Paris’s cultural attractions are benefiting from the recovery in tourist numbers
Paris’s cultural attractions welcomed 70.2 million visitors in 2017. That is an increase of 5.9% compared to 2016. This performance is characterized by strong growth in foreign visitors. It illustrates the recovery in tourism in the capital, which saw a record number of hotel arrivals in 2017.
The survey of cultural visitors, carried out each year by the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau (PCVB), looks at data on visitor numbers to Paris museums and monuments (permanent collections and exhibitions) over the past year. The survey of the year 2017 covers visitor numbers for 62 cultural attractions and 68 temporary exhibitions.
Visitor statistics for museums and monuments in 2017
The cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris and the Sacré-Coeur Basilica of Montmartre are the two most visited monuments in the capital with 12 million and 10 million visitors respectively, in 2017. In third place was the Louvre Museum, which saw renewed growth with more than 8 million visitors, up by 14.8% compared to 2016. It remains the most visited museum in the world. The Eiffel Tower, with 6.2 million visitors in 2017 (+ 4.6%), crossed the symbolic mark of ... 300 million visitors since the World Fair of 1889.
Total attendance for the cultural attractions considered in this survey was 70.2 million visitors, an increase of 5.9% compared to 2016.
Two elements can explain the success achieved this year.
- Firstly, an attractive cultural programme. Temporary exhibitions play a key role in the annual variations in attendance. Cultural attractions recorded significant rises, like the Grand Palais (+ 24.9%) due to the success of ‘Gauguin, The Alchemist’ (467,378 visitors); the Petit Palais (+ 32.2%) with the exhibitions ‘The Art of Pastel, from Degas to Redon’ (239,472 visitors) and ‘Anders Zorn, Sweden’s Master Painter’ (130,090 visitors); or the Fondation François Sommer – Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature (+68.7 %) with ‘Beau doublé, Monsieur le Marquis’ (94,821 visitors).
- Cultural attractions also benefited from a favourable tourism climate. Hotels in Grand Paris recorded 23.6 million arrivals in 2017, a new annual record. Foreign arrivals increased significantly, up 15.2% compared to 7.5% for French arrivals. The same trend can be seen at cultural sites with an increase in foreign visitors of 9.7% compared to 4.7% for French visitors.
The survey also provides information on visitor numbers from the Ile-de-France region, on seasonal variations in visitor numbers, and on the number of group and individual visitors.
Top 15 Paris cultural attractions in 2017
|1||Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris||12 000 000||12 000 000||Estimation|
|2||Sacré-Cœur Basilica of Montmartre||10 000 000||10 000 000||Estimation|
|3||Louvre Museum||6 989 000||8 022 300||14.8%|
|4||Eiffel Tower||5 934 000||6 207 303||4.6%|
|5||Centre Pompidou||3 335 509||3 337 000||0.0%|
|6||Musée d'Orsay||2 997 622||3 177 842||6.0%|
|7||Universcience - Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie||2 196 194||2 439 072||11.1%|
|8||Chapelle Notre-Dame de la Médaille Miraculeuse||2 000 000||2 000 000||Estimation|
|9||MNHN: Grand Site du Jardin des Plantes||1 586 450||1 763 262||11.1%|
|10||Arc de Triomphe||1 342 361||1 583 260||17.9%|
|11||Grand Palais||1 130 556||1 412 060||24.9%|
|12||Fondation Louis Vuitton||1 021 727||1 402 245||37.2%|
|13||Musée de l'Armée||1 206 065||1 176 984||-2.4%|
|14||Musée du Quai Branly - Jacques Chirac||1 151 922||1 173 712||1.9%|
|15||Petit Palais||885 798||1 171 220||32.2 %|
Visitor statistics for temporary exhibitions
Some 10.2 million visits were recorded in 2017 for 68 temporary exhibitions at 25 Parisian cultural attractions. 19 exhibitions with more than 200,000 visitors were recorded (7.0 million visitors and 69.0% of the number of entries.).
The exhibition ‘Being Modern. MoMA in Paris’, at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, was the most visited exhibition in Greater Paris in 2017 (755,184 visitors). Two other exhibitions attracted more than 500,000 visitors: ‘Christian Dior, couturier du rêve’ (708,000 visitors) at the MAD – Musée des Arts Décoratifs and the ‘David Hockney’ retrospective (620,945 visitors) at the Centre Pompidou.
Top 10 most visited temporary exhibition in 2017
|Fondation Louis Vuitton||Being Modern. MoMA in Paris||755 184|
|MAD - Musée des Arts Décoratifs||Christian Dior, couturier du rêve||708 000|
|Centre Pompidou||David Hockney||620 945|
|Grand Palais||Gauguin, The Alchemist||467 378|
|Musée d'Orsay||(…) The Mystical Landscape from Monet to Kandinsky||453 740|
|Musée de l'Orangerie||Masterpieces from Bridgestone Museum of Art||419 740|
|Musée d'Orsay||Portraits by Cézanne||415 773|
|Musée d'Orsay||‘Degas Danse Dessin’. A Tribute to Degas with Paul Valéry||393 775|
|Grand Palais||Irving Penn||330 208|
|Louvre Museum||Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting||325 000|
The survey is available in French: https://bit.ly/2LFtGyx
The Paris Tourism Research Department collects and analyzes statistics to draw up a picture of tourism activity. It endeavours to identify and track new trends in tourism in Paris and carries out surveys enabling tourism professionals to position themselves within the sector and to better respond to demand. A hub for Paris tourist information, the Paris Tourism Research Department is an interface between tourism industry professionals, the academic community and journalists. It works together as a network with other European cities to exchange good practice and ensure that Paris is strategically positioned to compete effectively in the international tourism market.
 We have data for the total number of visitors to 62 sites in 2017. But the comparison with 2016 (+5.9 %) is based on 58 sites of which we have data for 2017 and 2016.