Things to do in Paris

What you need to know before visiting the Louvre at night

Last Updated:

Paris is heaven for all things delightful - fashion, art, cuisine, and culture. Every landmark and monument is a repository of incredible beauty and history; and one such attraction is the Louvre Museum, the world’s largest art museum, which is visited by more than 10 million people annually. Open only six days a week, the museum attracts high crowds throughout the day, and some sections like the Mona Lisa exhibit are downright chaotic! With this in mind, the authorities have extended the Louvre night hours twice a week. From the shroud of darkness outside you can enter into a world of mystery and secrets, in a serene setting with few other visitors. Here is a guide to help you plan your exclusive visit to the Louvre at night.

The Louvre Museum, Paris

Louvre is today famous as the home of Da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa,’ but centuries ago it was the home of French Kings. The building which houses the museum was known as the Louvre Palace and was a royal residence till 1682 when the capital shifted to Versailles. It was during the French Revolution, in 1793, that the palace was decreed as a museum and showcased 537 paintings.

Louvre now houses more than 460,000 objects and 35,000 artworks. Some iconic works include ‘The Raft of the Medusa,’ ‘Venus di Milo,’ ‘The Coronation of Napoleon’, and ‘Liberty Leading the People.’ Its collection is spread across eight departments – Egyptian antiquities, Near Eastern antiquities, Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiquities, Islamic Art, Sculpture, Decorative Arts, Paintings, Prints, and Drawings.

In 2018, the Louvre clocked in over 10 million visitors! If you're planning to visit the Louvre soon, we have a secret tip to enhance your experience - visit the Louvre at night!

Louvre at night

Why You Must Visit The Louvre at Night

  • No visit to Paris is complete with a visit to Louvre and that makes for pretty long lines at the museum. A visit to Louvre at night is a chance to enjoy the art with fewer crowds as the big school and tour groups do not visit at night. It’s your only opportunity to get a closer look at the Mona Lisa!
  • The Louvre pyramid at night shines like a beacon, its futuristic architecture contrasting the heritage buildings surrounding it. You can witness this beautiful sight on a Louvre night tour, especially during winter and autumn when nightfall is earlier in the day.
  • Visiting the Louvre at night does not compromise the experience; most of its art galleries are lit even during the day, hence does not affect the joy of discovering great art.
  • Going to the Louvre at night gives you more time to explore other museums and attractions during the day, optimizing your time in Paris.
  • A guided Louvre night tour offers a serene atmosphere to soak in the art and the information given by the guide. During the day you will have to jostle crowds and focus on following the guide and not getting lost in chaos!

Louvre Night Tour - Your Experience Deconstructed

Louvre at night

The Louvre night tour is not exactly an after-hours experience, but a unique opportunity to explore the museum without the thronging groups that are a staple during the day. One of the best ways to visit is to go on a guided Louvre night tour.

Your tour with an English-speaking guide starts at 6 PM near the luminous Louvre pyramid, and you will be taken through the priority entrance and shown the highlights of all the eight curatorial departments. The Louvre is the world’s largest art museum, and without a guide, you might end up spending more time viewing all the artifacts or even miss out on some! Also, the Louvre night tours are only till 9:30 PM and you want to make the best of your time there.

Good to Know Before You Go

Getting To The Louvre

  • By Bus – You can find multiple bus stops within 200m of the Louvre entrance; you can take these buses - 21, 24, 27, 39, 48, 68, 69, 72, 81, 95
  • By Metro – The nearest metro stations are Palais-Royal Musée du Louvre (160m from Louvre) on Line 1 and 7, and Pyramides (400m from Louvre) on Line 14.
  • By Car – You can use the underground parking at Avenue du Général Lemonier. It is a short walk of 500m from the museum, and is open from 7 AM to 11 PM.

Louvre Evening Hours

Monday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday: 9 AM to 6 PM (Rooms close at 5:30 PM)
Wednesday, Friday: 9 AM to 9:45 PM (Rooms close at 9:30 PM)

Admission is free and closing is extended to 9:45 PM on the first Saturday of every month.

Louvre Entrances

There are three entrances for individual ticket holders to enter the Louvre.

  • 1. Pyramid Entrance: This is the main entrance to the Louvre. Look out for “avec billet” (with ticket), and get into the line. You will be allowed to enter after a brief security check.
  • 2. Richelieu Passage Entrance: This is the closest entrance for Headout Ticket holders ( Louis the XIV's Equestrian Statue, located in front of the glass pyramid at the Louvre)
  • 3. Carrousel du Louvre entrance: This entrance is past the underground shopping center, near Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. For those coming via metro, this is the closest entrance.

Tips for Your Louvre Night Visit

Louvre Museum in a Nutshell
  • The Louvre night hours are extended till 10 PM on Wednesdays and Fridays, of both the days Wednesdays experience fewer crowds. You will experience a noticeable decrease even in summer.
  • If you are traveling in winter, you can get a backpack to keep your heavy coats and jackets in the locker space. The galleries are adequately heated inside and you won’t feel too cold.
  • The Louvre has several restaurants inside the museum, but except for Starbucks and The Comptoir du Louvre all the restaurants close by 6 PM, even on the days with extended Louvre night hours. Plan for your snacks or meals, especially if you are traveling with children.
  • All visitors below 25 years of age from European Economic Area can visit the museum for free every day. And visitors below 26 years of age, irrespective of their nationality can visit the museum every Friday night from 6 PM to 9:45 PM.
  • The Book and Gift shop in the Allée du Grand Louvre is a great place to pick up souvenirs from Louvre. You can get excellent art reproductions, casts and prints related to the works on display in the museum. The shop will be open till 9:45 PM on Wednesdays and Fridays

Final Thoughts

If you wish to admire ‘The Winged Victory of Samothrace’ or pay attention to the detailing in ‘The Wedding at Cana,’ then your best hope is to plan a visit to Louvre at night. A world apart from the tourist throngs of the day, the nights in the museum offer a rare serene atmosphere ideal for introspection. A guided Louvre night tour is a great option to explore the museum peacefully and ensure you didn’t miss any of the remarkable art. For a small fee, you can skip the line, optimize your time spent searching for rooms otherwise, and also get interesting nuggets of information.

More On Louvre & Paris

Planning your Paris vacation? Here are a few guides that will help you in firming up your itinerary.