Louvre Museum in Paris has historically been the world's most visited cultural institution — but will now limit visitor numbers by up to a third to ensure a more "comfortable visit".
The cap is at 30,000 guests "in order to facilitate a comfortable visit and ensure optimal working conditions for museum staff", read a recently issued announcement.
Pre-pandemic, the French landmark welcomed up to 45,000 visitors a day, according to The Art Newspaper.
It enforced a 16-week closure during France's lockdowns, recording losses of more than €40 million ($42.5m) at the time.
When it reopened, there was no cap on capacity, but visitor numbers were down as people slowly returned to normal activities and international travel restrictions gradually lifted.
Last year, the museum welcomed 7.8 million, a 170 per cent increase on 2021 but still down 19 per cent on 2019, according to the latest figures released this week.
The decision to limit daily visitor numbers was quietly made in June and has now been officially written into its public guidelines.
This follows the appointment of Laurence des Cars as its new president-director, taking over from September.
“The extremely positive figures for 2022 are tremendously encouraging for all our staff," des Cars said. "I hope that visitors enjoy spending time at the Musee du Louvre, particularly those discovering the museum for the first time, who represent 60 per cent of them.
"We are working ever harder to improve visiting conditions and to continue to offer a programme of great quality and a unique array of live performances resonating with what’s on at the museum.”
If it reaches full capacity each day it's open — it closes every Tuesday and on three public holidays — then the maximum number of visitors the museum can reach this year is 9.3 million, still 300,000 fewer than 2019.