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Mona Lisa back at work, visitors limited, as Louvre reopens

Last Updated Jul 6, 2020 at 9:09 am PDT

Visitors wait to see the Leonardo da Vinci's painting Mona Lisa, in Paris, Monday, July 6, 2020. The home of the world's most famous portrait, the Louvre Museum in Paris, reopened Monday after a four-month coronavirus lockdown. (AP Photo/ Thibault Camus)
Summary

The Louvre Museum has reopened to visitors

The Paris museum was closed for four months due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Visitors are required to wear a face mask and numbers of visitor are limited, with reservations required

PARIS — The Mona Lisa is back in business.

Paris’ Louvre Museum, which houses the world’s most famous portrait, reopened Monday after a four-month coronavirus lockdown and without its usual huge throngs.

Face masks were a must and visitor numbers were limited, with reservations required. Among the trickle of returning tourists was Zino Vandenbeaghen, who travelled from Belgium to enjoy the unusual space at both the Louvre and the Palace of Versailles.

“It’s super,” he said. “The ideal moment to visit.”

About 70% of the giant museum — 45,000 square meters (484,000 square feet) of space, or the equivalent of 230 tennis courts — housing 30,000 of the Louvre’s vast trove of works is again accessible to visitors starved of art in lockdown.

“It’s very emotional for all the teams that have prepared this reopening,” said Jean-Luc Martinez, the museum director.

The bulk of visitors to what was the world’s most-visited museum before the pandemic used to come from overseas, led by travellers from the United States.

Americans are still barred from the European Union that is gradually reopening its borders. The Louvre is hoping the reopening will attract visitors from closer to home, including the Paris region, but is bracing for a plunge in numbers.

Martinez said the museum was expecting just 7,000 visitors on the reopening day.

Before the pandemic, as many as 50,000 people per day toured the Louvre in the busiest summer months.

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