The Louvre – A few tips on how to visit the museum

Louvre Pyramid

It’s Bastille Day in France and the entrance to the Louvre is exceptionally free to celebrate. Today also marks the reopening of the Islamic Art gallery after this spring’s floods. The Louvre is the subject of popular posts on my blog: the Napoleon III rooms and the Ancient Egypt mummies still figure among my most-read posts years after I wrote them. So I thought I’d round up a few pieces of advice for your next visit.

Louvre Victoire de Samothrace

Is the Louvre the right museum for you? Make sure the kind of art you want to see can indeed be viewed at the Louvre. Its collections cover art until 1848. If your thing is Impressionism, head to Musée d’Orsay (which I much prefer, by the way). Likewise, if you like Modern art only, you will need to explore other options.

Watch out for free entrance days. If you can, visit on one of the 1st Sundays of the month when the entrance is free (October to March). Otherwise, tickets are at 15€.

Arrive early in the morning. I waited about 30 minutes before entering, which is reasonable. When I glimpsed outside later in the day, I saw the lines had extended far beyond what I had expected.

Louvre Baigneuse Valpincon IngresLouvre Lady in BlueLouvre Girl in pink

Prepare your itinerary and target only a few galleries to visit. The Louvre is HUGE and you won’t be able to see it all within 1 day. (You probably gathered from the pictures above that I am a 19th-century fangirl.)

Wear comfortable shoes. See above: the Louvre is huge and you will be walking for hours.

Louvre Joconde Mona Lisa

Be prepared to fight your way to see Mona Lisa. Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is no doubt a masterpiece, but do not expect a life-changing experience when viewing it. The painting is kept under a glass case. Visitors are kept at a distance with a cord. Dozens of people try to catch a decent glimpse, picture or selfie while security guards loudly chat about what they did the night before. In short, there is no way you can truly appreciate the painting in these conditions.


Louvre AngelinaLouvre Angelina cakes

Lunch! I enjoyed lunch at Angelina. Their restaurant is within the museum, a short walk from Napoléon III’s apartments. Yes, it is a bit pricey but it has a view on the Pyramid. And if your entrance to the Louvre was free, well, I believe that you can treat yourself to balance things out. Otherwise, there are lunch options underneath the Pyramid but they were less attractive. The choice was limited to a windowless cafeteria or a Paul with very few seats.

View from Louvre on Pyramid

Look out for stunning views of Paris. Don’t just look at the art.

Louvre Objets d'art 1Louvre Objets d'art 2

If you do not have the time to visit Versailles, visit the Department of Decorative Arts. The rooms hold collections similar to what you would see in the palace outside Paris. While beautiful, it does not have the same emotional dimension as if you where really in Versailles though.

Louvre Pavillon de l'Horloge

Check out the history of the Louvre. While you may not choose to visit the newly-organized Pavillon de l’Horloge, where you can learn all about the history of the palace, it would be a shame not to look it up. The Louvre was the home of the Kings of France up until Louis XIV lived in Versailles. You can still see the medieval part of the building, which is quite impressive.

Louvre Flamands

Enjoy your visit! If you have other advice on how to best visit the Louvre, I would love to hear about it.

Février on Instagram

Paris Instagram Ritournelle Opera Louvre Vosges

I can not believe that yet another month has passed. And maybe I should say another season has passed too: the flowers in the Champ de Mars are blooming at the feet of the Eiffel Tower, much to the delight of Parisians and tourists. The temperatures have also been mild enough at times to enjoy gardens like Place des Vosges in Le Marais.

I started the month of February with a visit of the Louvre – or perhaps I should say I walked for miles and miles with gorgeous views of Paris in between galleries.

My cultural highlight though was attending the press conference revealing the 2016-2017 season at the Paris Opera, which I live-tweeted on @ritournelle__. Ballet-wise, there will be a lot of exciting shows like Sleeping Beauty with the American Ballet Theatre on tour, Swan Lake and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. After the event I sneaked in the Grand Foyer which was inspired by Versaille’s Hall of Mirrors. I am always amazed by this place, especially when I have it all to myself.

Venice Instagram

February was also the month where I resumed blogging and shared my Venitian adventures with you. I updated my first post with ideas on things to see and do in Venice. And of course you can still visit the Doge’s Palace, spend a night at the opera in La Fenice and explore the islands of Burano and Torcello.

You can follow me over on @ritournelle__ . Happy March!


J’ai du mal à croire que le mois de février soit déjà passé. Et peut-être devrais-je même parler de saison passée aussi : les arbres au pied de la Tour Eiffel sont déjà en fleurs, pour le plus grand bonheur des touristes et des Parisiens. Le temps a aussi été assez doux parfois pour profiter des parcs comme celui de la place des Vosges dans le Marais.

Mon mois de février a commencé par une visite du Louvre. Ou plutôt devrais-je dire une marche interminable à travers les galeries avec des vues superbes de Paris pour me soulager de temps en temps.

J’ai davantage de plaisir à me rappeler de la conférence de presse de l’Opéra de Paris révélant la nouvelle saison 2016-2017 (live-tweetée sur mon compte @ritournelle__). Elle s’annonce prometteuse en spectacles, notamment en danse avec La Belle au Bois Dormant, Le Lac des Cygnes et Le Songe d’une Nuit d’Eté. Après l’événement j’en ai profité pour passer un peu de temps dans le Grand Foyer, un lieu qui m’éblouit toujours, surtout quand j’ai la chance de l’avoir pour moi toute seule.

Février est aussi le mois où je me suis remise à blogger en partageant avec vous mes aventures vénitiennes. J’ai mis à jour mon premier article avec des idées de choses à faire et voir à Venise. Et bien sûr vous pouvez toujours visiter le Palais des Doges, passer une nuit à l’opéra La Fenice et explorer les îles de Burano et Torcello.

Vous pouvez me suivre sur Instagram @ritournelle__. Sur ce je vous souhaite un bon mois de mars !