The Musée du Louvre had a record 10.2 million visitors in 2018—an increase of 25% in comparison with 2017. No other museum in the world has ever equaled this figure. The Louvre’s previous record of 9.7 million dates from 2012, the year that saw the inauguration of the Department of Islamic Art and the presentation of exhibitions on Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael.
The recovery of tourism in France—specially in Paris—boosted visitor attendance in 2018, as did the flagship exhibition “Delacroix (1798–1863).” Elsewhere in the world, interest in the Louvre was bolstered by the Louvre Abu Dhabi (which recently celebrated its first anniversary), and by Beyoncé and JAY-Z’s “Apes**t” video, with its tribute to some of the museum’s greatest artworks.
In 2019, the Louvre is launching free and festive new events called “Saturday Night Openings,” to be held on the first Saturday of every month.
2018 saw a significant rise in the number of foreign visitors.* Mostly from the United States, China, the E.U. countries (especially Spain, Germany, Italy and the U.K.) and Brazil, they represent almost three quarters of total visitor numbers.
The Louvre also continues to be popular with the French public, drawing over 2.5 million French visitors in 2018—a sharp increase in comparison with 2017.
School groups are also returning to the Louvre in large numbers. The museum had some 565,000 school visitors in 2018, what can be explained by the resumption of school outings and the quality of the museum’s arts and culture education policy (especially the activities available in the Petite Galerie).
The Louvre prides itself on its popularity with young people: more than half its visitors are under 30 years old, and almost a fifth are under 18.
“I’m delighted that the Louvre is so popular,” says the Louvre’s president-director Jean-Luc Martinez. “Our goal is not so much to attract more visitors as to provide better visiting conditions. The recent changes we have made and are continuing to implement (clearer signage, translation of texts, etc.) have improved the quality of visitor reception. The renovation of the infrastructures under the Pyramid and the introduction of time-slot tickets have helped us level out visitor numbers throughout the year and reduce ticket lines outside the museum. So although there are more visitors, everyone can explore the Louvre at their own pace and appreciate the artworks to their heart’s content.”
To allow everyone, especially local people, to visit the Louvre in the best possible conditions, the museum is launching new, free and festive events called “Saturday Night Openings” on the first Saturday of every month from 6 p.m. to 9.45 p.m.
These twelve night openings will replace the free openings on the first Sunday of the month from October to March, when the museum’s usual admission rates will be applied.
The exhibition “Delacroix (1798–1863)” from March 29 to July 23, 2018, broke previous records with an average daily attendance of 5,150 and a total of almost 540,000 visitors, making this historical retrospective the most successful exhibition ever held at the Louvre. Exceptionally, eleven free night openings in July allowed almost 25,000 more people to visit the exhibition.
Some 90,000 visitors have already attended the major exhibition “A Dream of Italy: The Marquis Campana’s Collection” (from November 7, 2018 to February 18, 2019). The exhibitions held in 2018 in the Petite Galerie—“Power Plays” (to July 5, 2018) and “Archaeology Goes Graphic” (from September 26, 2018)—were attended by 390,000 visitors. The Louvre Auditorium is continuing its efforts to democratize art history; 2,300 people attended the series of five lectures on the Egyptians and their mythology by the Egyptologist Dimitri Meeks.
The Louvre continues to be hugely popular with internet users worldwide. It is one of the world’s most followed museums on Facebook and Instagram, with 2.7 and 2.4 million subscribers respectively, and has 1.4 million followers on Twitter. In all, almost 7 million people follow one of the Louvre’s 15 social media accounts (YouTube, Weibo, WeChat, etc.).
The museum is maintaining its policy in favor of people with limited access to culture.
– over 2,200 visitors from the educational, social or disability sectors benefited from special visits on Tuesdays (when the museum is closed to the general public).
– the museum partnered with 300 classes on long-term educational projects (including one on street art)
– 700 students collaborated with the Louvre to present evening events called “Young People Have Their Say.”
– almost 12,000 players tried to solve the “Mystery in the Tuileries,” an adventure game set in the historic Tuileries garden.
– 4,160 people took part in the project “Le Louvre chez vous” which takes the museum into “priority security zones” near Paris.
The Louvre also went out to meet its international audience in 2018. Almost one million visitors attended exhibitions including “The Art of Portraiture” in Tokyo, “The Louvre in Tehran” in Iran and “Music! Echoes of Antiquity” in Barcelona and Madrid.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi celebrated its first anniversary on November 8, 2018, having drawn one million visitors during its first year. A hundred artworks from the Louvre in the museum’s permanent collections can be admired by new (especially Asian) visitors, who have yet to visit France; the majority of visitors to the Louvre Abu Dhabi are Indian.
The Musée National Eugène-Delacroix drew almost 80,000 visitors in 2018, due in particular to the success of two exhibitions: “Real and Imaginary Depictions of the Orient: a Matter of Gazes” (January 11 to April 2, 2018) co-organized with the Lilian Thuram Foundation, and “Grappling with the Modern, from Delacroix to the Present Day” (April 11 to July 23, 2018).