Every year, more tourists visit the Louvre Museum than any other attraction in France. It holds about 35,000 works of art, spread out over 60,000 sq. ft. (600 sq m) of exhibition space, and last year drew 8.3 million visitors more than the population of Switzerland or Denmark. Indeed, the museum is so vast that it might be seen as a country, thought Claude Baechtold, Paolo Woods and Serge Michel, creators of the zany new book Louvreland. The unofficial best-of guide categorizes the outsized inhabitants and themes of the Louvre with impudent charm. Under Transportation, Louvreland includes St. Paul's rapture and the abductions of Ganymede and Deianeira; the Archangel Gabriel delivers the Mail. And the heading Sky takes in a sunset by Joseph Vernet and storm clouds by Eugène Delacroix. In a thorough tweak to the Louvre's earnestness, the book explores the museum as a land filled with violence, debauchery and opulence. Consider the traveler's options: blow-out breakfasts (think plums and hard-boiled eggs under chestnut trees); concerts (lutes and harpsichords); and X-rated adventures, including trysts between same-sex couples (as in Raphael's Self-Portrait with a Friend).
The second in the Baechtold's Best series of tongue-in-cheek guides (the first, on Afghanistan, lists its finest burkas and poppy fields), Louvreland also presents its contestants for Miss Louvre Mona Lisa wins, of course and Mister Louvre, whose winner is a Persian king with a waist-length beard and gold-encrusted coat. The book is no substitute for a visit to the museum itself, but it's a welcome diversion while waiting in its long ticket lines.
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