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France tries to kickstart post-pandemic tourism, with unexpected results

DW, 18 Jun 2021
France is reopening to foreign tourists after the pandemic devastated business. The capital Paris is enticing visitors with bargains and unusually empty museums. But as DW's Lisa Louis found out, the city has some tough competition.
Paris loves its tourists. That's the message young, multilingual ambassadors are trying to spread.
Up to 500 of them will be deployed this year in an effort to kickstart tourism again, after visitor numbers plummeted by two thirds last year.
But the tourists who normally represent a large share of the city's visitors – people from Asia and the US – might be a bit longer in coming.
Many hotels are trying to lure in the locals with special deals, with some luxury establishments offering discounts of up to 70 percent. But no offer will convince those already desperate to get out of the city. Reservations in the French countryside have skyrocketed.
And yet, some might argue this is exactly the right time to visit Paris or other cities.
At the Louvre, the world's biggest museum, foreigners make up three quarters of visitors. But due to Covid-19 restrictions, many of these visitors from abroad are not showing up. That's why you can now even get tickets at short notice – and visit world famous works of art almost by yourself.
What's true for the Louvre is true for other sights in the French capital. You no longer have to queue for hours. And that might be the most appealing tourist attraction of all.


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