Crazy Louvre Stats (+ Others)

Le Louvre, photographed by Jennifer Greco and published in

Le Louvre, photographed by Jennifer Greco and published in

As promised in the last post regarding The Art Newspaper (with a slight interruption discussing the distracting former director of the Met, Philippe de Montebello), below are the top 15 of a list of 100 museums that comprise the world’s most visited museums list for 2011.

So if the Louvre has nearly 9 million visitors a year that comes to approximately 30,000 visitors a day (it’s closed on Tuesdays and bank holidays). According to a Carol Vogel profile in the NY Times on Henri Loyrette the Louvre’s attendance was up 67% during Loyrette’s tenure (which started in 2001, after 18 years as the head of the Musée d’Orsay) until 2009 when the profile was published.

In this article Loyrette’s quoted as saying that 80% of the attendees only go to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa. This point alone is good cause to have started THATLou, don’t you think? To try to get the people off the beaten track… That poor marble floor should be as deep as the English trenches with approximately 7.2 million people tromping along, blinders on, with eyes only for the Mona Lisa. The Louvre has signs all over the place with tattered photocopies of da Vinci’s painting, I guess for those who don’t even know what it’s called?

Last spring I met one of the heads of the American Friends of the Louvre (AFL) who used to work at the Louvre. She told me that one morning when entering the museum at about 9.30 AM from the Porte des Lions  entrance (along the Seine, at the western end of Denon) there were already people leaving the museum! Which, given the size of the endless Italian Galeries (which Denon houses), means they didn’t even really bother to look at their checked-off-been-there-done-that Mona Lisa! No matter how swiftly they were walking — it takes a good while to get from the main entrance to the Porte des Lions exit at the farthest southwest sortie (as seen below).

Porte des Lions - SouthWestern wing of the Louvre, photographed by Jennifer Greco and published in

Porte des Lions – SouthWestern wing of the Louvre, photographed by Jennifer Greco and published in

Anyway, back to our generalised stats… If you’re interested in the top-rated exhibitions of 2011, please see this hyperlink to The Art Newspaper’s April issue. It’s quite interesting, but be warned if you’re reading this on a phone it’s a heavy PDF. As for the promised top 15 museum attendence records for 2011, they’re listed below. At one point I may expand on this list and start to mark physical sizes of some museums. I believe the largest museum physically is the Hermitage, then probably the Louvre with its 65,000m². But these are just me guessing. I’ll also hopefully hone in on some museum expansions, for instance of the Pritzker Prize-winning architect Rafael Moneo and his tasteful addition to the Museo del Prado in 2007.

And for all those crazy-stats-addicts among you, here’s another: Apparently there are more than 2000 people who work at the Louvre. The size of a small town!





Visitor count


Musée du Louvre Paris  France 8,880,000


Metropolitan Museum of Art New York  United States 6,004,254


British Museum London  United Kingdom 5,848,534


National Gallery London  United Kingdom 5,253,216


Tate Modern London  United Kingdom 4,802,287


National Gallery of Art Washington  United States 4,392,252


National Palace Museum Taipei  Taiwan 3,849,577


Centre Pompidou Paris  France 3,613,076


National Museum of Korea Seoul  South Korea 3,239,549


Musée d’Orsay Paris  France 3,154,000


Museo del Prado Madrid  Spain 2,911,767


State Hermitage Museum Saint Petersburg  Russia 2,879,686


Museum of Modern Art New York  United States 2,814,746


Victoria & Albert Museum London  United Kingdom 2,789,400


Museo Reina Sofía Madrid  Spain 2,705,529

A special thanks to Jennifer Greco for her incredible eye, crafty camera-work and lovely blog, Chez Loulou, where she posted these photos with a generous thatlou plug.


4 thoughts on “Crazy Louvre Stats (+ Others)

  1. Wow, fascinating. I’m not surprised by the top three, but there’s at least one museum here I didn’t even know existed — namely, the National Museum of Korea! What a lovely reason to visit Seoul (along with the kimchi, natch 🙂

    • Oh I love it that you love completely useless stat information – I do, too. Another thing that surprised me on the list was that the Hermitage had less than 3 million visitors when I think it’s supposed to have the largest painting collection in the world. As for kimchi, spicy spicy!

    • Good point – but from one New Yorker to another, you know we’ll always have our secret entrances and secret rooms. Like how to get from 12th St and 7th Ave to 16th St and 6th without taking the metro — or walking on the sidewalk, of course! Paris is filled with them, too, bien sur…

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