PARIS: The Paris Louvre received over 10 million visitors in 2018, a record its managers partly attributed Thursday to “Apeshit,” a Beyonce video that used the former royal palace, and famous works like the Mona Lisa, as decor. Some 10.2 million people visited the museum last year, a 25 percent increase over 2017, which its president Jean-Luc Martinez also linked to a stunning tourism recovery in Paris after a slump caused by a spate of terror attacks.
The Louvre itself was targeted in February 2017, when an Egyptian man armed with machetes lunged at soldiers on patrol outside the facility. Police shot and seriously injured the attacker. No visitors were hurt.
Martinez also gave some of the credit to Beyonce and Jay Z, who shot the video for their hit “Apeshit” in the galleries of the world’s most popular museum as locations.
The video, which has been viewed 147 million times on YouTube, went on to form the basis of a Louvre touring exhibition of the video 17 featured paintings and sculptures.
“The Beyonce clip and the opening of the Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi had people around the world talking about the Louvre,” Martinez told France Info, “and one of the consequences is this spectacular rebound in the visitor numbers in 2018.”
A 60-million-euro ($68 million) revamp of its reception areas and ticketing system also helped the venerable museum manage the influx.
The overhaul was chiefly funded by an agreement between France and the oil-rich United Arab Emirates, where the Louvre opened an outpost in Abu Dhabi to some fanfare in November 2017.
In 2017, the Louvre just edged the National Museum of China to remain the most-visited museum in the world, with 8.1 million visitors compared to 8 million for the Beijing space and 7.3 million for New York’s Metropolitan Museum.
While the French remain the biggest patrons of the Louvre foreigners accounted for three-quarters of the intake.
Nearly a million Chinese swept through the Louvre’s doors in 2018, making them the second biggest foreign visitor group after Americans, who numbered nearly 1.5 million.