Good news for fans of European vacations and French museums. Some of the biggest attractions in and around Paris have just announced that they will be extending their opening hours to seven days a week for a two-year trial. Starting in 2015 and running through 2017, The Louvre, the Palace of Versailles and Musée d’Orsay will no longer shut down for one day each week. Currently the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays, while Versailles and Musée d’Orsay are shuttered on Mondays.
This is in line with several museums across Europe and New York that have also upped their schedules in recent years to help keep up with growing demand as they try to increase revenue for their institution. This new policy by the Ministry of Culture could result in big changes in how tourists experience Paris. Let’s take a look at some of the potential impacts.
The LouvreMonday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday: 9 AM to 6 PMWednesday, Friday: 9 AM to 9:45 PMClosed on Tuesdays
Related: 7 Tips for surviving the Louvre
Musée d’OrsayTuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 9:30 AM to 6 PMThursdays: 9:30 AM to 9:45 PMClosed on Mondays
Related: Tips for visiting Musée d’Orsay
Palace of VersailleTuesday through Sunday: 9 am to 5:30 PM (6:30 PM in high season)Closed on Mondays
Related: 5 Tips for making the most of your visit to Palace of Versaille
Will the Louvre lines grow shorter or longer with the new daily schedule? Photo: Eric Chan
As the schedules stand now, other museums gain visitors when their counterparts are closed. This can lead to even longer waits than usual, and for anyone who has been to Paris recently, the last thing you want to do is spend even more time in line. For example, tourists will flock to the Louvre on Mondays, because Palace of Versailles and Musée d’Orsay are both closed on that day. Consequently, the same goes for Tuesdays, when visitors are turned away from the Louvre.
Maybe this will decrease congestion and help improve the flow? Right now visitors have to carefully plan their strategy if they want explore these iconic French landmarks. The crowds and lines can be difficult to navigate, and you need to know when each of the museums is not open. You can easily waste valuable time, especially if you’re only in the city for a few days. More options for visitors can never hurt, and being able to create a more flexible schedule for a visit is a good thing.
For the budget traveler to Paris this new policy could have significant benefits. The city’s museum pass is already a good deal for those who want to focus on cultural highlights on a Paris vacation. It might become an even better deal once theses museums open everyday, as card holders will have more opportunities to get into the big ones like the Louvre. For those planning a weekend trip with a Monday or Tuesday tacked on, it will be a lot easier to squeeze in a few extra visits and get your money’s worth out of a museum card.
Related: 50 ways to save time and money in Paris
MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) in New York switched to a daily schedule in 2013, and I could immediately feel the impact. It’s still usually packed, but having an extra day to visit has seemed to thin out the crowds over all seven days. As a member, it’s also nice to have an added day during the week to catch that blockbuster show before it closes.
In the end, more is always better than less when it comes to access to local attractions, and being open that extra day can only lead to positive impacts for visitors and locals alike. We’ll wait to see the final results, but we’ll stay hopeful that once these changes are made, we’ll have more time to explore Paris and less time standing in a queue.
What do you think? Are you excited for these new changes coming to Paris? Let us know!