Paris’s Musée du Louvre is arguably the most famous museum in the world, and it has the attendance numbers to prove it. In 2019, it saw 10 million guests through its doors—on its busiest days, around 45,000 people visited the museum. During the height of lockdowns and travel restrictions in 2020, the Louvre temporarily closed and used the time to execute major renovations to improve sections of the Egyptian Wing and the Grande Galerie. In May 2021, the Louvre reopened and visitor numbers soon spiked once again; in 2022, 7.8 million people came to the museum.
However, the Louvre recently announced plans to continue capping the number of visitors at 30,000 people per day (that’s about 7.5 million annually), which it has been quietly doing since June 2022. Last week, the museum announced the policy would become permanent. The Louvre is home to some of the most recognizable artworks in the world, including Venus de Milo, Liberty Leading the People, and, of course, Mona Lisa. Seeing these works is a bit of a battle, involving large crowds armed with cellphone cameras—and that’s to say nothing of the long line guests must wade through to even get into the museum. Most visitors to the Louvre are international tourists: In 2022, 70 percent hailed from other countries.
Over the past few years, the Louvre’s staff have raised concerns about struggling with over-attendance, and they initiated several strikes that shut down daily operations. By limiting the number of people who can visit the Louvre each day, the museum hopes to become more pleasant for everyone involved, guests and employees alike.
“I hope that visitors enjoy spending time at the Musée du Louvre, particularly those discovering the museum for the first time, who represent 60 percent of them,” said the Louvre’s director, Laurence des Cars, in a press release. “We are working ever harder to improve visiting conditions and to continue to offer a program of great quality and a unique array of live performances resonating with what’s on at the museum.”
Tickets to the Louvre are available on its website for about $18 per adult. Admission can be purchased in person for $16 per person, but given the Louvre’s popularity and the newly adopted cap, it would be wise to purchase tickets ahead of time. Admission gives museumgoers access to the Louvre’s permanent and temporary exhibits, as well as the nearby Musée National Eugène-Delacroix, which is dedicated to the legendary French romanticist. Anyone 18 and younger, or residents of the European Economic Area who are 26 and younger can still visit the Louvre for free.
If making the trip to Paris isn’t feasible, consider a digital visit instead: More than 490,000 works from the Louvre are collected in its online archives.