Nights at the mu­seum


The Nation - - EXPLORE -

THE LOU­VRE mu­seum in Paris has an­nounced it will open its doors for free one Satur­day night a month to at­tract younger, less wealthy visitors.

Home to the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo, the world’s most-vis­ited mu­seum pre­vi­ously opened for six free Sun­days a year, but a state­ment pub­lished last week said this was fail­ing to bring in visitors from a broad spec­trum of so­ci­ety.

The new noc­tur­nal open­ings, set to be­gin on Jan­uary 5, are to in­clude ac­tiv­i­ties such as a board game area and read­ing cor­ner to at­tract fam­i­lies.

The Lou­vre is also hop­ing to ap­peal to more peo­ple liv­ing in poorer Paris suburbs as well as to young adults and fam­i­lies with older chil­dren with the ini­tia­tive.

The mu­seum’s state­ment said that the Satur­day nights were a bid to un­der­pin the “democrati­sa­tion” of the Lou­vre, where a full-price ticket costs 17 eu­ros (Bt640).

“The num­ber of French visitors com­ing to the Lou­vre for the first time was drop­ping dur­ing these free Sun­days, while the num­ber of for­eign visitors was go­ing up con­sid­er­ably,” it added.

The main peo­ple ben­e­fit­ing were tourism op­er­a­tors who cashed in by fer­ry­ing for­eign­ers through the Lou­vre – an oblig­a­tory stop in any case – for free on the Sun­days.

“Work­ing-class vis­its were not go­ing up,” it said.

The monthly Satur­day evening ses­sions will run be­tween 6 and 8.45pm.

The Lou­vre saw a sharp rise in visitors in 2017 to 8.1 mil­lion, mak­ing it the most vis­ited art gallery in the world ac­cord­ing to a rank­ing from the Themed En­ter­tain­ment As­so­ci­a­tion, an in­dus­try body.

Those fig­ures mark a re­cov­ery since 2016, when vis­its to Paris dropped fol­low­ing a wave of deadly ji­hadist at­tacks in France the pre­vi­ous year.

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