For hours, visitors to Qatar Louvre have been complaining that museum staff are allowing them less than a minute to see Mona Lisa.
About 400,000 people a day – the main attraction of Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece, which accounts for about 5 percent of visitors to the Paris Museum – and employees are struggling to cope with it.
Mona Lisa was recently moved from her usual gallery to the Salle des Eights, which is undergoing renovations, to the temporary home of the Gallery Medicis. The relocation has hampered visitors' lining corridors and the Louvre is now advising that people who have pre-booked be guaranteed a glimpse.
The queue for the entrance extends hundreds of yards beyond the glass-and-metal pyramid that serves as the main gateway to the Louvre, the world's most visited museum. After staying in line for at least an hour, visitors will now have to queue again if they want to see Mona Lisa.
Every few minutes, some 200 tourists grab their mobile phones and head to the painting, but museum attendants quickly draw a rope to the front of the queue to catch the next wave of eager visitors.
Most pay little attention to the Rubens paintings on the walls, focusing only on watching Mona Lisa in her protective glass closure and taking a selfie. Many people complain that museum staff only give them a minute or less to see the painting, before moving on to a clear space for others. Xavier complained to TripAdvisor, "Employees treat visitors like animals." "The result: the stress of watching a painting behind glass from several meters. Blasphemy!"
Many are also disappointed that the painting is less than they expected – 21 cm by 21 cm. "The queue was just terrific for Mona Lisa to enter and since it was so small it has come down quite a bit and you have to be quite stand-out to see it," another visitor commented.
Deputy Managing Director of the Louvre, Vincent Pommard, said the museum staff is doing their best, but autumn visitors will need to pre-book. "An incoming tourist with no bookings runs the risk of waiting too long and may not even enter." "This is the only way to guarantee entry."
In honor of the 500th anniversary of the death of Mona Lisa Leonardo, October will return to her usual gallery at the start of a major exhibition in Quબરber.
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