The Louvre Museum in the French capital will start offering one free Saturday night visit every month from January 2019. The move aims to attract younger, less wealthy visitors.
The world famous art museum in Paris that houses the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo charges 17 euros for a full-price ticket.
From January 5, according to a statement, the museum will offer free entry to visitors on the first Saturday of every month from 6 to 9.45 pm. The statement says the move eyes “democratisation” of the Louvre, the most-visited museum in the world that was said to be witnessing a drop in the number of local visitors of late.
Earlier, the museum had six free Sundays a year, which was introduced in 1996 to attract more people to the art-house. Studies however showed the number of first-time French visitors to the Louvre was down on these free Sundays even as foreign attendance increased. According to the statement, those benefiting the most from the initiative were tour operators who would bring foreigners on the free Sundays.
France24.com reported that the free Saturday openings would include activities such as a board game area and reading corner to attract families.
Nouveau ! Nocturne gratuite pour tous chaque 1er samedi du mois de 18h à 21h45 à partir du 5 janvier 2019 : visite libre des ailes Denon et Sully et programmation spécifique dans l’aile Richelieu (sur réservation)
— Musée du Louvre (@MuseeLouvre) November 29, 2018
The museum claims these nocturnes have been designed as a festive event, aiming to encourage new visitors to discover the works and enjoy the special atmosphere of the night.
“The Louvre proposes to visit freely the Denon and Sully wings where one can admire the Italian and French paintings, the Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiquities or the arts of Islam. There is The Mona Lisa , The Victory Of Samothrace , The Venus Of Milo Or The Scribe Squatting,” says the statement published on the museum website.
The Richelieu Wing, featuring French sculptures, Flemish paintings and other historic artworks, is also free but would be accessible only via reservations, which open on December 10.
Jean-Luc Martinez, president and director of the Louvre Museum, says in the statement, “The free Saturday night is a new, more convivial way to discover the Louvre. I hope that this museum is a popular place that brings together all audiences around the wonder that can arise from the meeting of the Beautiful.”
The museum has already made arrangements to facilitate the free visits. Time stamped slots will allow access to the collections “in less than 30 minutes”, says the statement.
The new system, both the time slot and the animations on offer, will be tested through the year 2019 after which a report will be submitted to the Ministry of Culture to make adjustments and draw lessons for future.
The Louvre Museum is free all year long for EU residents aged under 26 years and anyone aged under 18.