Change is Coming to the Louvre

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Jean-Luc Martinez, the Louvre’s new director, plans to make it easier to enjoy the world’s largest museum.

In store for its nearly 10 million visitors: shorter lines; signs for displayed works in English alongside the French (and available for download in other languages); temporary expos that highlight lesser-known artists by pairing them with well-known artists.

For now, Martinez’s work is happening behind the scenes—preparation for a 2016 or 2017 show, for example, that pairs Vermeer with Valentin de Boulogne, a little known but important French painter who lived a generation before Vermeer.

The place of contemporary art at the Louvre will also change. While the juxtaposition of old and new presently stimulates viewers to think about the connections across generations of artists, future installations will be fewer in number, and more tightly linked to the museum’s collection.

Perhaps the most notable change will be new entrance and ticket areas, which will contain a new education center with temporary expos. The work is slated to be finished in 2016.

Between now and then, here are two tips on avoiding lines at the entrance of the Louvre: You can purchase Paris Museum passes in the Carrousel du Louvre; follow the signs, and take cash, as they don’t take credit cards. Then use the pass to avoid ticket lines at over 60 museums in Ile de France.

If you don’t need a pass, individual admission tickets are sold in vending machines at museum entrances. Don’t buy advance tickets at the museum’s website. You’ll have to go clear across town, to an approved ticket handler, to pick them up.

Have you been to the Louvre recently? What was your experience?