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The Louvre has been a medieval fortress, a palace for the kings of France, and just latterly (for the last two hundred years) a museum.
Not just any museum but the biggest museum in the world with the most visitors, housed in a royal palace which would be a major draw without the exhibits.
The exhibits are vast, with collections ranging from Egyptian art, through sculpture and the Mona Lisa, perhaps the most famous painting in the world.
In overview, the museum is open daily, except Tuesdays and certain public holidays, from 9am to 6pm. Evening openings until 9.45pm on Wednesdays and Fridays. Due to seasonality, it can wise to consult the official website to confirm for when you are visiting. You will also find a list of French National holidays when the museum is closed.
The standard ticket is for full-day access to the Louvre, except for temporary exhibitions held in the Hall Napoleon. There is a supplemental charge if you wish to view the temporary exhibitions.
The museum has various FREE admission options. These include those under 18 years of age, those under 26 and residing in the European Economic Area (EU, Norway, Iceland and Liechenstein), disabled visitors and the person accompanying them, plus a few other exemptions. The museum is free to all on 14th July, Bastille Day. You will need specific I.D. for each and will still need to book your tickets in advance.
If visiting the Louvre is a main reason to visit Paris then do check out getting a Paris Museum Pass.
Assuming you will want to visit other Paris art galleries and museums like the Orsay Museum or make multiple visits to the Louvre the Paris Museum Pass will save money and you can skip the ticket queues of the main venues.
It is now compulsory that Paris Museum Pass holders book their entry time slots in advance. You must present your pass along with your document confirming the time slot reservation.
As you would expect, an audio guide is available for a charge. Several hundred artworks are translated into 7 languages (French, English, Spanish, Italian, German, Japanese, and Korean). You can buy a fast-track ticket with audio guide in advance (see below).
There are a number of self-guided tours you can download from the official website of the Louvre (link at top of page). These are called thematic tours.
Each trail is based on a selection of works that typify a period, an artistic movement, or a theme. You can print them out from the website.
For individuals there is an introductory tour in English to the Louvre. The tour provides an introduction to a selection of masterpieces in the collection and lasts about 90 minutes.
Most tours are in French, typically only 2 tours a day in English, though do check in advance. These tours are of course not free and cannot be booked in advance.
You can use our links to buy your tickets in advance. Pick your date and select your entry time.
These are the fast-track e-tickets that are sent directly to your email and can be used to show on your smart phone for entry.
Reserved and hosted access to Mona Lisa. This is not a guided visit but reserved entrance with a host who takes you directly to Mona Lisa painting. Can save time for the most popular part of the museum and then you can explore the rest of the iconic museum at your leisure.
Fast track access followed by 2.5 hour audio guided tour. After your audio tour, you can continue to explore on your own.
3-hour walking tour covering highlights of the museum. You can continue exploring on your own pace after the tour. Morning, afternoon and evening tours available.
Numbers limited to 8 people. Break between museum visits. At the end of the tour, you can continue exploring Orsay Museum.
The Louvre is very central and easy to get to. By Paris Metro the Louvre has its own metro station on line 1 called Palais-Royal–Musee du Louvre.
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