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The Best Guided Tours of the Paris Louvre

In a museum so huge and so full of art, having a guide to accompany you through the huge halls and long corridors is crucial to have a 10-star experience.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

8 min read

The Best Guided Tours of the Paris Louvre

View of the Louvre Museum | ©Gustavo Ramos

The Louvre in Paris is the third largest museum in the world (and ranked number 1 among the most important museums in Paris) with 60,000 m² of floor space. The Louvre went from a French royal palace to a museum with an extensive collection of works, approximately 380,000.

Visiting the museum with the company of a guide will allow you to have a more complete view of art from the Middle Ages to 1848. The Louvre is an extensive museum, every year there are more changes and variety of works; therefore, a professional guide will help you to optimize your time and not get lost among so much art and beauty.

The best option

Louvre Museum Skip-the-line Guided Tour for Small Groups

Your ticket to the Louvre Museum with a guided tour in a small group and without queuing up.

Enjoy an unforgettable experience visiting the Louvre and its masterpieces in the company of an expert guide with a lot to tell.

Duration: 2 hours

Tickets to the Louvre with a guided tour are not only an ideal option to better understand the meaning of the works and all the background, but they are also an interesting option to avoid long lines, especially during the summer month in Paris.

In addition, I also recommend guided tickets if you go to the Louvre with children, as many of these guides are experts at keeping children's interest by telling stories and engaging them in conversation.

How much do guided tours of the Louvre Museum cost?

Money| ©cottonbro
Money| ©cottonbro

Unfortunately, there are no free guided tours of the Louvre . The audio-guided tour is the cheapest available option and costs around 5 euros. The duration of the guided tour will depend on the type and usually lasts between 1.5 and 3 hours.

If you are traveling to Paris as a student, or there are students in your group, they can enjoy free admission by simply showing their student card.

Inaddition, everyone (regardless of age, nationality, etc.) can access the Louvre for free on certain days of the month. These days are Bastille Day (July 14 each year) and the first Sunday of the month from October to March. As can be expected, on these days the Louvre is flooded with visitors.

Book your guided tour of the Louvre Museum

Is a guided tour of the Louvre worth it? What are the advantages compared to seeing it on my own?

In a Guided Tour| ©Henk Bekker
In a Guided Tour| ©Henk Bekker

Short answer: Yes, if you have a good guide, your visit will be much better. The Louvre is a huge museum with over 100,000 works of art; some of the Louvre's most famous works of art are also among the most famous in the world. Everything from sculptures by Michelangelo, Bernini and Canova to paintings by Da Vinci and Delacroix.

You're talking about an attraction that was literally built and decorated by the best artists in the world - you'll find sculptures that were built by the ancient Romans, sculptors by Michelangelo himself, paintings by Raphael and 25% of all the remaining paintings by Da Vinci!

For all this, having the experience of someone who carries years of wisdom will be able to make you travel back in time, understand the artist's philosophy, the conditions under which the works were created and how something seemingly simple can be steeped in emotions, feelings and skill. Without a doubt, a good guide can change the way you appreciate a work of art.

Good guides can make a seemingly meaningless detail interesting. When you combine a great guide with an amazing museum like the Louvre, you can have one of the most memorable experiences of your life.

Book your guided tour of the Louvre Museum

What types of guided tours are available at the Louvre?

Touring the Louvre| ©vasse nicolas,antoine
Touring the Louvre| ©vasse nicolas,antoine

There are generally several types of guided tours of the Louvre museum. These are differentiated by their duration, characteristics and the type of experience provided. Logically, the longer the duration, the more art you will be able to see and in greater detail, in addition to being able to resolve doubts and ask questions. In any case, the mere fact of visiting the museum with a professional guide is enough to better appreciate the works, the type of guided tour will depend a little on your tastes.
Of course, remember to know the Louvre's opening hours and always arrive on time.

  • Private tours: This is a tailor-made tour designed specifically to suit your interests. A private tour allows you to focus on particular collections or pieces (for example, perhaps you are fascinated by Greek art and are only interested in that kind of sculpture).
  • Group tours: The standard tour is often the best option if you don't want to spend a lot and are only interested in seeing the highlights and generic aspects, and have someone who can answer your questions.
  • Express tours: This is a super quick tour with an overview of the highlights of the museum.
  • Audio tours: Audio tours are the perfect option if you are interested in discovering everything on your own and have all the information at your fingertips. You may find it a bit boring, but it is still a very economical option.
  • Kids and Family Tours: These are tailor-made tours created to keep the little ones entertained and on their toes.
  • Early morning and evening tours: A great option to avoid the crowds and rushing around.
  • Themed tours: Another type of guided tour is one that focuses on a specific theme. Recommended for history lovers and fans of specific artists.

Book your guided tour of the Louvre with a cruise on the Seine River

Are there guided tours for children? What are they like?

Children's Guided Tour| ©CaPPy BeNToN
Children's Guided Tour| ©CaPPy BeNToN

If you are planning a children's tour, I recommend opting for a private tour designed for families. The budget for a family of up to 4 people is only slightly more than per person on a small group tour, plus you get the advantage of an experienced guide keeping the children engaged and entertained with the art.

These tours typically last 2.5 hours and are led by a specially trained art historian for the whole family. Similar to a crash course, this tour will lead you to discover the most spectacular collections that children might be most interested in.

Book your guided tour of the Louvre Museum for children

Main works you will see during the guided tour

Venus de Milo in the Louvre Museum| ©Ivo Jansch
Venus de Milo in the Louvre Museum| ©Ivo Jansch

Some of the world's most famous masterpieces are on display here, including Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo.

A large number of the museum's paintings were owned by the various kings who lived in the Louvre when it was a royal residence. Other pieces were acquired thanks to France's treaties with the Vatican and the Republic of Venice. Of course, the collection was further enriched by the spoils of Napoleon I.

The guided tour will focus mainly on three rooms, the Denon Wing, the Richelieu Wing and the Sully Wing, which contain the most representative works of the museum and the most popular worldwide. Among the works that the guide will show you are: Mona Lisa, Les Noces de Cana, Victoire de Samothrace, Le Sacre de l'Empereur Napoléon Ier**, La Liberté Guidant le Peuple**, Vénus**, Louis XIV****, La Dentellière**.

For each work the guide will try to place you in time and space and spend a few minutes to explain both the historical and artistic background of each work, and then finish talking about the emotional and mental state of each particular artist. In addition, you will be able to ask the guide any questions you may have, both related to the work itself and its author.

How long does the Louvre guided tour last?

The Gioconda| ©Matthias Mueller
The Gioconda| ©Matthias Mueller

Tours usually last 1.5, 2 and 3 hours, but keep in mind that seeing a work of art without taking a long time to understand the background is a meaningless visit(something similar to watching the summary of a soccer game instead of watching it in its entirety with all the emotion).

  • In 1.5 hours it is normal to see the Mona Lisa, the Winged Victory, the Venus de Milo and other famous masterpieces that make up the top 10 of the most valuable works of the Louvre.
  • In 2 hours in the Louvre you can see masterpieces such as the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo, as well as other artistic works such as sphinxes and Egyptian mummies. And not to forget the jewels of the Royal Crown in the Apollo Gallery.
  • In 3 hours the matter becomes more interesting because you can also see additional paintings and sculptures, as well as the luxurious apartments of Napoleon III

When is the best time to take a Louvre guided tour?

Pyramid of the Louvre| ©Patrick Langwallner
Pyramid of the Louvre| ©Patrick Langwallner

As the most visited museum in the world, the crowds at the Louvre can be overwhelming. The best times to visit the Louvre are Wednesday and Friday evenings, which is when the museum is open until 9:45 pm. Also, if you can avoid going during high season, all the better.

If an evening visit doesn't fit into your itinerary, I would recommend going a little later, once the big tour groups have left.

Tips for visiting the Louvre

Inside the Louvre Museum| ©KLMircea
Inside the Louvre Museum| ©KLMircea

After purchasing tickets, most people head straight to see the "Mona Lisa", the "Venus de Milo" and the "Winged Victory". However, another recommended approach would be to start your tour in the Richelieu wing, which houses the oldest works of art, including the Code of Hammurabi.

Before leaving the Richelieu wing, a smart move would be to go up one floor to see Napoleon III's opulent state apartments. Originally built by Napoleon I's nephew, this was a large reception area for heads of state.

Also be sure to see the cycle of paintings by Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens whose works were commissioned by Marie de Medici, the wife of Henri IV, in the early 17th century. The subject of these 21 paintings concerns the "somewhat hectic" but ultimately triumphant life of Marie de Medici and represents an impressive feat of female artistry in a male-dominated era.

At this point you will be able to visit the 3 major works of the museum (probably at your leisure) and then finish with the Egyptian art.

Without a doubt this is one of the best strategies for you to enjoy your guided tour without being interrupted by the crowds, and without being left with the itch to see more.

At this point I would recommend you to take an errand from one of the stores in the Louvre, or even eat at a restaurant near the museum (you will be hungry for sure).

Buy tickets for the Louvre Museum