The Louvre Museum said it would raise its basic ticket price to 22 euros from 17 euros beginning next month in the latest sign that visitors may face higher costs ahead of next year’s Summer Olympics in Paris.
The Louvre, which expects to have welcomed nearly 9 million visitors by the end of the year, said the approximately 30 percent price hike would go into effect on Jan. 15 and was part of the museum’s effort to offset rising energy costs and support its free admission programs geared toward local residents.
While the increase was not directly tied to the Paris Summer Olympics, it was seen as part of a larger trend of rising prices across the French capital as it prepares to host nearly 10 million people in town for the Games, which will run from July 20 to Sept. 8.
Last month, the city’s transportation agency was weighing whether to double the price of a Metro ride — to €4 (about $4.30) from €2.10 — for the duration of the Summer Olympics to cover increased operation costs to meet higher demand.
Hoteliers were also expected to raise rates for the Games, prompting concerns of price gouging, according to the French newspaper Le Monde.
But the increased museum admission was part of a broader revamp that was already underway, the Louvre said.
Since her appointment as the Louvre’s president and director in 2021, Laurence des Cars has sought to overhaul the state-owned museum, with plans to open a new entrance on its easternmost facade to tame the relentlessly thick congestion to get inside via the giant glass-and-steel Louvre Pyramid.
By doing so, des Cars hopes to re-enchant Parisians who have been gradually repelled by the suffocating crush of tourists.
The Louvre is home to more than 33,000 works of art ranging from Greek marble sculptures to immersive Renaissance paintings.
The biggest draw of all is the Mona Lisa, painted by Leonardo da Vinci. Perhaps the most famous painting in the world, it has saddled the Louvre with what has been called the “Mona Lisa problem.” Her unparalleled allure attracts frenzied flocks of tourists, creating a chaos that has turned off local residents.
This year, des Cars capped the daily attendance at 30,000 visitors, down from peaks as high as 45,000 before the coronavirus pandemic.
“We must rebalance the Louvre,” de Cars said when she announced the change.
The new price will largely affect tourists.
The French make up 30 percent of visitors, but more than half don’t have to spend a single euro for admission because they are children or are eligible to enter free, either under a program for European Union residents who are younger than 26 or for people in certain professions.