The Musée du Louvre in Paris is increasing its basic ticket price from €17 to €22 from 15 January as part of a plan to support free admission programs for some visitors. The 30% increase—the first hike since 2017—will also offset an 88% increase in energy costs, says the museum in a statement.
The price overhaul, which comes ahead of the summer Olympics, is part of a masterplan by Laurence des Cars, the Louvre director, to regulate attendance at the most visited museum in the world (visitor figures this year are expected to reach 8.7m; in 2018 the museum drew a record 10.2m people). The Louvre estimates that around 80% of its visitors come solely for Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
The price increase will help to subsidise free entry for certain individuals. Teachers of art history, visitors aged under 18 from the European Union, staff from the French Ministry of Culture and disabled visitors all qualify for free admission.
“In 2023, more than 3.6m visitors—most of them French, [from] Ile-de-France and Parisians—have [subsequently] passed through the doors of the collections and exhibitions of the largest museum in the world for free!” a Louvre statement says.
Crucially Des Cars has capped daily attendance this year at 30,000 visitors, down from the previous pre-pandemic high of 45,000 and also announced plans for a new entrance on its eastern façade. Her aim is to ease congestion around the Louvre Pyramid (the entrance designed by the late architect I.M. Pei).