On the home screen of the website of the Louvre, a window appears as soon as the connection. “Due to high visitor numbers, the Louvre museum is full today. No access will be possible during the day,” can we read. If the officers of the museum to let in some visitors when the inflow decreases, the fellow who has the nose to the wind was likely to be denied access to the museum. “Only the online booking can ensure the entry,” says the message. In condition to be patient. Wednesday, when we visited the ticket office, almost no niche was available before the month of August. Since then, additional places have been added.

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in the past, it has already happened that the museum pulls visitors. But “we did not say,” said Vincent Pomarède, deputy general administrator at the Louvre. “There were queues huge. Those who were at the end of the file returned not finally and, therefore, were furious”, he adds. This is why the direction of the museum pushes visitors to take their ticket in advance, for a date, and a schedule. “The reservation allows to closely manage the influx of visitors and guarantees them access to the museum in half an hour”, explains Vincent Pomarède. In 2019, the museum has sold between 55 and 60 % of its tickets online, compared to 40% last year. And the trend could worsen. “We could make the reservation mandatory term. We are thinking about it again,” he says, stressing that this would help to accommodate more people every year.

in A bottleneck related to the moving of the mona lisa,

“The mona lisa is a phenomenon that is beyond us. It is irrational. Before it, people have the same eyes as in front of a star”

Vincent Pomarède, director general deputy of the Louvre

The challenge is of size. To the extent of the explosion of the attendance of the largest museum in the world. Before the work of the Grand Louvre, the number of visitors was painfully two million per year in the 1980s. In 1999, it exceeded 5 million. In 2018, it has reached a new record of 10.2 million, an increase of 25%. And this is not the end: for the year 2019, ten to twelve million visitors are expected. The Grand Louvre and its 72.735 m2 of surface area would it become too small?

“This is an exceptional situation related to the movement of The mona lisa ,” says Vincent Pomarède. The masterpiece of Leonardo da Vinci is currently on display in the middle of the Rubens Gallery Medici, in the Richelieu wing. The hall of States, where Mona Lisa is retained generally, is undergoing renovation. “ The mona lisa is a phenomenon that is beyond us. It is irrational. Before it, people have the same eyes as in front of a star”, said he.

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This move creates bottlenecks because the Richelieu wing is less suited to such a crowd with circulations smaller than in the Denon wing. To access the hall of the States, visitors have several circuits and pass in front of several other works are iconic, such as the Victory of Samothrace or the Coronation of Napoleon . “This length of access protected us of a mass arrival,” says Vincent Pomarède. “Today, the public takes of the escalators that lead directly to the Galerie Médicis and there are no other works punctuating the journey to The mona lisa ” says the one who headed the Paintings department until 2014.

A masterpiece among others

What they want to see The mona lisa or not, all visitors are affected by the access restrictions at the Louvre. Should we not, therefore, create a special ticket for those who want to discover the Greek antiquities, French painting of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth century furnishings, art or islamic art? “We thought about it,” says Vincent Pomarède. But this would be a problem, because it would give the impression that The mona lisa is a work, which is not the case on the plan of the history of the item” to Create a specific circuit for tourists in a hurry would be all the more regrettable that the Louvre has a third of the works of Leonardo da Vinci, and encourages visitors to discover them also.

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The museum’s management today invites its audience to patience: the work of the hall of States will be completed “in the fall of 2019”. mona lisa will then remain ordinary and everything should be back in order. Or not. The opening of the exhibition of the highly anticipated dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci on the 24th of October, which may in turn disrupt the life of the museum.