Intentionally Smaller Crowds Are Coming to the Louvre

It's a strategy that's gaining traction in some unexpected places

A woman poses in front of the Louvre pyramid to have her photo taken in Paris, France on December 25, 2022.
Bruno Thevenin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

How do you best measure the popularity of a tourist destination? The logical place to start would be with attendance — the bigger the crowds, the hotter the destination, essentially. But there’s a reason that the phrase “a victim of your own success” has endured for so many years. If you pack a museum, stadium or theme park with people, sooner or later the experience is going to be increasingly unpleasant for all involved.

All of which is to say that it’s not terribly shocking that the Louvre recently announced plans to reduce attendance. As The Art Newspaper reports, the Louvre is planning on allowing in only 30,000 attendees per day. While 30,000 isn’t exactly a small number, it is significantly smaller than the 45,000 people that were arriving at the museum each day in the times before COVID-19 arrived on the scene.

Laurence des Cars, the museum’s director, noted in a statement that this makes her “the first museum director to consciously decide to limit the number of visitors.” But it also seems emblematic of a growing trend among popular destinations — like, say, Disney’s theme parks.

Last month, The Street published an analysis of the current state of the theme parks in question, and pointed out that the parks’ maximum number of attendees were “a little lower” than they were in the pre-pandemic era. Comparisons between this and what the Louvre is doing will only take you so far, though — there doesn’t seem to be a Louvre analogue to the number of paid add-ons Disney has rolled out for visitors to their parks, for instance.

But it is fascinating to see a number of high-profile destinations regroup after the early days of the pandemic and decide that, in some ways, less really is more.


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