So much to see and so much to possibly miss. We splurged on a "Treasures of the Louvre" tour with Paris Muse (Barbara), and were delighted we did. With any licensed guide, you skip the line(see tips below), a plus itself, but having this personal guide added more. We understood, learned, and interpreted more than we would have on our own, and even after using Rick Steve's. We would not have stopped to appreciate how the huge winged bulls from Sargon's palace are depicted facing forward and from the side, so they show 5 feet, nor learned the various explanations, political and stylistic, for that technique. Everyone knows the Mona Lisa is there, can't miss it with the crowd, but Paris Muse shows you the other Da Vinci's and moreover compares and contrasts a variety of paintings of similar subjects, so you can appreciate differences in styles and periods. The guide poses questions to get you to interpret the works. Lots of reviews are for Paris Muse apparently great tours for kids, but after this adult introductory visit, both my 22-year-old son and 55-year-old much more sophisticated sister felt they could truly appreciate pieces we covered as well as could use their new knowledge to analyze other works. Their tours are limited to only 4 people, so you can ask questions, tell the guide what items you would like to view, and avoid the scripted tour approach. Far preferable to reading Michelin or other book and then looking. And we learned more context about the time when the work was produced. Barbara was also adept at knowing when a large group would be moving on so we could get close to nearly every highlighted piece (except the Mona Lisa where you have to do your own jostling). You can probably find similarly good guides from other companies, but I know you will not go wrong if you use one of these smart and enthusiastic Paris Muse art historians(We had terrific tours from Inge-Cluny and ND; Jessica- Dutch parts; and Barbara- Louvre Intro- she is Italian, but has excellent English). Tour was 2.5 hours but she took longer as she is so passionate about making sure all your questions are covered. You can stay in the Louvre after the guides leaves. To avoid overload, on a separate day, we did a separate tour of the Northern European galleries; we walked through the Egyptian with audio guide, and did not enjoy it as much.
Tips- Wed and Fri the Louvre is open until after 9:45 pm, and is obviously less crowded; even during the day, the crowds (except at the Venus and ML) were not so great as to diminish the experience); we used a Museum pass and the company reduces tour price for that; Pass allows you to skip line even without guide; As recommended here, we found line smaller when entering from subway/shopping mall entrance; food- mall has a food court with asian, italian, sandwich etc. counters-- toilets there charge .8 euro; Whether you have a week in Paris and want to see the Louvre in manageable chunks or have two days and want to hit the highlights, this Paris Muse tour is great, as is the Northern European masterpieces. Unless you were a college art major, you will benefit. With any private guide, I would when booking include in your email what your background or knowledge level is so they can hit your interests. Paris Muse lists specific tours,but the guides are so knowledgeable that they readily customize.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC