Cinemas, theaters and … museums. For the second year, culture was again affected in 2021 by the health crisis. Attendance at major Parisian museums and the Palace of Versailles was established last year far from its 2019 levels, despite a significant increase compared to 2020.
Losses at ticket offices
The Louvre, the largest museum in the world, welcomed 2.8 million visitors. This is 100,000 more than in 2020, but 70% below the level of 2019 (9.6 million), before the pandemic, the absolute record dating from 2018 (10.2 million). The revenue linked to the ticket office is affected: they lost 80 million euros compared to 2019. The museum nonetheless raised the bar at the end of the year, welcoming more visitors in October and November than during the whole of the year. summer.
At the Palace of Versailles, one of the most visited sites in France, attendance was “up significantly” compared to 2020 (two million visitors). But it still shows a drop of 73% compared to 2019 (8.2 million visitors). The ticket office should reach “less than 20 million euros” in 2021, against 65 million in 2019.
The public institution bringing together the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée de l’Orangerie recorded 1.4 million visitors in 2021. This represents an overall increase of 30% over one year, but declines of 71% and 63% respectively compared to 2019, a record year.
The Centre Pompidou welcomed 1.5 million visitors last year. This is + 64% compared to 2020, but once again -54.5% compared to 2019 and its 3.3 million visitors.
The Quai Branly museum, dedicated to the primitive arts, recorded 615,795 visits during the year 2021, “over a little over seven months”. This is almost 30% increase over one year, while 1.1 million visitors had attended its rooms in 2019 over 12 months.
The National Monuments Center (CMN), which manages around 100 cultural sites, including theMont-Saint-Michel abbey, the Arc de Triomphe and the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, welcomed 4.7 million visitors (+ 35% compared to 2020). They were ten million before the crisis.
A lack of foreign tourists
Of course, these figures are linked to the pandemic, and in particular to the lack of foreign tourists, caught between lockdowns, travel restrictions and border closures.
Thus, as in 2020, visitors to the Louvre were mainly French (61%), with a majority coming from Île-de-France (61%), including 28% of Parisians. Asian and American tourists have been “almost absent”. The absence of many foreign visitors was also noticeable at the Palace of Versailles.
“Heritage establishments whose activity is shaped by foreign tourism should not see their attendance pick up again before 2023 or even 2024”, estimated in December the office of the Minister of Culture Roselyne Bachelot, solicited by The world. Who added: “Usually, the free rate is more important for the national public than for the international public. As foreign tourists have disappeared, this rate has increased and reduced by the same amount the receipts of establishments ”.
French visitors chilled
As for French visitors, they obviously had to adapt. With the restrictions decided to curb the pandemic, the Louvre, for example, remained closed from January 1 to May 19, 2021: even those who traveled to Paris during this period were therefore unable to visit the Mona Lisa.
After the reopening, the constraints remained numerous: gauges, sanitary pass … An investigation ordered by the Ministry of Culture from Harris Interactive and revealed by The world in October thus revealed that more than a third of French people accustomed to frequenting at least one cultural place per year had not yet returned there since July 21, date of the introduction of the health pass. While 67% had visited a museum at least once a year before the pandemic, only 40% had returned there since July 21.
The cross also underlines “the absence of a public, especially elderly, who preferred to stay away from public places”, worried about the turn taken by the pandemic, while the vaccination of the French population has been very gradual.