The Louvre attracted a record 7.3 million visitors last year, 14% up from 6.4 million in 2004.
The Paris museum puts this increase partly down to new free late-night openings for visitors under 26. But the popularity of US author Dan Brown’s bestselling thriller The Da Vinci Code (right), based on the murder of a Louvre curator, has also boosted numbers. The film version of the novel is due for release in May.
The Louvre first resisted, then embraced this publishing phenomenon, setting up special tours of the museum organised by the fundraising organisation, the American Friends of the Louvre. The first tour was led by the museum director, Henri Loyrette.
The Louvre’s temporary exhibitions also did well; “Romanesque France” attracted 2,682 visitors a day, and a total of 205,000 visitors.
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'The Da Vinci effect'