The Musée du Louvre in Paris is perhaps the most famous museum in the world. As a result, it’s also one of the busiest visitor attractions with some of the most popular hotels found near the Louvre. Here are 5 tips for a smooth visit:
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Getting into the building
The long queues at the Pyramid entrance in the centre of the Louvre are almost as famous as the museum itself. Getting in line for an entrance ticket at the Pyramid can sometimes take as long as an hour. That’s hardly surprising when 15,000 people a day visit the building. But did you know that there are four other entrances?
If you want to avoid the queues then try using the entrance at the Porte des Lions just east of the Pont Royal; at number 99 the Rue du Rivoli; at the Arc du Carousel or directly from the Metro station Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre (platform on line 1). You can escape the queues completely by purchasing your ticket in advance at FNAC or other department stores. There’s usually a small fee of a couple of euros per ticket for this service.
Good value tickets
Entrance to the Louvre Museum is €15. You can purchase tickets online for €17 which allows you quick entry, rather than waiting in the typically long queue. Entrance is free for everyone aged under 18 all year, and under 26s on Friday evenings. On the first Saturday of each month between 6pm and 9.45pm, and all day on Bastille Day (14 July), entrance is free for everyone. Be warned though, the galleries get even busier at these times.
Get the view of an expert
The Louvre is massive. There are 35,000 works of art and 380,000 museum objects to see. It’s so huge that it would take you a whole day just to walk through all the galleries, never mind seeing any of the art. In fact, a good way to get an overview of this enormous museum is to take one of the excellent guided tours, which depart from under the Pyramid throughout the day. Tours are available in a variety of languages and are aimed at different levels, from first-time visitors to art experts. Tour times vary daily, so check the board when you arrive to see what’s on offer that day.
Check in advance
Of course, no trip to the Louvre is complete without seeing the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. The Louvre have a habit of moving these masterpieces around the building at short notice, so if you want to avoid wandering endless galleries needlessly, then take a quick look at their website – http://www.louvre.fr – before you visit.
Stop and recharge
With so many galleries, you’ll be in need of refreshment. There are good places to eat and drink in the Louvre, but be warned that the Café Denon and Café Richelieu are rather expensive. Better value can be had at the Café Mollien (on the first floor) which also has a summer terrace.
But if you want to escape the building, you can get good snacks and light lunches in the many cafés in the beautiful Jardins des Tuileries. Also look out for the mobile snack stands which serve good quality coffee at half the price of the museum cafés.
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