The move to reopen France's most famous museum will come in time for Bastille Day celebrations of national freedom. Très bien.
The Louvre museum in Paris plans to re-open its doors on July 6, it said on Friday, following new steps announced on Thursday by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe to ease the country’s coronavirus lockdown.
In a statement, France’s most visited museum said a booking system and new signposting would offer visitors the maximum possible safety while they are in the building. They will be asked to wear a mask and keep social distancing.
“Even if it was possible to discover the Louvre’s treasures virtually during lockdown, nothing can replace the emotion of standing in front of a work of art; that is the raison d’etre of museums,” Louvre director Jean-Luc Martinez said.
Between March 12 and May 22, the Louvre’s website received 10.5 million visitors, compared to 14.1 million in all of 2019.
The number of virtual visitors per day to the site soared to about 330,000, with a peak of nearly 400,000, compared to about 40,000 visitors per day before the coronavirus crisis.
The Louvre also said the Tuileries garden in front of the museum would open on Sunday, but collective games and gatherings of more than 10 people would be banned.
Both had been closed on March 13.
(Reporting by Christian Lowe and Benoit Van Overstraeten; Writing by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Mike Collett-White)
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Photo credit: Bikers ride past the Louvre museum after France began a gradual end to a nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus disease, in Paris, May 13, 2020. Charles Platiau / Reuters