The louvre

The Louvre in Paris reopens – with social distancing

(CNN) — The world’s most popular museum, the Louvre, has reopened after months of closure, but while visiting it will now be a slightly different experience, its star attraction should at least be free of crowds.

The Mona Lisa, normally mobbed by people trying to get their own shot of Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, can now be seen by visitors following a one-way route and observing social distancing.

Shortly after the opening, photos showed an orderly line of people waiting for their preview of the portrait.

Anyone wishing to visit the Louvre, which closed in March as the Covid-19 pandemic locked down Paris, will need to pre-book a timeslot.

Indoors, face masks are mandatory and social distancing of at least one meter will be enforced.

Visitors were required to socially distance and stick to pre-arranged time slots.


Time slots have been available for pre-booking since June 15, although the Louvre’s website says there may be a limited number of same-day time slots during off-peak hours. Also keep in mind that while you can visit for free (for example, if you’re under 25 and live in the European Union), you still need to book your slot in advance. Another tip: inside, there will only be card payments.

Children under 11 do not need to wear masks, but all other visitors must have face coverings, as must staff. Visitors will also be greeted with hand sanitizer stations at entrances and will be required to sanitize their hands before entering the building.

Social distancing also applies to tour groups – groups of up to 25 people can walk through the museum together, but in order to maintain social distancing they will need to wear headsets and the guide must use a microphone.

There will be other notable differences. For the time being, the cloakroom will be closed — so it’s worth getting excited — and some galleries will remain closed, including the French sculptures section of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and the arts of Africa, Asia , Oceania and the Americas.

Lack of tourists

Tour guides protested outside the Louvre over the lack of support for the tourism sector.

Tour guides protested outside the Louvre over the lack of support for the tourism sector.

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

When the museum opened on Monday, some Parisian tourist guides staged a protest outside the museum, holding up images of Mona Lisa’s face. The protesters were pointing out what they saw as a lack of support for the tourism sector in recent months.

The Louvre has been closed since March 13, with reported losses of more than 40 million euros.

The museum is one of the city’s top tourist attractions, but even if Paris reopens – with travel abroad much more limited than before Covid – it’s likely to be largely local residents wandering the halls of the Louvre.

In the meantime, some are looking forward to the museum being quieter than normal.

Journalist Katy Scott, who moved to Paris during the lockdown, said she was looking forward to seeing the highlights of the museum without the usual crowds.
“I look forward to finding a front row seat in front of any artwork I like without having to push the tourists away,” she says.

“And I hope I don’t have to see the Mona Lisa through a smartphone!”