|Best Ways to Enter the Louvre, Paris|
|The Louvre in Paris is a vast treasure-trove, but also huge and confusing. Here are the best ways to navigate it.|
When I first walked into Paris's enormous, bewildering Musée du Louvre (map) I was overwhelmed: crowds of people, escalators, signs, and movement, but no clear sense of where I should go or what I should do.
Here are some tips to help you as you plan your visit.
Buy Tickets in Advance
Consider buying the Paris Museum Pass, which gets you in more quickly and easily.
If not, try to obtain Louvre tickets in advance. At the Pyramid entrance, there is a special line for people who already have their tickets. It's much shorter and you can generally walk right up to the security check point. Visiteurs sans billets, or visitors without tickets, have to wait in a longer line.
Here's information on buying tickets.
The first line is just for the security check! No matter where you enter, you have to go through a security check, and that's where the long lines are. The Paris Museum Pass can really pay off here, with shorter lines.
The Glass Pyramid
First thing to know: almost everyone who visits the Louvre passes through the big glass pyramid, even if you come in some other entrance, of which there are several. Since the pyramid entrance now has a separate line for visitors who already have tickets, this is your best bet if you have the Paris Museum Pass or another pre-printed ticket.
The Passage Richelieu
If you have the Paris Museum Pass, you may be able to enter through the Passage Richelieu, just off the Rue de Rivoli across from the Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre métro station. Here's the catch: this is generally the entrance for groups, but if it is not crowded, the security people may let you in here. If you happen to enter the Louvre through the passage Richelieu and have a ticket, and if you see that there's no line, you can ask. If it doesn't work, just head for the pyramid entrance. But if you can enter here it might save you a little time.
Carousel du Louvre Entrance
If you do not have a pre-purchased ticket, you might enter through the Carrousel du Louvre, an underground shopping/restaurant area that connects to the pyramid. The Carrousel du Louvre can be accessed off the Rue de Rivoli or by going down the external stairs to either side of the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. Lines can also be long here, but usually not quite as long as at the pyramid. If it's hot or rainy you're at least inside and protected from the elements. There is no special entrance here for Paris Museum Pass or other advance tickets, so don't go to the Carousel if you have the pass or already have a ticket.
Porte des Lions Entrance
The Porte des Lions entrance provides direct access to the Arts of Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas, but it is only open sporadically, and not at all on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. It's somewhat out of the way, but if you happen to be coming from the Jardins des Tuileries, you could check to see if it is open, since it is likely to be less crowded.
Planning Your Visit
If you just want to go, you can start your visit to the Louvre's exhibits by taking an escalator to any one of three wings: Sully, Denon, or Richelieu. (Note that you'll have to show your ticket at the top of the escalator when you actually enter the wing.) The wings are identified by name and have large red banners that highlight major offerings. Want some tips for figuring out your strategy? Click here.
Paris Museum Pass accepted. Closed Tuesday. Open Wednesday and Friday evenings.