While many museums are trying to increase their attendance, the French Louvre is doing the opposite: the number of daily visits has been reduced by 30%. And with the return of Chinese tourists, getting into the museum will become even more difficult.
LOUVRE WILL TAKE NO MORE THAN 30 THOUSAND PEOPLE A DAY
Almost every day in the Louvre you can see the same picture, which the French press calls the “gladiator ritual”: a crowd of tourists trying to make out the Mona Lisa, hidden behind bulletproof glass, through a swarm of hands, heads and raised smartphones.
The management of the Louvre found a solution: the number of daily visits will be reduced to 30,000 people. This is a third less than it was in pre-pandemic 2019, when the museum was visited by up to 45,000 people a day. Unofficially, the limit on the flow of tourists was introduced last fall. This has now been announced publicly, citing “the need to ensure the comfort of visitors and optimal working conditions for museum staff.”
In explaining the new measures, Laurence de Cars, the museum's newly appointed director, acknowledged that the visit to the Louvre, which attracted about 10 million tourists in 2019 and one of the most popular museums in the world, will no longer be as “serene as a stroll along the nearby Seine.”
“I want visiting the Louvre to be a moment of pleasure, especially for people who are discovering the museum for the first time. And this is 60 percent of our visitors,” said Lawrence de Kars.
EVERYONE WANTS TO SEE MONA LISA
Even before the pandemic, the Louvre was trying to manage the flow of tourists, as many halls were overcrowded excursion groups. The museum has also been looking for new ways to engage with visitors, such as organizing yoga classes in rooms that display masterpieces by Jacques-Louis David and Rubens.
However, this did not help. There is only one reason: the Mona Lisa phenomenon, which almost every visitor to the Louvre strives to see (and most often photograph). Despite the fact that 40 other masterpieces hang nearby, including four paintings by da Vinci, all everyone looks at in the Grand Gallery is the Mona Lisa.
In France, discussions have already begun on the construction option for the famous painting of a separate galleries, but so far the matter has not progressed beyond verbal debate.
LOUVR WAITS FOR THE RETURN OF CHINESE TOURISTS
Last year, 7.8 million people visited the Louvre in 2022. This is 170% more than in 2021, but 19% less than in 2019. In 2023, 9.3 million tourists are waiting for the museum. Tourists from the US and Europe form the main flow for the Louvre.
This season, excursion groups from China may also join them, so the already introduced restrictions on attendance may not be the last. Before the pandemic, the proportion of Chinese visitors to the Louvre was between 10 and 15%.
In addition, certain changes will also take place in 2024: Paris will host the Olympic Games, due to which the French capital will reconsider the work schedule of many cultural and public institutions.
How much do tickets to the Louvre cost
The Louvre advises tourists to forego spontaneous visits to the museum and book their visit in advance by purchasing tickets online for certain dates and shows.
“If you want to guarantee admission to the museum, we strongly recommend booking in advance online ”, the Louvre website says.
An over 18 ticket costs 17 euros when booked online. When buying at the museum's box office – 15 euros.
However, for Russian tourists, the option of buying tickets to the Louvre online is feasible only if they have a bank card from a foreign bank.
HOW THE LOUVRE WORK
The Louvre is open every day except Tuesday, January 1st, May 1st and December 25th from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. Visitors will be asked to vacate the exhibition halls 30 minutes before closing.
On Fridays, the museum is open longer: until 21:45. On Bastille Day (July 14), admission to the Louvre is free.