PARIS’S MUSEUMS … EXPERIENCING A BOOM …

  The Easter tourists are here – here in Paris. Just the other day the last of the February tourists had left which was just after the Christmas tourists had left. And here some thousands of tourists are back. But who is complaining apart from me who would love to have the Mona Lisa all […]

Beaubourg Museum

Beaubourg Museum

 

The Easter tourists are here – here in Paris.

Just the other day the last of the February tourists had left which was just after the Christmas tourists had left.

And here some thousands of tourists are back.

But who is complaining apart from me who would love to have the Mona Lisa all to herself?

Louvre - from the inside looking out

Louvre – from the inside looking out

No one is, because let’s face it: museums mean money and France, the Eurozone’s second-largest economy after Germany, needs money. According to the latest economic statistics for 2012 announced by INSEE (national statistics institute) France’s public deficit is standing at 4.8 percent of the gross domestic product, while France’s public debt reached a record of 90.2 percent of output. Thee percentages are higher than which had been predicted by the French government. It means that France’s debt was €1.8 trillion.

The Louvre: from the outside looking in

The Louvre: from the outside looking in

 

There is therefore great hope that the tourists will keep on coming. In 2012 the number of tourists who came was 77,148,000. This, to a country with a population of 65,800.000.

So pleased is France’s Minister of Culture, Aurélie Filippetti, that she had even invited four hundred people from the country’s charitable organisations for a guided tour of Paris’s current exhibitions.

The Wrestlers in the Louvre.

The Wrestlers in the Louvre.

However, the government has appealed to museums to try to cover their operational costs themselves. For this reason Paris’s Grand Palais has cancelled two exhibitions which had been scheduled for this year: that of the American artist Robert Indiana and that of Jean Prouvé, the French architect and designer.

But do not let me give you the impression that it is hard times in France’s museums. It is quite the contrary.

The Louvre is the world’s largest museum. This is not only is size but also in number of exhibitions and number of visitors. In 2012 9.7 million people visited the Louvre. That is one million more than in 2011 and double that of five years ago. The museum’s administrators think that the increase in visitors is due to its new Art of Islam (Les Arts de l’Islam) department.  I’ve seen it and it has nothing to do with religion so won’t be put off thinking it is going to be about faith.

Of the Louvre’s visitors in 2012 most were Americans, next in numbers were Brazilians and then the Chinese.  Have of the visitors were under 30 years of age. How they know these details I do not know because no one has ever asked me my age or address in any French museum. Maybe there is someone sitting at a CCTV screen and guessing.

As for the Pompidou Centre, or the Beaubourg Museum, or just Beaubourg as it is also called here, it had 3.8 million visitors in 2012 which was 49 percent more than six years ago.

The Museum Orsay also had a record year in 2012 with 3.6 million visitors and which was the highest number of visitors since it opened 25 years ago.

Orsay Museum

Orsay Museum

 

Pompidou ranks as the worlds 8th largest museum in exhibits and visitors. Orsay ranks as the world’s 10th largest in exhibits and visitors.

Pompidou had a hit with its Dali exhibition which had opened on November 21, 2012 and closed on March 25 this year (2013). It will turn your head when I tell you that 7,000 people went there on each of its opening days (the museum is closed on a Tuesday) and the average wait to enter the exhibition was three hours. A total of 790,000 people went to see it.

Another success was the Raphaël exhibition at the Louvre. It drew 4,300 visitors a day and it opened on January 14, 2012 and closed on January 14 this year (2013).

The Grand Palais’s Hopper exhibition was also a great success. It opened on October 10, 2012 and closed on February 2 this year (2012). How many went to see it? The answer is 784,000.

For the last three days of the exhibition the museum remained open for 62 hours straight.

Said Mr Jean-Paul Cluzel, president of France’s national museums, before the non-stop opening: “This is not a financial operation because the extra 30,000 people a night who will come won’t make that much a difference for us financially.”

He pointed out that the exhibition cost approximately €4 million to organize which meant that the museum broke even after its 300,000 visitor.

Dali's snail in the Dali Museum in Montmartre

Dali’s snail in the Dali Museum in Montmartre

There is also now a Beaubourg Museum in the town of Metz. It opened on May 12, 2010 and welcomed 475,000 visitors in 2012.

Metz is 333 kilometres from Paris. (206 miles)

There is also a Louvre Museum in Lens now. Lens, a former coal mining town, is 119 kilometres from Paris. (73 miles) The museum which cost €150 million ($193 million) to construct opened on December 9 last year (2012) and in its first 30 days it attracted 150,000 visitors.

If you are coming to Paris this year, know that Notre Dame Cathedral will be celebrating the 850th year of its construction all of this year. The cathedral too is visited every year by millions. In 2012 14 million people visited it.

 

 

Paris's wine museum. Could be fun when the tasting begins.

Paris’s wine museum. Could be fun when the tasting begins.

 

 

 

 

The Louvre's Three Graces

The Louvre’s Three Graces

 

 

 

 

 

Marilyn Z. Tomlins

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