The Louvre in Paris is the biggest museum in the entire world. Its galleries span over 652,300 square feet — a space equivalent to almost fifteen acres. Although not all on display, the Louvre has over 380,000 total pieces in its collection.
If you are visiting Paris, the Louvre is a not-to-be-missed attraction. But, with statistics like those above, doing it right may seem impossible, and the idea of seeing as much of it as possible is overwhelming.
Visiting the Louvre doesn’t have to be a rushed and stressful experience. There are ways to enjoy it to the fullest without feeling like you ran through or that you missed much at all. However, to successfully experience the Louvre, some strategizing and planning is undoubtedly necessary.
Read on for some great tips for visiting the Louvre. You’ll soon have wonderful memories of an experience you’ll never forget.
Tips for Visiting the Louvre
Some tips for visiting the Louvre might be obvious, like arriving early to beat the crowds and consulting an online map before you even begin, but other tricks for visitors may be less apparent.
Check out our suggestions below.
- Know the Best Time to Go
Choosing the right time of year to go is relevant when you’re planning your trip. Over 10 million people visit the Louvre every year, which averages out to about 30,000 a day. However, the museum’s least busy months are December and January.
If you’re going at another time of the year, however, you can also avoid some of the crowds by going at the right time of day. The Louvre is open until 6 p.m. most days, but on Wednesdays and Fridays, it is open until 9:45 p.m. If you go in the evening on one of these two days, you will be amazed at the lack of crowds.
In general, the museum is less busy later in the day than it is in the mornings.
- Set Aside a Full Day
If you’re visiting Paris for the first time, or even for the second or third time, you’re probably going to want to see as much of this great city as possible. However, avoid the temptation to pack your day at the Louvre with other events before or after on the same day. The Louvre will wear you out, so even if you think you only want to go for a half-day, set aside the other half of the day for relaxing at a cafe.
- Buy Your Tickets Before You Go
If you buy your tickets in advance, you won’t waste precious time at the ticket counter. Also, some exhibitions require an advance purchase of tickets, so if you try to buy on the day of your arrival, you may find disappointment.
- Dress and Pack Right
Remember, you will be walking around all day indoors, surrounded by many other people. Wear comfortable shoes and light layers that you can remove if you get hot. Also, although there are restaurants in the Louvre, you may want to bring a small bottle of water along in case you get thirsty.
- Be Realistic
Don’t try to see it all. That’s impossible. On most days, the Louvre has around 35,000 items from its collection on display, and if you looked at each one for thirty seconds, it would take you twelve twenty-four hour days.
Instead, be prepared to look at only a relative handful of things for longer periods. You will have a far better experience that way.
- Know the Layout
Before you go, consult — no, study — a map of the place. This way you can think about what you want to see and what you might not.
Also, did you know that the Louvre has four different entrances? If you enter through one of the three less popular ones, you might not have to wait in much of a line at all.
- Plan a Path
Once you know what you don’t mind missing and what you absolutely don’t want to miss, you can plan a route through the museum that gives you the opportunity to see everything that means a lot to you. If you’re planning to spend the entire day there, be sure to route your path past a restaurant at the right time for lunch.
Also, the Louvre offers several “visitor trails,” each based on a theme, that will help you to get a good overview of the museum. Themes are designed around a certain artist, a period, or a specific type or topic of art. These trails are a wonderful way to see a lot in a way that will link it all together.
- Take Breaks
Visiting the Louvre is exhausting. Take breaks.
Enjoy a painting from a comfortable bench. Stop and eat or drink at one of the museum’s cafes. Relax with a friend and discuss what has most impressed you so far.
- Take Your Time
It’s tempting to trot or even run through the Louvre, especially once you fully realize its size. Don’t give in. Take your time and enjoy the pieces you can see in the time you’ve allotted.
- Consider a Guide
A guide can help you not only see more of the museum than you might on your own, but he or she can also help you to understand what you are seeing on a deeper level as well.
There are many independent tour companies that offer tours of the museum or you can book a tour through the Louvre itself.
If you don’t have much time, or only really care to see the highlights, you might want to consider a Louvre Flash Tour. This tour is an hour and a half in length and is great for families or people with limited mobility. Participants will skip the line to get in and will see the museum’s most popular works including The Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo.
Want to do it on your own? Then consider a different kind of guide. The museum offers downloadable audio guides that you can use on your smartphone, and also offer rentable guides on portable Nintendo 3DS consoles for just five euro.
Enjoy the Louvre
The Louvre is incredible, breathtaking and amazing. It is unlike any other museum in the world. Visiting the Louvre is something that everyone should do at least once in their lifetime.
Now that you have ten great tips for doing so, your visit will surely be unforgettable for the rest of your life. Enjoy!
To plan out the rest of your trip beyond the Louvre, make sure to browse the rest of this site.