Musee du Louvre is one of the very best museums in the world. It was first opened to the public in 1793 with a collection of 537 paintings and 184 other art works. Since that time it has grown into one of the largest museums and finest art collections in the world. 

The Louvre has 60,500 square meters of floor space with over 35,000 paintings, sculptures and artefacts on permanent exhibit and it receives nearly 10 million visitors (2012) per year, making it by far the World’s most visited museum. It is an attraction that is a must-see for first time visitors to Paris and a place that return visitors are often eager to see time and time again.

Because of the scale of Musee du Louvre, it is important that you have a game plan in mind before you arrive. The museum is simply too large to properly visit in one day, and with most visitors likely only having a few hours to spare for this attraction, its best to know a bit about the museum before you arrive in order to maximize your time there. 

Below are some tips for how to manage your visit to Musee du Louvre

1.) Know the opening days and hours:
Firstly, the Louvre is closed on every Tuesdays and on January 1st, May 1st and December 25th each year. Opening hours are from 9.00am to 6.00pm. There are extended hours until 9.45pm on Wednesday and Friday so you can spend more time in the museum on these two days. Tip: In fact, you can better schedule your overall itinerary for Paris, knowing which museums, like the Louvre have extended nightly hours.

2.) Know where/how to buy your tickets: 
You can actually buy tickets online if you want to save a bit of time after you clear security and enter the Louvre. Alternatively, once you clear security and enter the building, you will find quite a few ticket purchase counters and machines where you can purchase regular entry tickets, which as of September 2014 are €12 for the permanent collection, €13 for the Hall Napoleon temporary exhibition space and €16 for the combined tickets. Note that entrance into the Louvre is free (regular) admission on the first Sunday of each month as well as 14th July. Audio Guide service is (€5).

Tip: If you have purchased the Paris Museum Pass, this includes Musee du Louvre so no need to pay for general admission. It doesn't include access to 

3.) Know the entrances:
The most popular way to enter the museum is through the famous Pyramid main entrance. However, you are likely to encounter long queue, as many others will have the same idea as you. If you want to save time, try the underground entrance through the Carousel du Louvre, where you can walk straight in to the ticket purchasing area and avoid the long queue entering the security checks from the Pyramid entrance. If you still want to experience the Pyramid, you can still exit the museum from there and see it up close, when you leave.

4.) Visit early in the day:
Yes, others will have the same idea as you. However, if you are only intending to make a quick visit, racing around the museum to see certain highlights, it is easier to do this before the entire museum swells with crowds. Needless to say, those who want to invest an entire day into their visit at the Louvre might want to arrive early to maximize their time in the museum.

5.) Know what you want to see in the Louvre:
The amount of artwork that can be can seen at Musee du Louvre is daunting, especially if you arrive and don’t know what to see or where to go. Probably the most important thing you can do before visiting the Louvre is to familiarize yourself with the museum layout and determine what collections and items you want to see during the time you have available for your visit.

As such, it is recommended to spend some time on the Musee du Louvre official website, where you can find a very helpful ‘Plan Your Visit’ Page. Here you will find interactive floor plan maps in various languages, which can be downloaded, printed and studied to help you understand a bit of the museum before you attempt to visit. This is the same (free) foldable handout available at the museum, which you can use to help navigate your way through the various collections.

Similarly, it is also suggested to view the Musee du Louvre website ‘Activities and Tours’ page where you can find Visitor Trail recommendations for a variety of short, 1-3 hour tours as well as full day tours available each week. This can give you an idea of what collections and specific items are recommended to see and in what order you should view them in order to maximise your time at the Louvre.the Hall Napoleon. 

6.) Use the free foldable Guide during your visit: 
You may have already downloaded and printed this most valuable resource, when you were researching the Louvre. If not, it is available for free in the ticket purchase area and is essential that you pick up this guide and use it to help you find your way around the museum. The Louvre is a vast complex of halls, art rooms and staircases spread out over four floors and in all directions. Even with signs pointing you where to go, it is easy to lose yourself inside the Louvre. Having the handy Guide can help you stay on track and navigate your way through the museum.

7.) Wear comfortable walking shoes:
Museums require you to spend a lot of time on your feet. Wearing comfortable walking shoes can make a big difference in the quality of your visit and to your overall experience when visiting places like the Louvre.

8.) Coffee, snack and lunch breaks at the Louvre. 
There are no fewer than 15 restaurants, cafes and take-away options in the Louvre, the Carrousel du Louvre and outdoor Jarden de Tuileries area. They are pricy, as you would expect when visiting museum eateries. However, it can be a good idea to take a break at some point during your visit and let your feet rest. This can make a difference if you are intending to spend several hours or more at the museum. 

9.) Museum gift and bookshops:
There is large souvenir shop and a bookshop at the Pyramid reception area. You can make your purchases here after your visit, just before leaving the museum. It is suggested to do this after your visit so that you don’t have to carry these items throughout the museum with you. 

10.) What to see after your visit to the Louvre:

Visit the small Arc de Triomphe du Carousel and beautiful Jardin Des Tuileries after you visit Musee du Louvre. After being indoors for several hours looking at fine art, its nice to step outside into beautiful places like the Tuileries Gardens to enjoy a bit of sunshine and the pleasant environs of one of Paris’ nicest city parks. There are many places to stop in the garden and give your feet a chance to rest. Here you can think about all that you’ve seen in the Louvre and rest a bit before setting off to visit another attraction in Paris. 

11.) Beware of pickpocket activity in the Louvre:
Unfortunately pickpocket activity has long been an issue at the Louvre. Thieves do prey upon unsuspecting visitors, particularly in crowded areas like the Mona Lisa painting. This doesn’t have to spoil your trip and by taking precautionary measures, you are unlikely to encounter such problems. However, it’s a good idea to read up on the current situation. The Tripadvisor Paris forum is a good place to pick up on recent conversations about pickpocket and theft issues in the Louvre and Paris in general.

In the end, Musee du Louvre is one the very best museums in the world and if you manage your visit well, you will have a memorable experience.