Influx: Visitors in the Louvre

The quantity of visitors in the Louvre can be impressive, if overwhelming.

In 2011, I shot this rough footage of the flow of visitors in some of the busiest galleries of the Louvre, and I finally got around to editing it now. Inspired by the mesmerizing 1982 film Koyaanisqatsi, I used music by Philip Glass and played with the speed and distance of the subjects.

As in my recent video comparing Louvre self-portraits and the selfies taken by visitors, this video is a result of my awe of the influx of people in this museum. The Louvre is by far the world’s most visited museum, which creates a lot of visitor diversity. There are tourists, locals, art historians, art haters, first time visitors and life-long visitors. And the space needs to meet all of their needs at once.

It is tempting to be contemptuous of the masses of tourists who flood to the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo. At times, I need to remind myself that I’m a museum educator who spends my days thinking of ways to make museums accessible to everyone, especially populations who don’t already feel like museums are places for them. And I firmly believe museums, especially national collections like the Louvre, should be available to all people to use in ways that make sense for them.

But this is easy to forget when you’re elbowing your way through a sea of selfie sticks.


Musée du Louvre 

AddressPalais du Louvre 75001 Paris  ∣  MétroPalais-Royal Musée du Louvre (line 1 or 7) ∣ Opening hoursWednesday to Monday from 9am to 6pm, open until 9:45pm on Wednesday and Friday