- Title: Louvre museum re-opens without the crowds
- Date: 6th July 2020
- Summary: PARIS, FRANCE (JULY 6, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF VISITORS ENTERING LOUVRE MUSEUM THROUGH PYRAMID ENTRANCE VISITORS WALKING IN GALLERY DARU, CONTAINING GREEK AND ROMAN STATUES CARVINGS PAINTING "MONA LISA" BY LEONARDO DA VINCI HANGING IN GALLERY VISITORS TAKING PICTURES IN FRONT OF "MONA LISA" VISITORS LOOKING AT "THE MASSACRE AT CHIOS" BY EUGENE DELACROIX
- Embargoed: 20th July 2020 12:36
- Keywords: COVID-19 Louvre Mona Lisa Paris coronavirus museum re-opening visitors
- Location: PARIS, FRANCE
- City: PARIS, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Topics: Art,Arts / Culture / Entertainment,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA001CLOA153
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT REPLACES 1155-HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS/PARIS-LOUVRE WHICH WAS CUT FROM A LIVEU SIGNAL. IT INCLUDES CLEAN IMAGES AND INTERVIEWS
Visitors queued outside the Louvre pyramid in Paris for the first time in nearly four months on Monday (July 6) as the museum re-opened its doors, with managers projecting a plunge in visitor numbers in the aftermath of the coronavirus shutdown.
Three quarters of the museum's visitors -- there were nearly 10 million in 2019 -- normally come from abroad but, with travel severely limited, the Louvre says it expects an 80% fall this summer, making it the time to see its masterpieces without the usual throng of people.
"It's the moment for visitors... to find themselves alone in front of the Mona Lisa or looking at the Venus de Milo. An experience which we sometimes have at night but which the visitors can rarely enjoy," director Jean-Luc Martinez said shortly before the doors opened.
With French school holidays underway, many of those who had pre-booked tickets for opening day were French, including Richard Perret who had brought his grandchildren to see, among other things, ancient Greek sculpture the "Winged Victory of Samothrace".
"It's nothing like it normally is. The entrance hall when I've come before there was a crazy number of people. Now you have a few people moving about in this colossal space, it's really surprising," he said.
Under new rules customers are obliged to book tickets and safety measures are observed, including mandatory face masks and a one-way system through certain rooms.
The museum says time-specific slots will allow it to control numbers at peak periods -- most people enter between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. -- and capacity will be deliberately limited to 30%.
Martinez said the museum's sheer size limited the risk of COVID-19 infection. 45,000 square metres of galleries in the sprawling palace will re-open.
"People say 'Maybe it's not the right time to be going to an enclosed space" but the Louvre isn't an enclosed space. There are big courtyards full of sculptures, the grand gallery. It's a place you can walk around with your family completely safely," he said.
(Production: Noemie Olive, Johnny Cotton)
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