Originally a royal palace but now the world’s most famous museum, the Louvre is a must visit for anyone with a slight interest in art. Situated in the heart of Paris the Louvre is one of the largest and most important museums in the world.
The museum has a collection of over 1 million works of art, of which about 35 000 are on display, spread out over 3 wings of the former palace. Some of the most famous works of art include the Venus of Milo, the Nike of Samothrake, The Dying Slave by Michelangelo and of course da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
Avoid the queues:
When visiting the Louvre during busy periods, avoid the long queues at the Pyramid entrance in the main courtyard by going in through the Porte des Lions, at the far south-eastern wing of the Museum near the river. This is normally very quiet (though it is closed on Fridays).
Another way to avoid the rush is to buy tickets in advance online or by phone.
Planning the day:
A great way to make your visit more manageable is to break it up into several mini – visits in one day. The best days for this are Mondays and Wednesdays, when opening extends to 9.45pm. Tickets are valid all day, so re-entry is allowed.
Before deciding when to go, check on room closures. Each day, about 20 per cent of galleries are closed on a rolling schedule, because of staff shortages. You can check on the website, or at the information desks, for the latest timetable.
On a fine day, the best places for some recuperation are by the two cafés within the museum itself. Both are on the first floor facing the Pyramid, and both have outside terraces.
If you don’t want to pay for refreshments, other good places to try to refocus your mind are the occasional window seats in some galleries. Remember too that tickets are valid for re-entry, so if you have time you can always wander out into the Tuileries gardens, or head across the river to St Michel for a meal or a drink on the Left Bank.
Entrance to the permanent collections is £5.37 after 3pm and all day Sunday. There is free admission for all visitors on the first Sunday of each month and on July 14 (Bastille Day) – excluding special exhibitions.
Paris Museum passes are £15.71 for one day, £27.14 for three days and £37.14 for five days, which will provide you with queue-free access to the permanent exhibitions of 70 museums and monuments (including the Louvre); sold by the museums, main Métro stations and the Paris Tourist Information Office.
The Louvre is open daily except Tuesdays and some public holidays, from 9am-6pm (Mondays and Wednesdays are open until 9.45pm).