2022, the year of returning to the museum

Just before the Galette des Rois, museum attendance figures fall in early January. All hot and pretty good. After two years of sporadic openings linked to the health crisis, the public seems to have returned en masse.

The Center des Monuments Nationaux, which manages many buildings including the Arc de Triomphe or Mont-Saint-Michel, has recorded more than 10 million visitors, returning to its best levels before the Covid. Same satisfaction on the side of the Museums of the City of Paris, which recorded a historic attendance record with 4.54 million visitors, like the Natural History Museum (3.6 million visitors).

The Louvre-Lens, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, also posted a good score with 571,000 visitors, up 7% compared to 2019. Great success also for the National Museum of the Middle Ages. Since its reopening in mid-May, after an extensive renovation, its monthly attendance has jumped by 10%.

Asian visitors are still lacking, for example at Versailles

Many other museums are simply delighted to have found an audience equivalent to that of before the crisis. It was not won in advance if we look at the cinema which, weighed down by the success of download platforms, has lost a quarter of its spectators in theaters. At the museum, visiting with family or friends seems to have once again become a precious moment of conviviality, also boosted by a particularly rich offer of exhibitions, due to the postponements to 2020 and 2021.

With nearly 2 million visitors to the Cité des sciences et de l’industrie, 1.25 million visitors to the Mucem in Marseille, 1 million to the Chambord estate or the Army Museum in Paris, 550,000 to the Rodin Museum in Paris, attendance figures are back to their 2019 level.

If foreign tourists seem to have returned in large numbers, Asians are still missing, which affects the attendance of the largest establishments at the margin. This is the case at Versailles, which welcomed 6.9 million visitors, including 77% international tourists, down 16% compared to 2019. At the Center Pompidou (3 million admissions) and at the Musée d’Orsay ( 3.27 million), the decline is limited to around 10%.

At the Quai-Branly Museum, the Château de Fontainebleau or the Louvre Museum, which nevertheless welcomed 7.8 million visitors in 2022, 70% of whom were foreigners, the decline fluctuates around 20%.

A reduced gauge will be introduced at the Louvre

The president of the Louvre, Laurence des Cars, is hardly moved by it, who has just announced in an interview with the arts journal that she was going to limit “annual attendance at 7.5 or 8 million visitors”, far from the historic record of 10 million admissions reached in 2018. To restore a “good comfort of visit”she goes like this “establish a gauge of 30,000 daily tickets” (instead of the 45,000 sometimes reached in the past).

“We have to get out of the culture of figures and find a point of balance to encourage the meeting between the public and the collections at the Louvre”, pleads the president. It also intends to engage in negotiations with staff representatives to open every day until 7 p.m. (instead of 6 p.m.), in particular to attract more workers and young Ile-de-France residents.


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