The Louvre during the pandemic

In the middle of May 2021, museums in France began to re-open following the third coronavirus lockdown. Soon, articles started appearing in the French press suggesting that this would be a good time for residents of Paris and the surrounding Île-de-France to visit popular museums such as the Louvre, since these were less crowded than usual because of the lack of tourists.

Well, this may have been true for the first days or weeks after the re-opening, but by the time I got there in late July the Louvre was as crowded as ever — at least in the most popular rooms of the Denon Wing.

Of course, it was still possible to avoid the crowds if you were willing to seek out other rooms that were not quite as full.

Antonio Canova, Psyche revived by Cupid’s kiss

Because of the pandemic, all visitors to the Louvre, including those eligible for free admission, are now asked to book a time slot, for instance at

According to the museum’s website, tickets bought online “cannot be used to skip the queue but do guarantee access to the Pyramid within half an hour of the time shown on the ticket.” For me it took more like forty-five minutes, because they had apparently sold more tickets for my time slot than they could actually process in half an hour.

To get into the museum, I first had to show my vaccination certificate on my mobile phone, then go through the security check and open my backpack at the entrance to the Pyramid, and finally scan my ticket at the entrance to the Denon Wing.

Location and aerial view of the Louvre on

My photos and text in this post are from 2021.

See more posts on the Louvre in Paris.

27 thoughts on “The Louvre during the pandemic”

  1. This sounds similar to visiting tourist destinations in Rome, as I recently did. We had to reserve a time slot online. We had to prove vaccination (with the US CDC card since we don’t have the EU green pass). Went through security line, then went through ticket line, THEN got to go inside. However, it sounds like Rome (at least last month) and Venice are not quite back to pre-pandemic levels. There were plenty of people, but not as jammed as the photos I’ve seen. I’ve never been to the Louvre; actually never been to Paris. The city doesn’t tempt me, ha ha. Isn’t that funny? Everyone wants to go to Paris, but the closest I’ve been was Provence, and that suited me just fine.

    1. At the museums in Paris there were three lines, first to check for vaccination status, second to go through the metal detector for terrorism prevention, and third to scan our online tickets. At the smaller museums, this all went very quickly, but not at the Louvre, because of the huge numbers of people wanting to get in. (In my opinion, their website sold too many tickets for each time slot.)

  2. I so look forward to the day Covid no longer dictates every step we take. 🙏😢

    Glad you were able to get back to your travels. Always enjoy coming along with you. 😀

    1. Thanks for your nice comment. I booked this trip during a lull in the pandemic, but when I was actually there at the end of July, the numbers had already started rising again.

      1. Ugh…covid has just made everything upside down. In so many ways 🙃🤯

        Really, it feels like we’ve been put in survivor mode.

        Which is why I like the journeys you take us on 😃🤗

  3. Don, I have tried to follow you blog several times. This was the first time I have gotten an automatic response acknowledging that I have signed up before but failed to respond to the confirmation email. I have never gotten an confirmation email and this time I also checked my spam folder. Any idea what I am doing wrong? Thanks.

    1. Thanks for trying to follow. I haven’t received any notice of that.
      Assuming you have a account, the only other thing I can think of is that apparently your Gravatar account is incomplete. I don’t know why that should make a difference, but a couple years ago I went in and filled in all the boxes in my Gravatar account, and since then have had fewer problems.

  4. As someone who has been managing at a museum throughout the pandemic, I just have to note how exceptionally challenging it is to balance visitor expectations with safety for staff/visitors plus the ever changing regulations. Not to mention severe budget and staffing shortages…

    1. Yes, I’m sure it must be challenging for the management. The Louvre was closed for several months during the confinements. They took advantage of the situation to do some renovation work, but also lost out on huge amounts of money that they had been counting on from admission fees.

      1. In addition to admission fees, we lost a lot of money from not having our space as a rental venue, and of course parking fees and the shop. Our restaurant is still closed.

  5. Interesting to read how another country handles gallery visits – I still have memories of my visit to the Louvre years ago. Today I have a pre-paid ticket for Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art which is currently featuring European Masterpieces on loan from Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. One ticket, one visit, is valid for the run of the exhibition. This is handy because I can pick my attendance time, and if anything arises I will not miss out as one would with a conventional ticket.

    1. The Louvre used to sell “advance tickets” that were valid for any one day during the year after purchase. But they don’t have those now, because the idea is to regulate how many people try to get in at once.

    1. I went to three more (smaller) museums in Paris that week. They weren’t empty, by any means, but not nearly as crowded as the Louvre. (I didn’t even try the Orsay, which I think must have been just as crowded.)

  6. Wow, the re-opening of the Louvre brought back the crowds in full-force! It was already crowded when I visited pre-COVID, but it’s astonishing that perhaps even more people are going post-lockdown! Guess the museum really needs the tourists…

    1. Yes, their budget depends on having lots of paying visitors. I once figured out that in 2010 the Louvre had an average of 26,924 visitors per day.
      Right now the price of admission (for those who don’t get a discount or get in for free) is € 17, and there is a box you can tick (aka check) to give an extra € 2 as a donation to support the museum. I ticked the box, and I’m sure a lot of other people do, too.

  7. Sounds like an adventure. We applied for our French QR codes but haven’t received them yet. We do have our USA vaccination cards. Don’t know if they’ll be accepted or not. I may actually have to cook on this trip. At least we’re not going to Paris this time.

  8. It’s all a bit confusing … I do like the time slots in the museums, as you actually get to see things but we’ve been to the GDR Museum in Berlin and it is still terribly crowded?!? At least we get to go …

  9. 🙂 You snooze you lose (with regard to locals visiting the Louvre)
    My plan for visiting any museum is to pick one or maybe two things to see and ignore everything else.

      1. That was one of the pictures that Hildegarde took me to see June 2019. But her information about it was out of date (which is kind of odd since one would not think that a picture painted that long ago could have out of date information)

        “We spent a long time talking about Le 28 Julliet: La Liberte guidant le peuple by Eugene Delacroix She said that the man in the black top hat was a Delacroix’s self portrait, but apparently that idea has been discredited. She also said that the revolutionary urban worker, as exemplified by the boy holding pistols was a real person”

        1. I used to think the boy with the pistols was meant to be Gavroche from Victor Hugo’s novel Les Misérables. But that can’t be, because the painting was completed in 1830 and the novel wasn’t published until 1862. The influence could have been the other way around, however, since Hugo might well have seen the painting before he went into exile.

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