Paris Travel Planner   Best Ways to Enter the Louvre, Paris
The Louvre in Paris is a vast treasure-trove, but also huge and confusing. Here are the best ways to navigate it.

Trumpet baby on Musée du Louvre, Paris, France
Who gave that baby a noisemaker?

Institut de France from the Louvre, Paris, France
Institut de France across the Pont des Arts from the Louvre, Paris, France. 


When I first walked into Paris's enormous, bewildering Musée du Louvre (map) I was overwhelmed: crowds of people, escalators, signs, and movement, but no clear sense of where I should go or what I should do.

Here are some tips to help you as you plan your visit.

Reserve and Buy Tickets in Advance

As tourism has grown and lines at popular museums get longer, many museums, including the Louvre, are requiring advance reservations. The Louvre is putting in place an obligatory reservation system, and ALL visitors will have to reserve in advance. Before the obligatory system is in place, the Louvre has indicated that "admission without pre-booked tickets is not guaranteed." Book in advance so you're not disappointed!

This includes holders of the Paris Museum Pass and the Paris Pass. The passes still get you in, but you must reserve a specific date and time.

Here's a downloadable pdf map/plan of the Louvre.

There's also a smartphone app, My Visit to the Louvre, available for iPhone and Android.

From October 1 to March 31, the Louvre offers free admission on the first Sunday of the month. Be aware that this can mean very large crowds, so you might want to visit a less popular museum if you happen to be in Paris on the first Sunday.

First: The Glass Pyramid

First thing to know: almost everyone who visits the Louvre passes through the big glass pyramid, even if you come in some other entrance, of which there are several. But note that there are two lines: one is for people who already have tickets (paper, on-line, or Museum Pass); and the second, much longer line, is for those who need to buy tickets. Save some time by buying ahead of time.

You can enter the Louvre directly through the glass pyramid itself, or through the Carrousel du Louvre, an underground shopping/restaurant area that connects to the pyramid.

A Quicker Way:
The Passage Richelieu

If you have the Paris Pass or the Paris Museum Pass, you may be able to enter through the Passage Richelieu, just off the Rue de Rivoli across from the Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre métro station. The lines—especially for the security check—are usually shorter here. Signs may indicate that the entrance is only for groups, but often they will let individual ticket holders enter here.

Security Check

No matter where you enter, you have to go through a security check, and that's where the long lines are. The Paris Pass or Paris Museum Pass can pay off here, with shorter lines in the Passage Richelieu.

Carrousel du Louvre

If the security lines into the glass pyramid look very long, try going in the Carrousel du Louvre, which can be accessed off the Rue de Rivoli or by going down the external stairs to either side of the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. Lines are sometimes shorter here.

Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, Paris, France
L'Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel:
look for the stairs on either side.
(Note the glass pyramid through the arch.)

Lines also tend to be shorter on Wednesday and Friday evenings, when the museum is open until 10 PM (reduced admission after 6 PM).

OK, you're in and you have a ticket, and you've picked up a map of the museum. Now what? You need a strategy for your visit so you can use your time most effectively.

Planning Your Itinerary

You can start your visit to the Louvre's exhibits by taking an escalator to any one of three wings: Sully, Denon, or Richelieu. They are identified by name and have large red banners that highlight major offerings. The three wings are all connected, and you'll likely move back and forth among all three, but you may want to choose your starting point based on your Louvre strategy. Want some tips for figuring out your strategy? Click here.

The Louvre has an app, Louvre: Ma Visite, available in French, English, Spanish, Italian, and German. You can download it for free. Once on the app, you'll have the option to purchase audioguides if you want.

Lawn loungers at Musée du Louvre, Paris, France
They saw it all...then collapsed.

Métro: Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre
Bus: 21, 24, 27, 39, 48, 68, 69, 72, 81, 95

Paris Pass and Paris Museum Pass accepted. Closed Tuesday. Open Wednesday and Friday evenings.

Musée du Louvre

Top Museums of Paris

Alphabetical List of Museums

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International Museums of Paris

Paris Museum Pass

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Louvre pyramid, Paris, France

Above: Louvre entrance
through the glass pyramid.

Entry to Musée du Louvre, Paris, France
Descending from the glass pyramid
to the entrance hall.

Paris Girls Secret Society, the new novel by Tom Brosnahan


Cour Marley, Louvre, Paris
After visiting for awhile, take a break in a restful courtyard in the Richelieu Wing.

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