Specific time-slot, skip-the-line reservation tickets are the only sensible way to visit the Louvre Museum in Paris. Lines at the Louvre are notoriously long making the surcharge for these online fast-track tickets a very good bargain and timesaving deal. Guided tours are the fastest way to enter the Louvre Museum. The best time to see the Mona Lisa is to visit the Louvre late afternoon while combination tours with a Seine river cruise are very popular too.
Timeslot reservations are currently essential to visit the Louvre — also for pass holders and visitors qualifying for free admission. On busy days, tickets sell out but tours may still be bookable. The pyramid remains the main admission entrance to the Louvre Museum for individual ticket holders but admission through the Carrousel underground shopping mall entrance is usually faster. A one-way system is in force during busy times and some halls may be closed.
Cheap Tickets for the Louvre Museum in Paris
Tickets for the Louvre Museum in Paris are €15 if bought onsite — but timeslot reservations remain obligatory for all visitors. Buying tickets at the museum is only possible at the quietest of times as visitors without advance tickets are last in line at the notoriously long security checkpoint queues. Spending €2 more on advance purchase specific time-slot tickets could save hours of queuing.
Admission to the Louvre Museum in Paris is free for the following but still requires time-slot reservations:
- All visitors younger than 18;
- Visitors 18 to 25 who are residents of the EU and EEA;
- Paris Museum Pass holders;
All visitors 18 to 25 on Friday after 18:00, and All visitors on the first Sunday of the month from October to April and on 14 July. (The free admission times are currently suspended).
Buy Time-Slot Skip-the-Line Tickets for the Louvre Museum
Time-slot reservation tickets give visitors priority at the security checkpoints within a specific half-hour period and thereafter direct admission to the galleries. (If missing the half-hour timeslot, join the queue for visitors without tickets and wait.)
Skip-the-line tickets for the Louvre Museum in Paris are €17 and also available from a variety of resellers such as Tiqets and Get Your Guide. (Resellers may have different availability in peak periods.) These resellers allow tickets to be shown simply on the phone (or printed if preferred), which is great for buying tickets when already traveling and without access to a printer. These usually have more generous cancellation options too and sometimes have savings deals if buying tickets for further sights in Paris in the same transaction.
Avoid resellers that require vouchers to be exchanged for paper tickets at a nearby shop or office –- these add hassle rather than convenience.
Similarly, the official audio guide is available for anyone for rent at the museum (€5), or even better, download a guide or study a good guidebook before visiting – many are available online ranging from free with good visiting tips to premium guides by art experts.
Guided tours give the fastest admission to the Louvre Museum – see more details below.
Combination tickets with other sights are not sold by the Louvre but some resellers offer small discounts if tickets for the Louvre and other sights are bought at the same time (although visits may be several days apart if preferred). Tiqets sell Louvre Museum package deal tickets with for example the Musée d’Orsay, Bourse de Commerce-Pinault Collection, Centre Pompidou, Opera Garnier, Sainte Chapelle, Arc de Triomphe, or the Palace of Versailles.
Best Times to Visit the Louvre Museum in Paris
The Louvre Museum in Paris is open Wednesday to Monday from 9:00 to 18:00, closing at 21:45 on Friday (night visits on Wednesday might eventually resume).
The Louvre is closed on Tuesdays, 1 January, 1 May, and 25 December.
The best times to visit the Louvre are probably Friday evenings or weekdays after 15:00. See the Mona Lisa last – rooms start to close from half an hour before closing.
The worst time to see the Louvre Museum is any day when admission is free, most weekends (especially long weekends), school vacations, July and August.
No one can see all of the Louvre in a day – even on the busiest day, once past the security line and the scrum at the Mona Lisa, many of the rooms further away from the most famous artworks will be surprisingly quiet and very easy to enjoy in peace.
Louvre Museum Entrances and Queues
The main entrance to the Louvre Museum is via the large glass pyramid in the central courtyard — this entrance is always open for individual travelers. The Carrousel entrance is also again open at busy times and may save some time even for visitors with time-slot reservation tickets. Furthermore, the Carrousel may be in a bland underground shopping mall but it offers protection against rain, wind, and sun.
Other entrances – Passage Richelieu and Porte des Lions are usually not available for individual travelers but often give groups fast access. (The Porte des Lions entrance is sometimes open for individuals at busy times but no bag storage is available.)
Queuing at the entrance to the Louvre Museum is for the security check — entering through the glass pyramid is free and tickets are only required (and checked) once entering the museum galleries. The basic queues follow the following color system in order of preference for admission:
- Blue – visitors needing assistance, e.g. disabled, infirm, pregnant.
- Green – visitors with specific time-slot tickets (almost everyone) — note Paris Museum Pass holders currently must make free time-slot reservations.
- Orange – visitors with tickets
- Yellow – visitors without tickets (a very limited number of tickets are sold daily on-site).
Visitors qualifying for free tickets and Paris Museum Pass holders should also make time-slot reservations at the Louvre — in contrast to so many other sights, these reservations actually are free. Otherwise, wait in the yellow line but may join the other queues if traveling with someone with a paying ticket.
Time-slot tickets are valid for the whole calendar day. If a timeslot is missed, join the orange or yellow queue – if very long, try your luck at the green queue first!
There is little point in turning up too early for time-slot reservations — if pressed for time, the best is to arrive five to ten minutes after the time so the specific queue is already moving. On the hour and half-past ticketholders queue at different lines.
Quick Entry Guided Tours of the Louvre Museum
The quickest way to enter the Louvre Museum is as part of a guided tour. A huge variety of tours are available and in some cases may even be booked on the day of the tour itself. Visitors may stay inside the museum after the tour but without a personal ticket, it is not possible to exit and re-enter when on a group ticket.
A few things to consider when booking Louvre Museum guided tours:
A short 2-hour highlights tour (or even a 90-minute top-ten express tour) is a good way to enter the museum fast and to see the top famous works. At the end of the tour, visitors may of course stay in the museum until closing time.
Longer 3-hour tours are hardly more expensive than the highlights tours and are better options for visitors less interested in staying behind to explore further on their own (although you may of course remain in the museum).
Private tours cost more but are generally more pleasant and a better option for visitors that may struggle with stairs. Private tours for families are also a great option when traveling with children.
Some “tours” provide little more than an accompanied walk through security (using the group entrance) and a fast-track shortcut to the Mona Lisa. These add very little value except if it is right at opening time of the museum – rather take a proper guided tour, top-ten highlights if time is pressing, or do it alone. The Mona Lisa room is going to be crowded anyway. Tours not offering fast-track admission, or meeting inside the museum, are also saving at the wrong end.
Combining Tours for the Louvre Museum in Paris
Combining a guided tour of the Louvre Museum with longer Paris day tours and other sights may be a good money-saving deal and a good option for travelers with limited time. However, read the fine print – some “tours” offer little more than tickets and a map.
Popular combination tours recommended by Get Your Guide include for example touring the Louvre and a Seine cruise, the Eiffel Tower and Seine River cruise, a guided tour of the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay for a lot of top art in a few hours, or the Palace of Versailles to include two top Paris sights in a full-day tour.
Seeing the Louvre is also possible on a day trip from London using the Eurostar trains.