Best Paris Strolls

Stroll 4: The Louvre & Vicinity

Stroll 4 The Louvre's Cour Caree

Quick Description: The Palais du Louvre, with Musee du Louvre and Musee des Arts Decoratifs, magnificent courtyards, important nearby churches and other sites. 

Where: Right Bank, Palais du Louvre and surrounding streets. 

Start at southeast corner of intersection of Rue de Rivoli and Rue de l’Amiral Coligny (aka Rue du Louvre going north), outside Metro station Louvre-Rivoli (#1 line).  End at Place du Palais Royal, outside Metro station Palais Royal – Musee du Louvre (#1, #7 lines).  

Duration: 45 min walk, @1.5-2 hrs with non-museum venue visits. Musee du Louvre, add 2-4 hrs; Musee des Arts Decoratifs add 1-2 hrs.   Early Departure Option.   

Best Days: Wed – Sat. 

Best Start Time: 9am – Noon.

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Connects: by foot to Stroll 5 (Palais Royal & Vicinity) and Stroll 6 (Les Halles-Pompidou-Hotel de Ville), and by quick Metro rides to Stroll 7 (Central Marais), or Stroll 8 (Southern Marais), or Stroll 9 (Western & Northern Marais), or Stroll 15 (Concorde-Tuileries-Vendome), or Stroll 16 (Concorde-Madeleine-Expiatoire), or Stroll 17 (Concorde to Place de l’Alma), or Stroll 21 (Opera-Haussmann-Saint Lazare), or Stroll 29 (The Southern Fifth), or a standalone site, the Arc de Triomphe. 

Past and Present:  The area explored on this stroll has been known as the Quartier du Louvre since the late 1300s when a royal residence was built here, taking the name of the “Louvre” fortress it replaced.  In turn, that residence was replaced by the current palace beginning in the 1500s.  Expansions continued until the mid-1800s.  (A second palace, the Palais des Tuileres, constructed in 1564, was burned down during the uprising known as the Paris Commune of 1871.)  The Palais du Louvre’s interior was made into Musee du Louvre in 1793, during the Revolution, to preserve the many artworks collected by the crown.  Its collection later grew to become the foremost in the world.  Musee des Arts Decoratifs (for interior design and decor) was installed in a separate section of the palace in 1905.  Major renovations in the 1980s created a new entry for Musee du Louvre.  Today, in addition to the museums, the complex offers spectacular courtyards, the 1989 Pyramide entry and fountains by I.M. Pei, the Napoleonic-era Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, a modern garden with sculptures, and two chic restaurants.  The stroll route explores all of this and also brings you to nearby sites in the quartier, including three famous churches, the impressive 19th century Town Hall of the First Arrondissement, an iconic Joan of Arc statue, the modern Carrousel du Louvre underground shopping mall, several charming area restaurants and three fast-food dining options.  The museums can be visited during the stroll or at its end (which is recommended). 

Attractions (in order):

  • Town Hall of the First Arrondissement: #4 Place du Louvre.  Mid-19th century building, the first project of the Second Empire, with a handsomely painted “Weddings Room.” Mon-Fri 8am-5:30pm, Sat 9am-12:30pm, free.
  • Church of Saint Germain l’Auxerrois: #2 Place du Louvre.  Built from the 11th through the 18th centuries, and featuring historic statues, churchwarden’s pews and a bell tower, this was the monarchy’s house of worship.  Its bells were rung to start the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre of Protestants in 1572.  Tues-Sun 9am-7pm, free.
  • Palais du Louvre Colonnade: Facing Rue de l’Admiral Coligny and the Church of Saint Germain l’Auxerrois.  This magnificent façade to the eastern end of the Palais du Louvre was built to be the main entrance, but expansions to the west changed the complex’s orientation.  Today, this entry is for security staff but the public can get a good view of it from the street.
  • L’Oratorie du Louvre: #145 Rue Saint Honore.  This 17th century Catholic royal chapel was the scene of lavish funerals and other events during the Bourbon monarchy.  But it later became a Lutheran temple and remains one today.  The exterior is distinctive and includes a ground level display honoring Admiral de Coligny, first Protestant victim of the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre.  Interior open Sunday mornings only, free.
  • Palais du Louvre Courtyards: Accessible at all times.  Features described in detail in stroll text.  
  • Musee du Louvre: Palais du Louvre, multiple entries. World-renown collection of art and antiquities plus spectacular palace interiors and ramparts of the original Louvre fortress.  Wed-Mon, 9am-6pm (Wed & Fri to 9:45 pm), €12.  Tickets available at automated kiosks in Pyramide entrance, or at the counter of tabac store in Carrousel du Louvre mall, which connects to Pyramide entrance.  Museum amenities include several dining options, public restrooms, cloakrooms, elevators and escalators.  Allot 2-4 hours for visit.   Visit during the stroll or at its end.
  • Place des Pyramides.  At Rue de Rivoli, opposite western end of Palais du Louvre.  Oft-photographed traffic plaza featuring iconic equestrian statue of Joan of Arc, the landmark Hotel Regina and sidewalk colonnades.
  • Church of Saint Roch: #296 Rue Saint Honore at Rue Saint Roch.  17th century Catholic church with multiple chapels, artworks, and Denis Diderot’s tomb.  Daily, 8:30am-7pm, free.  Also, free guided tour, second Thursday of the month, 3pm, meeting at the organ loft.
  • Musee des Arts Decoratifs: Palais du Louvre, entry at #107 Rue de Rivoli.   Museum of interior design and decor, located inside the Louvre’s Pavillon de Marsan and Pavillon de Rohan.  The museum displays furniture, tapestries, ceramics, a wealth of objets d’art, and much more.  Also included are ten period rooms lifted from their sites.  Tues-Sun, 11am-6pm, €14, under 26 free, €20 combination ticket good for four days with Musee Nissim de Camondo (visited on Stroll 22).  Online ticketing is strongly encouraged for weekend visits.  Allot 1-2 hrs.  Visit during the stroll or at its end.
  • Carrousel du Louvre Mall: #99 Rue de Rivoli. Modern underground shopping mall.  Features include multiple retail outlets, the “Pyramide Inversee” (inverted pyramid), an underground entry to Musee du Louvre, a tabac where museum tickets can be purchased, plus public restrooms and an entrance to Metro station Palais Royal – Musee du Louvre (#1 and #7 lines).  Tues 11am-6pm, Wed-Mon 10am-7pm. 


Dining Suggestions:

  • BO&MIE: #91 Rue de Rivoli, at corner of Rue de l’Admiral Coligny (aka Rue du Louvre going north), next to the entrance for Metro station Louvre-Rivoli.  Bakery and sandwich shop.  Casual modern dining loft.  Mon-Sat 7:30am-8pm, Sun 8am-8pm.  Moderate prices.
  • Le Fumoir: #6 Rue de l’Admiral Coligny, between Rue de Rivoli and the Town Hall. French cuisine with Scandinavian notes, tea salon options. Comfortable, spacious modern room, separate barroom, and outdoor seating.  Open daily 9am-1am, breakfast served 9am-Noon @€10, lunch served 11:30am-3pm prix-fixe @€30-34, small plates served Noon-10:30pm average @€10-20, tea service 3-7pm @€10, dinner served 7-10:30pm, only prix fixe offered @€40-44, Sunday brunch served 11:30am-3pm @€32-38.
  • Le Louvre Ripaille: #1 Rue Perrault, just north of Town Hall and next door to Le Fumoir.  French cuisine, short menu.  Traditional room and outdoor seating, both with modern furnishings.  Mon-Sat Noon-2:30pm, 7:30-10:30pm. Starters @€8.50-14, Mains @€17-24, lunch prix-fixe @€19. 
  • Le Café Marly: #93 Rue de Rivoli.  Located in the Palais du Louvre (museum admission not required).  Entries from Port de Richelieu or the Cour Napoleon.  French cuisine.  Elegant palace room plus terrace seating under soaring arcade with view of the Cour Napoleon and Pyramide.  Daily 8am-2am.  Average cost @€60 2 courses, salad mains @€25.  Reservations suggested.  
  • La Cordonnerie: #20 Rue Saint Roch. Meat-centric French cuisine.  Charming room converted from an old shoemaker’s shop attached to the side of the Church of Saint Roch.  Gregarious, English-speaking single chef in an open kitchen.  Mon-Fri Noon-2pm, 7:30-10pm.  Average cost @€45-55 3 courses.  Ask for a booth next to the kitchen if you want to watch the chef at work.  He takes special requests.  Reservations suggested. 
  • Cojean – Pyramides: #10 Rue des Pyramides, just north of Rue Saint Honore.  Fast-food chain offering sandwiches, salads, bowls, soups, breakfast foods, beverages.  Counter ordering.  Casual dining area, outdoor seating under awning. Mon-Fri 8am-4pm (closed holidays).  Moderate prices.  
  • Bagelstein: #13 Rue des Pyramides, a half block north of Rue Saint Honore.  Fast food chain offering bagel sandwiches made to order, salads, soups, desserts, beverages. Counter ordering.  Casual dining area, outdoor seating.  Mon-Sat 9am-8:30pm. Moderate prices.     
  • Loulou: #107 Rue de Rivoli.  Located inside Musee des Arts Decoratifs at the Palais du Louvre (museum admission not required).  Italian cuisine.  Elegant palace room with swanky modern décor, terrace seating on the Cour du Carrousel.  Daily Noon-2:30pm, 7-11pm. Mains @€22-30, salads @€17-25. Reservations suggested.  

Ready to stroll?
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Stroll Map

Ready to stroll?
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