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Monthly money saver: how to visit museums for free

For this month's money saver tip, we explain how to visit museums across France for free.

A crowd-free museum experience

Museums have reopened with reduced numbers due to Covid-19 restrictions, so it could be a good time to visit in crowd-free conditions. Most charge an entry fee, but many also offer free admission on certain days of the month. This includes some of the most popular sites so it is always worth checking their websites for details.

Last month's money saver tip: how to save money off holiday travel

What's open?

In Besançon this summer, entry to all museums is free until the end of August in an attempt to boost tourism. The first Sunday in the month is the traditional date when entry to hundreds of museums is free throughout the country. In Paris, there is a wide choice. Musée d’Orsay is free every first Sunday of the year, a saving of €14 per adult. Mucem in Marseille usually costs €11, but is free on the first Sunday of the month, as are all seven public museums in Bordeaux.

Some museums operate this policy only in winter. In Paris, that includes the Arc de Triomphe, the Panthéon and Château de Vincennes, from November 1 to March 31. Click here for a list for Paris. It includes museums which are free every day all year round, including the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris. The Louvre is free every first Saturday of the month from 18.00 to 21.45. The normal ticket price is €17. The Louvre-Lens at Lens, meanwhile, is free every day all year round, not including temporary exhibitions.

Read more: Connexion's book review column

Who has free access?

Any 18-25-year-olds who are nationals or resident in an EU country have free access to 50 leading museums and 100 national monuments in France, including the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe and Reims Cathedral. You have to present proof of nationality or residence, such as a passport or ID card, at the ticket desk. UK nationals are currently still deemed to be part of Europe so should get free entry with a British passport until December 31.

The unemployed, children and teachers are often eligible for free entrance. Once a year, hundreds of museums take part in La Nuit des Musées, with free entry until late into the evening. This year, it is on November 14, not its usual date in May.

Read more: discover the secrets and rituals of the French monarchy in Reims

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