Arts & Culture Cities

A New Louvre Is Opening in This Arab Nation

Most frequent travelers have already crossed Paris’ famed Louvre—the world’s largest art museum—off their bucket list. But another cultural hub is opening its own Paris-approved Louvre, and it might put the institution right back into the top of your travel to-dos: Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Ten years ago, the Paris Louvre agreed to share its name and artwork with a proposed museum in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Now, after several years of delays, the Louvre Abu Dhabi will debut  November 11, 2017, as an “Arab Gulf branch” of the famed Paris Louvre, and will feature works on loan from its French counterpart.

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“I simply want to recall that it took 800 years for the Louvre to become the Louvre and it only took 10 years for another Louvre to be born in Abu Dhabi,” Jean-Luc Martinez, director of the Louvre Museum in Paris, told reporters at a press conference. The museum was developed as part of a new U.A.E. tourism hub on Saadiyat Island to display art and artifacts from all over the world.

A New Louvre: The Louvre Abu Dhabi

The Louvre Abu Dhabi was designed to resemble a shady Arab medina, though in my opinion its sleek white dome also makes it resemble a parked space ship. The founders are calling it “the first museum of its kind in the Arab world,” and “a universal museum focusing on shared human stories across civilizations and cultures.” The works and artifacts will date from ancient time to present day, as the Paris Louvre’s do, and the low-lying, pool-flanked property itself is sure to draw crowds.

The project was delayed five years, according to CNN, due to the global financial crisis and slashed oil prices that have greatly impacted the United Arab Emirates since 2008. Ticket will cost around $16 for adults (or 60 AED), and kids under age 13 can visit free.

“The Louvre is the crown jewel of Paris,” Nahyan bin Mubarak, the U.A.E. Minister of Culture told reporters. “And so the Louvre Abu Dhabi is destined for such distinction in this part of the world.”

Would you make a stop at the Louvre in Abu Dhabi? Comment below.

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Associate Editor Shannon McMahon writes about all things travel. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

By Shannon McMahon

Editor Shannon McMahon is always planning her next trip and often writing in her travel journal. Follow her on Twitter @shanmcmahon_ and on Instagram @shanmcmahon.

Shannon joined SmarterTravel in 2015. A former news reporter, she's lived in the south of Spain, spotted elephants in Sri Lanka, gone spelunking in the Caribbean, hiked Jordan's Petra Basin, interviewed Sao Paulo's Michelin-Star chefs, and explored China via bullet train. Travel trends, news oddities, and her visits to up-and-coming destinations are some of her favorite things to write about.

Her stories have also appeared online on USA Today, The Sun, Huffington Post, Business Insider,,, and more. Her educational background is in journalism, art history, gender studies, Spanish, and film. She's been quoted as an expert travel source by CNBC,, MarketWatch, The Washington Post, USA Today, and more.

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