Selfie stick bans go into effect at French, U.K. attractions

France's Palace of Versailles and Britain's National Gallery in London become the latest attractions to ban the digital snapshot devices Wednesday.

France's Palace of Versailles and Britain's National Gallery in London announce bans Wednesday

Sandy Johal uses a selfie stick to take a picture of herself in Times Square in New York. The digital photography devices are being banned in more and more places with critics calling them obnoxious and potentially dangerous. (Seth Wenig/AP)

"Selfie sticks" have now been banned at a French palace and a British museum, joining a growing list of global tourist attractions to take such measures.

The devices are used to improve snapshots, but critics say they are obnoxious and potentially dangerous. Officials at Palace of Versailles outside Paris, and Britain's National Gallery in London, announced the bans Wednesday, saying they need to protect artworks and other visitors.

Other places that have put limits on the selfie-stick craze:


Selfie sticks, expandable rods that allow users to hold their cellphones a few feet away, making it easy to take your own wide-angled self-portraits or group shots, have been banned by the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. (Seth Wenig/Associated Press)
The "wand of narcissism," as it is sometimes called, is not welcome in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts nor at Pointe-à-Callière Archaeology Museum. 

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg has also deemed the devices unwelcome.


Tourists take a selfie near the Pyramid of the Louvre Museum on a rainy summer day in Paris July 9, 2014. (Charles Platiau/Reuters)
Unlike Versailles, the Louvre and Centre Georges Pompidou art museums have not banned selfie sticks — yet. The Pompidou — the contemporary art museum whose exterior of colourful tubes and scaffolding looks like a building turned inside out — is studying what, if anything, needs to be done about the phenomenon, Le Monde reported.

Musee d'Orsay, which houses an Impressionist art collection, bans not just selfie sticks, but any photography whatsoever.


Rome's ancient Colosseum is in a state of decay, archeologists say. (Gregorio Borgia/Associated Press)
Rome's Colosseum banned selfie sticks last month as a security measure, both for the objects on exhibit inside and for the 16,000 daily visitors to the 2,000-year-old monument.

"The twirling around of hundreds of sticks can become unwittingly dangerous," Colosseum spokesman Christiano Brughitta said.

Two American tourists were arrested last week after carving their names into the Colosseum's wall — and then taking a photo with a selfie stick.

United States

Tourists use a selfie stick to take a shot in front of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. As of Tuesday, visitors to Washington's Smithsonian museums are not allowed to use the tools. (Larry Downing/Reuters)
The Smithsonian museums in Washington banned
selfie sticks last week. Cameras and pictures are still allowed, but selfie sticks, tripods and monopods are not. Smithsonian officials say this is a preventative measure to protect visitors and museum objects.

Other U.S. museums that ban selfie sticks include the Art Institute of Chicago, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and New York's Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Be prepared to check your selfie stick at the door at Vienna's Albertina museum. (Alexander Klien/AFP/Getty Images)
Vienna's Albertina, one of the city's top art museums, prohibits selfie sticks. Museum spokeswoman Sarah Wulbrandt says visitors must check-in the sticks before entering.


A woman takes a photo using a selfie stick whilst standing on Westminster Bridge in London on Jan. 10, 2015. (Kevin Coombs/Reuters)
Besides the National Gallery, some English soccer teams have banned the selfie stick from their stadiums.

The National Portrait Gallery, adjacent to the National Gallery, says the sticks are allowed, but "anything that may prove disruptive is reviewed on an ongoing basis." The British Museum is "currently reviewing" its selfie-stick policy.

Some art-lovers praised the idea of a ban.

"If you go into an exhibition, surely the purpose is to see what is on show and not to take umpteen photographs of yourself?" said Bill Doig, a retired doctor visiting the National Portrait Gallery.


A reveller takes a selfie, without a stick, as she waits for the first night of the Carnival parade of samba schools in Rio de Janeiro's Sambadrome on Feb. 15, 2015. (Pilar Olivares/Reuters)
 Soccer stadiums in the South American country have also banned selfie sticks because of their potential use as weapons in fights between rival fans, police say. Selfie sticks were also banned from Brazil's recent Carnival parades in Rio de Janeiro.

With files from CBC News