Armchair travel: How to see the Louvre virtually, when you can’t get to the Louvre

PRINT HEAD: Looking through the Louvres
PRINT BLURB: Among the world’s major museums open virtually – no crowds – are two with unique links, writes Maureen Marriner

Most of us know of the Louvre, the famous museum in Paris with the instantly recognisable glass pyramid at its entrance but there is another Louvre, nearly 7000km away in the United Arab Emirates, in Abu Dhabi.

Where Paris has its pyramid, Abu Dhabi has its roof, an amazing low dome of eight layers of overlapping metal pieces, weighing 7000 tonnes, that create nearly 8000 stars through which sunlight filters. The idea is to imitate the light falling through date fronds in an oasis.

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Of course, art lovers are temporarily unable to visit either – both museums are closed to the public for the foreseeable future while both nations battle the Covid-19 pandemic. But there are ways to visit virtually, easily achieved from the comfort of your lockdown bubble.

Although the Louvre Abu Dhabi doesn’t have a virtual tour per se, its app – available in the App Store or Google Play – allows you to explore the museum’s highlights, with audio guides explaining the history and stories behind a huge number of artworks and sculptures. Its website has a selection of special online-only content, with video, audio and downloadable activities, which will be updated every few days while the musuem is closed.

The website of the Louvre Paris has four different virtual tours, taking you through the Petite Galerie, the Egyptian Antiquities exhibition, the Galerie d’Apollon, and into the bowels of the museum and its medieval moat foundations.

It’s not the same as visiting in person, of course, but while we remain in lockdown, it’s the next best thing.

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Canada hot pool votes on Yukon’s annual hair freezing competition

In spite of the hair-raising news around the world, a Canadian hot spring is not letting a global pandemic get in the way of their distinctive annual competition.

The Takhini Hot Springs in Whitehorse holds its Hair Freezing Contest in northwest Canada.

Visitors have discovered that warm outdoor baths and sub-zero temperatures provide the perfect conditions for creating strange and arresting shapes out of frozen hair and beards.

Temperatures in this part of the Yukon can dip as low as -12 Celsius, or -21 at night. This causes damp hair freezes instantly into impressive frosted shapes.

Facing freezing temperatures and the mother of all ‘bad hair days’ those attending the Takhini Hot Springs are a hardy lot. Out of 288 entries, the frosted hairstyles have been whittled down to just five finalists for the Peoples’ Choice category.

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Souvenir stamp costs traveller a $2000 holiday to Thailand

Visitors to the self-styled Republic of Whangamomona might think again before paying for novelty stamp in their passport.

The small township in the Mnawatu-Wanganui region, on the ‘Forgotten World Highway’ famously charges visitors $2 for passport stamp. However, this cheap souvenir could cost you a lot more in the long run – 1000 times more, as one tourist found out.

A woman is warning tourists against getting novelty stamps in their passports after one got her rejected from a flight to Thailand.

British woman Tina Sibley, who lives in Spain, was booked to fly to Phuket in February to attend a wedding but was stopped from boarding her Qatar Airways flight at Madrid airport.

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