Exploring the Cultural Oasis: A Journey through the Louvre Museum Abu Dhabi

Louvre Museum Abu Dhabi

Step into the captivating realm of art and culture at the esteemed Louvre Museum Abu Dhabi. Featuring a diverse range of permanent exhibitions, temporary installations, and an extraordinary collection of artifacts, this museum promises an enriching experience for both art aficionados and inquisitive visitors. 

Embark on a unique journey spanning from ancient history to the future: marvel at stones dating back to the early Paleolithic period, peruse some of the earliest photographs, behold the 6th-century head of Buddha, and admire a folio from the Blue Q’uran, a handwritten copy of the Muslim holy book. Additionally, you can explore the Gothic Bible, the Pentateuch, and renowned masterpieces by the likes of Leonardo Da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Edouard Manet, Auguste Rodin, and many more.

In this article, we will delve into the essential elements of the Louvre Museum Abu Dhabi, offering valuable insights, ticket options, transportation details, and comprehensive reviews of each zone within the museum.

Facts About Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi

  • Recommended time: 2-4 hours
  • Facilities: restrooms, free shaded parking area, free WI-FI, prayer rooms, an ATM, First Aid, cloakrooms, a restaurant, a lounge, 2 cafés, 1 bar, a shop, wheelchairs and strollers free hiring, sensory devices for blind and visually impaired, golf cart service, kayaking tours

Louvre Museum Abu Dhabi - Cafe

History

In 2009, the construction of an art museum called Louvre (Louvre Abu Dhabi) commenced in the cultural district of Saadiyat Island, the capital of the UAE. 

The official launch event was graced by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, and French President Jacques Chirac. The collaboration was formalized internationally through an intergovernmental agreement in 2007.

The ancient artworks were overseen by French managers, who were paid an additional $750 million by Abu Dhabi, in addition to $525 million for the right to use the Louvre name. 

The development of the museum had difficulties despite the significant financial commitments, resulting in several delays in the opening date because of the unstable economy caused by the drop in oil prices.

Finally, in 2017, the museum opened.

With two million visits by 2019, the Louvre Abu Dhabi had become the most visited museum in the Arab world. Three important honors were given to the Abu Dhabi Louvre Museum: MEED Quality Project of the Year, UAE National Winner 2018, and Leisure and Tourism Project of the Year.

Architecture 

Louvre Abu Dhabi Architecture 

The structure situated on Saadiyat Island, offering breathtaking vistas of the Persian Gulf, represents the inaugural outpost of the Louvre beyond the borders of France. Renowned architect Jean Nouvel, recipient of the Pritzker Prize, is credited with envisioning the external and internal design.

On a 24,000-square-meter plot, Nouvel and his colleagues designed a layout with 55 immaculate white buildings, 23 galleries, a temporary exhibition area, a children’s museum, a 200-seat lecture hall, a restaurant, cafés, and a shop – all of which are reminiscent of traditional Arab architecture and an oasis city.

The most impressive feature is a massive white dome made of steel and aluminum that encloses all the buildings and is 180 meters in circumference and 36 meters tall. There are 7,850 geometric forms in this elaborate dome, and they all resemble stars. Through the holes, sunlight may enter the interior, giving the impression of a large, finely woven lace.

Masterpieces

Masterpieces at Louvre Abu Dhabi

The unparalleled collection encompasses the entirety of human history and stands as a pioneering endeavor not only in the United Arab Emirates but also across the Middle East. Geopolitical, ideological, and historical divides are secondary to the philosophy of the galleries, which is centered around the themes of unity and identity as the origin of all human creation from antiquity to the present.

The oldest artifact harks back to the Paleolithic era, exemplified by the Hand Axe. 

Over thirty years and six months, masterpieces such as “Madonna and Child” by Giovanni Bellini, “Houses of Parliament” and “Gare Saint-Lazare” by Claude Monet,  “The Bohemian” by Edouard Manet, “Breton Boys Wrestling” by Paul Gauguin “La Belle Ferronnière” by Leonardo da Vinci, “Napoleon at the St. Bernard Pass” by Jacques Louis David, a self-portrait of Vincent van Gogh, “Still Life with Magnolia” by Henri Matisse,  and the marble sculpture “Drunken Bacchus” by Auguste Rodin temporarily departed from Paris.

The bronze sculpture “Leaves of Light” by Italian sculptor Giuseppe Penone, which depicts a cherry tree with mirrors hanging from its branches, skillfully captures and reflects the sunshine that streams through the museum’s canopy. 

The collection also boasts works from modern art luminaries such as Vassily Kandinsky, Andy Warhol, and Cy Twombly.

Louvre Museum Abu Dhabi Map

The twelve sections that make up each gallery of the museum recount the narrative of humanity in chronological order. Let us explore their distinctive collections and relics:

  1. The First Villages: Unearth treasures from the period of approximately 500,000-1700 BCE, including the enigmatic Female Figurine from Ancient Egypt, the ancient allure of the Hand Axe, and the intriguing Cypriot idol with 2 heads.
  2. The First Great Powers: Explore the emergence of the inaugural kingdoms near the Tigris, Euphrates, Nile, Indus, and Yellow Rivers around 3000 BCE. Witness the allure of praying figures from Iraq or Syria and the timeless elegance of The Goddess Isis Nursing Her Son Horus, jewelry from China and Iran, and figures of pharaohs and gods of Ancient Egypt.
  3. Civilizations and Empires: Traverse the transition from the first kingdoms to expansive cultural and political groups from around 1000 BCE. Marvel at artifacts like the Amphora, Chinese Candleholder, and the Military Helmet of the Greek Archaic period.
  4. Universal Religions: This section endeavors to weave a universal narrative about religions and their profound influence on intellectual and artistic expression across the continents. Delve into a diverse array of artifacts, from the exquisite French sculpture of the Virgin and Child to a 14th-century mosque lamp hailing from the Mameluk Empire. Marvel at a sixteenth-century painted sculpture depicting Christ displaying his wounds, alongside open copies of the Jewish Torah, Christian Bible, and the Muslim Qur’an. Additionally, explore objects representing African animism, Hinduism, and Buddhism, offering a comprehensive view of diverse faith traditions.
  5. Asian Trade Routes: Embark on a captivating exploration of the flourishing trade routes connecting Asia, the Islamic world, and Europe, as this gallery illuminates the migration of objects across cultures. Uncover treasures such as the Romance Of The Rose, a literary masterpiece comprising 22,000 verses written around 1230, and the Book of Hours from the 15th century by Willem Vrelant. Encounter the timeless allure of the Chinese Bactrian Horse from the 8th century and other captivating artifacts that bear witness to the rich tapestry of intercontinental trade.
  6. From the Mediterranean to the Atlantic: Behold the allure of history with a steel-silver-enamel sword crafted for the last emir of the kingdom of Granada, the ancient Mari-cha bronze lion dating back to 1000-1200, the timeless saga of The Romance of Troy, and a basin adorned with the name of Bonifilius.
  7. The World in Perspective: Immerse yourself in a world of wonder, featuring Apollo, a 16th-century French rendition of the classical marble statue, Leonardo Da Vinci’s captivating portrait of a lady, the enigmatic La Belle Ferronniere, door panels adorned with intricate geometric motifs, and a captivating array of ceramic dishes sourced from China and the Ottoman empire during the Mamluk dynasty.
  8. The Magnificence of the Court: Step into a realm of regal depictions, featuring French and Japanese ceremonial armors, an equestrian bronze sculpture of Philip V of Spain dating back to 1702-1705, a Benin bronze head of an oba or king, and an array of captivating paintings showcasing illustrious rulers.
  9. A New Art of Living: Experience the opulence of the 18th and 19th centuries, with a display of paper-based artworks, calligraphy, a striking red-lacquered commode, the monumental painting of Napoleon Bonaparte crossing the Alps, and two exquisite plaster statues by Antonio Canova, offering a glimpse into the dawn of a new era.
  10. A Modern World?: Step into the realm of modernity with a glimpse of history, including one of the earliest photographs taken by man, “Jean De Paris,” the evocative piece ‘Road At Briquet,’ Vincent Van Gogh’s introspective ‘Self-Portrait,’ and American artist James McNeill Whistler’s renowned 1871 creation, ‘Whistler’s Mother.’ Delve into the captivating allure of ‘The Bohemian’ and ‘The Fife Player’ by French painter Edouard Manet, as well as ‘Saint-Lazare Train Station’ by French Impressionist Claude Monet, and more, offering a mesmerizing journey through the evolution of art.
  11. Challenging Modernity: It boasts of 20th-century artworks, featuring the visionary works of Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso’s captivating ‘Bust of a Woman’ and “Portrait of a Woman,” Henri Matisse’s vibrant ‘Still Life with a Magnolia,’ Yves Klein’s enigmatic ‘Untitled Anthropometry,’ Japanese artist Kazuo Shiraga’s compelling ‘Chirisei Kyubiki,’ and an array of captivating sculptures by Alexander Calder and Jean Tinguely.
  12. A Global Stage: Experience the allure of contemporary art, from Zhang Huan’s thought-provoking ‘Family Tree,’ a series of photographs depicting hieroglyphs on the author’s face that tell stories of social and cultural influences, to Ai Weiwei’s mesmerizing ‘Fountain of Light,’ a twisting steel structure adorned with 32,400 glass crystals, inspired by the unbuilt Vladimir Tatlin’s Monument to the Third International. Delve into the evocative ‘Food for Thought – Al Muallaqat’ by Maha Malluh, where 11 pots bear the traces of their history and the stories told during meals by a formerly nomadic people with a tradition handed down orally, offering a captivating glimpse into contemporary artistic expression.

The estimated time for viewing each 3 galleries is 20 minutes.

Temporary Exhibitions

Temporary Exhibitions at Louvre Museum Abu Dhabi

Cartier, Islamic Inspiration and Modern Design

  • Dates: 16 November 2023 – 24 March 2024

Highlighting a collection of more than 400 pieces encompassing jewelry, precious objects, and masterpieces of Islamic art, as well as drawings, textiles, and photographs, this exhibition offers a captivating exploration of the enduring impact of Islamic arts on Cartier’s designs from the early 20th century to the contemporary era. Enhancing the experience, the exhibition will feature immersive digital projections, inviting visitors to delve into the intricate shapes and patterns that have influenced Cartier’s creations inspired by the rich heritage of Islamic arts.

Letters of Light

  • Dates: 13 September 2023 – 14 January 2024

Guests will have the opportunity to explore a stunning array of sacred manuscripts from the monotheistic religions, alongside a collection of artifacts sourced from the esteemed holdings of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Musée du Louvre, and Louvre Abu Dhabi, offering a unique and enriching experience.

Transparencies – Art Here 2023

  • Dates: 24 November 2023 – 18 February 2024

This year, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is calling upon artists from the Gulf Cooperation Council nations to present innovative sculptures and installations that delve into the complexities of transparency – both in terms of its physical properties and its impact on perception. 

The showcase will be hosted for the inaugural time beneath the museum’s elaborate floating dome, which plays with the interplay of shadows, fluid reflections, and bursts of penetrating sunlight, serving as an inspiration for the participating artists.

Picturing the Cosmos

  • Dates: 20 July 2023 onwards

Embarking on a journey of space exploration through the fusion of science and art awaits visitors at the Children’s Museum. 

This avant-garde zone immerses guests in an experience reminiscent of being aboard a spacecraft from a Star Wars adventure or within a cutting-edge laboratory dedicated to the exploration of uncharted galaxies. Within this space, visitors can uncover the profound fascination that artists from varied origins have held for the cosmos across the ages, and witness their diverse interpretations of the universe.

Children’s Museum

Children s Museum at Louvre Abu Dhabi

Spanning across two levels, the children’s museum typically showcases the artistic endeavors of young creators aged between six and twelve, with the primary goal of fostering creativity and nurturing their budding talents.

Moreover, young visitors have the opportunity to engage in a variety of ongoing activities designed to uncover latent abilities and kindle their creativity. This presents an excellent chance for families to not only enjoy a visit together but also to gauge a child’s aptitude in areas such as painting or sculpture. Currently, the museum is featuring its newest exhibition titled ‘Picturing the Cosmos’.

Picturing the Cosmos - Children s Museum at Louvre Abu Dhabi

Timings

Louvre Abu Dhabi welcomes visitors from 10:00 AM to 12:00 AM, Tuesday through Sunday. On Mondays, the museum doesn’t work. 

The galleries and exhibitions conclude at 6:30 PM from Tuesday to Thursday, and at 8:30 PM from Friday to Sunday.

Ticket Options

GetYourGuide
Louvre Abu Dhabi: Entry Tickets AED 63.28/~ USD 17 Check availability
Abu Dhabi: Guided Kayak Tour around Louvre AED 126/ ~USD 34.33 Check availability
Tiqets
Tickets for Louvre Abu Dhabi & City Tour AED 165.28/ ~USD 45 Check availability
Tickets for Kayaking in the Louvre Abu Dhabi AED 126.00/~USD 34.33 Check availability
Louvre Abu Dhabi: Skip The Line Ticket AED 63.00/ ~USD 17 Check availability
Platinumlist
Louvre Abu Dhabi AED 63 / ~USD 17.85 Check availability
RaynaTours
Louvre Abu Dhabi Tickets AED 57.96/~USD 15.7 Check availability
Louvre Abu Dhabi Tickets

With Private Transfer

AED 673.96/~ USD 183 Check availability
Klook
Louvre Abu Dhabi Ticket AED 55/~USD 15.09 Check availability

Abu Dhabi City Tour – Glimpse at Louvre (without entry)

AED 84/~USD 22.80 Check availability
Viator

Louvre Abu Dhabi Skip-the-Line Ticket

AED 85/~USD 23.29 Check availability

Booking Policy

Check to see if your tickets to the Louvre Museum allow for a total refund:

  • GetYourGuide – 24-hour cancellation policy.
  • Tiqets – 15-hour cancellation policy with the option to reschedule (for City Tour), 24-hour cancellation policy with the option to reschedule (for Kayaking), and until 11:59 PM the day before the visit with no rescheduling (Skip the Line package).
  • Platinumlist – no refund.
  • RaynaTours – 12-hour cancellation policy
  • Klook – standard entry non-refundable, 48-hour cancellation policy (for 1-hour Guided Kayak Tour at Louvre).

Location

The exact address is Saadiyat – Abu Dhabi.

How To Reach

  • By bus: Abu Dhabi city bus 94.  If you are going from Dubai, check out Dubai to Abu-Dhabi bus timings and routes.
  • Abu Dhabi Shuttle Bus, Route A1 offers convenient service with 6 available stops. Refer to their timetables for scheduling details. 
  • The Cultural Express: Enjoy a complimentary ride from Dubai to the museum by hopping onto the Cultural Express. The shuttle operates between two stops – Louvre Abu Dhabi and Qasr al Watan. Departure from Sheraton Mall of the Emirates Hotel, Dubai is at 9:00 AM, with return trips to Dubai from Qasr al Watan at 6:00 PM and from Louvre Abu Dhabi at 6:35 PM.
  • By Water Taxi: Opt for the water taxi service from Marsa Mina to Louvre Abu Dhabi. Adult tickets are priced at 15 AED, while children under 12 years old can avail tickets for 10 AED.
  • By car: There are plenty of free shaded parking spaces available to visitors.
free shaded parking at Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum
Free shaded parking at Louvre Abu Dhabi

Rules

Guests visiting the museum are required to abide by the following rules:

  • Children under the age of twelve must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Pets are not permitted on the property.
  • It is strictly forbidden to smoke.
  • Observe the policies and procedures of the museum, especially the ones regarding selfie stick photography restrictions.
  • Running, cycling, roller-skating, climbing barriers, or railings are not permitted.
  • It is not permitted to bring large bags onto the property.
  • Guests must dress respectfully.

Louvre Museum Abu Dhabi Rules

Tips

The following suggestions may help you get the most out of Louvre Abu Dhabi:

  • Explore the outdoor area, where you might be fortunate enough to encounter sea turtles.
  • Opt for comfortable footwear, as there is a considerable amount of walking involved.
  • Allocate a minimum of 2-3 hours to appreciate all the exhibits fully.
  • Witness a captivating drone display after 7 PM.
  • Enhance your visit by downloading the complimentary app guide available in 7 languages: English, Arabic, French, Mandarin, Russian, German and Hindi.
  • Take your headphones with you to listen to the multimedia guide.
  • Consider embarking on a kayaking tour priced at AED 126 per person, available from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM, excluding Mondays, or electric catamaran tours priced at AED 105 per person. It is advisable to secure a booking in advance.

Reviews

Here are the most mentioned assessments on Google Maps regarding Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Pros:

  • The distinctive architectural design of the museum.
  • Wide-ranging exhibits.
  • Suitable for various preferences: a blend of ancient and contemporary artworks.
  • A spacious layout minimizes overcrowding.
  • Quality cafes are available.

Cons:

  • Signage with small fonts. 

Sights Nearby

  1. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center
  2. SeaWorld Abu-Dhabi
  3. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi
  4. Qasr Al Watan
  5. Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi
  6. Yas Waterpark

Photos

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About The Author

Website | + posts

I am Anastasia, the author of this blog and a passionate and experienced traveler who resides in the UAE.

I have visited every Emirate, every popular sight, and every hidden gem.

I m here to help you make your trip to the UAE unforgettable.

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