The internet is awash with articles and blog posts telling parents traveling with kids to skip the Louvre. As well-intentioned as this advice may be, it simply is not true. With just a pinch of forethought and consideration, it is possible to plan a museum outing inside these famous halls that children will not merely endure but actually enjoy! Here are our tips for families visiting the Louvre.
Don’t Spend Time Waiting in Line
Everyone knows patience is a virtue that most children – and indeed many adults – have yet to master. Forcing kids to wait around for long periods without anything to occupy them is a guaranteed tantrum trigger. To ensure your family trip to the Louvre gets off to a good start, you will want to figure out the fastest way in. Most visitors make a beeline for the iconic glass pyramid in the Louvre’s courtyard where lines are quick to form, so you are probably better off entering via the Carrousel du Louvre underground shopping mall. Better yet, sign up for our Louvre Family Tour and avoid lengthy queues with direct skip-the-line access.
See the Mona Lisa at Kid Speed
When it comes to getting your children to appreciate a lot of art, you are going to want to devise a plan of attack. Bear in mind that even for art-obsessed adults, getting through all the Louvre’s galleries in one go would require superhuman stamina. Kids tend to have significantly less staying power than grown-ups, so don’t expect them to hang around happily for any more than a couple of hours. Short and sweet should be your mantra.
If you want to spark their interest in art, you will have to do more than simply lecture and reel off information. Find ways to engage them: have them scour the galleries for particular works treasure-hunt style or bring pencils and paper so they can sketch their favorites.
Alternatively, place your trust in the hands of a professional and sign up for the City Wonders Louvre Museum Highlights for Families Tour, which will bring the Louvre’s art to life. During this tour, a knowledgeable guide will have your youngsters agog with well-told tales of Greek gods and French royalty that tread the line between entertaining and educational. While the guide endeavors to keep their young minds engaged, handouts will also be provided to keep those little hands busy so there is little opportunity for wining to creep in.
Prepare for Bathroom and Snack Breaks
As any parent of young children can attest, when kids need to go, they need to go right away. Luckily, for families wandering the Louvre, a WC is never far. For starters, there is a public toilet in the Musée du Louvre metro station close to the Carrousel de Louvre entrance. If the lines are too long there, you can pay to use the slightly fancier Point WC toilets at the east end of Carrousel de Louvre instead. There are even more toilets available in the Louvre entrance hall just outside each individual wing entrance and several more spread over different levels and wings. Though toilets are well-signposted, you may want to pick up a floor plan just in case.
Bear in mind that a hungry child is usually an unhappy one, so plan for regular food breaks. There are a number of cafés and restaurants inside the Louvre of varying quality and cost. But your best bet for a child-palatable on-the-go snack that won’t make your wallet wince, head for the takeaway counters located outside the gallery entrances to the Denon and Richelieu wings, or the food court in the adjacent Carrousel du Louvre shopping mall.
If you’re going to be in Paris and want to see the greats without kid problems remember this option for the Louvre and check out our Versailles family tours for the same focus on you and yours.