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France to keep Louvre, Versailles open 7 days a week

Loïc Venance, AFP | The Louvre museum in Paris hosts more than 9.2 million visitors a year

Three of France’s most-visited sites – the Louvre, the Palace of Versailles and Musée d’Orsay – will be open seven days a week next year, creating new jobs and boosting France’s strained economy, the government’s budget for 2015 showed Wednesday.

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The seven-day access, which follows in the steps of the main museums in London, Madrid and New York, “will improve the reception of the public and will allow more access to the works” on display there, the culture ministry wrote.

“The accessibility to our national heritage is at the heart of the government’s priorities,” it said when announcing the two-year trial that starts next year.

The ministry also said the move would create new jobs that would automatically be financed by the extra revenues brought in by the increased ticket sales.

The Louvre, which houses Leonardo da Vinci’s world-famous Mona Lisa, is already one of the world’s most visited museums, receiving more than 9.2 million visitors a year. The Palace of Versailles - the former court of French kings - hosts some seven million visitors, while Musée d’Orsay receives some 3.5 million visitors annually.

At present, the three museums stay open six days a week, keeping their doors closed on either Mondays (Musée d’Orsay, Versailles) or Tuesdays (Louvre).

The new plan is also expected to add a welcome cash boost to France’s economy, which has been stagnant for the past six months. A full-price ticket to the Louvre’s permanent exhibition costs €12, a visit to the Palace of Versailles €15 and a ticket to Musée d’Orsay €11.

“The economic balance would be positive,” the ministry said of the seven-day operation.

The plan is part of the budget put in place by France’s new Culture Minister, Fleur Pellerin, who in August replaced Aurélie Filippetti in an emergency government reshuffle.
 

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