With no crowds, Louvre gets exclusive chance to refurbish

PARIS — The 518-year-old Mona Lisa has seen many things in her life on a wall, but rarely this: Almost four months with no Louvre visitors.
As she stares out through bulletproof glass into the silent Salle des Etats, in what was once the globe’s most-visited museum, her celebrated smile could almost denote comfort. A bit further on, the white marble Venus de Milo is for once free of her girdle of picture-snapping visitors.
It’s uncertain when the Paris museum will reopen, after being closed on Oct. 30 in line with the French government’s virus containment measures. But those lucky enough to get in gain from a exclusive private look at collections covering 9,000 years of human history — with plenty of space to breathe.
That’s normally sorely lacking in a museum that’s blighted by its own success: Before the pandemic, staff walked out protesting they couldn’t handle the overcrowding, with up ……

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