The Louvre creates a more ‘comfortable visit’ by limiting daily visitors

The historic Louvre in Paris is the world’s largest, most-visited museum and home to some of the most well-known works, including the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo. 

In 2022, 7.8 million people visited the Louvre, reaching 45,000 visitors on the museum’s most crowded days. Shortly after Laurence des Cars was announced as the first-ever female director of the Louvre, she made the decision to cap the number of daily visitors to 30,000 to ensure a more “pleasurable viewing experience”. 

In a statement, des Car said, “The extremely positive figures for 2022 are tremendously encouraging for all our staff. I hope that visitors enjoy spending time at the Musée du Louvre, particularly those discovering the museum for the first time, who represent 60% of them. We are working ever harder to improve visiting conditions and to continue to offer a programme of great quality and a unique array of live performances resonating with what’s on at the museum.” 

The Louvre has been struggling with over-attendance for years, with long queues outside the glass pyramid and in front of artworks like the Mona Lisa. Overcrowding has been such a point of contention that the museum workers have gone on strike in recent years, citing “unprecedented deterioration of conditions.” 

Although the museum’s previous director, Jean-Luc Martinez, had previously taken action to improve visiting conditions, des Cars says that she is “the first museum director to consciously decide to limit the number of visitors”, taking into account not only the needs of the public but also the staff. 

Crowds taking photos of the Mona Lisa, Photo: Mika Baumeister

After des Cars was appointed director in the summer of 2021, she also shared her wish for the museum to close an hour later every day (7 pm) in order to attract more local visitors. But this will not take effect until careful planning, and union discussions have been carried out. The Louvre currently has around 2,000 employees and promises to hire 90 agents in 2023 to move this proposal forward. 

This month begins a major two-year renovation of the exhibitions gallery, which means the Louvre will not plan any big shows, despite Paris being set to see an influx of around ten million visitors during the Olympic Games in the summer of 2024. 

The 7.8 million visitors recorded was a 19% decrease from 2019; however, a 170% rise from 2021, when French museums were closed for nearly five months. With the popularity and attendance of the museum on the rise, the daily cap will present a much more comfortable visit for tourists, locals and staff alike. 

Main image: Overcrowding at the Lourve Photo: AFP/Getty