SHARE
COPY LINK

TOURISM

Paris museums set for selfie stick ban

Bad news for selfie-stick lovers. Museums in Paris, the most touristed city in the world, are moving towards banning the popular devices because of the hazard they pose for crowds and artworks.

Paris museums set for selfie stick ban

Inside the famed Palace of Versailles, just outside the French capital, guards are telling visitors to put away the telescoping rods that allow users to take a smartphone picture of themselves form a distance.

A formal rule change will soon prohibit the poles outright.

The management of the Louvre – the world's most visited museum – is watching with increasing wariness the burgeoning use of the selfie sticks being waved around within centimetres (inches) of priceless paintings.

There's no ban there yet, but "their use must respect the rules," which include not pointing objects at the paintings or sculptures, a spokeswoman said.

The Pompidou Centre, which houses modern art exhibitions, is "heading towards a ban but the decision has not yet been made," its management said.

Already several other big museums in the world have this year started banning the extending rods, including the Smithsonian in Washington, the MOMA in New York, and the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.

The measures were taken as the use of the cheap, telescoping rods, some of which can extend to 1.5 metres in length, becomes a ubiquitous, worldwide trend. It is not unusual to see tour groups waving a forest of aluminium poles holding smartphones aloft in some high-density tourist sites.

In Paris, a ban on them inside museums would have a significant impact. The City of Light is a prime destination for fans of culture and history. Together the Louvre, Versailles, the Pompidou Centre and the Musee d'Orsay attract more than 20 million visitors per year.

Safety — for other visitors passing by in often crowded spaces and of the fragile paintings, sculptures and palace furnishings — is cited as the reason for the move against the sticks.

Many tourists seem understanding of the need for restrictions on the poles.

"I think that in shared spaces, outside like here, it (a selfie stick) is fine," said Juliana Lepoutre Garavini, a Brazilian outside the Louvre. "But in the museums I think it bothers people a little."

Alyssa Pasqua, an American visitor from Hawaii, said she uses a selfie stick but would not mind a ban inside museums – "because I feel like sometimes these things are dangerous. You can hit someone with it, because sometimes I'm accidentally like 'oh my God!'."

But Ezad Asri, a tourist from Malaysia, insisted he wanted to be able to maximise his precious time in Paris's museums.

"I want to take the picture of the stuff inside the museum to take to our country, to my country, Malaysia, to show to my people what's inside the museum," he said.

For museum managers, finding a balance between the understandable desire of people to photograph their visit – which also generates publicity on social networks – and to ensure safety and optimum foot-traffic flow is difficult.

Paris's Musee d'Orsay, for instance, prohibits all photography inside. Many other museums permit non-flash snaps as long as no tripods or monopods are used. Almost all refuse entry with unwieldy objects such as non-collapsible umbrellas, baby carriages and bulky backpacks.

France's culture ministry has published a non-binding charter that recognises that accommodating shutterbug museum visitors is "sometimes problematic" but makes no mention of selfie sticks.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

TOURISM

Tourism minister: Book your French ski holiday now

France’s ski resorts will be open for business this winter, tourism minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne has promised - but no decision has yet been taken on whether a health pass will be required to use ski lifts.

Skiers at a French Alpine resort
Photo: Philippe Desmazes / AFP

“This winter, it’s open, the resorts are open,” Lemoyne told France 2’s 4 Vérités programme.

“Compared to last year, we have the vaccine,” he said, adding that he would “invite those who have not yet done so to [book], because … there will soon be no more room.”

And he promised an answer ‘in the next few days’ to the question of whether health passes would be required for winter holidaymakers to use ski lifts. “Discussions are underway with the professionals,” he said.

The stakes are high: the closure of ski lifts last winter cost manufacturers and ski shops nearly a billion euros. 

This year ski lifts will remain open, but a health pass may be necessary to access them. The health pass is already compulsory for après ski activities such as visits to bars, cafés and restaurants.

COMPARE The Covid rules in place at ski resorts around Europe

Many town halls and communities which depend on winter sports have found it difficult or impossible to make ends meet.

“It’s time for the French mountains to revive,” Lemoyne said, pointing to the fact that the government has provided “more than €6 billion” in aid to the sector.

Winter tourism professionals, however, have said that they are struggling to recruit for the winter season.

“Restaurant and bars are very affected,” by the recruitment crisis, one expert told Franceinfo, blaming a lack of urgency from authorities towards the winter holiday industry.

“We are all asking ourselves what we should do tomorrow to find full employment in the resort,” the expert added.

Post-Brexit visa and work permit rules mean that ski businesses have found it difficult to recruit Brits for short-term, seasonal positions.

SHOW COMMENTS