See masterpieces, have fun, and discover the museum for free
Designed as a festive and diverse event, these night openings are intended to encourage new visitors to discover the Louvre and its artworks in a privileged environment. The museum’s opening hours will be extended on the first Saturday of each month from 6 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. to let the public take advantage of the special night atmosphere for free.
Visitors will be able to wander freely through the Denon and Sully wings, admiring Italian and French paintings, Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan, and Roman antiquities, and works of Islamic art. The Mona Lisa, the Winged Victory of Samothrace, the Venus de Milo, and the Seated Scribe can be found here.
The Richelieu wing will also be open for free, but strictly via advance booking on a first-come, first-served basis. Here, at the heart of the collections of Near Eastern antiquities (the Law Code of Hammurabi, the Khorsabad Bulls), decorative arts, and French sculpture (the magnificent Marly and Puget courtyards), a range of activities will be available to visitors.
For Jean-Luc Martinez, President-Director of the Musée du Louvre, “the free Saturday opening is a new, more convivial way of discovering the Louvre. I would like the museum to be an accessible space, gathering all different audiences to experience the wonder that can emerge from an encounter with beauty.
On the program for Saturday, January 5 in the Richelieu wing
In the Cour Marly, families will be welcomed in to discover the museum: a space for board games and a reading corner will nestle among 17th-century sculptures. The brass section of the Orchestre de Paris will delight visitors in the Cour Puget, and the Cour Khorsabad will be plunged into darkness to be visited by flashlight.
Storytelling, sketching workshops, unusual presentations of artworks, and treasure hunts for surprising details will round out this fantastic discovery of the Louvre’s collections.
Booking opens on December 10. First come, first served!
Drawing non-visitors and infrequent visitors
Free admission on the first Sunday of the month was launched in 1996 to attract those who are least inclined to visit the museum. While this aim has been partially achieved over the past decade, audience studies have shown that the number of domestic visitors coming to the Louvre for the first time on free Sundays has dropped, while figures for foreign visitors have increased substantially, primarily due to tour agencies taking advantage of the opportunity.
The Musée du Louvre’s visitor survey* shows that:
- Free Sundays do not attract more first-time visitors than other days:
55% of visitors on free Sundays are first-time visitors. They represent 58% of visitors on regular Sundays and 59% of visitors on other days.
- Higher-income groups are most strongly present on free Sundays: 26% of visitors belong to upper socio-professional categories, versus 22% on normal Sundays and 21% on other days.
- Lower-income categories are not more strongly present on free Sundays: they represent 16% of free Sunday visitors, versus 18% on normal Sundays and 14% on other days.
The museum has already introduced an array of solutions to facilitate visits: tickets for a specific time slot providing access to the collections in under 30 minutes, offers to grow acquainted with the Louvre (the Pavillon de l’Horloge, the Petite Galerie, and the “Welcome to the Louvre” tour), etc.
The Louvre has opted to continue to provide free admission to collections but has redesigned its offer by creating the Saturday night opening:
- A new time slot from which tour groups are restricted.
- A time of day better adapted to the workday and rhythm of residents of the greater Paris area.
- Playful, convivial activities, as interaction with guides facilitates the discovery of artworks.
- Priority access to activities for holders of a “Pass Culture” or an “Ami du Louvre Youth” card with the accompanying person of their choice.
- A time catering to associations and partners involved in activities for cultural outreach, particularly called upon by the museum to participate in the Saturday night openings.
2019 is a test year in terms of both the time slot and the proposed activities. Adjustments and feedback should allow for an assessment to be drawn up for the Ministry of Culture in one year, providing lessons for the following year.
The Saturday night openings fit into an overarching initiative by the Musée du Louvre for cultural outreach, one of its fundamental missions. The Musée du Louvre provides year-round free admission for:
- all visitors under 18, and 18-25 year-old residents of the European Economic Area (EU, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein)
- holders of a valid “Pass Education” card (primary and secondary school teachers in French public schools and private schools receiving government subsidies)
- teachers of art, art history, and the applied arts
- artists affiliated to the Maison des Artistes (in France) or the AIAP (Association Internationale des Arts Plastiques)
- job seekers
- people on income support and asylum seekers
- visitors with disabilities and the person accompanying them
- museum professionals (Culture, ICOM, and ICOMOS cards).
The museum also hosted free nights for the final days of the Delacroix exhibition in 2017.
40% of the Louvre’s visitors benefit from free admission. The Musée du Louvre is also free on Bastille Day (July 14).
* Source: Baromètre des Publics du Louvre.
Scope: period of January 2014–September 2018. First and fourth quarters, when the free Sundays were held.
Visitors of permanent collections aged 11 and up, excluding school groups.