Attractions & Experiences

French heritage sites closing in on pre-pandemic attendance levels

Musée du Louvre, Paris

French heritage sites saw a massive revival in attendance figures during 2022 with visitor numbers now approaching pre-pandemic levels.

In figures published by the Ministry of Culture, there were a total of 28.5 million visits to museums and exhibition sites during 2022. This was down 15% compared to 2019, the year before restrictions were imposed due to the Covid 19 pandemic. However, the figure was up 142% year-on-year, with some restrictions having still been in place during 2021.

Visitor numbers at national monuments across France returned to pre-pandemic levels with more than 10 million visitors in 2022. That figure was double that of 2021.

The figures, documented in the annual Patrimostat publication, showed an upward trend in visits from young people. There were 7.6 million entries for those under 25, an increase of 137% compared to 2021.

“After two years of fragility marked by the health crisis, 2022 was the year of total reopening of heritage establishments, the year which revived the attractiveness of cultural places. This trend is captured in the new edition of Patrimostat,” a Ministry spokesperson said.

Looking at demographics, females accounted for 57% of visitors, while 40% were men and 3% were counted as “other”. The average age of visitors at museums was 37, with 38.5 at monuments.

International tourists are gradually returning with the lifting of travel restrictions. They comprised 70% of visitors at Paris’ famous Louvre Museum, which was up 31 points compared to 2021.

Most visits were made by couples – 31% at museums and 39% at monuments, with those figures at 29% and 36% for families.

Some 78% of those at monuments were first-time visitors, with 63% at museums.

Patrimostat covers more than 1,200 Musée de France attractions, almost a thousand remarkable heritage sites and some 45,000 buildings classified as historic monuments.