- Associated Press - Thursday, January 5, 2012

PARIS (AP) - Russians and Chinese came in far greater numbers, but Americans remained the most numerous visitors as the Louvre Museum in Paris racked up record tourist traffic in 2011.

Managers at the fabled castle-turned-cultural mecca say the museum drew more than 8.8 million visitors last year _ a 5 percent increase from a year earlier despite hard economic times in much of the West.

Most Louvre visitors came to see its legendary permanent collection, including Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo.

But a rising number of visitors also came for temporary exhibits such as last year’s L’Antiquite Revee, billed as one of the most challenging shows on art and culture ever organized at the museum.

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