Getting tickets to the Louvre before your visit is a must. This is a requirement for all visitors as Louvre tickets aren’t actually sold at the door.
The Louvre Museum is one of the best places to visit in Paris and easily one of the best museums in town. This is also one of the world’s most visited museums, and an exceptional art gallery where you could easily get lost for days on end!
In this post, I will tell you everything you need to know before visiting the Louvre. With my tips and guidance, you will definitely have a good time. Let me start by sharing some interesting facts about the Louvre Museum.
Why You Must Visit Louvre Museum When In Paris
You simply can’t go to Paris and skip the Louvre. Together with Musee d’Orsay, the Louvre is one of the most visited places in the French capital. This is the biggest art and archeology collection in the world. There are over 380,000 pieces, of which more than 35,000 pieces of art on display. There are pieces that have made art history such as the Mona Lisa and the Virgin of the Rocks, the Wedding at Cana, the Venus de Milo, the Winged Victory, the Coronation of Napoleon, and the Seated Scribe to name a few.
Housed in what used to be a fortress built upon orders of Philip Augustus on the right bank of River Seine in the 12th century, throughout time the building saw many changes and enlargements.
Francis I, king of France from 1515 until 1547, was a lover of art. He was the one who, in 1546, ordered the original structure to be demolished and to build his royal residence on top of it. That’s how the part that nowadays corresponds to the southwestern bit of the Cour Carrée was built by architect Pierre Lescot.
Subsequent kings of France such as Louis XIII and Louis XIV added to the structure and to the collection, as they acquired lots of art. So did Cardinal Richelieu, prime minister during the reign of Louis XIII.
Once Louis XIV moved the court and his residence to Versailles Palace in 1682, the Louvre stopped being a royal residence. However, it was not turned into a museum until the 18th century.
In 1793 the revolutionary government that ruled France after the revolution opened the Louvre Museum to the public. At the time, it was named Musée Central des Arts and it occupied the Grande Galerie, which was built by comte d’Angiviller.
Napoleon Bonaparte ordered the construction of the rest of the Cour Carrée and of another wing on the north along the rue de Rivoli. During the 19th century, two other wings were completed and inaugurated during the reign of Napoleon III.
In the 1980s and 1990s an underground complex was created, with shops, toilets and restaurant facilities that would make the visitors experience to the museum even better.
The famous glass Pyramid designed by Chinese architect Pei Cobb upon request of the (then) French President Mitterand was inaugurated in 1989, on the 200 years anniversary of the beginning of the French Revolution. This immediately attracted lots of criticism, firstly because it blocked the view of the small Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, and secondly because such a modern structure looked at odds with a classic building like the Louvre.
With time, Parisians as well as tourists got accustomed to the Pyramid, seen as the symbol of the Louvre Museum and one of the landmarks of Paris, often use as the background for incredible photos.
Is the Louvre always packed?
In 2019, more than 9.6 million people visited the Louvre. That’s almost four times the population of Paris city, and that means that – were the museum open every day (which it isn’t – see more about it below) the average number of people visiting each day would be roughly 26,300. These numbers were drastically reduced in 2020, and increased again to 7.9 millions in 2022. Booking tickets in advance – complete with a time slot for your visit – is now more than ever a requirement.
You can get your Louvre ticket here.
The basic tickets to the Louvre allow you to spend as much time as you want in the museum (you’ll probably need a full day to see a portion of the museum), but they don’t include a guide or an audio-guide, which is actually of great help as now only you get information about the building and the pieces of art you will be seeing, but you won’t have to worry about which route to follow.
For a selection of the best tours of the Louvre, click here.
Finally, continue reading to discover the many available options to get tickets to this incredible museum.
7 Best Ways To Get Tickets To The Louvre
There are several ways to get tickets to the Louvre. Continue reading to discover the various solutions and pick the best one for you, based on your interest and budget.
Way N. 1: Buy your tickets to the Louvre on the official website
This is the official website to get tickets to the Louvre. You can get tickets via the official website up to three months in advance. Booking the tickets is incredibly easy: pick a day, pick a time slot, pay €17 per visitor and that’s done. If you want an audioguide, that’s an extra €5.
You will need to print the ticket and take an ID with you as tickets are nominative and you may be asked to show your ID upon entering. These are not skip-the-line tickets, but you will be guaranteed access to the Pyramid within 30 minutes of the time shown on the ticket.
Be punctual! Louvre management is very clear in saying that if you don’t arrive within your allocated time slot, you will have to get in line to get new tickets!
You won’t be able to cancel or modify tickets bought on the official site. You can ask for a refund of the ticket if you made a “honest mistake” when you purchased a ticket, or for delays in accessing the site caused by the management; but other than that you won’t be eligible for a refund. Requests for refunds must be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You must include the order number and specify the reason for the reimbursement.
Way N. 2: Buy tickets to the Louvre via a third party site
Another way of getting tickets is via third party booking sites such as GetYourGuide or Tiqets. Tickets actually cost as much as on the official site, but there is a small booking fee of €3. You can book your tickets up to 90 days in advance as you do on the official site, and depending on the day of your visit you actually get a special discount too. Plain tickets bought on third party sites are not refundable either.
You can get your tickets here or here.
Way N. 3: Take a guided tour
This is one of the best ways of visiting the Louvre – it’s how I did it and I wholeheartedly recommend it. There is no shortage of companies that offer guided tours of the Louvre. Guides are knowledgeable about the museum, they know where to go so you won’t have to worry about looking at the map, and they will answer your questions and entertain you with quizzes.
Tours are easy to book – you just have to pick a preferred date and time, and the company running the tour will arrange everything else with the museum. They will even print the tickets for you – all you need to do is get the mobile voucher, and show up at the meeting point on time.
Tours can last anything between 1.5 hours and 3 hours, after which you are free to stay at the museum and explore by yourself.
When it comes to tours of the Louvre, you have the option of joining a group tour (usually of no more than 20 visitors), or a small or private group tour, which are obviously more expensive. There even are family-friendly tours perfect in case you are traveling with children.
Group tour prices are in the range of €50 to €70, depending on how long they last. Private tours are more expensive and in the range of €100, though some are priced per group.
For the best group tour of the Louvre, click here.
For a truly comprehensive group tour, click here.
For the best family-friendly tour, click here.
Way N. 4: Get the Paris Pass
The Paris Pass is a great way to get tickets to the Louvre – and to many other museums in Paris. Once you get the pass, you will have to make separate reservations for each and every attraction you intend to visit. This is where you have to book your time slot for the Louvre if you have a Paris Pass.
The price of the pass varies depending on its duration. The most convenient one starts at €65. You can get it here.
The Paris Pass does not include access to the Eiffel Tower.
For a Paris Pass that includes access to the Eiffel Tower, click here.
Way N. 5: Get a combo ticket to the Louvre and a Seine River Cruise
A cruise on the Seine River will afford you some of the best views of Paris, and it can be combined with one or more Paris attractions, including the Louvre. Cruises generally last one hour and include an audio-guide, but if you want an audio-guide for the Louvre Museum that will be an add on.
You will first visit the Louvre and then hop on the boat for memorable views of the Eiffel Tower, Pont Alexandre and Notre Dame. I have found two options which are both great.
Louvre reserved access and one hour cruise – You can access the Louvre as early as 9:00 am and enjoy the Seine river cruise within 6 months of purchase – or, quite simply, at the end of the day.
Skip the line Louvre Museum and Seine River cruise – a great combo that is very conveniently priced. You will be visiting the Louvre at 2:00 pm and go for the cruise immediately afterwards.
Way N. 6: Take a guided tour of Paris
If you only have a day in Paris, you may want to consider joining a guided tour that takes you to all the most famous attractions – including the Louvre Museum. The benefits are having a live guide that shows you around, so you don’t have to worry about getting lost; and having to just make one booking. In other words, this is very easy. The main downside is that it’s not cheap – we’re looking at €165 for an eight-hour tour.
For more information about guided tours of Paris that include the Louvre, click here or here.
Way N. 7: Buy tickets to the Louvre on FNAC website
FNAC is a massive online retail store where you can buy all sorts of things, including tickets to events and attractions. To be fair, the website tends to be confusing, and it is not very user friendly. Upon navigating you will see that only the main page is in English, but you can ask Google to translate the other pages.
If you can go over these obstacles, FNAC is a great website to get tickets. Here they cost more as they usually include access to a special exhibit or event, and you can pick up your physical ticket at one of the many FNAC location in Paris – I am sure there is one close to where you are staying.
Other Useful Information For Visiting The Louvre Museum
Prices of tickets to the Louvre
Official tickets to the Louvre cost €17 for adults when purchased online, and €15 when bought at the door, but the availability of tickets at the door is very limited. Audioguides are €5. Tickets bought on the official website can’t be modified or refunded.
Free tickets to the Louvre
Free admission is available for visitors who are under 18 years of age, or for under 26s living in the EU, as well as for people with disabilities and the person accompanying them. Proof of age is required by way of ID card. The museum is free for all visitors on Bastille Day (14 July).
The Louvre is open from Wednesdays to Mondays, from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. On Fridays, it closes at 9:45 pm. It is closed on Tuesdays, on 1 January, 1 May and 25 December.
Book in advance
The museum works on a time-slot system and there is very limited availability of tickets at the actual door. You will be much better off booking your visit in advance – whether your trip is a last minute one, or you’ve been planning it for months.
What to do if tickets to the Louvre are sold out
The first tickets that get sold out are those on the official site. If you can’t find tickets for the day you wish to visit, you can try one of the many third party booking sites. These sites buy tickets in bulk so they will often have a spare one.
Get your last minute ticket to the Louvre here.
Another option may be to get a guided tour. Since these are a bit more expensive than plain skip-the-line tickets, your chances of finding a spot last minute are higher.
You may want to consider this 3-hour small group guided tour of the Louvre.
Entrances to the Louvre
The Louvre Museum has four entrances (you can see them on the official map you can download here):
- Pyramid – for individual visitors;
- Port des Lions – normally used by guided groups;
- Louvre Carrousel – for all visitors, it is accessed directly from the Metro Line 1 (yep, super easy) and – since it is underground – provides shelter in case of rain;
- Passage Richelieu – only for groups.
How to get to the Louvre
You will find the Louvre Museum on Rue de Rivoli and at the very end of the Jardin de Tuileries, past the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. Getting there is fairly easy and you have several options.
Various metro lines stop right by the Louvre or nearby. Lines 1 and 7 stop at Palais-Royal Musée du Louvre and line 14 stops at Pyramides.
The buses that stop by the Louvre are numbers 21, 24, 27, 39, 48, 68, 69, 72, 81, and 95.
By hop on hop of bus
If you are interested in doing a tourist round of Paris, you can get there by hop on hop off bus.
You can get your hop on hop off bus ticket here.
The Batobus is a hop on hop off boat service with several stops, including one near the Louvre. You will have to get off at Quai François Mitterrand – there will be someone announcing the stop so you can rest assured you won’t miss it. Other stops include the Eiffel Tower and and Place de la Concord. You can get a ticket which is valid for one of two days.
You can buy your Batobus ticket here.
All people visiting the Louvre have to go through two security checks. Avoid bringing in any bulky bag or any prohibited items such as flammable material or weapons (even a pocket knife is considered a weapon) to make the security check process faster and smoother. Only guide dogs are admitted.
Length of visit
This is completely up to you, really. Many say that one full day is not enough to see all of the Louvre. If you opt for a guided tour, this normally takes around 2 hours but it literally only covers the highlights – after that you will have more time to continue exploring on your own pace.
Toilets at the Louvre
You will find plenty of toilets at the Louvre main entrance, and on each floor.
Accessibility of the Louvre
The Louvre strives to be accessible to disabled visitors, with various elevators and wheelchair lifts, and even a Tactile Gallery.
Luggage storage in or near the Louvre Museum
Smaller items can be left for free at self-service lockers beneath the Pyramid. Larger items can’t be taken in so you should leave them in your room or look for luggage storage facilities nearby.
Eating at the Louvre Museum
There are 16 cafés and restaurants where you can either sit for a meal or take the food away.
Final tips for visiting the Louvre Museum
Bring your camera
With so much to see inside and outside the Louvre, you will definitely need your camera for photos. The building itself is gorgeous. Flash photography is not allowed.
Wear layers and comfortable shoes
Though there is no dress code for the Louvre, I recommend wearing layers as some parts can feel extremely hot compared to outside during the winter months. Make sure to also wear comfortable shoes as you will be walking a lot.
Beware of pickpockets
Keep your valuables safe; close your bags or backpack properly; wear your backpack at the front and your purse across your shoulder.
Visit the outside too
The outside of the Louvre is as interesting as the inside. The glass pyramid provides many photo opportunities – though you are better off going there very early in the morning when there are no people around. The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel is a nice sight. You should also admire the view of the museum from the Jardin de Tuileries.
Are you planning a trip to Paris and France? Don’t forget to read my other posts:
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