Laurence des Cars, president and director of the Louvre, described the openness ambitions she has for the most visited tourist site in the world, during a debate organized ahead of the dinner of the mayors of Greater Paris, Monday, September 19 , in which Jean-François Rial (Paris Tourist Office) and Emmanuel Launiau (Quartus group) also took part.
Re-enchant the Louvre. This is the ambition of Laurence des Cars, who presented it during a debate organized ahead of the dinner of mayors, Monday September 19, 2022, as part of the Greater Paris Summit organized by the Tribune, in partnership with the Metropolis of Greater Paris, the club of Greater Paris Actors and the notaries of Greater Paris. The former director of the Musée d’Orsay indicated that this involved limiting the number of its daily visitors and expanding its opening hours. Because the museum is a victim of its own success. Its attendance, 2 million visitors per year before the creation of Leoh Ming Pei’s pyramid in 1988, has not only doubled as expected. It reached 10 million visitors in 2018, making the establishment the most visited site in the world.
Laurence des Cars, who has presided over the Louvre since September 2021, will soon make a series of announcements: the Louvre intends to reconnect with the reception of artists creating within its workshops, but also with live performance, music, theater or dance. “We want livelier, more exciting programming,” she said. We are still too often considered a tourist museum, whereas we are a national museum”, she underlined.
A polyphonic program
The curator expressed her conviction that the emotion gripping visitors, contemplating an 8,000-year-old archaeological object where Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix took precedence over aesthetic debates. Similarly, “if the curators have a precise look at the works and the monuments that house them, an erudite look, only the artists immediately grasp the requirement, the cohesion of a place and its works”.
Laurence des Cars wishes to develop a polyphonic program, using both the Michel Laclotte auditorium, with 450 seats installed under the pyramid, the Cour Carrée, or the Jardin des Tuileries, “because all the arts respond to each other and all audiences must cross”. “I would like the Louvre to open up to contemporary creation, to everyday thought, because it always has things to tell us”.
Why create beauty in Greater Paris?
During this round table entitled “Why create beauty in Greater Paris? », Emmanuel Launiau, president of the Quartus group and Jean-François Rial, president of Voyageurs du monde and the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau discussed their vision of aesthetics.
The president of Voyageurs du monde and the Paris tourist office Jean-François Rial denounced, during a round table entitled “Why make things beautiful in Greater Paris? », Organized before the dinner of the mayors, « a world where the utilitarians dominate ». “We have to put the right people in the right place,” he summed up, calling for the replacement of leaders who are mostly insensitive to beauty, with leaders who are more attached to it. A beauty that Jean-François Rial considers “universal”. “There is a great debate between those who consider beauty to be universal and those who do not. I consider that our gaze on the beautiful is not sufficiently advanced, spiritual, divine to see its universality”.
“Greater Paris is ugly”, again struck the entrepreneur, regretting “a permanent pretext of cost”. However, he believes, “we can make beautiful without being expensive and being green does not mean making ugly”, he continued, taking Voyageurs du monde, “which has a few houses around the world to both magnificent and ecological”, as an example. Jean-François Rial regretted the concentration of tourists on a reduced number of sites, all visiting Notre-Dame de Paris and disdaining the basilica of Saint-Denis.
Take care of public space
Emmanuel Launiau, president of the Quartus group, described how beauty was a constant motivation for him. The promoter regretted that the covid had created “a disenchantment for the city”, embodied in the rejection of density. “Yet Paris is dense, but its beauty makes it possible to transcend it”, he added, indicating that he believed that the aesthetic “was not limited to the facades, but included what is behind”. “The beauty of an architecture is not only the aesthetics of a project, but also the values, of social cohesion for example, of a building or a neighborhood where life is good” .
The entrepreneur pleaded for “more entrepreneurial freedom”. “Designing a beautiful, sustainable and affordable city represents an impossible equation with the values of hyper-competitiveness, hyper-globalization, hyper-consumption of the resources of our world. We must enter an era of relocation of resources, of frugality”, he also argued, rising in passing against a trend towards architectural uniformity, the current regulations making projects converge “towards facades in wooden frame, wooden balconies”, and an “invisible architecture” against which he rose. Emmanuel Launiau confided his concern, finally, in the face of “financially drained” local authorities, no longer able to take sufficient care of the public space. He regretted the high cost of land, which would explain why “there is not much money left to do architecture”.