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This Is What a Socially Distanced Louvre Looks Like

AFAR logo AFAR 7/7/2020 Lyndsey Matthews

a group of people standing in a room: This Is What a Socially Distanced Louvre Looks Like © Photo by AP Photo/ Thibault Camus This Is What a Socially Distanced Louvre Looks Like

The typical summer crowds were missing when Paris’s Louvre Museum reopened to visitors on Monday, July 6. Famously known as the world’s most visited museum, the Louvre could draw as many as 50,000 people per day before the pandemic (and even had to briefly close in 2019 due to overcrowding issues). As it reemerged after a four-month coronavirus lockdown, the institution said it expected only 7,000 visitors on reopening day.

The majority of the Louvre’s prepandemic visitors came from overseas, led by travelers from the United States, who are barred from Europe for the time being. The museum is hoping to attract more local visitors from Paris and within the EU as borders reopen, but it is bracing for a plunge in numbers compared to previous years.

In addition to limiting visitor numbers, the Louvre is also requiring guests to make timed reservations for their visits and wear face masks inside the museum. Among the tourists there on reopening day was Zino Vandenbeaghen, who traveled from Belgium to visit the Louvre, as well as the Palace of Versailles.

“It’s super,” he told the Associated Press. “The ideal moment to visit.”

About 70 percent of the enormous museum is accessible to visitors currently, including its most famous work: Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa painting. While guests still need to wait in a queue to get up close and personal with the painting, the following photos show the difference in crowds from before the pandemic and on reopening day at the Mona Lisa and elsewhere in the museum.

Before: The lines to see the “Mona Lisa” at the Louvre Museum on May 2, 2018

a group of people in front of a crowd © Photo by Charnsitr / Shutterstock

After: The lines to see the “Mona Lisa” on July 6, 2020

a group of people sitting at a table © Photo by AP Photo/ Thibault Camus

Before: The front of the line to view the “Mona Lisa” at the Louvre in September 2018 

a group of people standing in front of a building © Photo by Lorena Huerta / Shutterstock

After: The front of the line to view the “Mona Lisa” on July 6, 2020 

a group of people posing for the camera © Photo by AP Photo/ Thibault Camus

Before: On April 2, 2018, crowds gathered in the Grande Gallery of the Louvre to view Jacques-Louis David’s 1807 paintingThe Coronation of Napoleon”

a group of people standing in front of a building © Photo by Anton Ivanov / Shutterstock

After: On July 6, 2020, a more socially distanced group gathers in front of The Coronation of Napoleon”

a group of people in a room © Photo by AP Photo/ Thibault Camus

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

>> Next: When Will We Be Able to Travel to Europe?


Gallery: The Louvre Museum in Paris reopens after a 4-month coronavirus lockdown (USA TODAY)

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