carrying a bag or purse in Paris Museums

I am going to Paris and visiting museums such as Louvre, Versailles, Musee d'Orsay. How big of a bag can I carry inside of the museums? Can I also carry a DSLR around my neck? Any recent info would be helpful.

Posted by Larry
Elk Grove, CA, USA
6888 posts

I recall having to check my day pack at Musee L'Orangerie. I can't recall the other places. As for a camera, you can take no-flash pictures in all 3 listed above. I have a picture of my wife in the Louvre with the Mona Lisa over her shoulder. I was surpised that they let us do this for Monet's fabulous murals in the Musee L'Orangerie but the guards were right there watching us. Just no flash.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
21685 posts

Lydia, I can't comment about carrying a bag or purse, as I prefer not to carry anything except my Camera (not even a "man purse"). I ALWAYS have a DSLR, and have never had any problems at any of the places you listed. The staff don't even seem to notice it. However, as the previous reply mentioned, Flash is prohibited and most likely Tripod use also. Happy travels!

Posted by Sherry
San Jose, CA
1765 posts

Size and style of bag matter. Backpacks almost alawys have to be checked. Many museums will make you check a backpack style purse, no matter how small. I use a single-shoulder purse that's bigger than many backpack purses, Ameribag, and I carry a fairly large one. I've never been asked to check it anywhere, even when I've watched the guards make people check much smaller backpack-style purses. I get the impression that things meant to be carried on one shoulder or in the hand are typically OK, while things that go over two shoulders are not. Museums differ in camera policy.

Posted by Lydia
Santa Clarita, CA, USA
3 posts

Hi everyone
thanks for the helpful insights!

Posted by Joy
Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
23 posts

I bought a large tote in Rome and used it as my day bag. It was larger than my backpack because I was able to stuff the backpack into it! I carried it into the Louvre and Versailles in June without a problem. In one of Rick's books I remember his tip to take the backpack off and tuck it under your arm. So it seems how something is carried, matters more than the size. I saw people carry their DSLR around. Pictures were allowed just no flash. I have one of La Jaconde too just to prove I saw her. :)

Posted by Michigan
United States
1 posts

I just looked up the Louvre's actual rules and regulations regarding backpacks, purses, satchels, etc. They must be within the following dimensions 50cm (19.68") x 25cm (9.84')x 40 cm (15.75")

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
8781 posts

yes well they don't measure, they eyeball , and fact is you can get in with a bigger over the shoulder bag then a smaller back packs. Back packs are considered a pain in the patootey because people can knock into people wearing them in crowded areas, and they can also inadvertently scrape against a wall or exhibit..
My friend had her mego mondo camera with her and no one cared.

Posted by Kathy
Germany, Germany
813 posts

I was just at Musee D'Orsay two days ago. I carried my good sized purse/satchel no problems. My spouse had a large backpack with kids' snacks, waters, raincoats, etc., he was asked to check it at the bag stop. You should keep your camera with you since it's a high value item, but there's many areas you are not allowed to take pictures, so look out for the signage.

Posted by Ceidleh
Boston, MA, United States
1294 posts

Just like the TSA agent in US Airports, I think it's really dependent upon what guard is doing the checking. I've been in all three of those places in Paris with a backpack (the size used for school books) and had no hassle from the guards. Yet at other small museums, like the Rodin, I had to check my backpack, even though I always carry it on one shoulder. I had a similar experience this year in the Netherlands and Belgium when I had a large cross-body purse that sat low on the side of my hip. No guards gave me any grief over it at any of the large museums, but at a few of the small museums like the Dutch Resistance Museum or ModeMuseum in Antwerp, I was asked to put my purse inside a locker. I don't own one, but I saw plenty of people walking around with DSLR's dangling from their neck or in hand as they snapped photos of everything.

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
5112 posts

I always tour with a backpack. I keep a canvas tote bag inside, and put those things I want to have with me in the museum (and anything valuable) when I check the backpack. I often check it, even if I don't have to, just to not be bothered with it. Most museums in Paris permit photography except in temporary exhibits. Even when photography is forbidden, cameras are allowed.

Posted by Charles
Austin, Texas, USA
325 posts

I was there last week. The Louvre let me carry my backpack (normal sized over the shoulder). The Orange/Monet museum made us check it (no charge).

Posted by Lydia
Santa Clarita, CA, USA
3 posts

Thanks everyone for the very helpful tips. I think I will look for a comfortable shoulder bag to carry. But, alternatively, I especially like the idea of carrying a small bag inside of my pack which has valuables to extract quickly.
Thanks everyone! Lydia

Posted by Crystal
46 posts

I carried my Rick Steve's Veloce guide bag into every museum and didn't have any problems. They want somethig that you can wear across your body so that it will not swing and accidently hit anything. On another trip I used the Vera Bradley hipster which is 11x11 inches. It is bigger than my guidebag and allowed me to carry more, but I would not go any bigger than that.
P.S. Vera Bradley may not be suitable for Paris if you want to blend in and not look like a tourist.