Getting the Most out of a Trip to the Louvre

For the art lover, the Louvre is the equivalent of the Great Pyramids of Giza or the great wall of China. You can study every object it holds, presently just shy of 40,000, and you still won't understand how beautiful nor how daunting it truly is until you see it. While thousands upon thousands of pieces were painted, sculpted, drawn in other countries, they seem naturally at home in Le Louvre.  One day is far from enough time to navigate its 72,735 while admiring some of the world's most famed pieces of art. However, there are tips and tricks to getting the most out of a single day that everyone should know.


01Ignore the Mona Lisa?


Heathens have compared Le Louvre to an amusement park. Suggesting that there are far too many people, too many lines, and too many things in the museum to call itself a museum. While this is nonsense, of course, the one comparable point is that if you want to spend time with Harry Potter at Universal Studios, you're best served to go at opening or closing time, or possibly at lunch. Not having a bag with you will allow you to cut the line and at arrival, if you use the doors by the carousel, you can avoid the long lines forming at the pyramid to get in at opening.


02Get Online and Plan Ahead

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You've probably heard something to the extent that if you were to spend one minute with every object in the Louvre, you would need two and a half months to see each piece. There is truth to this. Plan ahead, while you can certainly get a map at the museum, print one out and make your plan to maximize your time and see what you need to look at so, you don't regret any part of this opportunity that many people will never have.


03I'm Spending a Month in Paris, Are There Discounted Days?


You should almost be ashamed of yourself for asking this, but yes there are, indeed, discounted and even free days at The Louvre. Full-price admission is nine euros, roughly what you would pay to see the newest Marvel Comics-inspired film. Stan Lee is great, but he's no Leonardo da, Vinci. On Wednesdays and Fridays, admission after 6 PM drops the price to six euros, the museum is less crowded and remains open until 9:45 PM. If you're under 26, Friday nights are free, and the museum is free to all on the first Sunday of the month as well as Bastille Day.

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04The Audio Guide Might Be the Way to Go


Perhaps, unsurprisingly, the French have wholly and totally chosen to not put up any signage alongside paintings in a language other than their own. Nevermind that they have paintings from Italian, Dutch, Flemish, Belgian, Spanish masters among others. There are apps available for download, and the Louvre rents their audio guides as well so you can enjoy the history of the artwork at the same time that you're admiring the brushstrokes, sculpting brilliance and more.

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05Visit the Louvre in January and February


If you can tolerate the winter, and make no mistake, Paris gets a real winter with snow and everything; January and February sees a marked downturn in tourism and is an ideal time for a trip to the Louvre. There is no question that Springtime in Paris is a beautiful thing, but it's also a lovely city when dusted with fresh snow.

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06Dress in Layers


No matter the time of the year, The Louvre seems always to be warm if not downright hot. In the summer months, the air conditioning combined with the crowds seems inadequate, and in the winter months, they seem to use all the money they saved on air conditioning for heating. Make sure that you're not in a position where you can't quickly remove a layer as needed and remain prepared for the weather outside.

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07Bring Water and a Snack


If you can keep yourself hydrated and give yourself enough energy to get through the lunch hour, you will be rewarded with thinning crowds looking to eat something elsewhere. This is not to say that you'll have an hour with just you and the Venus de Milo, but you will notice the drop off around lunchtime.


08Think Bigger Than The Louvre


Based on the length of time that you have in Paris, give serious thought to the Paris Museum Pass. Firstly, it dramatically reduces the amount of time you'll spend in line, and if you're planning on seeing many museums and (paid) monuments, it's worth every euro cent. 48 € for two days, 62 € for four days or 74 € for six days with access to over 50 museums in Paris including the and more just outside Paris makes this pass merit serious consideration.

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09Be Aware of your Surroundings

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This is sound advice whenever on holiday, but most of the time you're on holiday you're not distracted by the work of the great masters and the once and a lifetime (for many) opportunity to put down your bag and take a photo. Looking up in awe only to later find yourself missing a wallet is not uncommon. Consider a money belt; it's better to enjoy the artwork without distraction then worrying about your wallet.


10Wear Comfortable Shoes


This shouldn't need to be said, but sometimes Paris just pressures you into looking your best when it might be impractical. Choose comfort over style. Not Crocs, comfort. The Louvre is massive, and you'll be on your feet all day on marble. Comfortable shoes might be the difference between seeing the Egyptian Wing and not seeing it. It's quite spectacular, remember that Napoleon conquered Egypt and minus the Rosetta Stone and other pieces that the English took of him and his navy it remains quite impressive