louvre abu dhabi
Source: The National

After a decade-long wait, the much-anticipated Louvre Abu Dhabi museum on Saadiyat Island is finally set to open its doors to the public on November 11.

Louvre Abu Dhabi will open with a spectacular 4-day festival of music, dance, international performances, workshops, and tours.

The museum, which was designed by the French Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, conjures up the image of an Arab medina as seen through the eyes of a contemporary cinematographer.

A silver-toned dome with perforated arabesque patterns appears to float over the white museum galleries, creating what Nouvel previously described as a "rain of light".

In order to reach the ground, each ray of light has to cross 8 layers of perforations, creating a constantly shifting pattern that simulates the shadows cast by palm trees or the roof of a traditional Arab market.

Here are 5 things you should know about the opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi this weekend:

1. During the official public opening week, visitors can expect a 4-day festival of music, dance, international performances, workshops, and tours

Extensive music, arts, and performance programs have been organized to bring Saadiyat Island's latest jewel to life.

According to Louvre Abu Dhabi, daytime visitors to the museum will have access to all events and performances with their general museum admission ticket.

2. Entrance to the museum is reasonably priced

Adults will only pay 60 dirhams entrance whilst children under the age of 12 can spend the whole day at the museum for free!

You can buy your tickets online for a speedy admission when you visit. Admission gives you access to the museum galleries, exhibitions, Children’s Museum, and public spaces underneath the dome.

The Children's Museum will host family-focused exhibitions, designed to educate and inform the next generation between the ages of 6-12 about art and design. In addition, there will be free workshops that will offer children the opportunity to get hands-on experience in the world's most prestigious art gallery.

3. Four incredible international artists are set to perform there during the evening concerts

The confirmed headline acts include French singer and rock guitarist Matthieu Chedid, known as –M–, the talented Malian performer Fatoumata Diawara, Lebanese jazz musician Ibrahim Maalouf, and the renowned singer and dancer Totó La Momposina.

So far, Ibrahim Maalouf and –M– are sold out but to make sure you don't miss the incredible performances by Fatoumata Diawara or Totó La Momposina, get your tickets early for just 200 dirhams.

Admissions to these family-friendly evening concerts are selling out fast and only a limited amount of tickets are still available.

4. Amazing performances throughout the weekend

The historic opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi will be celebrated with workshops, tours, dance, music, and international performances.

Franco-Vietnamese guitarist Nguyen Le will partner with Korea’s Baraji Ensemble for a unique fusion of his multi-cultural rock, jazz, African, and Asian styles with Baraji’s traditional Korean music. 

Also, the French-Indian duo Drfloy - aka Floy Krouchi - and Sumathi are set to perform 'A Stream of Love', which will be a combination of contemporary mix of bass and electronic abstract sounds with the richness of classical Indian vocals.

Other artists who will grace the stage with their presence throughout the weekend include Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, Emirati composer and musician Faisal Al Saari, Mali’s Awa Troupe of Sangha, the Troupe of the Zhejiang Wu Opera Research Center, Lemi Ponifasio, Lucinda Childs, and GroupeF amongst many other.

5. The museum will have almost 700 exhibits on display

Approximately half of the exhibits will belong to the museum’s permanent collection, while the other half will consist of loans from 13 major French cultural institutions including the Louvre Museum, the Musée d’Orsay and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

The loans will include Monet’s La Gare Saint-Lazare, a self-portrait by Vincent van Gogh, and Leonardo da Vinci’s enigmatic La Belle Ferronniére, which will leave Europe for the first time to become the first painting by the Renaissance polymath to be exhibited in the Middle East.

WATCH: Louvre Abu Dhabi - Rain of Light

MAP: Louvre Abu Dhabi location

The museum is located on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. 

Coming from Abu Dhabi, take the Sheikh Khalifa Bridge and signs will direct you to the museum. 

If you are coming from Dubai, take the Yas/Saadiyat exit from Sheikh Zayed Road.