New surprises from the Louvre’s online ticketing service

All the versions of this article: English , français

We had never taken a detailed look at the Louvre’s ticketing system, since we have our Friends of the Louvre card and, as indicated when we signed up, we are normally allowed "free and unlimited" entry. But the more we try it out, the more we discover scandalous aspects that concern all members of the public.

A Google search for "buy Louvre ticket", for example, brings up several "sponsored" results (sites pay to be at the top of the results page) offering admission to the museum, but sold by third parties. The Louvre cannot be blamed for this, as it is Google’s advertising policy.


See the image in its page

But when you click on these sites, you’ll find that you can buy tickets for admission to the museum at any time, even for times that are advertised as ’sold out’ for everyone, including Friends of the Louvre, on the museum’s official ticketing service (ill. 1).
For example: at 3.47pm on Sunday, we wanted to book an entrance for tomorrow, Monday 8 July. It was impossible before 2.30pm. On the "ParisTick" site, however, there was no problem.

So the Louvre is allowing operators to sell tickets at times when Friends of the Louvre are not allowed in. First scandal.


See the image in its page

The second scandal is the prices charged by these outside operators. Not only are they higher than those charged by the museum, which would not necessarily be scandalous if the company took a reasonable margin corresponding to the service provided. But this is far from the case! While the price at the Louvre, which is already very expensive and has risen sharply recently, is €22, on the "ParisTick" site it is €39.90, almost double, and we even see an even higher price crossed out (€48.90), as if it were an exceptional reduced rate that we absolutely had to take advantage of quickly (ill. 2)!
Another site, "TicketforParis", offers a lower "normal reduced price" ticket: €46.90, but the actual pseudo "reduced price" is even higher, at €42.90 [1], but with the help of the ’copy and paste’ function, it goes quite quickly.

The Friends of the Louvre, who want to visit the Louvre when they like, as is their right, have been reduced to this: reserving tickets that will not be used, perhaps depriving some visitors of time to visit, and the Louvre of the entrance fees it would have received. The Louvre, or Ubu’s kingdom.
And even more than you might think. At the time of publishing this article, 4.17pm, the time slots between 10.30am and 2pm had miraculously become available. Understand who can.

Didier Rykner

Footnotes

[1Two other sites also offer tickets in this price range, but each time with an additional service (an English-speaking guide in front of the Mona Lisa, for example), which is objectively of little interest, but which may justify a higher price!

The bottom line is that tourists are being exploited, and those who are willing to pay almost double the normal admission price are able to obtain slots that are off-limits to the Friends of the Louvre.

Fortunately, Friends of the Louvre visitors - and all those who are entitled to free admission - have a way of getting round the system. If they want to enter the Louvre whenever they want, without having to plan their visit in advance, and without losing the freedom they’ve always had, all they have to do (and we’ve tried it out) is make a reservation for the next few days in all the time slots. Of course, this takes a bit of time that would be better spent elsewhere, but with a single order they can book for a whole day, ticking off a visit for all the times. For each time slot booked, you have to enter your first name and surname[[Note that to book, you first have to create an account, and therefore enter your identity. The site is so badly designed that despite this, every time you book you have to enter your first name and surname again. Some geniuses designed this.

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