Martinez said the museum had lost more than €40m (£36m) in sales during the shutdown, and was not optimistic for the remainder of the year. About 75% of its 9.6 million visitors last year came from abroad, led by US tourists – who, along with visitors from Russia, Brazil and many other non-EU countries, are still barred from entering Europe.

“About 7,000 people reserved today, whereas in normal times we would expect up to 50,000 a day in the summer months,” Martinez said. He added that the museum, which had not been closed for such a long period since the second world war, would aim to make up for the loss by attracting more French visitors.

Among the trickle of tourists on Monday was Zino Vandenbeaghen, who had travelled from Belgium to enjoy the unusual amount of space at both the Louvre and the Palace of Versailles. “It’s super,” he told the Associated Press. “The ideal moment to visit.”

Paris tour guides wearing masks and holding Mona Lisa portraits protested outside the museum as it reopened, demanding more support from the government to help them ride out the coronavirus crisis and absence of tourists.

France has announced measures worth €18bn to support its tourism sector but one protester, Margot Schmitz, said the money was not reaching independent tour guides on short-term contracts such as her. “The government is turning a deaf ear,” she told Reuters.