Tips for mastering a visit at the world's most visted museum.
For the First-timer
Hit the Denon wing, but don’t stay too long—the crowds are insane. Catch the iconic Winged Victory of Samothrace sculpture and Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People, then head to the ornately gilded Apollo Gallery: it encapsulates 17th-century excess and was a model for Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors. Come up for air in the Sully Wing: the Venus de Milo is one of the rare sculptures that lives up to the photos.
Return Trip To-dos
The Richelieu wing. Napoleon III’s apartments have been painstakingly reconstructed in all their over-the-top, gilt-and-red-velvet glory. An in-person visit is the only way to fully appreciate the Second Empire opulence.
The Mona Lisa. Too packed. Plus, it’s tiny, and your photo will have a hundred iPhones in the foreground. But if you insist on seeing it, don’t bypass Marriage at Cana in the same room—the museum’s largest painting.
Beat the Rush
Buy tickets at a FNAC bookstore and enter through the Passage Richelieu to skip the lines at the pyramid, or stop by until 9:45 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays, when crowds thin.