When planning my trip to Paris I read horror stories about the long lines to get into the Louvre. I found articles about the Louvre secret entrance to save time waiting in line.
Here is my experience regarding the lines at the different entrances, and which one ended up being the best.
The day prior to our visit I went to the Louvre to scope out my strategy. I arrived at 10:19 a.m. and noticed the following line, which didn’t seem too bad to me. Note that the back up at this point is baggage screening, with only one x-ray machine. You do not get tickets until after you clear baggage check and go down the escalator. I went near the front of the line, and asked someone about the wait. They replied that they had been waiting about 10 minutes. Not bad at all!
My online research concluded that the best way to get into the Louvre was the secret Carousel entrance, so I decided to check it out. Instead of facing the pyramid, turn around 180 degrees and look at the Arc du Carousel.
Walk toward it and then look to the left. Go down the stairs. Zig left and then right until you see the upside down pyramid in the distance and head toward it. When I got there, the line looked quite long to me.
I went to the back and waited in line, without making a lot of progress. I paced off how far I moved in 10 minutes, and then paced off how far it was to the front of the line – eight times the distance I moved in 10 minutes. Based on that, I guessed the line was about 80 minutes long. Plus I thought it was a little warm in there compared to the nice cool morning outside.
Porte des Lions Entrance
I also read about the secret Porte des Lions entrance, the concern being that people said sometimes this entrance was closed. To find it, again turn your back to the pyramid facing Arc du Carousel. Keep the Denon wing of the Louvre to your left until you see
It was eerily devoid of people, except for the guy who was standing there, selling water to no one, and messed up my picture. I cautiously walked inside, expecting someone to yell at me for being somewhere I wasn’t supposed to be. There was a door to the left and I poked my head inside, and saw a guy working. Surprised, and somewhat panicky, I blurted out, “Where do I get tickets?”. He told me to put my bag on the X-ray belt and I could get a ticket inside.
So I guess the secret Porte des Lions entrance does exist and it was open on the June day I visited. One thing to note is that the Porte des Lions entrance opens into the the very small Arts of Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas display. To get to the rest of the museum you will need to take the stairs or elevator up a floor or two.
Our Experience: Louvre Secret Entrance
We arrived the next day at 10:04 and saw this line. The queue was a little over half full, and seemed only slightly longer than yesterday, so we decided to wait in line. We were pleasantly surprised that we got to the baggage check in only 12 minutes.
Should you use the Louvre secret entrance?
When you arrive, I suggest you take a quick glance at the pyramid queue. If the line is within the ropes, you probably have less than a 25 – 30 minute wait. If you want to walk out to the Porte de Lions entrance you should have no wait. Based on my experience, I would not try the Carousel entrance. Maybe so many people read about the secret Carousel entrance that, not only is it no longer a secret, but now actually longer than the Pyramid entrance.