Visitors to the Louvre who have queued patiently for hours are complaining that museum staff are allowing them less than a minute to view the Mona Lisa.
Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece is the main attraction for an estimated 30,000 people a day – about 80 per cent of visitors to the Paris museum – and staff are struggling to cope with the crowds.
The Mona Lisa was recently moved from her usual gallery in the Salle des États, currently being renovated, to a temporary home in the Galérie Médicis.
The relocation has created bottlenecks of visitors lining corridors and the Louvre is now advising that only those who have pre-booked will be guaranteed a glimpse of the world’s most famous portrait.
The queue for admission stretches for hundreds of yards outside the futuristic glass-and-metal pyramid that serves as the main entrance to the Louvre, the world’s most visited museum.
After standing in line for at least an hour, visitors now have to queue again if they want to see the Mona Lisa.
Every few minutes, some 200 tourists surge towards the painting, clutching their mobile phones, but museum attendants swiftly draw a rope across the front of the queue to hold back the next wave of eager visitors.