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LOUVRE

Free entry at Louvre due to angry archaeologists

Bemused art lovers and tourists visited the world's most popular art gallery for free on Thursday afternoon thanks to around 100 protesting archaeologists who blocked the ticket desks.

Free entry at Louvre due to angry archaeologists
Visitors to the Louvre saved a few euros on Thursday thanks to protesting archaeologists. Photo: AFP

The protest began at around midday and is set to continue until Thursday evening.

A group of archaeologists, who are concerned over the future of the profession, entered the famous gallery and blockaded the ticket kiosks, meaning thousands of visitors could enter for free, according to a union group.

"The protesters numbered around 100," said union rep Eric Michon.

Signs were put on the doors of the entrance telling visitors that archaeologists were offering them free visits to the museum.

The museum chiefs however have refused numerous times to comment on the protest when approached by AFP, Le Parisien reports.

The protest was prompted by growing concern over the use of private companies to protect France's heritage, which they say has had catastrophic effects over the last 10 years.

"We demand that archaeology is taken out of the commercial sector," said Michon.

They focused on a sector called "preventive archaeology," which helps protect ancient sites, and which was opened up to competition from private companies in 2003.

A spokesman for the culture ministry said it was "astonished" the protesters had allowed the Louvre to "suffer the consequences" of their demonstration and was in talks with the unions over the issue.

The Louvre, one of the most popular attractions in the French capital, is also the most visited museum in the world, receiving 9.3 million visitors in 2014.

TOURISM

New guide to Paris museums – showing only the nudes

There are lots of guides to the visual splendours of Paris' museums and art galleries - but for those with a short attention span comes a new one, showing only nude or erotic artworks.

New guide to Paris museums - showing only the nudes
Find your way straight to the most erotic works in Paris galleries. Photo: Guiseppe Cacace/AFP

The online guides to the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay museums are produced by the porn website Pornhub and provide a list of the best erotic artworks in each museum, plus directions of how to get there – so you don’t need to waste your time looking at paintings of people in clothes.

The Classic Nudes series has been ruffling some feathers since it was posted online earlier in July, with the Uffizi museum in Florence threatening to sue. Bosses at the Louvre have said only that they are ‘dismayed’, while the Musée d’Orsay has remained silent on the subject.

The guide for the Musée d’Orsay lists 11 erotic artworks, together with a tongue-in-cheek commentary, and a location for each piece within the museum.

The Sleep by Gustave Courbet. Photo by FRANCOIS GUILLOT / AFP

Among the works featured are;

  • Le déjeuner sur l’herbe by Edouard Manet (1863) – which features a group having a picnic in which the woman has lost her clothes (the men remain fully dressed in three-piece suits and ties).
  • Un combat des coqs by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1846) – a nude couple watching a cock fight (that’s cockerels fighting, just to be clear).
  • L’origine du monde by Gustave Courbet (1866) – more than 150 years after it was first painted, the intimate close-up of female genitalia is still making waves. In 2019 Facebook had to pay damages to a French teacher whose account was closed when he posted a picture of the famous artwork.

The guide for the Louvre includes:

Nude young Man by Hippolyte Flandrin. Photo by KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / AFP
  • Portrait of Madeleine by Marie Guillemine Benoist (1800) – groundbreaking in several senses, this painting is one of the few on the list by a woman, and shows a topless black woman, painted just six years after the abolition of slavery in France’s colonies. 
  • Diane sortant du bain by François Boucher (1742) – one of many paintings on the list showing women having a bath, this features the Greek goddess Diana and her favourite nymph apparently surprised by the artist in the process of drying off after a bath. 
  • Le Jeune homme nu by Hippolyte Flandrin (1835) – most of the flesh shown in both the galleries is female (because that’s the patriarchy for you) but here we have a more rare male nude, a study of a young man sitting and looking rather sad and pensive.

As is hopefully clear, the Pornhub guides are explicit in nature and not suitable for children.

Both museums, however, form a great day out for all the family and contain a lot of fully-clothed artwork too. At present both are operating reduced visitor numbers due to health rules, so advance booking to recommended.

IN DETAIL: When do France’s top tourist sites reopen?

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