The Musee du Louvre is the most visited of all museums in Paris and is also the most well known museum throughout the world, and has such impressive collections from drawings through to sculptures and paintings through to ancient artefacts, that the Louvre gets millions of visitors each year.
There is such a rich history of the Louvre from fortress to Palace, and therefore a visit to the Louvre museum is not just about the impressive collections inside. You will get to experience the rich architecture, the impressive decoration with its grand staircases, the colonnades and painted ceilings through to ornamental pillars, the original apartments of Anne of Austria and much more, which means that anyone interested in French castles and chateaux will be in their element.
What you can discover and experience when visiting the Musee du Louvre in Paris
Within the Louvre museum there are the permanent collections on display that are categorised in different departments of the Louvre located throughout the Louvre Palace, yet you will find that not all of the rooms will always be open. This can be due to renovations or certain sections may be closed on specific days, but there are always notices up detailing the closures and you can also find out in advance by looking at their website online.
There are also temporary exhibitions held within the Napoleon Hall and there are several themed exhibitions at any one time, which normally run for around three months, such as highlighting specific artists, celebrating the birth of a certain painter, exhibitions on certain drawings, manuscripts and much more.
The different tickets and accessing the Louvre Museum
The Musee du Louvre is open every day of the year except for on a Tuesday and any National French holidays such as the 25th December or the 1st January.
This museum in Paris is open from 9am in the morning and usually closes at 6pm, however on a Wednesday or a Friday, there is usually late opening until 9.45pm. Yet the last entry to the Louvre is 1 hour before closing and the rooms themselves start to close about half hour before the end of the day.
As of 2012, the cost for a ticket to enter the Louvre museum and see the permanent collections is €10 and this provides you with a full day of access to this museum along with another museum in Paris called the Musee Eugene Delacroix that you can visit in the same day.
For both of these French museums, there is free entry to those under the age of 18 provided they are accompanied by an adult and for those up to the age of 25 who are resident within the EU. It is also free entry to the Musee du Louvre and the Musee Delacroix for the disabled and their carer, along with those that are unemployed and on benefits or for artists linked with the AIAP. But all of the above do require up to date proof in order to obtain free entry.
For the permanent collections at the Musee du Louvre, the first Sunday of each month is completely free to all visitors, as is 14th July, being a major celebration day in France, plus a Friday evening from 6pm until closing time at 9.45pm is free to any person aged 25 or under, whether they are an EU resident or not.
However, we would like to point out that the above cost or the free entry does not include access to the temporary exhibitions at the Louvre. This is in fact €11 per person as of 2012, yet you can purchase a combined ticket for €14 that gains you access to the permanent and temporary exhibitions along with the Musee Eugene Delacroix on the same day.
But if you are thinking about visiting lots of different museums and monuments in Paris, then a very convenient and cheaper way is to obtain the Paris Pass, which also entitles you to free entry to the Louvre for the permanent collections, but not the Hall Napoleon for the temporary exhibitions.
If you have purchased your tickets in advance or are utilising the Paris Museum Pass, then you do not have to queue and can gain immediate entry via the Pyramid entrance, plus there is a dedicated entrance for the disabled and their carer at the Pyramid and again these people do not have to queue.
Yet even if you were not sure when you would be able to make a trip to the Louvre whilst on holiday in Paris, then you can still obtain tickets at the time even though you will have to queue, and for individuals you can enter via the Pyramid, the Porte des Lions or the Galerie du Carrousel entrances.
However, if you are travelling with a group and you have your own guide, then you need to enter via the Passage Richelieu or the Galerie du Carrousel, but for groups that have pre-arranged tickets will have an authorised tour guide sticker and those that have this can enter the Louvre museum directly. Yet if you have arranged a lecture visit or a study workshop, then entry is vial the Passage Richelieu.
Getting to the Musee du Louvre Museum in Paris
There are several ways of being able to get to the Louvre museum and the nearest Metro station is the Palais Royal - Musee du Louvre via lines 1 or 7. However the Louvre - Rivoli station is also reasonably close.
In addition to this, you also have the Tuileries metro stop via line 1, which means you can enjoy the Tuileries Gardens with its statues, fountains, restaurants and cafes in Paris like the Cafe Renard or the Cafe Reale Italian Restaurant, the childrens play areas and more, before venturing on to this fabulous museum.
The transport in Paris is excellent or visitors and there are several different bus lines that stop in front of the Pyramid at the Louvre and some of these are lines 21, 27, 39, 48, 68, 72 and 95, yet the tour guide bus service called L’Open Tour also stops outside the Pyramid as well.
But if you prefer the idea of water, or would like to see some of the famous tourist attractions in Paris from a completely different perspective, then you will like the idea that there is a service called the Batobus, which is basically a bus on water that travels to specific points along the River Seine. So if you travel by the batobus, you would need to hop off at the Louvre stop on Quai Francois Mitterand.
Even though finding places to park in Paris can be a nightmare if you have arrived on your holiday in Paris with your own transport, you will be pleased to know that the Musee du Louvre has its own underground carpark. It is open from 7am right through to 11pm at night and can be accessed via the entrance located on Avenue du General Lemonnier, with the cost varying depending upon your duration.
Practical Information on the Louvre Museum
The Louvre museum has a wide range of facilities that will make your visit even more comfortable and enjoyable, such a complete program and floor plans that you can obtain which details all the different area of the museum.
Walking sticks, strollers and even wheelchairs are available free of charge to make getting around this incredible museum even easier, although these cannot be taken outside of the Louvre museum and you must provide ID in order to obtain one.
For those of you that have purchased a ticket, you can utilise the coat and luggage check point free of charge, and we would like to point out at this state that no large bags, suitcases, etc are permitted into the museum. So if you do have a large bag with you, then you must either place it in the secure checked luggage section even if you have to pay for this, or you will be refused entry to the Musee du Louvre. Yet, this does make it easier to get around and a more comfortable and safe environment for everyone, especially when the museum can be rather crowded at certain times or around specific exhibits like the Mona Lisa painting. However, the luggage and coat checks are only available at the Pyramid entrance, along with only a coat check in service at the Port des Lions entrance.
There are also audio guides available in seven different languages, which are French, English, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese and Korean and these can be purchased where you get your tickets, and as of 2012 these are a cost of €5 for adults and €3 for the disabled or those under the age of 18.
However, you can also download audio guides onto a Nintendo 3DS so that you can listen to curators and lecturers and visit the Louvre in high definition interaction. But for those of you that do not own anything like this, then there are other options.
You can also download official Louvre audio guides to an iPhone or an Android phone that contains over three hours of audio commentary and you can choose between the so-called guided tour that takes you on a journey through the galleries so you can get to experience the most prestigious artifacts, sculptures, paintings, etc. The other option provides an insight into around 40 different must-sees with commentary that you can discover by utilising maps, along with an interactive map for your location. Plus there are also more intense goides available on specific subjects such as ancient Egypt at the Louvre.
But in addition to these, there are visitor trails that you can either download or print from the Louvre museum website and there are over 20 different trails all on specific themes that guide you around the museum, which means that you can make the most of your time and only visit sections of the Musee du Louvre that you want to. Plus there are of course guided tours available and some are free with an English speaking guide at set times on certain dates, yet others and those on specific themes do normally have to be booked and the majority of these are unfortunately only with French guide at present.
There are telephones and of course toilets dotted around the Louvre museum in different areas, disabled access, along with a post office for stamps and sending letters or parcels, plus there is a first aid point, yet hopefully you will not need this!
You can also have a wander around one of the largest art bookstores in Europe, plus The Louvre Bookstore has a great range of cast reproductions, prints etc, along with many other gifts and souvenirs that you can take back home as a constant reminder of your holiday in France in the famous capital city of lights.
However, there are also other areas inside the Louvre that also sell different merchandise and even educational toys that relate to the collections at the Louvre museum, with one being dedicated more to children and another between the IM Pei Pyramid and the inverted pyramid.
And so, as you can tell, this is one incredible museum in Paris that has so much to offer from the history of the Musee du Louvre and the history of the Louvre fortress through to palace along with hundred of thousand of different artefacts, paintings, objects, statues and so much more, that we feel you will never have the time to fully appreciate this museum in just one visit.
But even if you only have time for a short visit, it is well worth it, and you will not be disappointed, but do not forget to check on what is available, just in case certain sections are closed for renovations, etc, but there may also be a temporary exhibition that you will not want to miss.