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Louvre - should we buy advance tickets?

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Our group of 12 people will be arriving in Paris on May 21 with only 2 days to hit the highlights before heading south. I'm planning to spend the morning of May 22, 9-12 or thereabouts in the Louvre. To save time, I thought we might buy advance tickets. I can buy them through ticketweb for $14.51 each. (They are 9 euros at the Louvre.) I had also thought about buying them at a FNAC but they only seem to sell tickets for special events now, not the general admission.

I have read about machines that dispense tickets in the big lobby under the pyramid, but I suppose they would not take US credit cards. Do they also work with cash?

Also, can anyone use the metro entrance to the Louvre at Palais Royal - Musée du Louvre or is it only for those with advance tickets or passes? I know I've used it before and don't remember having to show a pass or ticket but I may have forgotten that.

I've looked all over the web and am finding conflicting answers to these questions and a lot of erroneous or outdated information. So, if anyone has recent personal experience with this I'd love to hear from you.

And finally, do we even need advance tickets at that time or could we probably get in fairly quickly without?

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