Can someone please remind me if it is worth it to get tickets ahead of time in early May and also the best entrance to the museum? Thanks!
Always a good idea to get tickets in advance for the Louvre, unless you have the Paris Museum Pass. The Carrousel entrance is less crowded and it's part of an upscale shopping center. I visited with my Pass on a Friday when it's open late and arrived around 6, maybe 2 people ahead of me in the security line.
Agree with Christa. Louvre merits tickets in advance or the Paris Museum Pass. We purchased the Paris Museum Pass and ended up getting in to a number of sights we happened upon. The line for those waiting to buy a ticket at the Louvre the day we visited looked like a 90 minute line - at least. We were in 5 minutes after arrival.
We have visited the Louvre a couple of dozen times and never waited more than 30 minutes for security and never at all for tickets. The new ticket set up involves a room full of machines and the last time we went there, security was about 10 minutes and there was no wait for ticket machines. I am stunned that anyone ever faced a 90 minutes line for those machines.
I was there in late September with a museum pass. There were (at least) three lines. One for museum passes, one for prepurchased tickets (online) and another for people who didn't have tickets. I arrived a little more than 30 minutes before opening and there was no line. I had no bag and was just waived through security so was literally the first one in the building, followed by the first people in the prepurchased ticket line. Since I was all alone, I decided to go to see Mona Lisa and had the room to myself for five to ten minutes.
A major advantage of the Paris Museum Pass is that it allows you to visit the Louvre more than once during your trip without paying multiple times - it's a huge museum and it's easy to exhaust yourself trying to see to much if you only go once.
We got in line with my Museum Pass at 8:15 for the 9:00 opening. We were number 2 & 3 in the Museum Pass line, by 9:00 there was about 100 folks in our line, 50 or so with pre purchased Louvre tickets in their line and 100 or more folks in the line to purchase tickets once inside. There were signs indicated which line was for which ticket/pass, they were the size of a standard sheet of paper. The issue was they were posted closer to the Pyramid entrance and not towards the back of the roped off area. But the security, when we were there, were walking around ensuring folks got in the correct line by checking tickets & passes. There is also an entrance under ground accessing through the Carrousel Arch across the road from the Pyramid. The morning we went there was a sign stating Museum Pass holders had to use the Pyramid entrance. I guess they like to change things up. Once you are inside, through security, down the escalator/stairs/elevator, you head to the Wing you wish to start with. Those needing tickets either head towards the automated machines or the ticket windows. Winged Victory & Mona Lisa are in the Denon Wing, you will see signs of her throughout the halls to get you to her.
At Sainte-Chapelle they will have a section for Museum Pass holders on the outside/street entrance, but it may not always be open. Sometimes it is and sometimes its roped off. But on the plus side, once inside the compound you can bypass the ticket purchase line & walk up to the door with your Museum Pass or pre-purchased tickets.
Enjoy your trip
Sainte Chapelle has a long security line whether you have a pass or not, as the entrance is shared with a law court building and there is consequent high security.