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Visiting France

Thousands flock to Monet weekend marathon

media People queue at the Grand Palais on Friday night Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes

Fans of Claude Monet stayed up all night and queued for hours this weekend to see the exhibition of the French impressionist’s work at Paris’s Grand Palais before it closed Monday. Organisers expect to have sold 910,000 tickets in the four months the show has been open to the public.

Thousands braved freezing temperatures to flock to the central Paris museum, some of them waiting as long as five hours to enter galleries so packed it was difficult to see the pictures.

The museum stayed open for three days and nights - 84 continuous hours - on the last weekend of the show, allowing fans who had left the visit to the last minute to see it and others to return to enjoy the rare experience of Monet by night.

Repeat visitors were responsible for a boom in sales of season tickets, with 52,000 of the Paris museums’ Carte Sésame sold.

With 890,000 visits already on the clock on Sunday afternoon, the gallery hopes to hit 910,000 in total. That will almost be a French record but not quite – only the 1967 Tutankhamun exhibition at the Petit Palais, over the road from the Grand Palais, has scored higher with 1.2 million visitors.

Monet has been good for Paris museums’ coffers, as well. The sale of 83,000 catalogues has netted a cool million euros to add to revenue from sales of tickets at 12 euros a piece.

The show's success has not taken critics or organisers by surprise. They advised potential visitors to book ahead even before it opened.
 

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