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'Deserted' Chateau de Versailles to receive €87 million in recovery plan

A tourist visits an empty Hall of Mirrors in the Chateau de Versailles near Paris (June 2020)
A tourist visits an empty Hall of Mirrors in the Chateau de Versailles near Paris (June 2020) © AFP/Anne-Christine Poujoulat
2 min

The Chateau de Versailles, one of France’s most visited sites, is expected to lose 6 million visitors in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. This unprecedented situation led the French government to plan a €87 million recovery plan over two years.

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The Chateau de Versailles, west of Paris has not been filled since its reopening last June after 80 days lockdown.

As many museums in Paris, its main sites such as the Hall of Mirrors and the huge park are almost deserted.

This is unprecedented for one of France's most popular tourist spots. In 2020, the the number of visits to the Chateau de Versailles will be around one million visitors compared to seven million in 2019.

"We lost almost €50 million in revenue. We made savings to reduce the deficit to €35 million, which is still considerable," Thierry Gausseron, the general administrator of the Château de Versailles, said in an interview with France TV Info.

6 million fewer visitors

With an expected loss of nearly 6 million visitors in 2020, the economic model of the structure is faltering because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tourists visit the deserted park of the Chateau de Versailles (June 2020).
Tourists visit the deserted park of the Chateau de Versailles (June 2020). © AFP/Anne-Christine Poujoulat

75% of the revenue comes from ticket sales and without foreign tourists, the situation is unlikely to improve, Gausseron adds.

But the State has promised €87 million over two years as part of the 2-billion-euro recovery plan announced by the culture ministry in September. 

Continuing renovations

€87 million over two years should make it possible to absorb the deficits, but also to continue the various renovation projects.

This will reassure the craftsmen and the various companies which rely heavily on these contracts to survive.

The Chateau de Versailles employs nearly a thousand people, it is estimated to provide a living for between 15,000 and 20,000 people.

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