Louvre Museum: when to go, where are the shortest lines?

You’ve probably seen the long lines at the Louvre in a photo. Or maybe you were in Paris, walked past them and thought: No way I’m joining those. Unfortunately, a world-famous museum like the Louvre will always draw crowds. Sometimes you can’t avoid them. Fortunately, there are several tips to shorten the waiting time. Some information will cost a little extra but are absolutely worth it if you avoid waiting 2 hours.

Tip 1: choose the right entrance

There is more than one entrance to the Louvre. The most famous entrance is at the glass pyramid. Because it is the most renowned entrance to the museum, it is also the one many people choose to start their visit. 

Choosing one of the museum’s other entrances can save you a lot of time.

  • The entrance to ‘Porte des Lions’ is only for groups with a guide booked in advance.
  • Entrance to Richelieu can only be used if you have already bought an online ticket or have a city pass for Paris. You will find this entrance through the Richelieu passage under the Louvre. The route runs between the pyramid and Rue de Rivoli.
  • Carrousel de Louvre is the underground entrance through the mall. If you take the metro or enter the shopping centre at Rue de Rivoli, you will end up here. You will see the entrance automatically when you see an inverted glass pyramid. The line at this Louvre entrance is often shorter than at the large glass pyramid.

But what if you want to see the famous and beautiful glass pyramid from the inside? Then there’s still no need to stand in line at the entrance. 

Would you like to see the Louvre’s beautiful pyramid entrance from the inside, but without standing in the entrance line? Well, it also serves as an exit. So after you’ve finished your visit to the museum, make sure to leave the museum here and marvel at the famous glass structure.

Tip 2: buy your tickets in advance

One of the most important tips is to book your ticket in advance. You already have to queue for the security check. Joining a second line to buy a ticket right after that is a waste of time. Tickets for the Louvre cost 17 euros per person, and you can order them online for the same price. You then show your entrance ticket via your mobile phone, or if you prefer: printed out.

Tip 3: visit in the evening

The Louvre is open until late on Wednesdays and Fridays. So if you have an early dinner, you can go in after five in the afternoon. The lines are often shorter because visitors mainly leave the Louvre around that time. Since the museum is open until a quarter to ten in the evening, you have plenty of time to walk around. And if you feel like a late-night snack, you can get one in the museum.

Tip 4: even faster ‘skip the line’ tickets

If you come in high season and don’t feel like waiting, you can opt for an ‘entrance ticket with host’. This kind of mini-tour is where you meet a group outside the Louvre with a ‘host’. This guide will take you into the Louvre through the express lane. Once inside, the host briefly tells you about the museum and hands you a map. After that, you can wander the museum for as long as you like. A skip the line ticket with a host or hostess costs around 39 euros.

Tips for organizing your Louvre day

The Louvre opening hours are long, and your ticket is valid for the whole day. If the queues are not too long that day, it is perfectly feasible to hop out of the museum and go for lunch or drinks in the city. Once refreshed, return to the museum with the same ticket and continue your tour. 

If the lines are long that day, it’s better to take a break in the Louvre. You can find several restaurants and kiosks in the museum. If the weather permits, the gardens belonging to the Louvre are lovely to visit for a well-deserved break. These Jardin des Tuileries belonged to the Palais des Tuileries.

There is more to see in the Louvre than you can manage in one day. And the rest of Paris also beckons, so time is probably limited. It is wise to prepare for your museum visit. Read through the page about the collections and see which art treasures interest you most. This way, you can already map out what you want to see and get the most out of your museum day.

Other tips for the Louvre

Should you be taking the kids to the Louvre? Yes, absolutely. The children can enter for free until they are 26 (EU residents) or 18 (non-EU residents), so it will not cost you anything extra. Bring your own stroller or rent one at the Louvre if you have young children. The museum is enormous, so it can be quite a walk for young kids. Take regular breaks in the museum or let the children play outside halfway through and come back later in the day. After all, your ticket is valid all day. If need be, there are wifi hotspots all over the museum so teenagers can recover from analogue life.

Since you will likely spend several hours in the Louvre, having a few snacks in your bag is a good idea. Layered clothing and comfortable shoes are the best options; prepare to walk a lot. Is your bag hefty? Then put your bag in one of the free lockers at the Pyramid entrance, so you don’t have to carry it around.

You would almost forget it with 35,000 works of art and archaeological treasures to marvel at. But the Louvre itself is also a magnificent palace. Painted walls, ceilings, golden arches, beautiful light. Try to draw your eyes away from the art and take in the surroundings every now and then.

You can get a free guide with a map of the Louvre at the entrance. It’s a handy companion to tell you where you are, where you want to go and – later in the day – how to get to the exit.

Wherever crowds gather, unsavoury types will always join. Of course, you’d hope they enjoy the art, but instead, they’ve got their eyes trained on wallets and bags. With a bit of common sense, you should be more than okay. Stick to the usual measures you take in any other big city in your country and keep an eye on your belongings.