The largest museum in France is the Louvre. It houses over 380,000 exhibits and 35,000 works of art dating from prehistoric times to the 19th century. Centuries ago, the Sun King Louis XIV used the Louvre Palace, as a place to keep his royal collections in it. It opened as a museum, during the French Revolution in 1793.
The Louvre has an impressive exhibition area of 73,000 square meters, so viewing it in a day is impossible. Its full collection is set on five different levels with three wings – Richelieu, Sully, and Denon. If you do not have a few free days to explore the museum, better learn how to organize your visit. Thus, you can see at least the most impressive exhibits.
What Is a Must-See In the Louvre?
The Pavillon de l’Horloge
Here you will find answers to all questions, related to the history of the museum and its collections, using interactive building models, archival documents and films.
The Curatorial Departments
All the Louvre exhibits are set into 8 departments – Ancient Egypt; Greece, Etruria, and Rome; Middle East art; Islamic art; Sculptures; Decorative art; Paintings; Engravings and graphics.
The Mona Lisa’s Room (Salle des États)
This is the place where you can see the most famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci.
Tip: Check out the Louvre’s official website for news, as the painting is sometimes set in other rooms of the Museum for renovation work.
The Glass Pyramid
It is in the center of the Museum’s courtyard. The construction of the Glass Pyramid consists of 70 triangular and 603 diamond glass panels. Its height is 22 meters. There is a reception desk in the Glass Pyramid, where you can confirm your tickets. The place houses many shops and restaurants.
The Louvre Audience
It is right under the Pyramid. The Louvre Audience stages various events such as conferences, seminars, concerts, films, and lectures.
The Eugene Delacroix Museum
You can find the museum in the French artist’s apartment. It is also a part of the Louvre. There you will see a rich French Art collection.
The Carousel Square
It is in front of the Museum, between Louvre’s two side wings. There is the famous Arc de Triomphe, built in honor of Napoleon’s victory over Italy (1806 – 1808).
The Tuileries Gardens
They are between Carousel Square and the Louvre. Surely, the Tuileries Gardens will impress you with their beautifully shaped alleys and vegetation. It is a great place to walk and relax. There are also areas, where your children can hop on a trampoline or ride a boat.
Shops and Restaurants in the Louvre
There are several bookstores and gift shops in the Louvre area. They offer a wide range of art books, replicas, jewelry, and souvenirs. The place has more than 15 cafes, restaurants, and eateries. Some of the most popular are:
- The Goguette – an exquisite restaurant with seasonal healthy foods and vegetarian dishes. It is set right under the Pyramid.
- The Starbucks Café – for all the die-hard coffee lovers. You can find it also under the Pyramid.
- The Café Mollien – on the first floor, in the Denon wing. It is an ideal place for a quick lunch or coffee break. In summer, there is an outdoor terrace, offering great views.
- The Comptoir du Louvre – It is under the Pyramid. This is the place, where you will find a rich selection of sandwiches, salads, and pastries. The Comptoir du Louvre is a perfect restaurant for a tasty breakfast or lunch.
- The Denon & Richelieu Takeaway Counters – a great place for a quick bite. It is set on the lower floor, under the Pyramid.
- The Terrasse de Pomone – Here you can enjoy homemade-style meals, delicious pancakes, and tasty ice cream. The restaurant is in the Tuileries Gardens.
- The Amorino Ice-cream Shop – You can visit it in the Gardens. The Amorino Ice-cream Shop is famous for its delicious ice creams prepared according to an Old Italian recipe.
What Do You Need to Know Before Visiting the Louvre?
- You can enter the Museum in less than 30 minutes if you purchase your ticket online.
- The best time to visit the Museum is early in the morning or at night. At that time, the place is the least crowded.
- The museum is closed on the January 1, May 1 and December 25.
- For security purposes, you cannot enter the Museum with large suitcases and bags (size of 55 x 35 x 20 cm).
- You can use the info card. It will ease your orientation, while in the museum. Download it here.
- You can take pics and photos in the permanent exhibition halls, but without using flash.
- The Museum has free Wi-Fi hotspots and Internet access.
- There is a free wardrobe under the Louvre, in its courtyard.
- The Museum has an underground car park, accessible from the Général Lemonnier Boulevard.
- Individual ticket – includes access to the Museum’s permanent exhibition, but not to the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition, and the Eugene Delacroix Museum.
- Ticket for the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition – provides access to its exhibition, and to the Eugene Delacroix Museum. It is more convenient to purchase the ticket online. Thus, it will ensure that you will be able to visit it the day you want.
- Ticket to other exhibitions – The Louvre often sets temporary exhibitions. If you want to visit them, you must buy a separate ticket for them as well.
- Group tickets – from seven to 25 people. It is advisable to present the tickets to the reception manager. You can do it at the under the Glass Pyramid on the day of the visit. Each group must pre-book online.
- The group can be with their manager or a guide from the Louvre.
- Groups of disabled visitors have priority access to the Museum through the entrance of the Pyramid.
- Group visits should not exceed 3 hours.
Tour Guides and Audio Guides
You can get a ticket, which includes a guided tour. It is also available in English and has an hour and a half duration. The “Welcome to the Louvre” tour will take you to key exhibitions such as the Venus Miloska, the Wedding Feast at Cana, Mona Lisa, and the Apollo Gallery.
Alternatively, you can get an audio guide that supports French, English, Japanese, Italian, German, Korean, and Spanish. Only the French and English languages support the tour at the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition. You can also use the audio guide, available for iPhone and Android.
How Long Does It Take To Tour The Louvre?
It will take at least a few days if you want to see everything in the Museum. Usually, visitors do not have that much time. The average tourists spend about 3 hours in the Louvre and see at least the most impressive exhibitions.
Who Can Visit the Louvre Free?
- Visitors under 18 years
- 18-25-year-old people from the EU, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein
- Art teachers and people teaching other Art Studies
- Holders of valid Pass Education Cards
- Artists associated with the House of Artists in France or with AIAP
- Holders of valid ICOM or ICOMOS cards
- Unemployed or socially disadvantaged visitors. They must provide necessary documents for their status.
- Disabled visitors
- Membership cardholders can be visitors at the permanent exhibits only
The Museum is accessible for people with various disabilities. Disabled can use free wheelchairs and walking sticks while visiting the Louvre. People can enter the Museum with their guide dogs and aids. Get more information from the staff at the information desk. You can find it in the Glass Pyramid. For an in advance information go to: