August 10

1793 — Louvre Museum opens


In that famous zombie-apocalypse movie from the late 70s, people sought refuge in an abandoned shopping mall.  It was an inspired setting for the film, since the various mall shops provided key items — food, clothing, weaponry — to aid the surviving humans.

You hadn’t been so lucky.  The apocalypse hit on day two of your Paris vacation.

At the time, you were visiting the Louvre Museum.  “There’s really too much to see in a day,” you had remarked to Ginny, your traveling companion.  The two of you had separated from your tour group and, after a quick visit to the “Mona Lisa” in her separate room, had gone straight to the Grand Gallery.  Whereas other museums would surround their best or most-famous paintings with empty wall space, to let those singular pieces stand out, in this Gallery numerous masterpieces were crowded together, side to side, top to bottom.  The arched rooftop consisted of large panels of glass, allowing natural sunlight to illuminate the expansive chamber.  Everywhere you looked, magnificent art was on display.

“Sensory overload,” Ginny had agreed.  But she also complained about the crowd — many of whom, like you, had rushed to this section of the museum as if afraid the artwork would disappear before they got to see it all.

“We should hide in a broom closet at closing time,” you had fantasized aloud.  “That way, we can sneak out and enjoy the treasures all night, without the crowd.”

As if in response, the lights went out — both the electric lights, and the sunlight through the windowed roof.  You looked up and noticed a large dark cloud had formed above the museum.  Fiery streaks of orange and red passed behind the ominous cloud.

A few of the streaks ended in a puff-ball of light, and you wondered what that meant…

Until you heard the exploding bursts, felt the museum’s hardwood floor tremble beneath your feet…

…and the roof shattered and a rain of glass shards fell from above.


[…continued tomorrow…]