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Louvre gets a much-needed makeover thanks to COVID closure

It’s enough to make the 518-year-old Mona Lisa break out into a real smile.

Closure of the Louvre because of the pandemic has meant no crush of visitors for once and a chance to refurbish the iconic Paris museum.

Da Vinci’s masterpiece, along with treasures like the white marble Venus de Milo, no longer have to contend with an estimated 40,000 visitors per day. At least for now.

Curators, restorers and workers have taken advantage of the second closure of the Louvre on Oct. 30 to clean sculptures, organize artifacts and inventories, and undertake long-overdue restorations, The Associated Press reported Saturday.

The Louvre ground to a halt when it was first shut down in March. But this time, 250 employees are operational.

The Venus of Milo sculpture, background, is lit by a ray of light in the Louvre museum, in Paris, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021.
The Venus of Milo sculpture, background, is lit by a ray of light in the Louvre museum, in Paris on Feb. 11, 2021.
Thibault Camus/AP

“We’re taking advantage of the museum’s closure to carry out a number of major works, speed up maintenance operations and start repair works that are difficult to schedule when the museum is operating normally,” Laurent le Guedart, the Louvre’s Architectural Heritage and Gardens Director told AP from inside the Grande Galerie.

A worker cleans the Marly courtyard in the Louvre museum, in Paris, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021.
A worker cleans the Marly courtyard in the Louvre museum, in Paris on Feb. 11, 2021.
Thibault Camus/AP

This restoration work includes the collections in the Etruscan and Italian Halls, and the gilded Salon Carre. A major restoration of the ancient Egyptian tomb chapel of Akhethotep from 2400 B.C. is also underway.

No date has been set yet for the re-opening.


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