On our last day in Paris last May before we made our way to Belgium, we went to the Louvre for a half-day scramble. That museum is impossible to see in just a few hours; you’d need a week, at least. After seeing the Mona Lisa (mandatory) we intentionally got lost in the upper floors of the museum, far from the throngs of tourists. We were alone, wandering some incredible galleries when we came upon this man. He was painting quietly, noticed me staring at him, and smiled before turning back to his canvas. My first instinct was that we had stumbled onto a forgery scandal in progress, obviously.
It wasn’t until I got home that I looked it up. Turns out, he was no forger (darn!), but rather an École du Louvre student. And if you’re lucky, you can sometimes spot them painting all around the museum.
Founded in 1882, the école offers an eight year program, consisting of a three year undergraduate degree, a two year masters, and a three year research degree, with concentrations in archeology, art history, anthropology, and museology. All of the courses are, of course, in French, taught by museum curators and experts. Can you imagine anything more beautiful than going to class at the Louvre everyday for eight years? I’m having a hard time.