The Louvre is the most-visited museum in the world—it had a banner year in 2018, thanks, in part, to Beyoncé and Jay-Z—and a trip there often involves long lines, big crowds and manic jostling to catch a glimpse of the Mona Lisa. But as Emily Petsko reports for Mental Floss, one lucky competition winner and a guest will be given the opportunity to have the fame museum all to themselves, for one night only.
The competition is being staged by Airbnb, which is asking entrants to answer the following question in 800 characters by April 12: Why would you be the Mona Lisa’s perfect guest? The winner and select guest will be brought to Paris—round-trip airfare is covered, according to Petsko—for an artsy slumber party on April 30.
As the sun sets over Paris, the evening will begin with a “bespoke tour” of the museum by an art historians, Airbnb details. Then comes a “cosy Renaissance inspired aperitif” at a makeshift lounge set up in front of the Mona Lisa, offering the winners a chance to serenely take in Da Vinci’s mysterious muse, free from the crush of other visitors. Dinner will be served in front of the Venus de Milo, the famed ancient Greek sculpture, followed by “an intimate acoustic concert” in the apartments of Napoleon III. When it’s time for bed, the winners will retire to a little room inside a “mini-pyramid” that replicates the iconic glass and metal pyramid that rises from the Louvre’s main courtyard.
This isn’t the first time that an Airbnb campaign has offered overnight access to an exclusive location. The company has previously put competition winners up at a house made out of Lego in Denmark and at the Transylvanian castle often touted as the inspiration for Dracula (Bram Stoker never actually visited the site, but may have based his character’s spooky residence on an illustration of Bran Castle in a 19th-century book). Last year, Airbnb planned to offer four competition winners and their guests a chance to sleep in one of the Great Wall of China’s towers, but the event was cancelled amid concerns about damage to the Unesco heritage site and criticism from the cultural commission that oversees the section of the Wall where the sleepover was set to take place.
Fortunately, the Louvre’s staff seem keen to welcome to visitors for a very special night amongst some of the world’s most precious artistic treasures. “We know that many people would love the opportunity to wander alone at night through the Louvre,” says Anne-Laure Béatrix, the museum’s deputy managing director, “and we want this to be a magical and unforgettable experience.”