For Just $33, You Can Take a Tour of the Louvre When the Museum Is Normally Closed to the Public

In a bid to attract more locals, the Louvre and Airbnb have launched exclusive tours and intimate evening concerts at the museum.

Visitors jostling to get a pic of da Vinci's Mona Lisa at the Louvre in France. Photo via Flickr.

Jay-Z and Beyoncé aren’t the only people who can tour the Louvre when the museum is closed. The Paris institution has teamed up with Airbnb to offer visitors the opportunity to book a guided tour of the museum’s masterpieces when its galleries are deserted. All you need is a valid credit card.

The program is an outgrowth of a contest that offered a winning duo the chance to sleep over at the museum, complete with a personal tour and dinner alongside the Venus de Milo, last month

Now, the apartment-share company and the world’s most-visited museum are expanding their partnership by offering a series of “intimate” evening concerts and exclusive guided tours. The latter will take place when the museum is closed on Tuesdays. (A spokeswoman for the Louvre confirmed, however, that it does not plan to offer any more overnight stays this year.)

The two-hour tours are limited to just 15 people and will be held one Tuesday morning and afternoon per month from September through the end of the year. They cost €30 ($33). Meanwhile, the evening concerts—which max out at 50 people—are held in the museum’s Café Richelieu and come with entry to the museum.

The inaugural concert was held last week; five more are scheduled from June to September. Each ticket costs €20 ($22), and the proceeds go to the Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, which is supported by the young French musician Clara Luciani, who organized the novel program.

While these projects might seem gimmicky to some, they come with a serious goal. With annual attendance of more than 10 million visitors, many of whom are foreign tourists, the Louvre has been struggling to reach its local audience.

The low-key announcement of the Louvre and Airbnb’s programming—the press statement on the Airbnb website is in French only—seems in line with the museum director Jean-Luc Martinez’s aim to attract more Parisians to the institution. In a strategic move earlier this year, free Sundays, which were popular with foreign tourists, were dropped in favor of free Saturdays once a month. The museum has also introduced family-friendly evening events aimed at locals.

Emmanuel Marill, the French president of the Airbnb, said in a statement: “Through these experiments, we wish to give [Parisians] the opportunity to reclaim the museum and rediscover it in a more authentic and intimate way. We share with the Louvre this desire to make art and heritage accessible to all.”


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