
Especially on a more busy day, you will have to wait in line for a while. The Louvre is prepared for a lot of visitors per day, so usually, you won’t have to wait that long (We were inside within half an hour when we arrived around 11am). This line outside is for the security check only, so once you’re inside, you need to get in line again to buy a ticket. You have free entrance if you’re for example under 18 or if you’re under 26 and live in the EU. In this case you don’t need to stand in the second line at the ticket counter, you can just show your passport at the museum entrance. Another way to avoid the second line is to buy your ticket online in advance. More information about free entrance and entrance fees can be found here.
There are free lockers available in the Louvre, where you can put your bag and/or your coats. big backpacks are not allowed inside the museum, so you can leave those in the lockerroom too. They even have special lockers for umbrella’s!
Take a map
Trust me, if you’ve never been in the Louvre before, take a map. Even though there are a lot of signs, it’s easy to get lost in a museum this big. They have maps in a lot of different languages. Once you have your map, choose which part(s) of the Louvre you want to see the most and take your time to explore those parts. Accept that it’s not possible to see everything in one day and even if it is, it’s not fun anymore after a few hours.
Especially on busy times, it’s a good idea to stay together if you’re visiting the Louvre with a group of people. It can be really crowded around the most famous artworks like the Mona Lisa, the Venus of Milo and the Nike of Samothrace. Always keep an eye on each other to make sure you don’t loose your group when you’ve been admiring a beautiful work of art a little too long.
Always make sure you’ve been to the toilet before entering the Louvre. The waiting lines in front of the toilets are really long, especially at the entrance. If you need to go, the best choice is to go to the toilet on a more quiet floor of the museum.
Information about the paintings
While some people just enjoy looking at works of art, I personally always want to learn about the history of the artworks and the story that’s depicted. There is sometimes a little information next to the artwork, but that is usually very little. If you would like to learn more, it’s a good idea to rent an audio guide. The Louvre currently has a Nintendo 3DS tour, where you can rent a nintendo and get an audiotour with this device for about 45 minutes for 5 euros. You can also download the Louvre Audioguide app on your smartphone and choose which artworks you want to learn about on your own pace. They have for example an audiotour about the masterpieces of the museum and one about Egyptian art.
Photography in the museum
Photography is allowed in the Louvre, but don’t use your flash, as this can damage the artworks. Selfie sticks are not allowed either. And don’t expect too much from the Mona Lisa painting. It’s pretty small and everyone needs to keep their distance, so on a selfie with the Mona Lisa, your head will usualy be three times as big as the painting itself.