Oh, you’ve heard of it? Big glass pyramids, that one lady that doesn’t smile with her teeth, people in scarves looking thoughtfully at things.
We’re guessing you have the basic info down, so here are some insider tips. Go in the morning or buy a Paris museum pass ahead of time to avoid lines. When viewing the famous sculpture Winged Victory, stand on the stairs from a three-quarters angle on the left, the vantage point from which its artist originally intended it to be viewed. Go to the Pavilion de l’Horloge to walk in what used to be the moat of the royal palace. Plan ahead: the massive museum can be overwhelming if you don’t do your research. Unless, of course, you’re just there to see our gal Mona.
Location & Contact
Best things to see at The Louvre
The Louvre is comprised of three connected wings: Sully, Richelieu, and Denon. These three buildings are centered on the Cour Napoléon, the museum’s main entrance, which is accessible through the large, glass pyramid designed by I.M. Pei in the center of the Louvre’s street-level courtyard. Within the museum, each wing is divided into sections according to period, national origin, and medium. Each room within these thematic sections is assigned a number and color that correspond to the Louvre’s free map. Some of the most popular exhibits are outlined below.
Italian and Spanish Art
Most visitors head straight to Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa (Room 6). The lady’s mysterious smile is still charming, but the experience of seeing it is decidedly less so. The crowds are fierce, the painting is hidden in a glass box that constantly reflects camera flashes, and you won’t be allowed within 15 ft. Fortunately, the Mona Lisa is just one among many fantastic Italian paintings filling Denon’s first floor.
Mummies and more! Displayed on the ground and first floors of the Sully wing.
It is only fitting that a French palace would be filled with wonderful French paintings. Grand-manner paintings dominate Rooms 75, 76, and 77 on Denon’s ever-mobbed first floor.
German, Dutch, and Flemish Art
A more civilized museum experience awaits on Richelieu’s less crowded second floor, home to art from Central and Northern Europe.
The first floor of the Richelieu wing is packed with more tapestries, stained glass, swords, shields, dishes, urns, chests, chairs, goblets, coins, and other assorted doohickeys from the Middle Ages through to the 19th century. The stunning Apartments of Napoleon III (Rooms 82-91) are a sumptuous example of indulgent Second Empire style.
The lower ground floor of the Sully wing is home to the Medieval Louvre. One of the museum’s coolest features—regarding both temperature and quality—the space is an excavation of the Louvre’s medieval foundations, and features a scale model of the original 15th-century building along with two galleries focused on the fascinating history of the building.
Leave the planning to the experts and choose from a selection of curator-designated “Thematic Trails,” mapped out in brochures available at museum information desks, or book a private tour with PlacePass.
The Louvre directions and parking
Best way to get to the Louvre
The museum is easily accessible via the Paris Metro. The closest stations are Palais Royal Musée du Louvre and Louvre Rivoli, both accessible on Line 1. The nearest RER station is Chatelet Les Halles, on RER Line A.
Best parking near the Louvre
Park at the conveniently located Parking Public Le Louvre, on 1 Rue Marengo.
The Louvre FAQs
How long should I plan to spend at the Louvre?
You could spend your life here. But, in all seriousness, we do suggest you give yourself over three hours.
Is the Louvre museum open every day?
The Louvre is closed on Tuesdays.
How should I avoid crowds at the Louvre?
Buy your ticket online in advance, and arrive early in the morning before the museum opens.
How late does the Louvre stay open?
Rooms at the Louvre begin closing at 5:30pm Mon, Thur, Sat, and Sun. On Weds and Fri, rooms begin closing at 9:30.