Want to visit the Louvre of Abu Dhabi during your stay in Dubai? Here I explain everything you need to know! 🙂
Abu Dhabi is an emirate that has evolved a lot in recent years. Its government has set up a large number of projects, with the aim of making Abu Dhabi a top cultural destination, and even THE reference for art in the entire United Arab Emirates. The symbol of this cultural commitment was the creation of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the first major universal museum in the Arab world.
Today, this unique and original museum features works from all countries and eras, and is a must-see during a trip to Abu Dhabi.
Here is an overview of what you can discover in this museum, as well as all the information you need to prepare your visit.
THE LOUVRE ABU DHABI: A ONE-OF-A-KIND MODERN MUSEUM
In March 2007, the partnership between the United Arab Emirates and France began, leading to the creation of the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The project was to bring together the ambition and boldness of the United Arab Emirates with the full range of French expertise in art and museum design. The Louvre Abu Dhabi, which opened in 2017, is today the cultural emblem of the Arab world. It is a place that celebrates all forms of art, in order to create a bridge between the different cultures of the world.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi presents itself as a "universal" museum. As you will easily see during your visit, this means that the works displayed in this museum are multicultural and come from all eras and regions.
In many classical museums, artworks are grouped into collections according to the era or geographical origin to which they belong. At the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the collections are instead organized to pay tribute to the history of art in all human civilizations. Regardless of their provenance, the artworks are grouped according to their commonalities, to highlight the creativity and shared inspirations of artists from all corners of the world.
The museum is sometimes unavailable on certain dates (closed to the public) or when its maximum visitor capacity is reached. Therefore, I strongly recommend that you check beforehand whether the museum will be open and available or not for when you plan to visit the city of Abu Dhabi.
The building that houses the museum is also a work of art in its own right. Designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, it is overlooked by a gigantic silver dome 180 meters in diameter. This multi-layered dome perfectly symbolizes the museum, paying homage to traditional Arab architecture while adopting a decidedly modern style. The sun rays that pass through this dome create a play of light reminiscent of that found in the palm groves of the oases.
The building is beautiful and really ULTRA modern. I really recommend you to check out the Louvre of Abu Dhabi if you don't know what to do in Dubai during your stay.
THE EXHIBITIONS THE LOUVRE ABU DHABI
While you will probably not remain unmoved by the beauty of the building itself, it is inside the museum that you will discover all the wonders of the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The museum's entrance ticket allows access to all the galleries and to see all the exhibitions, both permanent and temporary.
Although the museum opened just a few years ago, its art collection is already extremely prestigious.
As I mentioned earlier, this huge cultural project prepared by Abu Dhabi was put in place 10 years before the museum's opening; and as early as 2009, the museum had already started acquiring some of the artworks.
The museum's galleries were designed to tell a story about the creativity of men and women. More than 600 major works are on permanent display in 12 large galleries.
These galleries are spread over the 4 wings of the museum:
- Wing 1 is made up of 3 galleries that bring together works dating from prehistory to antiquity, from the foundation of the first villages to the creation of the first empires.
- Wing 2 also has 3 galleries. The first is devoted to the history of religions. The second focuses on Asian routes and trade networks between continents. The last one deals with the cultures of the Mediterranean basin, as well as the exchanges between Christian Europe, the Byzantine Empire and the Islamic world.
- Wing 3 consists of 4 galleries, which feature works of art from the era of the great travelers (Age of Discovery) and the beginning of modernization and globalization.
- Wing 4 is devoted to the modern history of art around the world, from the 19th century to the present. The industrial revolution, colonialism and the acceleration of new artistic movements are among the themes addressed in the galleries of this wing.
These galleries have been designed to be visited one after the other, so that viewers can experience a true chronological journey through the history of human creativity.
THE MASTERPIECES OF THE PERMANENT COLLECTION
Among the 600 works on display, I must confess that it is difficult for me to make a choice, but some internationally renowned masterpieces are worth mentioning. The museum houses works by world-renowned artists such as Da Vinci, Picasso and Magritt. There are also works of uncertain origin that are just as important in artistic and historical terms. In the galleries of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, among the many works chosen to present the history of art, you will find:
- The Virgin and Child, by Giovanni Bellini
- The Amphora Showing Heracles Battling the Nemean Lion
- The Astrolabe of Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Battûtî
- Salvator Mundi, (Christ the Redeemer) by Leonardo da Vinci
- Children Wrestling, by Gauguin
- Portrait of a Lady, by Picasso
Under the dome, a central space is reserved for temporary exhibitions. These exhibitions deal with various themes and bring together original works, sometimes very famous ones. As a general rule, each exhibition lasts 3 months. For example, the very first temporary exhibition retraced the history of the creation of the Louvre in Paris. Other themes have since been addressed, such as Japanese art, the Paris of the Années Folles (Crazy Years), and the Dutch Golden Age.
The space under the dome, on the ground and second floors, also offers other activities, such as screenings. It also houses the Children's Museum, which offers creative and manual educational workshops. Temporary exhibitions specially designed for the youngest visitors are regularly organized there.
PREPARING YOUR VISIT TO THE LOUVRE ABU DHABI
For your visit to the museum, I recommend buying your tickets online instead of directly at the museum. You won't even need to print them in advance: just keep them on your smartphone and present them once at the museum entrance.
If you plan to visit the museum as a family, each child under 13 years old will have to be accompanied by an adult, so it is for example impossible for an adult couple to visit with 3 children under 13.
The entrance ticket gives you a 3 hour tour, which in my experience will not be too much if you wish to be able to admire many of the artworks that are present in the galleries. The tickets are dated, and you will have to respect the arrival time you choose. It is best to plan your arrival about ten minutes before the time indicated on your ticket, to be sure to make the most of your visit.
PRICES AND OPENING HOURS OF THE LOUVRE ABU DHABI
The entrance ticket for the Louvre Abu Dhabi allows access to all the museum's galleries, temporary and permanent exhibitions, all public areas, the Fouquet's Abu Dhabi restaurant and the souvenir store. For adults over 18 years old, it costs AED 63, or approximately $17. Admission is free for those under 18 years of age, as well as for disabled persons with a companion or a personal care attendant.
In addition, it is a ticket that will allow you to avoid waiting in line on the day of the visit.
You also have the option of taking an all-in-one ticket if you do not have a vehicle. This will allow you to combine round-trip transportation from downtown Dubai to Abu Dhabi, with a stop at the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum, and another at the famous Sheikh Zayed Mosque.
In one day, you will have the opportunity to visit 2 of the most famous monuments in the city of Abu Dhabi.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6:30 pm. On Mondays, the museum is closed all day. When you make your reservation, you can choose the time slot for your visit, with the last possible visit starting at 5:30 pm.
In my opinion, the Louvre Museum is definitely a must-see activity in Abu Dhabi!
HOW TO GET TO THE LOUVRE ABU DHABI?
To get to the museum, I think the easiest way is to take the car. Abu Dhabi to Dubai is easily done by car. With a drive time of approximately 1.5 hours, it is absolutely possible to plan a full day trip to this major cultural landmark in the UAE. When visiting the UAE, you will find that having a car at your disposal will be a real plus, as the various places of interest can be so far apart. If your stay is neither too short nor too long, I recommend renting a car.
From downtown Abu Dhabi, you'll need to head to Yas Island and take the Sheikh Khalifa Bridge. Just follow the directions signs to the Cultural District, from which you can easily find your way to the Louvre Abu Dhabi. On-site visitor parking is available for easy parking near the museum entrance.
If you are in the city of Abu Dhabi, you can also take the number 94 bus.
You will need to get off at the Louvre Abu Dhabi stop on Saadiyat Island, which is only a few hundred meters from the museum entrance.
From Dubai, you’ll have to take the E11 highway, then the Saadiyat Island/Yas Island exit and cross Yas Highway to get to the Cultural District.
For more information, please visit the museum's website.