After years of controversy and public debate, a renovated and sparkling Louvre museum opened today, crowned by a tall glass pyramid at its new entrance.
After President Francois Mitterrand cut the ribbon at the inauguration ceremony and toured the collection, hundreds of people crowded in for a look.
“It’s light, it’s beautiful, it’s superb,” said Martine Bieri-Duminy, who lives nearby and watched the pyramid, designed by American architect I. M. Pei, being built.
“In the beginning, people in the neighborhood were against it. They thought the pyramid would spoil the architecture,” she said.
The dark, dingy Louvre most tourists remember is a thing of the past. In its place is what is called the “Grand Louvre,” a splendid ultramodern and high-tech facility.
The six-year, $850-million overhaul is the first part of a vast project to turn the Louvre, once a medieval fortress and then a royal palace, into the world’s largest museum--a distinction now held by the American Museum of Natural History in New York.