When you visit the Louvre, you find there are four main Louvre entrances but they are not all equal. One thing that is the same is that all the entrances require you to go through security. After security, if you have your ticket you can proceed to the various wings. If you don’t have your ticket, you’ll need to get in line again to buy your ticket either at the self-serve ticket kiosk or at the ticket window. One thing to remember is this is Paris and things can change without notice and then change back again. That said, let me breakdown the four Louvre entrances.
- I.M. Pei Pyramid. The main Louvre entrance and the most popular is at the I.M. Pei Pyramid. There are two lines: one for those who do not have tickets and one for those with tickets. You do NOT want to get stuck waiting in the line without tickets. You’ll be there for hours and that is the line just to get through security. There will be another much shorter line, if a line at all, for those with tickets (look for the sign “avec billet” meaning with tickets). The arrow below indicates where the “avec billet” line starts. You can see, that queue is a short straight line. Basically, both lines feed into the same security checkpoint, only if you have a ticket, you get through security before those with no tickets. Learn how easy it is to get your Louvre entrance tickets when you are in Paris here.
- Porte des Lions entrance. The thing about this entrance is that it is only open at certain times and you may find that even during those certain hours, it may be closed. This is Paris after all and break time can happen at anytime. Due to the uncertainty of its opening, you are likely better off using the I.M Pei entrance if you already have your ticket – and there is no reason for you not to have your ticket if you followed my advice. However, it is only a short walk from the I.M Pei entrance, so you won’t be out much time if you decide to try it out. Look for the first set of Lions (closest to the I.M Pei Pyramid). The second set is the Ecole du Louvre, a school (closest to the Tuileries garden).
- Entrance at the inverted pyramid in the Carrousel du Louvre. Again, the painfully long line will be for those without tickets. And, once again, it is the line just to get through security. The main difference at this entrance is that the short line is usually reserved for those entering with a tour group. Be sure to check before you queue up because you don’t want to get in line with those who don’t have tickets. If they are using this entrance for tour groups, they will direct you to the main entrance at the I.M Pei Pyramid.
- Passage Richelieu. This entrance is for those with Louvre Museum memberships and tour groups. But, it is definitely an area to check out so you can see the window overlooking the sculpture garden.
What entrance do I recommend? I recommend you buy your ticket ahead of time and then enter through the I.M. Pei Pyramid via the “avec billet” line. Not what you expected, huh?! I know, everyone else seems to suggest another entrance but if you get your ticket ahead of time, the I.M. Pei entrance is really the most direct way in. The biggest issue most people have with the I.M. Pei entrance is the long lines but having your ticket means you get to stroll right by.
What about you, which entrance do you use?