Pinault's Bourse de Commerce plans to finally launch on 22 May as Macron gives French museums the green light to reopen

Health passes to certify visitors are Covid-free will be mandatory at cultural venues

The Bourse de Commerce-Pinault Collection was scheduled to open last June © Tadao Ando Architect & Associates, Niney et Marca Architectes, agence Pierre-Antoine Gatier

Museums and cultural venues in France can reopen from 19 May, French President Emmanuel Macron announced yesterday. This is welcome news for museums that have been closed since 30 October 2020.

It also means that the mega collector François Pinault can finally inaugurate the Bourse de Commerce-Pinault Collection in central Paris on 22 May, nearly a year after it was originally scheduled to open last June.

France’s third national lockdown ends on 2 May, and the reopening of different sectors will be rolled out gradually over four phases. On 3 May, people will be able to travel beyond the current restriction of ten kilometres from their homes. On Wednesday 19 May, museums, theatres and cinemas will be able to reopen. For theatres and cinemas, 800 visitors will be allowed inside, a restriction that does not apply to museums. “We need to rediscover our French art of living, while remaining careful and responsible,” Le Figaro quotes President Macron saying.

On 9 June, cultural venues will be able to welcome a maximum of 5,000 visitors, providing they have a health pass that proves they have been vaccinated against or tested negative for Covid-19. Macron has said that it would be “absurd to not use” a health pass “in places where crowds mingle like stadia, festivals, fairs or exhibitions”.

On 30 June, events for more than 1,000 people—such as the Rencontres d’Arles photography festival in the south of France—will be able to take place both indoors and outdoors, but people will be asked to show a health pass.

The Musée d’Orsay, the Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris have confirmed to The Art Newspaper that they are ready to receive visitors on 19 May.

A spokesman for the Musée d’Orsay says: “We’re waiting for more details about the reopening measures from the culture ministry next week.”

The Musée des Arts Décoratifs is also awaiting further instructions from the government. A spokesman for the museum says: “The question of [the maximum number of visitors for museums] is not defined yet and we are waiting for clarification. Regarding the [health] pass, we will see what the government asks but for the moment this is not on the agenda for the reopening in May.”

Other museums, such as the Centre Pompidou, the Musée du Louvre and the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, are scrambling to make reopening plans and are yet to confirm their dates.

Commercial galleries are also eager to reopen on 19 May. “We have been waiting for the official reopening for weeks,” says Anne-Claudie Coric, the executive director at Daniel Templon. “The galleries, through the Professional Committee of Art Galleries, had argued that it was unfair to be closed while auction houses could still be open.”