Louvre visitors furious over time limit for the Mona Lisa
She may be the only one smiling.
Visitors to Paris’ famed Louvre Museum are furious that museum staff are allowing them less than a minute to view the famed Mona Lisa, after waiting in line hours just to see Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece.
The painting draws about 30,000 people per day — or about 80 percent of visitors to the museum itself — and it’s been a struggle of late for staff to keep crowds moving along, The Telegraph reported.
That’s because the portrait was recently moved from its usual gallery in the Salle des États, now under renovation, to the Galérie Médicis, where it will stay temporarily, according to the report.
The relocation has caused bottlenecks of visitors to crowd the hallways — prompting the museum to restrict potential Mona Lisa spectators to only those who have pre-booked, the outlet reported.
Some 200 tourists, phones in hand, make a beeline toward the painting — as attendants draw a rope to hold back the next crowd.
On a Trip Advisor page for the painting, many visitors griped about the new arrangement.
“You wait on line for a while (we waited about 25mins), only to enter the room of the Mona Lisa and immediately get shouted at by some club-bouncer types telling you to move along,” user BLKYNTravels wrote. “I got 10 seconds of looking at the painting before a large security guy physically walked me out of the viewing area. The solution is simple – allow a group of 10 to look for 2 minutes, then the next group, then the next. I’m not sure why it’s a free-for-all with bouncers.”
“Waiting time was around 20 mins, not too bad, however when we actually got there it was a mess!” user Zahraa91 wrote. “Everyone pushing and shoving, it was horrendous! You finally get to the Mona Lisa and there is security…shouting “one picture and move on” which is fair enough, as it is way too crowded. However, I don’t really get to stand and actually admire the artwork.”
“Actually experiencing the painting was impossible,” user Golbaghali, who visited the attraction this month, chimed in. “So, once I realized the setup, I decided to leave….It’s very unfortunate that the amazing pieces in the museum are overshadowed by this work.”
Vincent Pomarède, the deputy managing director of the museum, told the Telegraph that the staff is doing the best it can, but autumn visitors will need to pre-book.
“A tourist who comes without a booking runs the risk of waiting a long time and maybe even not getting in,” Pomarède said. “It’s the only way to guarantee entry.”
In May, staff went on strike to protest “suffocating” overcrowding conditions at the museum — closing the institution for a day, according to the report.
The Mona Lisa will return to its usual gallery in time for an October exhibition commemorating the 50th anniversary of da Vinci’s death, the outlet reported.
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