Since March 13, like many other museums all around the world, the Louvre museum in Paris has been closed to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic. On Monday, July 6, the Louvre finally reopened and is ready to welcome guests, but there are many new stipulations and safeguards in place so as to protect both attendees and staff. Everyone over the age of 11 will be required to wear a face mask, all visitors will be required to book time slots in advance so the multi-winged building doesn’t become overcrowded, and seeing the famous Mona Lisa will require a lot more caution.
In normal, pre-pandemic times, museums were places where you were free to wander around in whichever pattern you wished, and at the Louvre, Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa was constantly mobbed by huge crowds of people all scrambling to get a good look at the famous portrait simultaneously. Neither of those behaviors are currently possible. Instead, visitors to the Louvre who wish to see the Mona Lisa will be required to follow a one-way route through through the museum to the Salle des États, the cavernous room in which the painting is displayed. Of course, throughout this route, social distancing protocols and safe conduct must be maintained.
Additionally, cloakrooms at the Louvre will remain closed, so anything you arrive at the museum with you’ll need to be prepared to carry with you. It also won’t be possible to enter through the Carrousel entrance, which will remain closed: the Louvre’s only current points of entry are the the Pyramid entrance, where there will be designated lines for different time slots, and the Richelieu entrance, for visitors with membership cards. Jean-Luc Martinez, the president of the Louvre, told ABC News that the museum was only expecting 7,000 visitors on its reopening day, which is a huge dip from the previous daily summer estimate of 50,000 guests.
Since United States citizens are temporarily banned from traveling to Europe, it could be a long time before institutions like the Louvre hit the visitation numbers they used to generate. In the meantime, however, French locals can drink in one of the world’s most mysterious painted faces once again.