The Louvre is one of the largest museums in the world. It is also the most visited museum in the world. And it is HUGE. I have been there FIVE times and I still see new things every time I go.
The Louvre houses the Mona Lisa along with over 35,000 objects. I can't explain to you how big it is until you see it for yourself. Which is why you need to read some tips about how to survive!
1. Get a Museum Pass
The museum pass website is here. It shows all the locations where you can purchase it. I recommend purchasing it BEFORE you go to the Louvre, so that way you can get into the shorter museum pass line.
2. Get there early
The Louvre opens every day at 9am. The line will be the shortest then. You want to try to beat the tour groups. The museum pass line on this trip was by the pyramid; we tried to enter at the Carrousel du Louvre but the workers made us go to the pyramid. In previous years, there used to be NO LINE underground in the Carrousel. This time there was a long long line full of Chinese tourist groups. Many years ago there used to be a quiet side entrance but it is now a group entrance (or at least it was the day we were there!). I recommend trying to enter at the Carrousel du Louvre first before the pyramid.
|get to the Louvre at opening. And try to avoid this pyramid entrance!|
Mondays are the busiest day. The museum is closed on Tuesdays. We went on a Wednesday. Do NOT go on the first Sunday of each month because admission is free. You might save a few bucks going, but you will be so swarmed with people it will not be enjoyable.
|Venus de Milo|
The Louvre is BIG. You will get lost. Even if you have a self-guided tour book, still grab a map. It's so easy to wander around looking at the beautiful objects around each corner. You could waste a day looking at things you didn't intend to see, which leads me to #5...
|big empty gallery with no one in it! Amazing!|
If you can, try to plan out what you want to see first and then come up with a game plan. I recommend seeing the most touristy things first in the day - like the Mona Lisa. If you want to see the Mona Lisa, head straight to the Italian Paintings in the 13th-15th centuries section. We went straight to the Mona Lisa at opening and there were only 15-20 other people in the room. Also head to the Winged Victory and Venus de Milo. They are 3 biggest attractions in the museum. We tried to follow Rick Steves' 2 hour tour of the Louvre - which I kind of liked. If you have a short attention span, I recommend that self-guided tour.
|The Mona Lisa. Overrated yet you still have to see it!|
Remember, the Louvre used to be a palace and is where the Kings of France used to live. The palace started construction in the 12th century.
7. Pack a bottle of water
The Louvre is huge and you will do a ton of walking (miles, literally!). It is also hot. Even when it's cool outside there are just so many lights and people so it gets hot. You will get thirsty and NO there's not a drinking fountain around. I also suggest a small non-messy snack too. There is a food court in the Carrousel du Louvre that sells expensive food court items, which was okay when we were super desperate. There is also an Angelina's cafe in the Louvre with Angelina prices.
|Laduree has a stand in the Carrousel du Louvre so you could have a macaron snack...|
Yes, a pick pocketer can buy tickets to the museum and steal stuff from you when you're busy staring at the Mona Lisa! The horror! Yes, seriously. It's a serious problem in Europe. We actually saw someone get pick pocketed while he was taking a picture. Watch out!
|Ancient Egyptian antiquities was cool.|
9. Understand you aren't going to see everything
It's just too big of a museum. Oh well, guess you'll have to come back again. and again. and again. And pretty soon you've been 5 times and still haven't seen everything.
|my favorite painting|
Bring comfy shoes. Dress in layers. Some areas of the museum are really warm because there are a lot of bright lights and a lot of people. Bring a zippered bag to hold your things.
Hopefully these tips will help you on your big trip. I'm including some other pictures I took while inside the Louvre...
|a giant tulipiere! It was taller than me!!|
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