Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi

Page update - Oct 12, 2022

The opening of the Louvre Museum branch in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi was one of the landmark events in the UAE in 2017. Already by the end of the first year, the museum had welcomed a million visitors.

Is the museum's exhibit really that interesting? Or is it just good PR work? How to get there? How much do tickets cost? What are the working hours? What to see inside? Read the answers on this page.

The information on this page was updated on October 12, 2022. Just today, a new temporary exhibition of paintings by French impressionists opened at the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The masterpieces were brought from the Musee d'Orsay in Paris. Works by Monet, Degas, Morizeau, and Cezanne are presented. Don't miss it.

Museum description

The building

Perhaps the Louvre Abu Dhabi building is even more interesting than the exposition inside. The building is in the form of a dome with a diameter of 590 feet (180 meters). It's not even one building, but a complex of 55 separate structures that are covered by the dome.

This dome is made of 8 layers of structures with honeycombs of different sizes and angles. The four outer layers are made of steel, the four inner layers of aluminum. The distance between the layers is 16.4 feet (5 meters). The dome is supported by four columns which are hidden in the buildings, that is why the dome seems to float.

The geometry of the dome is designed so that light penetrates through all eight layers in 7850 places. These places are commonly referred to as "stars". During the day, a "rain of light" effect is formed inside. At night, the light from inside comes out and the "stars" can be seen from outside the building.

The dome is amazing not only as a masterpiece of architectural thought, but also for its size. The diameter is 590 feet (180 meters), the height in the central point is 95 feet (29 meters) from the first floor to the ceiling. The weight of the construction is 7,500 tons, which is 200 tons more than that of the Eiffel Tower. All stages of construction took 10 years (from 2007 to 2017).

It is worth coming to the Louvre Abu Dhabi just to look at this masterpiece.

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The exposition

It's small. There are about 200 works of art, which were purchased for the museum by the Abu Dhabi government and about 300 more works were taken on bail from the Louvre in Paris. In addition, works by local artists are on display.

The Louvre Museum Abu Dhabi is small, with a total exhibition area of only 86,000 square feet (8,000 square meters). By comparison, the Louvre Paris exhibition area is 783,000 square feet (72,000 square meters). The exhibition area of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is 633,000 square feet (58,800 square meters). And naturally, we are looking forward to the opening of the Grand Museum in Cairo, the largest indoor museum in the world with 5,166,000 square feet (480,000 square meters).

In 2017, Leonardo Da Vinci's painting "The Savior of the World" was purchased for a record USD 450.3 million for the Louvre Abu Dhabi. But no one has seen the painting since the auction.

But there is another painting by Leonardo, "La Belle Ferronniere" ("The Beautiful Ferroniera"), on display there. See the photo near, click on the photo to enlarge to full screen.

Also on display are several works by Henri Matisse, Vincent Van Gogh's "Self-Portrait", Jacques-Louis David's "Bonaparte at the Saint-Bernard Pass", Claude Monet's "Gare Saint-Lazare", and Pablo Picasso's "Portrait of a Lady".

Like the Louvre in Paris, there are many works of ancient art. However, not a single era of art history, not a single region, not a single style is shown comprehensively.

The exposition is on the principle of "About everything, but about nothing". Why did it turn out this way?

Let's answer in simple words. The sheikhs of the United Arab Emirates are very smart and calculating people. They effectively invest oil money. The art world is one of the important destination of their financial investments. The Louvre in Abu Dhabi is a storage of their investments, which also allows them to earn a little money by letting visitors in.

Naturally, with this approach, the exhibition is very chaotic. No one has the goal of showing visitors an entire epoch in the history of art.

It is quite possible that the sheikhs will buy more paintings and statues in future, and then the exhibition will have some completed parts. There is still plenty of room under the dome for these future purchases. Of the 23 galleries, only 13 are occupied now.

But for now the exhibition can be called "moderately interesting". It is worth to look at, but there is little reason to admire it.

How much did the Louvre Abu Dhabi cost?

The building cost is estimated at USD 715 million.

The sheiks have paid EUR 400 million for the right to call the museum "The Louvre".

Another USD 750 million have been paid as a deposit for the works of art from the Louvre Paris.

How much money was spent on the purchase of works for the museum? It's a big secret. After all, only part of the works were bought at public auctions, but the other part was bought by private transactions. And even at auctions, the sheikhs often buy art works on someone else's behalf. The exact figure can only be guessed; the figure most often cited is one billion dollars.

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Where is it located and how to get there

If vacationing in the Emirate of Dubai, you first need to get to Abu Dhabi. Read our detailed review "How to travel between Dubai and Abu Dhabi".

Abu Dhabi's Louvre Museum is located on Saadiyat Island, which is north of the main part of the city. Abu Dhabi has made an interesting geographical division: Saadiyat Island has been set aside for museums, culture and art, and Yas Island for amusement parks.

There are several ways to get there.

The first option is by cab. The trip price can be from 12 to 80 dirhams, depending on where you're coming from.

For details of cab fares, see our review "Taxis in Abu Dhabi and other emirates". For the current exchange rates, see the review "UAE Dirham".

The second option is a bus. There is only one bus to the Louvre in Abu Dhabi - route 94 (094). This bus goes from Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque through Zayed Sport City, the Central Bus Station, to the waterfront and north to the Louvre. If this bus stops somewhere near your hotel, use it.

The fare is 2 dirhams, paid by Hafilat transport card. The interval is 30 minutes and the operating hours are from 7am to 11pm.

Since bus 94 runs between the Louvre and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, it is convenient to see these sights on the same day. Remember, however, that the Great Mosque hall is fully open to non-Muslim tourists only between morning and midday namaz. Therefore, it is better to see the mosque in the morning and the Louvre after. Find the details about the schedule of the mosque in our review "Sheikh Zayed Great Mosque".

The third option - with a guided tour. We usually do not recommend guided tours to our readers for the reason that time at the sights is always given too little. But the Louvre Abu Dhabi is an exception; we recommend the guided tour. The museum is small, and you will have enough time to go around it during the excursion, you will not miss anything important.

The separate excursions to the Louvre are rare. But there are many complex excursions with visiting Louvre included. You can join such a tour not only from Abu Dhabi hotels, but also from Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain.

Such excursions are also arranged from the emirates of Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah, but be prepared for a very early departure from the hotel and a late return back. The price of the excursion - from USD 80 to USD 130, depending on the emirate of departure.

Ticket price

All the prices below include VAT.

For visitors 18 years and older - 63 dirhams.

For visitors under the age of 18 - free of charge.

You can buy tickets in advance at the official website, but there is not much point in doing so, as it will not be cheaper.

However, if you're going to arrive on a weekend, it makes sense to buy tickets online in advance so you don't have to wait in line at the ticket office.

Periodically, The Louvre Abu Dhabi releases promo codes for 8% off tickets. At the time this article was updated (2022), the promo code is "LOUVREABD." If it doesn't work, look for a new promo code on coupon web-sites.

Opening Hours

Monday is a day off.

On other days - from 10 am to 6-30 pm (10-00 to 18-30). The last entrance is at 5-30 pm (17-30).

Attention! At 6-30 pm (18-30), all visitors must leave the museum area as disinfection begins.

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When is the best time for visit

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are the best days. And by no means on Friday afternoons, weekends, or holidays. On weekends and holidays, the line can be like this.

Weekends in the UAE since 2022 are Friday afternoon, Saturday, Sunday. Friday is a Muslim holy day. Read our review "Weekends and Friday in the UAE" for details.

For the calendar of the holidays see our review "National holidays in the UAE".

Tips for tourists - important to know

- You can download the "Louvre Abu Dhabi - Guide" app for your smartphone (available for iOS and Android). In the application, you will find exhibits descriptions and the map of the museum;

- There is free Wi-Fi inside the museum building, and you can download the application directly on the spot. But we recommend that you stock up on headphones in advance;

- Do not take large bags or backpacks with you as large belongings are not allowed inside. You have to take large belongings to the checkroom, and that is a waste of time. If you leave belongings in the checkroom then do not leave documents, money, or valuables inside. The checkroom is not responsible;

- Do not forget about the dress-code - you will not be allowed inside if you are dressed too frivolously. Read about the dress-code in our review "What is not allowed for tourists in the UAE";

- Smoking under the dome is strictly forbidden. To smoke you must go outside. You can get back with your ticket;

- You will not be allowed to enter if you are drunk. Even with the smell of last night's alcohol may not be allowed, and the police may fine you. About the rules on alcohol read our detailed review "Alcohol in the UAE";

- Photography is allowed, but only WITHOUT flash or tripod;

- There is a cafe in the museum, but the prices are very high. We recommend coming well-fed.

Have a great holiday in Abu Dhabi, and read our helpful and interesting pages about the United Arab Emirates (see the list of the pages below).


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