Limits at the Louvre – Daily Capacity Decreased at the Famous Museum for Improved Viewing Experiences
Over-attendance has been an ongoing struggle for the world-renowned museum in Paris. After receiving 19% fewer visitors in 2022 (7.8 million) than in 2019, Laurence Des Cars, the director of the Louvre, assures reporters that this isn’t necessarily bad news.
Freddi Wald reports that at the beginning of 2023, Des Cars announced her decision to restrict daily entries to 30,000. Before the coronavirus pandemic, the Louvre experienced up to 45,000 visitors on its busiest days.
Now the policy has been enacted, 80% of admission tickets are provided by a reservation service, with the promise of stabilizing attendance from 7.5 million to eight million for the next 12 months. These levels are equal to the museum’s numbers roughly 17 years ago.
The Louvre’s Ongoing Attendance Struggle is About to Change
In her statement, Des Cars mentioned that she opted for the change to ensure visitors would have a pleasurable experience, especially for those who have never visited before (first timers reportedly make up 60% of yearly entries).
The Louvre has been battling over-attendance problems since the 1990s when they last experienced visitor numbers around the five million mark.
Long queues in front of iconic pieces like the Mona Lisa and around the glass pyramid are now expected, prompting many employees to go on strike, citing condition deterioration due to record-high crowds.
While Jean-Luc Martinez made significant strides to enhance viewing conduction, Des Cars notes that she’s the first director in the museum’s history to consciously opt for visitor number limitations. Not only does the decision consider the public’s needs, but also the staff’s desires.
Despite Paris Hosting the 2024 Olympic Games, the Louvre Won’t Be Planning Major Shows
January 2023 marks the start of a massive two-year renovation of the Louvre’s exhibitions gallery, and while Paris is hosting the 2024 Olympic Games (bringing around ten million visitors to the Louvre’s vicinity), Des Cars states the museum won’t be hosting any huge shows.
Upon being appointed director, Des Cars said she wanted to close the museum an hour later every day to attract more locals. However, a well-informed source told reporters that this wouldn’t occur until intricate planning was started and discussions with unions were held.
This proposal is expected to move forward this year, with the Louvre promising to hire 90 employees over the next 12 months to handle the plan.
Louvre’s Visitor Numbers Show Paris Tourism Returns
The 2022 visitor numbers show that Paris’ tourism industry is well on its way to a complete recovery following the coronavirus pandemic. And this is unlikely to change, even with the iconic museum now limiting its day-to-day capacity.
Ticketing accounts for roughly one-third of the Louvre’s budget, but half is subsidized by the state.
In her statement, Des Cars announced that their state-given endowment will increase to 93 million euros. However, this is meant to cover rising energy costs.
So, with 70% of Louvre visitors being overseas tourists in 2022, hopeful attendees must book their tickets in advance to ensure they aren’t disappointed.