The Louvre is the largest museum on the planet and people line up at more than one entrance to get tickets. In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to visit the Louvre from how to get tickets to great tours to take and what to see inside. This way, you’ll be prepared to visit one of the greatest collections of art in the world.
Pro Tip: Planning what to do on your trip to Paris? Bookmark this post in your browser so you can easily find it when you’re in the city. Check out our guide to Paris for more planning resources, our top Paris tours for a memorable trip, and how to spend a weekend in Paris.
Visiting the Louvre: What We’ll Cover
A trip to Paris should definitely include a visit to the Louvre. It’s not only the largest single-complex museum in the world at 800,000 square feet (73,000 square meters) but it also has one of the most impressive collections in the world. The Louvre was originally a fortress built in the 12th century. Today, it’s filled with famous works of art and sculpture.
A solo trip to the museum can be overwhelming, but there are plenty of great guided Louvre tours to help you fully appreciate the history and importance of the treasures within. In this guide, you’ll discover everything you need to know about how to visit the Louvre. Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Opening hours and tickets
- How much time to budget for your visit
- What to see at the Louvre
- Guided tour options
- Facts and history of the Louvre
- Places to eat inside and nearby
Louvre Opening Hours and Tickets
Before you plan anything else, you need to know the Louvre museum hours. Lucky for you, the Louvre is open nearly every day of the year from 9 am to 6 pm, except on Tuesdays when the museum is closed. The museum also has a night opening on Fridays where the museum stays open until 9:45 pm. Keep in mind that the Louvre is closed on January 1, May 1, and December 25.
- Monday: 9 am – 6 pm
- Tuesday: Closed
- Wednesday: 9 am – 6 pm
- Thursday: 9 am – 6 pm
- Friday: 9 am – 9:45 pm
- Saturday: 9 am – 6 pm
- Sunday: 9 am – 6 pm
Pro Tip: If you can, try to visit the Louvre in the evening for a more intimate experience. It’s typically less busy, giving you a chance to view the exhibits longer.
Tickets can be purchased at the museum for €15 or online for €17. Admission is free for anyone under 18 with an official ID document and residents of the European Economic Area under 26 with an official certificate of residence or valid ID document.
Not ready to book a tour? Find out if a Louvre Museums tour is worth it.
How Long To Spend at the Louvre
Short Answer: 3 hours inside
If you’re going to the Louvre and wondering how long to stay inside, you came to the right place. The museum is massive—the largest on Earth, so that should be something to take into consideration. It also has a dense collection of artwork, sculpture, and even medieval ruins.
You could easily spend the entire day, if not days, inside the museum depending on your interests and what you plan to do in Paris. A few hours inside a museum, though, can be tiring for anyone. I started a tour company because I’m a pretty big history buff but, eventually, I’ll either switch off or switch to cocktail mode after too long.
Pro Tip: 3 hours is my max for consecutive touring without many breaks. Unless you’re planning to spend the day, that’s a good amount of time to spend in the museum and our dedicated Louvre tours are an engaging and fun way to spend 3 hours.
What To See at the Louvre
As we’ve mentioned, the Louvre has an impressive collection. There’s a lot to see. So, here are the top 10 must-see pieces at the museum for anyone looking for some guidance. If you’d like more in-depth descriptions, locations, maps, and photos of this list, check out our article on the top 10 things to see inside the Louvre.
- The Winged Victory of Samothrace
- The Mona Lisa
- The Coronation of Napoleon
- Liberty Leading the People
- The Raft of the Medusa
- Sleeping Hermaphrodite
- Venus de Milo
- Hammurabi Code
- Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss
- Great Sphinx of Tanis
Louvre Tour Options
Unless you’re planning a trip to Paris on a shoestring, you should highly consider a guided tour of the Louvre. Aside from the line-skipping benefits of going with a guide, the museum is filled with masterpieces that span three millennia. It is a much better and more memorable experience with a guide. Here are a few of our favorite tours. Also, see a full list of our Louvre tours.
With skip-the-line tickets, breeze past the queues in our popular Royal Louvre Palace tour, discover the mystery behind Mona Lisa’s smile, and experience one of the world’s greatest art collections accompanied by a passionate and knowledgeable guide. In addition to Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and the admired Winged Victory of Samothrace sculpture, you’ll also get up close and personal to French crown jewels on display in the Louvre’s Galerie d’Apollon. A former royal palace, a visit to the Louvre would be incomplete without seeing these precious royal jewels. This 3-hour tour is perfect for anyone wanting a full Louvre experience.
This tour is perfect for anyone looking for a shorter tour with fewer crowds. You’ll skip the line and head into the Louvre before closing time for a more peaceful experience in one of the world’s greatest museums. With an expert local guide, discover the museum’s treasured works of art and sculpture.
In this 3-hour private tour, you skip the line for an intimate tour of the Louvre with just your group and your guide. The private tour is perfect for anyone interested in a highly-personalized experience, for anyone with limited mobility, or for anyone wanting an in-depth understanding of the world’s most impressive museum.
Our top-rated Paris in a Day tour is perfect for travelers wanting to see the Louvre and the City of Light’s top sights. With skip-the-line tickets for the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower’s second-level, you’ll see these iconic Paris sites quickly without sacrificing the value that an expert guide brings to the experience.
You’ll also enjoy a walking tour of both the Latin Quarter and Montmartre neighborhoods, discovering the cafés where Hemingway, Picasso, and others spent their time. And what tour of Paris would be complete without a boat cruise on the Seine? This day tour is a fantastic way to experience Paris’ highlights and gain insight into the city’s history, culture, art, and monuments.
Not ready to book a tour? Find out if a Louvre Museums tour is worth it.
Facts and History of the Louvre
Ahead of your visit to the Louvre, here are some interesting bits of history about the museum. If you’d like to read a more elaborate history of the Louvre, check out our article on the history of the Louvre.
- The Louvre opened to the public on August 10th, 1793 exhibiting just over 500 works of art.
- Today, there are over 380,000 pieces of art inside the Louvre.
- The Louvre was named Musée Napoleon for a brief period under Napoleon’s rule.
- The Nazis commandeered the Louvre during WWII.
- Jacques Jaujard removed over 4000 works of art from the Louvre leading up to the German occupation of Paris and hid them in a Loire Valley Château.
- Over 10 million art lovers visit the Louvre each year.
Places To Eat Inside and Nearby the Louvre
There are multiple restaurants and cafés inside the Louvre if you plan on visiting during lunch or dinner time. They mostly sell coffee, pastries, and light eats. Near the Louvre, you have endless food options since the museum is in arr. 1. Here is a short selection of places to eat. For more options, check out our full article on the best places to eat near the Louvre.
Inside the Louvre:
Goguette: €€ | Small Meals—Indoor under the pyramid. Small snacks.
Starbucks: € | Coffee—Indoor under the pyramid, if you need a coffee break you can head to Starbucks.
Café Mollien: €€ | Salads and Sandwiches | Terrace—Located on the first floor Denon Wing, this is probably my pick. Inside you get a view of some painting galleries and the pyramid. In the summer, the terrace is open overlooking Cour Napoléon.
Comptoir du Louvre: € | Quick Snacks—Also located under the pyramid, you can probably find more substantial meals here like sandwiches and salads.
Near the Louvre:
Franprix: € | Groceries—Basic supermarket where you can get no-frills fare for cheap.
La Regalade: €€ | Bistro Style Dishes—You’ll be sitting wall-to-wall with other people, feasting on duck hearts with oyster mushrooms or hachis parmentier (shepherd’s pie made with rabbit in lieu of ground beef). And then, you too will be in foodie heaven.
Not ready to book a tour? Check out our best Paris tours to take and why.