Louvre practicalities and survival
|Entrée du Louvre|
On fine days, queueing for the main entrance at the Pyramide at least gives you time to appreciate the geometric pyramids and fountains of the Cour Napoleon. If it's raining or the queues look too long it's worth making for the alternative entrances: via the Porte des Lions, just east of the Pont Royal, or directly under the Arc du Carrousel; the latter can also be accessed from 99 rue de Rivoli and from the line #1 platform of the Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre métro stop. If you've already got a ticket or a Museum pass you can also enter from the Passage Richelieu. Disabled access is via the futuristic rising and sinking column in the middle of the Pyramide.
Opening hours for the permanent collection are 9am to 9.45pm Mondays and Wednesdays, 9am to 6pm Thursday to Sunday. They're closed on Tuesday. Parts of the museum are closed one day a week on a rotating basis, so if you're interested in a particular section it's worth checking the schedule on the museum noticeboards or online at www.louvre.fr, though the most popular rooms are always open.
The usual entry fee is €7.50 but after 3pm and on Sunday this is reduced to €5. Under-18s get in free at all times, and on the first Sunday of each month admission is free for everyone, unless it's a public holiday. Tickets can be bought in advance by calling tel 08184.108.40.206; from branches of FNAC and Virgin Megastore (conveniently, there's one right outside the entrance under the Arc du Carrousel); or online at www.louvre.fr.
Your ticket allows you to step outside for a break, though the museum itself has three good, only moderately overpriced, cafés the relatively quiet Café Richelieu (first floor, Richelieu), the cosy Café Denon (lower ground floor, Denon), and the busier Café Mollien (first floor, Denon), which also has a summer terrace. The various cafés and restaurants under the Pyramide are mostly noisy and unpleasant.
Don't attempt to see too much even if you spent the entire day here you'd only see a fraction of the collection. If you want to explore the Louvre in peace, stay away from the Denon wing, or time your visit to coincide with the evening openings on Mondays and Wednesdays.
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