9 Smart Ways To Get Tickets To The Louvre And Skip The Line

Getting tickets to the Louvre before your visit is a must. As of 2019, this is a requirement for all visitors as Louvre tickets aren’t actually sold at the door.

You are in Paris, a city famous for its many fabulous attractions. You can’t wait to climb the Eiffel Tower and to admire the incredible pieces of art at the Louvre Museum. You have the pictures of the glass pyramid in mind, and you are savoring the moment when you’ll finally be able to admire the Mona Lisa and other famous paintings of Italy’s most prominent Renaissance artists.

The bad news is that the Louvre Museum is one of the world’s most visited museums and it receives so many visitors every day that admissions without pre-booked tickets is often not guaranteed. This means that unless you get tickets to the Louvre beforehand, you won’t be able to get in.

The good news is that getting Louvre tickets is actually very easy and if you buy them in advance you’ll be able to skip the line, swiftly get in and enjoy every minute of your time at this incredible museum.

In this post, I will highlight the best ways to get tickets to the Louvre and share some information that will help you make the most of your visit. But first, let me share some interesting facts about the Louvre Museum.

tickets to the Louvre
With pieces such as the Coronation of Napoleon, it’s easy to see why the Louvre is a must when in Paris

Table of Contents

Why You Must Visit Louvre Museum When In Paris

Paris is an incredible city. I recently visited for the first time (I know, shame on me for not having been sooner), I fell in love with it the minute I arrived and I can foresee going again and again for more. It’s a huge city, there are so many interesting places to go and whether you like architecture, art, food, wine or even just shopping, you will be in for a treat.

Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world, which means that the city is crowded – some attractions truly feel packed beyond the limits. The lines to get on the Eiffel Tower are long, but they are truly nothing compared to those to get inside Versailles Palace (at least from what I have seen).

The Louvre Museum is another place that gets thousands of visitors every day. After all, this is a fantastic museum – though many seems to prefer Musee d’Orsay as it is smaller and focused on art only, I much prefer the Louvre.

At the Louvre, you’ll get to see some of the most important pieces of art in the world and an exhibit that would require days to go through. This is why I believe that going to Paris without visiting the Louvre Museum it would be a bit like going to Rome and skipping the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. You just shouldn’t!

If you are still wondering, let me be clear: you simply can’t go to Paris and skip the Louvre. It really is a must, no matter how crowded it is and no matter how much of a hassle getting tickets may be (but let me tell you, it really isn’t and you will soon see why).

Some background information about the Louvre

The Louvre Museum is housed what used to be a fortress that was initially built upon orders of Philip Augustus on the right bank of River Seine in the 12th century and that throughout time 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 razed and to build his royal residence on top of it. That’s how the part that nowadays corresponds to the southwestern part 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 – both of them acquired a lot of art pieces, and so did Cardinal Richelieu – who was 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 was ruling in 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 was the one who ordered the construction of the Cour Carrée and of another wing on the north along the rue de Rivoli. During the 19th century, to 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 (much like the Eiffel Tower did, back in the day when it was built) – 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, which is now the symbol of the Louvre Museum and one of the landmarks of Paris, often use as the background for incredible photos.

Diana of Versailles
Diana of Versailles is a masterpiece at the Louvre

Why is the Louvre always packed?

In 2018, more than 10.2 million people visited the Louvre. That’s roughly 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 28000.

To make a long story short, the Louvre is always crowded. But why so?

Quite simply, this is the biggest art and archeology collection in the world. There are over 380000 pieces, of which more than 35000 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.

The fact that the Louvre Museum is always so crowded means that you have to plan your visit there carefully, and that you really can’t go there without having bought tickets to the Louvre in advance – this not only will allow you to skip the lines at the ticket desk, but in some cases it’ll be the only way you can get in.

IN SHORT: These are the best Louvre tickets that are also skip the line:

PLEASE NOTE: No matter what kind of ticket you hold, you will have to go through a couple of security checks and have your bags scanned before getting inside the Louvre, so be prepared for those lines – which however are much shorter and faster than those for getting tickets.

TIP: Remember that as per Louvre regulations, you won’t be able to take inside any times such as weapons (including pocket knives), excessive amounts of foods or drinks, flammable items, and animals other than guide dogs. Make sure to leave prohibited items in your room so as to avoid any delay when going through security.

INTERESTING FACT: If you are curious to see how much you may have to wait in line for the tickets at the entrances of Pyramid and Carrousel, make sure to download the app created by the Louvre. You can download it here.

Continue reading for more tips on how to make the most of your time at the Louvre Museum and on how to skip the lines!

Visiting the Louvre more in depth

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. I appreciate that having a guide is not for all, but for such a big museum I honestly recommended it.

And unless you are an art historian, you need to have at least an audioguide that will explain you the details of the paintings or sculptures you will be looking at.

A guide will take you swiftly through the security checks; you won’t have to consult the map every minute to find out where you need to go to admire your favorite pieces and will share important information about all the artwork you will be seeing.

I did this tour and had an excellent guide who was ready to answer all my questions. After the tour, I was able to stay at the museum for as long as I wanted – map in hand, in search of other pieces I was curious to see.

If you are a fan of guided tours as a way to get a good introduction to a museum, consider investing in one of these tours:

Continue reading to discover how to get tickets to the Louvre and skip the lines.

crowds outside the Louvre
The Pyramid is a perfect spot for photos

9 Absolutely Smart Ways To Get Tickets To The Louvre And Skip The Line

There are various equally good ways to get tickets to the Louvre and and skip the lines. In this post, I will highlight the various ways, pointing out their main characteristics and who are they most suitable for.

In general, skip-the-line tickets to the Louvre are necessary under all circumstances, and the museum itself points out in its homepage that admission without pre-booked tickets can’t be guaranteed.

There are various kinds of skip-the-line tickets. Most of them are the basic kind – you get in and then you are on your own. A few include an audio-guide. Some include a guided tour which can vary in length.

Of all the ways to get tickets to the Louvre, my favorite is with a guided tour. I appreciate it is the most expensive option, but it really is the one that allows you to get a good understanding of the museum and all that it has to offer, and that takes you swiftly to see all the highlights. If your budget allows, definitely opt for this.

Finally, without any more delay, here are all the best ways to get tickets to the Louvre.

Way N. 1: Buy your tickets to the Louvre on the official website

Perfect for: no frills travelers

Advantages: It is one of the most budget options.

Disadvantages: It is very basic as it only covers the admission. Anything else is an add on. You have to print the ticket.

This is the official website to get tickets to the Louvre. Booking the tickets is incredibly easy: pick a day, pick a time for your entrance, pay €17 per visitor (15 for the ticket and 2 for the booking fee), 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 you may be asked to show it while entering. Keep in mind that this actually isn’t a skip-the-line ticket, but you will be able to go through the Pyramid in half hour.

TIP: 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!

GOOD TO KNOW: Tickets to the Louvre via the official website can be bought up to two months in advance.

TIP: If you care to visit the museum at a specific hour (ie as soon as it opens to avoid the largest crowds) make sure to book well in advance.

Way N. 2: Buy tickets to the Louvre via a third party site

Perfect for: Travelers who aren’t flexible about their timing

Advantages: There many third party sites you can use to get tickets and you’ll hardly be stuck without one. You can purchase your tickets months in advance (perfect if you need to plan your trip well beforehand).

Disadvantages: Tickets tend to be more expensive than on the official tickets.

If tickets to the Louvre via the official website are sold out, or if you are trying to book 60 days before your visit and the official website isn’t selling them yet, you can buy them via a third party site. Tickets will be a bit more expensive, but with so many sites to pick from, unless you are trying to buy them 30 minutes before your visit, you will find something that suits your needs and budget.

These are the best Louvre tickets which include skip the line access (but no guide):

Continue reading to discover other tickets to the Louvre that allow you to skip the line but which also include a guided visit.

Mona Lisa
A lot of people visit the Louvre first and foremost to admire the world famous Mona Lisa

Way N. 3: Take a group guided tour

Perfect for: Learning more about the Louvre

Advantages: You have a guide to take you around the museum and explain its history and the most important pieces.

Disadvantages: Groups can be of up to 20 visitors, so you can’t really go on your own pace.

There is no shortage of companies that offer guided tours of the Louvre which include skip the line tickets. Tours are easy to book – you just have to pick a preferred date and time, and they 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 which you can show them on your phone, and show up at the meeting point on time.

This is one of the best ways to visit the museum. Tours can last anything between 1.5 hours and 3 hours, after which you are free to stay at the museum and explore it by yourself.

Guides are generally knowledgeable about the Louvre, 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.

These are the best guided tours that include tickets to the Louvre:

Way N. 4: Take a private guided tour

Perfect for: Those who don’t enjoy large group tours

Advantages: You have the guide all to yourself (or your small group).

Disadvantages: It’s definitely more expensive than the group tour option.

If you want a guided tour but can’t be fussed with a (potentially) large group, where people may take forever taking photos, ask endless questions, move slowly or regularly get lost, you can opt for a private guided tour.

This is obviously going to be a more expensive option – private tours start at €100 per person. However, most private group tours are priced per group, so if you are traveling with a group of friends or family (including children) this may well be the best idea, and not necessarily the most expensive one.

These are the best guided private tours that include tickets to the Louvre:

inside the Louvre
The interesting architecture at the Louvre deserves to be admired

Way N. 5: Get a combo ticket to the Louvre and a Seine River Cruise

Perfect for: Seeing the best of the city

Advantages: You get to cruise the Seine for fabulous views of many other sites in Paris, and get skip the line access to the Louvre.

Disadvantages: The price of the combo ticket is higher than the combined prices of tickets to the Louvre and Seine River cruise.

A cruise on the Seine River is one of the nicest things you can do in Paris, and it can often be combined with one or more of Paris attractions. 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.

The combo vary in kind: in most cases, you first visit the Louvre and then hop on the boat for memorable views of the Eiffel Tower, Pont Alexandre and Notre Dame.

Sometimes, combo tickets only allow you to access the Louvre after 2:30 pm (not ideal if you can foresee spending a full day there) and the cruise would occur afterwards.

Other combos let you stay as long as you want in the Louvre (you have to indicate a time of arrival when selecting the date) and you are free to cruise the Seine whenever you want (even a day or two later).

These are the best combo River Seine and tickets to the Louvre options:

Way N. 6: Take a guided tour of Paris

Perfect for: Those who have very little time to visit Paris.

Advantages: You get to visit Paris’ most famous attractions, including the Louvre Museum, in one day, and don’t have to worry about making single reservations for each.

Disadvantages: Tours may be a bit rushed and it may be more expensive than you’d wish.

If you don’t have much time in Paris, you may want to consider joining a guided tour that takes you to all the most famous attractions – including the Louvre Museum – and that includes skip the line tickets for each. 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, while the company running the tour will reserve the skip-the-line entrances for the various attractions. In other words, this is very easy.

These are some good guided tours of Paris that include tickets to the Louvre:

tickets to the Louvre
The beautiful interiors of the Louvre

Way N. 7: Get the Paris Pass

Perfect for: Those planning to see more attractions in Paris

Advantages: You get skip the line tickets to a lot of attractions attractions.

Disadvantages: You have to book entrances to the each attraction separately. You don’t really save money.

The Paris Pass is a great way to get skip the line tickets to the Louvre – and to a plethora of other museums in Paris. Keep in mind that if the Eiffel Tower is one of the attractions you want to have included in the Paris Pass, the only option you have is the Paris PassLib which costs €109 for the 2-day pass and €159 for the 5-day one. You can get it here.

These are other Paris Pass options that include tickets to the Louvre:

This is where you have to book your entrance if you have a Paris Pass.

Way N. 8: Buy tickets to the Louvre on FNAC website

Perfect for: Another easy no frills option

Advantages: You can pick up your physical ticket at one of the many locations in Paris.

Disadvantages: Tickets are slightly more expensive than on the official website. FNAC website isn’t easy to navigate, and the English version is not as complete as the French one.

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 buy tickets to the Louvre at a price that is only slightly more expensive than that of the official website, 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.

Way N. 9: Visit the Louvre at night (only on Wednesdays and Fridays)

Perfect for: Night owls.

Advantages: The museum is less crowded in the evening.

Disadvantages: It’s only available on Wednesdays and Friday evenings. You still have to book it online.

Great news for night owls! While the regular closing time of the Louvre is 6:00 pm, on Wednesdays and Fridays it closes at 9:45 pm, with the latest admission at 8:30 pm. Although you still have to reserve your ticket online on the official website of the museum (find it here), chances are that the museum will be significantly less crowded in the late evening, when most people are done with their sightseeing and are all busy having dinner.

This is your chance to have the museum to yourself (well, almost)!

interesting paintings
Among the coolest pieces at the Louvre, Arcimboldo’s Four Seasons

Other Useful Information For Visiting The Louvre Museum

Book in advance

Let me stress this once again. You really, truly, definitely are better off booking your tickets to the Louvre in advance. Even the management of the museum says so on its website.

As of 2019, no tickets to the Louvre are sold at the door.

So, whether your trip to Paris is a last minute one or something you have been planning for months, make sure to check all websites – that of the museum and those of third party retailers for tickets and don’t just show up there as you may get disappointed!

Entrances to the Louvre

The Louvre Museum has five entrances (you can see them on the official map you can download here). The main and most known one is the Pyramid one. Other entrances are the Port des Lions one, the two entrances of Louvre Carrousel, and the one on the Passage Richelieu.

Port des Lions is the one normally used by guided groups. Carrousel can be accessed directly from the Metro Line 1 (yep, super easy) and – since it is underground – provides shelter in case of rain.

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.

By metro

There are various metro lines that have stops right by the Louvre or nearby. Lines 1 and 7 stop at  Palais-Royal Musée du Louvre and line 14 stops at Pyramides.

By bus

Alternatively, you can get to the Louvre by bus. 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.

By Batobus

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.

outside the museum
The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel leads to the Louvre

Opening times

The Louvre is open from Wednesdays to Mondays, from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.

On Wednesdays and Fridays the Louvre remains open until 9:45 pm – last admission is at 8:30 pm.

Please take care to notice that the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays, on 1 January, 1 May and 25 December. 

Prices of tickets to the Louvre

Official tickets to the Louvre cost €15 if bought in person at the ticket counter, or €17 if bought online on the museum website.

Free tickets to the Louvre

Free admission is available for under 18s, or for under 26s living in the EU, as well as for people with disabilities and the person accompanying them.

TIP: Make sure to carry your ID with you as you may be required to show proof of age.

MONEY SAVING TIP: The Louvre is free on every first Saturday of the month between 6:00 pm and 9:45 pm, and on Bastille Day (14 July). However, keep in mind that the lines are terribly long on that day!

Security checks

All people visiting the Louvre have to go through two security checks. Make sure to 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.

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, and after having been there I must say I agree! 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 facilities in or near the Louvre Museum

There are free self-service lockers beneath the Pyramid, but keep in mind you can only really store small items there. Larger items can’t be taken in so you may want to look for luggage storage facilities nearby.

Eating at the Louvre Museum

You definitely won’t starve at the Louvre: there are 15 cafés and restaurants where you can eater sit for a meal or take the food away.

The best time of day to visit the Louvre Museum

If you are spending a few days in Paris, I recommend visiting the Louvre on either Wednesday or Friday evening, when it stays open until 9:45 pm. Large tour groups usually leave by 6:00 pm and most people go for dinner soon afterwards, so the museum will be significantly less crowded.

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. The only rule is that 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

A place so crowded like the Louvre is bound to be a playground for pickpockets. Make sure to 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 museum is almost as interesting as the inside. Needless to say, 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, and make sure to admire the view of the museum from the Jardin de Tuileries.

Further readings about Paris and France

Are you planning a trip to Paris and France? Don’t forget to read my other posts:

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Discover how to make the most of the Louvre - via @clautavani