Outrage as Paris Jacks Up Museum Ticket Prices Ahead of the Summer Olympics

To raise ticket prices "such an astronomical amount is shameful," said a Sorbonne professor.

Visitors queue to enter the Louvre museum in Paris, on August 9, 2023. Photo: MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images.

As the final preparations are underway for Paris to host the Olympic Games this summer, the city’s museums have been increasing ticket prices by as much as 30 percent. The Louvre’s general admission leapt from €17 ($18.30) to €22 ($23.70) at the beginning of this year. Slightly less bank-breaking increases include an extra €1 ($1.10) to enter the Musée Picasso, €1.50 for the Palace of Versailles, and €2 for the Musée Rodin.

Commentators have noted that these new prices are conveniently timed in anticipation of some 15 million sport-obsessives landing in just a few months time, according to London’s Times.

The Louvre has refused to publicly comment on its reasons for the hike, but an anonymous curator told Alternatives Economiques that the museum is under pressure to finance various projects, including the construction of a new entrance. France has refused to provide more state funding.

“We agreed with an increase in prices, but absolutely not to this extent, especially in a context of inflation,” the curator revealed. “This distances us from local audiences, even though the challenge is to attract them.”

Alternatives Economiques has estimated that the Louvre’s decision to cash-in on the Olympics-induced tourism bonanza will bring in a sweet extra €44.3 million ($47.8 million).

“For the Louvre to raise its entrance ticket by such an astronomical amount is shameful,” Sorbonne professor Eric Anceau told The Times.

The newspaper noted that 30 percent of visitors to France’s municipal museums, which tend to be free, are from a lower socio-economic background. This is compared to just 13 percent for the much pricier Parisian state museums, which rely on foreign visitors for 70 percent of their footfall.

Another professor at Paris 1 University told Alternatives Economiques: “With such an increase in prices, visiting a museum becomes something exceptional. However, you don’t see a museum like the Louvre in one go. Local visitors should be encouraged to come regularly, for short periods of time, for example at lunchtime.”

It was recently announced that the Paris Olympics medals will each contain a little piece of the iconic Eiffel Tower.

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