Tuesday, September 17, at 21.15. In front of the Grande Halle de la Villette, in the north of Paris, the golden letters Tutankhamen shine in the night. After having attracted a record number of 1.3 million visitors, this exhibition is beautiful on the treasure of the young pharaoh will close its doors Sunday 22nd September. This is the last line right. Everyone has understood that it was the exposure to see and rushes. To meet the demand, the company IMG France organizer of the event said time slots, early morning and late in the evening. Again, these tickets are gone, and for a long time, it only remains for one to buy online. Porte de Pantin, entire families, friends and customers who came express from Bordeaux, egyptologists in the grass together wisely the queue which is allocated according to the time specified on their ticket purchased, there are several weeks already. At first, nobody worries. It is already late for a weeknight, but since its opening, the exhibition is cited as a model for its management of the queues.
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Until tonight. This is obvious: there are far too many people, the welcome agents dressed in red are overwhelmed. It is 21: 30 and the public who has a ticket for 20: 30 is still not entered. There is more than a good hour late, maybe more. Does anyone know or is able to tell. A text written in small letters on the ticket states that the schedules are given “as is” basis and “do not exclude a time of waiting on the spot”. So, it was Impossible to go away by asking to be refunded. The evening, which was to be a celebration, is already spoiled to the idea to wait standing in the cold too long. “Go ahead, fill the space”, shouts regularly the young woman in the photo stand which is believed to manage a herd of cattle. Tonight, the few are those who want to pose in front of its background is green, taking a pose “the egyptian”, which will be complemented by a backdrop of a pyramid in the background to the souvenir shop. Those who were lucky enough to have already have seen the show are concerned: inside, there is a second long queue that winds its way, the nightmare is far from over. To 22h15, an agent home absolutely sorry in advance for an explanation. “Despite the complete sales on the Internet, the box office was open this morning. A crowd stood before the ticket counters and we can’t reverse this peak of affluence”, he says.
Thierry Vincenty, director general of IMG France, producer of the exhibition, do not deny the “double booking” and apologised. “We still sell-outs of the tickets on the spot because many visitors come to try their luck. We know that there are always people who have bought their ticket on the Internet that do not come.” And to ensure that: “we do not sell these tickets nor at the expense of the tonnage of security, nor at the expense of the experience a visitor needs to stay the most pleasant as possible”.
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The overbooking has been added another concern: the influx of “requests for protocol who want to privatize the exposure and to which we must respond positively”, adds Thierry Vincenty. To be clear, the Whole of Paris demanded the pass-rights. Who is it? “I can’t tell you more, I am subject to a duty of reserve”, he explains.
All of this we do not know when at 22: 40, we get finally inside with our tickets stamped 21: 30. We still have twenty minutes to wait before entering the exhibition. The sas, where a film is projected introduction of five minutes is chock full. It’s really hot. The eye blink fatigue. At 23 hours, the doors finally open on the statue of Tutankhamen. The flow of the previous visitors has not been absorbed, bottling. A sign reminds visitors that the exhibition closes its doors at midnight. The parts are black world. It moves to the elbow-to-elbow. The set design and the size of the tray are designed to accommodate a lot of people. This evening, the limit has clearly been exceeded.
Even reading the first of the explanations above showcases, it is impossible to admire the treasures on show. The worst is in the room with the drawings on the floor of sarcophagi that fit and the movie that goes with it. As there are nine rows of visitors stuck, it no longer distinguishes anything. In a corner of the little blonde girls were sleeping on the floor. Employees of the exhibition is concerned about a closing past midnight. They will no longer have transport to take them home. “We will take taxis,” said one of them as if it had become a habit.