Fewer foreigners visit Paris art galleries

A soldier guarding The Louvre in ParisImage copyright
AP

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Security was stepped up outside the Louvre after the attacks

Paris’s most popular art galleries saw a decline in visits by foreign tourists in 2016, following the Islamist militant attacks in the city in 2015 and atrocities elsewhere in France.

The number of foreign visitors to The Louvre dropped by 20% to 5.3 million.

The Musee d’Orsay’s total attendance was down 13% to three million.

The Pompidou Centre’s overall figures rose 9% to 3.3 million in 2016 – but it said a rise in French visitors made up for a drop in foreign tourists.

The French capital is still feeling the effects after 130 people were killed in gun and bomb attacks on 13 November 2015.

Then in July, 86 people died when a lorry drove through a crowd during Bastille Day celebrations in the southern city of Nice.

Image copyright
Science Photo Library

Image caption

The Pompidou Centre thanked the Parisian public for their loyalty

As well as being affected by the repercussions from the attacks, the Louvre and Musee d’Orsay were closed for five days in June because of flooding.

The Louvre director Jean-Luc Martinez told Le Figaro newspaper that 2016 had been “a difficult year”, and that the decline in visitors would cost the gallery almost 10 million euros (£8.6m), excluding the lower revenues in bookshops or restaurants.

The Louvre was ranked as the most visited museum in the world in 2015, and charges 15 euros (£12.80) entry for adults.

M Martinez said the number of Japanese visitors had dropped by 61% in 2016, while the number from Russia was down by 53%, Brazil by 47%, China by 31% and the US by 18%.

At the Pompidou Centre, president Serge Lasvignes said the venue had suffered from a decline in the number of foreign tourists after “the tragic events” of 2015.

But he said that in 2016 this was “more than compensated” for by the numbers of French visitors and the loyalty of the Parisian public.

The Musee d’Orsay welcomed three million visitors in 2016, compared with 3.4 million in 2015. It said visitor numbers had started increasing again by November and December 2016.

Hotel bookings in Paris from overseas were down by 10% in 2016, according to the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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