An Extensive Leonardo da Vinci Retrospective Is Coming to the Louvre—but You’ll Need Reservations to See It

The hugely popular Paris museum is enforcing a ticketing system that designates specific entry times for visitors to this much-awaited exhibit. Here’s how to secure your spot.

An Extensive Leonardo da Vinci Retrospective Is Coming to the Louvre—but You’ll Need Reservations to See It

Officials at the Louvre in Paris say that more than 20,000 people flock to the museum every day just to see da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa.”

Photo by Resul Muslu/Shutterstock

To mark the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, an “unprecedented” retrospective at the Louvre in Paris will showcase more than a decade of artworks from the Renaissance master’s career, making it one of the most extensive da Vinci exhibits ever at the home of his most famous painting.

On view from October 24, 2019, through February 24, 2020, in the Louvre’s Hall Napoléon (under the pyramid), the retrospective will bring together a collection of works by the Italian artist, who died in 1519 while living in France. (The Louvre already hosts the largest existing collection of da Vinci’s paintings.)

The blockbuster exhibit will present an undisclosed number of drawings, sketchbooks, and paintings spanning da Vinci’s influential career. According to museum officials, the plan is to “gather as many of the artist’s works as possible” around five core works from the Louvre’s collection, including The Virgin of the Rock, La Belle Ferronnière, Saint John the Baptist, Saint Ann, and the Mona Lisa, which was recently returned to its traditional home in the Salle des États after being temporarily relocated to the Galerie Médicis earlier this year.

The retrospective will also feature various loaned works from other collections that are attributed to the Italian artist, such as the rarely displayed Vitruvian Man, a highly fragile nude figure drawing by da Vinci that’s on loan to the museum from Italy. Whether the display will include da Vinci’s reputed Salvator Mundi—the world’s most expensive painting, bought for a staggering $450.3 million in a 2017 Christie’s auction—is still somewhat of a mystery.

In 2018, an estimated 10.2 million tourists visited the Louvre, and according to officials, more than 20,000 people flock to the museum every day just to see the Mona Lisa. (Anyone who’s ever tried to snap a picture of the artwork without another museumgoer stepping into the frame knows that the portrait’s far-reaching popularity makes even catching an uninterrupted glimpse of the painting seem like an impressive feat.) This May, the Paris institution closed down for a day due to reported issues with overcrowding—all of which helps explain the museum’s timed entry system for the retrospective, which officials say will permit roughly 5,000 visitors to the exhibit per day. (When the world’s most-visited museum hosts a large-scale retrospective featuring some of the most recognizable artwork in history, it’s safe to say the crowds will come.)

To reserve a time slot—dubbed “entry hours” on the Louvre’s website—you have to choose a 30-minute interval between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m during the exhibition’s four-month run. Most of the tickets for October entry are already sold out, but there are still many slots from November through February that are available to reserve. Time-stamped tickets must be bought in advance and are valid for admission on the marked date and time only. Tickets cost €17 (about US$19), even for visitors normally entitled to free entry, such as children under 18. Reservations can only be made online at

If you’d prefer someone else do your ticket bidding for you . . .

Consider booking a tour of the Leonardo da Vinci exhibit with Context, an international travel company offering expert-led cultural tours. As part of Context’s newly offered “Leonardo da Vinci at the Louvre” package, the tour operator will arrange and secure your timed tickets to the Louvre exhibit before leading you on a three-hour private tour guided by an art historian.

Book Now: From $529,

>> Next: Plan Your Trip With AFAR’s Guide to Paris

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