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LOUVRE

Spend the night in Paris with the Mona Lisa in Airbnb contest

As part of the 30th birthday celebrations for the Louvre’s famous glass pyramid, the museum has joined up with short-term rental platform Airbnb to host two guests for one incredibly memorable night among the masterpieces.

Spend the night in Paris with the Mona Lisa in Airbnb contest
Photo: AFP

The lucky winner, accompanied by the person of their choice, will spend the night of April 30 sleeping beside some of the most famous paintings in the world. All you have to do to win is log on here and answer the question ‘Why am I be Mona Lisa’s ideal guest?’.

A panel will pick the most romantic declaration of love for Mona Lisa. Entries are open until 11.59pm on April 12th.

The winners will arrive at the Louvre as it begins to close at 6.30pm on Tuesday April 30th.

You will watch all the normal guests go home as you relish in the fact that you are already home. The evening will begin with a private tour around the masterpieces with an art historian who has already been a guide for the likes of Barack Obama and Beyoncé.

You will pause to have an aperó in front of your hostess Mona (Lisa).

A small private dining room will be set up for dinner à deux at the foot of the Venus de Milo statue.

Then stroll down through the legendary rooms to the Napoleon III section for an intimate concert by folk pop artist Sarah Jeanne Ziegler – just for you.

Then it’s off to bed in a cosy nest that will be installed under the stars in the pyramid itself. The dream will continue until after breakfast is served at 8am. And you don’t need to worry about queues of visitors starting to form as you’re putting on your make-up, May 1st is one of the few days of the year the Louvre is closed. You will have the place all to yourself.

The competition is open to everyone around the world, with the prize including return flights and the winners getting two extra nights at a hotel in Paris.

Now all you have to do is persuade the Mona Lisa to pick you. “Dear Mona, I am a very good guest, I am very quiet, I never leave used tea-bags on the counter…”

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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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