PARIS – A music video, set in the Louvre, by Beyonce and Jay-Z – who were recently in South Africa for the Global Citizen Concert – helped boost visitor numbers to a record 10.2 million last year, the most for any museum in history, the Louvre said on Thursday.
A rebound in tourist numbers to Paris, following a drop after Islamist militants killed 130 people in the French capital in November 2015, also helped the museum achieve a 25 percent increase in visitors on the previous year.
The Louvre said it was happy at the response to the video by Beyonce and her husband Jay-Z for the song “APES**T” in which they perform in front of the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo and other famous artworks. It has been viewed nearly 150 million times on YouTube.
“It is good to see that these American artists, creators of today, are interested in a museum of archaeology and ancient art,” Louvre Director Jean-Luc Martinez told Reuters.
It is good to see that these American artists… are interested in a museum of archaeology and ancient art
The Louvre’s previous record was 9.7 million visitors, in 2012, when the museum inaugurated its Islamic Art section and held exhibitions on Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael.
Three-quarters of the visitors are foreigners, with about 1.5 million American and 1 million Chinese tourists.
Indicating that the sometimes violent “yellow vest” protests in the final weeks of last year had not damaged tourism, the French Center for National Monuments also reported record 2018 numbers, with 10.2 million visitors, up 8 percent, to the 100 sites it manages. The previous record was in 2014.
The Arc de Triomphe, despite being closed for two weeks last month after being defaced by yellow vest protests against government reforms, was France’s most popular monument in 2018, with 1.7 million visitors, followed by the Mont-Saint-Michel island in Normandy, with 1.4 million.
Full-year tourist numbers for the Paris region are not yet available, but in the first half of 2018 it booked a record number of 17.1 million arrivals and said it was hoping for a full-year record of 50 million.
(Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)