Paris Louvre tops world list with record 10m visitors

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Beyoncé and Jay-Z in Paris, Sep 2014Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Beyoncé and Jay-Z shot a music video inside the Louvre last year (Sep 2014 pic)

A record 10.2 million people visited the Louvre Museum in Paris last year, making it the world's most popular museum of fine arts.

A Beyoncé and Jay-Z pop video made in the museum is reckoned to have helped boost the numbers.

Louvre director Jean-Luc Martinez said it was a sign that Paris had recovered from the fall in tourism after the 2015 Islamist terror attacks.

Foreigners accounted for nearly 75% of the Louvre's visitors in 2018.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Visitors enter the Louvre via this glass pyramid unveiled in 1989

The post-terror slump in tourism cut Paris visitor numbers by 30%, but in 2017 the total visiting the Louvre had already recovered to 8.1m, Mr Martinez told the AFP news agency.

The Louvre houses Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa and many other world-famous masterpieces.

In June last year Beyoncé and her husband Jay-Z released a music video for their single "Apeshit", in which they posed in front of Louvre artworks, including the Mona Lisa.

Critics said the video challenged the idea of white cultural supremacy, for example by showing black dancers gyrating in front of The Consecration of the Emperor Napoleon, a giant 19th-Century painting executed by Jacques-Louis David.

In 2018, the French formed the largest visitor group (2.5 million), followed by Americans (nearly 1.5 million) and Chinese (nearly 1m).

The recent demonstrations by "gilets jaunes" (yellow vests), angry at fuel tax rises and other economic hardships, only forced the Louvre to close for one day, Saturday 8 December.

Mr Martinez said improvements costing nearly €60m (£54m; $68m) meant the Louvre could cope better with the crowds of visitors. It has new ticket counters, a new luggage storeroom and new facilities for group tours.

This autumn the Louvre will host a major exhibition celebrating the genius of Leonardo da Vinci.

According to a survey by The Art Newspaper, in 2017 the world's most-visited art museums were: the Louvre (8.1m), followed by Beijing's National Museum of China (8m), the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (6.7m), the Vatican Museums (6.4m) and the British Museum in London (5.9m).