Tourists refreshing themselves at the fountain facing the Louvre pyramid, in Paris on August 7, 2018.

New Record for the Louvre Museum: More than 10 Million Visitors in 2018

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With 10 million visitors in 2018, the Louvre museum in Paris benefited from the return to the capital of foreign tourists, especially Americans and Chinese. Details

The Louvre , the world’s most visited museum, has surpassed 10 million visitors in 2018 , an unparalleled figure for an international museum of fine arts and antiques, according to its management.

“For the first time in its history, and I think for the first time in the history of museums, more than ten million visitors attended the Louvre in 2018,” said Thursday at AFP Jean-Luc Martinez, president Director of the Louvre.

A 25% increase

With 10.2 million visitors, the Louvre recorded a 25% increase compared to 2017 (8.1 million) and beat its own attendance record (9.7 million in 2012).

In 2017, the Louvre was followed by the National Museum of China with 8 million, followed by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (7.3).

According to Mr. Martinez, the record “is driven by the recovery of international tourism in Paris” after a drop in attendance of 30% in recent years because of the attacks.

Video. Historic record of attendance for the Louvre Museum in 2018:


It is also partly explained by the works in the last two years which have increased the capacity of the museum.

“We created a new luggage room, a new ticket office, a new group reception inaugurated last year, allowing us to welcome more and more,” explains Martinez.

“All of the works cost nearly 60 million euros, largely financed by the money paid under the agreement with Louvre Abu Dhabi inaugurated more than a year ago.”

The introduction of e-commerce has also reduced wait times, appealing to visitors and spreading attendance over the day.

Louvre President Jean-Luc Martinez in Liège, Belgium, May 4, 2016.
Louvre President Jean-Luc Martinez in Liège, Belgium, May 4, 2016. (© AFP / Archives / JOHN THYS)

“Exceptional bond” of the Chinese

Foreigners account for nearly three quarters of visitors but French people remain the main nationality (2.5 million, or 25% of the total).

Among them, 565,000 students: “This audience becomes familiar with the Louvre because after the attacks, one of the first consequences was the limitation of school visits,” says the director.

Among foreigners, Americans continue to lead with nearly 1.5 million visitors.

“Often the Louvre is a + major American museum + by attendance, it is a particular craze,” says Martinez.

In second place, the Chinese (nearly a million), new darlings of European tourism. “It’s an audience that five years ago did not exist and was not even in the top five nationalities. It’s an exceptional leap, “according to the director.

Tourists queuing to enter the Louvre, Paris, on July 2, 2015.
Tourists queuing to enter the Louvre, Paris, on July 2, 2015. (© AFP / Archives / MIGUEL MEDINA)

China is the first country on the planet for overseas tourism, with 129 million travelers. Chinese tourists coming to Europe are more and more fond of culture and nature.

According to Mr. Martinez, the demonstrations related to the movement of “yellow vests” had no impact on attendance, the museum having closed a single Saturday: December 8th.


Free night 1st Saturday of the month

If the public of the Louvre remains exceptionally young (50% of the visitors are under 30 years old), the museum aims to open itself to a new public, beyond the regulars and the foreign tourists, by launching from January 5th a free night every first Saturday of the month.

The novelty is that an accompaniment is proposed in certain rooms.

“There are people who are afraid of not understanding the museum; this nocturnal wants to respond to this need (…) with explanations, comments, shows, concerts, “says Martinez.

“It aims to retain this public who feels lost; Free is not enough, it takes support.”

"Yellow Vests" in front of the Louvre Pyramid in Paris, December 2, 2018.
“Yellow Vests” in front of the Louvre Pyramid in Paris, December 2, 2018. (© AFP / Archives / Sameer Al-Doumy)

These Saturdays will replace the free Sundays whose formula is abandoned, lack of success, free Sunday benefited more foreign tourists who have seen a boon.

The Louvre will count on two flagship events in 2019 to attract more visitors: the 30th anniversary of the famous Louvre glass pyramid and a new retrospective of Leonardo da Vinci on the occasion of the fifth centenary of the death of painter occurred in France .

The portrait of Mona Lisa, The Mona Lisa, by Leonardo da Vinci, at the Louvre in Paris, April 5, 2005.
The portrait of Mona Lisa, The Mona Lisa, by Leonardo da Vinci, at the Louvre in Paris, April 5, 2005. (© AFP / Archives / JEAN-PIERRE MULLER)

New Record for the Louvre Museum: More than 10 Million Visitors in 2018 1

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