The Louvre – bigger and better

Already the most enormous museum on the planet, the Louvre is planning to expand again. The work will cost 250 million euros ($371M/ £188M) and should be finished… by 2020.
Hotel Paris
photo by @t. used under CC licence

OK, it’s not happening straight away, but when you’re the biggest museum in the world you have to plan ahead. The Louvre already went through a major overhaul at the end of the 20th Century (including the installation of the infamous glass pyramid). At that time, they estimated there would be 4.5 million visitors per year. The actual figure has now reached 8.3 million! Something obviously had to be done. Here’s what they’re planning:

– The entrance for groups of visitors (76,000 every year) will be modified to make access easier for the rest of us.
– A new department of Islamic art will be ready in 2010. 300m2 for 10,000 exhibits. The previous space will be used for showing Byzantine art.
– Rooms currently used for restoration work will revert back to exhibition spaces, gaining 2,000m2 to be used to explain how the Louvre is organised, what makes a work of art a work of art, how exhibits are classified, etc.
– The 18th Century furniture exhibits ill be reorganised and clarified. These 2,500m2 will be ready in 2011 and will include many more reconstructed period rooms.
– Between 2009 and 2012 a new selection of rooms showing Roman and Etruscan antiquities will open in the Cour du Sphinx, and part of the building overlooking the main courtyard, currently occupied by offices, will be converted into nine rooms to show large French and English paintings.
– 2,000m2 will be used to show the chronological progression of the Louvre building itself.
– 23 information desks will be created within the museum, as once inside the visitors are often “left to their own devices”…
– The Tuileries gardens next to the Louvre will be renovated (again?)
– New contemporary works from Cy Twombly and François Morellet will be exposed.
Hotel Paris
pphoto by sherseydc used under CC licence

The finance for all this will come partly form the state, partly from private businesses, and partly from an amazing deal that the Louvre has done by licensing its name for use with a museum in Abu Dhabi. For the privilege of calling their museum The Louvre Abu Dhabu, the Louvre in Paris will receive 400 million euros, and altogether French museums will receive a million euros. Madness…

By the way, if you’ve never been to the Louvre, what can I say? It’s the most amazing place, and we advise taking at least a day there so as not to suffer from culture overload. At least you ticket allows you to go in and out during the day, so you can go have lunch, get your strength up and go back later! No visit to Paris is complete without seeing the Louvre…

The Louvre is shut on Tuesdays and public holidays, but open all other days from 9am to 6pm. Late night opening is Wednesday and Friday (10pm, but only an alternating selection is rooms are open for each).
Entrance for adults is 9 euros, or 6 euros for the evening opening. Children under 18 go free. And it’s free for everyone the first Sunday of each month (a real rugby match to get in, so arrive early).
Métro: Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre (lines 1 & 7).

Official site: here

Bigger map here