Situated at the confluence of cultures from Europe, Asia, and Africa, Abu Dhabi is emerging as a raw canvas, set to inspire inter-cultural dialogues. A manifestation of this thought, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, with its exquisite French design and centuries old heritage of the Arab world, is a bold representation of the many cultures and traditions that have been shaping our world for centuries.
Created by Pritzker Architecture Prize winner, Jean Nouvel, the Louvre Abu Dhabi was inaugurated on November 8, 2017. Taking inspiration from Abu Dhabi’s idyllic virgin lagoon island, Saadiyat, the world-renowned architect designed a façade that brilliantly complements the chronological journey of the world, aptly characterizing the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s collection.
The 55 buildings that make up the museum city are blanketed by an aluminium and steel latticed dome, inspired by the mashrabiya, a screen used in the Middle East as protection from the harsh sunlight. The sunlight filters through the dozens of stars stenciled within the dome, and the soft beams of light create a magical aura at every turn in the museum.
An impressive architectural feat, Abu Dhabi's newest museum stands as cultural institution, rooted in universal human values, fostering respect, curiosity, learning and self-reflection. From what to see and how to get tickets, here's your guide to experiencing the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
Louvre Abu Dhabi in a Nutshell
The Louvre Abu Dhabi is a treasure trove of experience. Via twenty galleries, journey through twelve chronological chapters as you travel through centuries of world civilization. The Louvre Abu Dhabi also has a dedicated section for children, where they can use interactive aids to understand the many layers of history. Within the museum grounds, architect Nouvel has brilliantly designed a café, as well as a an open plaza. As part of the Saadiyat Island Cultural Hub, this ‘Universal Museum’ is set to be the beginning of so much more than a single attraction. With upcoming neighbors, including the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, the inauguration of the Louvre Abu Dhabi is the birth of a new cultural hub.
- La Belle Ferronnière, aslo known as, Portrait of an Unknown Lady by Leonardo da Vinci
- The portrait of Napoleon by David
- La Gare Saint-Lazare by Claude Monet
- Portrait of a Lady by Pablo Picasso
- Self -portrait by Vincent van Gogh
Must-see sculptures & artifacts
- Statue of Gudea, Prince of Lagash, Praying
- Monumental Statue with Two Heads
- Page of the ‘Blue Qur’an‘
- Fountain of Light
Saturday - Wednesday 10 AM to 8 PM
Thursday - Friday 10 AM - 10 PM
Closed on Monday
Saadiyat Cultural District, Saadiyat Island - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates
Louvre Abu Dhabi Tickets
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A Universal Museum - Louvre Abu Dhabi Origin Story
The concept of Louvre Abu Dhabi was conceived back in 2007, when the French government and the United Arab Emirates came together to create a universal museum that would tell the story of the world through works of art. An ambitious project, the two parties happily accepted the challenge. Built on 64,000 square meters of pristine white museum city, the massive Arabian counterpart of Paris’s Louvre houses unique paintings, sculptures, and other artworks that have been sourced in collaboration with the Agence France Museums.
In Nouvel’s words, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is - “A welcoming world serenely combining light and shadow, reflection and calm. It wishes to belong to a country, to its history, to its geography without becoming a flat translation. It also aims to emphasise the fascination generated by rare encounters.”
As the largest art and culture museum of its kind in the Arab world, the Louvre Abu Dhabi was conceptualised to embody the similarities that cut across centuries and traditions in different parts of the world. The multicultural museum will be using the name Louvre for thirty years, and the growing unique collection here is a combination of original pieces from the Middle East, as well as artefacts from all over the world.
What to See
The twenty galleries of the Louvre Abu Dhabi are going to have on display some of the most famous art pieces from across the world, like the La Belle Ferronnière, a portrait of an unknown lady by Leonardo da Vinci, the portrait of Napoleon by David, a 6th Century BC Grecian sphinx, a bronze Oba head that belonged to the Benin Kingdom, and marble nymphs from Versailles.
Some of the other famous paintings that are now bracing the galleries of Louvre Abu Dhabi are ‘La Gare Saint-Lazare’ by Claude Monet, ‘Portrait of a Lady’ by Pablo Picaso,, and a self-portrait by Vincent van Gogh.
Every year, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, in collaboration with thirteen French Museum partners, will host four temporary exhibitions that will follow the same theme as the permanent exhibits in the museum’s galleries, and offer an exclusive experience to the visitors of the newly opened universal museum.
The two- floored Children’s museum at the centre of the Louvre Abu Dhabi is designed to pick the curiosity of children between the ages 6 and 12 years. Parents too can accompany the children here and engage in various activities that will help the young minds grasp the importance of art and culture and get the most out of the museum.
Louvre Abu Dhabi Tickets
If you are planning a trip to Abu Dhabi, plan to spend a full day at the Louvre, as there is so much to see! It is strongly recommended that you book your tickets in advance, online, as this newest addition to UAE’s tourist map is expected to attract tourists and art lovers from across the globe. The advance tickets will give you access to the museum galleries, children’s museum, exhibitions and other public spaces under the latticed dome.
Louvre Abu Dhabi Reviews
This cross-culture approach really works, it puts everything in context…If you look at things in a linear way, you miss out. - The Art Newspaper
It is the first time we not only have the decompartmentalisation of museum departments, but a means of reflecting on unexpected dialogues between artefacts… -The Guardian
- Saturday-Wednesday: 10 am- 8 pm
- Thursday- Friday: 10 am- 10 pm
- Closed on Monday
Louvre Abu Dhabi is located in Saadiyat Island's Cultural District. Designed to be the largest single cluster of world-class cultural assets, the area is expected to grow immensely in the coming years.
- By bus:
Take bus #94 to the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island stop.
- By car:
If you are driving in from Abu Dhabi City, head toward Zayed Port (Mena Zayed), and follow the signs to reach Yas Island, which will then lead you to the Saadiyat Island via the Sheikh Khalifa Bridge. Take the road off Sheikh Khalifa Highway E12 to reach the Cultural District and take the first exit after the bridge to reach the museum.
- By taxi:
If you are planning to travel by taxi, there are dedicated drop-off and pick-up points in front of the museum's main entrance.
- If you're interested in learning more about the artefacts and the architecture from local experts, opting for a tour guide is well wroth the extra cost.
- Each of the galleries are numbered, making it easy for visitors to follow the sequence and explore all 12 chapters of world history.
- The architecture of Louvre Abu Dhabi is just as impressive as the artifacts it houses. Be sure to spend sometime admiring the outdoor pools and overall structure.
- The museum city is huge; make the most of your experience by allotting plenty of time to enjoy the place to its fullest. We recommend a full day.
Louvre Abu Dhabi Fast Facts
- The floating dome, which is the identifying feature of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, is an eight-layered blanket of honeycombed steel and aluminium, weighing almost as much as the Eiffel Tower (7,300 tonnes)!
- The combination of filtered light that enters from the dome, reflective surfaces, and stone floors lend the museum its own microclimate, keeping the temperature nice and cooler inside.
- Over 503,000 cubic meters of sand was moved to lay the foundation of the museum.
- The geometric structure of the dome has 7,850 stars shining down at the museum with rays of light.
- There is going to be a 1 km long underground tunnel that will connect the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Zayed National Museum, and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.