Euphoric residents made a beeline to get the first glimpse of Louvre Abu Dhabi on Saturday morning when the Jean Nouvel masterpiece opened to the public.
— Khaleej Times (@khaleejtimes) November 11, 2017
“Just three more minutes to go, and I am inside Louvre,” said Jordanian Manas Abdeljaber, as she could not contain her excitement. She drove all the way from Dubai with her 67-year-old mother Naval
“I am so excited. I have seen the Louvre in Paris, and now I want to be among the first inside Louvre,” Naval toldKhaleej Times.
The museum opened its doors to public at sharp 10am with its director Manuel Rabaté welcoming the guests. There was a traditional Al Ayyalah dance performance outside the museum.
Two girls – Kiyana (7) and Kalyssa (5) – were the first to receive a complimentary ticket.
“I feel lucky. I love art and this is my favourite museum,” an excited Kiyana told Khaleej Times.
Their mother Dr Zahra Jiwani said they have been to many museums around the world. “My kids have been to museums in New York, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore to name a few. But this one is really special as it is in our own city,” said Jiwani.
French expats Malika Zaarour and Carole Borie said they did not want to miss the Day 1 of Louvre.
“We are from Bordeaux, and have never been to the Louvre in Paris. But we don’t want to miss this one,” said Borie.
People from all walks of life braved the morning sun to get hold of the 1,000 tickets that are on sale on the opening day.
Online tickets for the whole week are sold out, according to ticketing officials.
By 11am, museum staff was putting up umbrellas to offer shade to the visitors lining up for the tickets. Water was also made available for the visitors.
“The current waiting time to get in is at least two hours. It can go up to three hours, too,” said an official.
But art lovers remain undaunted.
“I am not going anywhere even if it means waiting the whole day,” said Fahad, an Arab expat.
Louvre to become the people’s museum
Xin Zhong has been in Abu Dhabi for almost two years now. For this Chinese lawyer, November 11/11, when Louvre Abu Dhabi opens for the public, is one of her most awaited moments since she became a UAE expat.
“I have already bought tickets for my whole family. We have been waiting for this occasion for long,” said Zhong.
Zhong is among the art enthusiasts who have taken the Dh450 annual Louvre membership that will allow ‘unparalleled access to Louvre Abu Dhabi’s exceptional collections, exhibitions, events and special programmes. More info and videos
By Anjana Sankar khaleejtimes.com
Anjana Sankar is a journalist by profession and a humanist by passion. Her cluttered desk is not indicative of her state of mind.