Louvre in Paris Offers Olympic Sport Sessions as Part of Cultural Program

People take part in a rehearsal of "Les visites sportives", an experience proposed by artist and choreographer Mehdi Kerkouche in the Cour Marly at the Louvre Museum in Paris on April 23, 2024. (Photo by Thomas SAMSON / AFP)
People take part in a rehearsal of "Les visites sportives", an experience proposed by artist and choreographer Mehdi Kerkouche in the Cour Marly at the Louvre Museum in Paris on April 23, 2024. (Photo by Thomas SAMSON / AFP)
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Louvre in Paris Offers Olympic Sport Sessions as Part of Cultural Program

People take part in a rehearsal of "Les visites sportives", an experience proposed by artist and choreographer Mehdi Kerkouche in the Cour Marly at the Louvre Museum in Paris on April 23, 2024. (Photo by Thomas SAMSON / AFP)
People take part in a rehearsal of "Les visites sportives", an experience proposed by artist and choreographer Mehdi Kerkouche in the Cour Marly at the Louvre Museum in Paris on April 23, 2024. (Photo by Thomas SAMSON / AFP)

The Louvre museum in Paris has announced that it planned to organize yoga and sport sessions in its famed galleries as part of a city-wide cultural program ahead of the Olympics.

The world's biggest museum is to offer visitors the chance to take part in dance, yoga and work-out sessions with instructors and coaches while gazing upon its world-renowned paintings and sculptures.

The announcement was one of several on Tuesday aimed at whipping up Olympic enthusiasm ahead of the start of the Games in Paris on July 26.

"The Louvre is physically in the center of Paris. It will be physically at the center of the Olympic Games," museum chief Laurence des Cars told reporters.

Details of the special sessions and the museum's new Olympics-themed exhibition are available on its website.

The opening ceremony is set to take place on the river Seine which runs past the Louvre. A temporary stadium to host the skateboarding and breakdancing is being built on the nearby Place de la Concorde. The Olympic flame is also set to burn in the neighboring Tuileries gardens, a security source has told AFP.

Four other art destinations, including the Musee d'Orsay, the home of impressionist masterpieces, are also set to put on Olympic-related sports or cultural activities.

Also on Tuesday, the Paris city hall unveiled its plans for public sports facilities, concerts and open-air fan areas around the City of the Light for the duration of the Olympics and Paralympics.

A total of 26 fanzones will be created around the capital, in addition to two special celebration areas in central and northeastern Paris where medal winners will be encouraged to greet the public.

"For the first time in the history of the Games, the host city is aiming to create a people's Games where Olympic enthusiasm can be shared at both the event sites but also outside of the stadiums, in the heart of the city, in each district," the mayor's office said in a press statement.

A new Olympic transport mobile phone application was also made available for the first time on Tuesday by the regional transport authority.

Visitors to Paris will be encouraged to use the "Transport public Paris 2024" app, which will guide them to Olympic destinations using real-time information on traffic and user numbers.

The developers said that suggested routes would not necessarily be "the shortest or the quickest" but would be the most suitable and ensure that travelers are divided among different transport options.

Overcrowding on the Paris underground train network is a particular concern ahead of the Games, while local politicians have urged Parisians to walk or use bikes.

The first Olympics in Paris in 100 years are set to take place from July 26-August 11 followed by the Paralympics from August 28-September 8.



Colombia’s Congress Votes to Ban Bullfights, Dealing a Blow to the Centuries-Old Tradition 

An animal rights activist holds a puppy while taking part in a demonstration demanding the approval of a law that prohibits bullfights, cockfights and events where animals are abused, in Bogota, Colombia, October 5, 2022. (Reuters)
An animal rights activist holds a puppy while taking part in a demonstration demanding the approval of a law that prohibits bullfights, cockfights and events where animals are abused, in Bogota, Colombia, October 5, 2022. (Reuters)
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Colombia’s Congress Votes to Ban Bullfights, Dealing a Blow to the Centuries-Old Tradition 

An animal rights activist holds a puppy while taking part in a demonstration demanding the approval of a law that prohibits bullfights, cockfights and events where animals are abused, in Bogota, Colombia, October 5, 2022. (Reuters)
An animal rights activist holds a puppy while taking part in a demonstration demanding the approval of a law that prohibits bullfights, cockfights and events where animals are abused, in Bogota, Colombia, October 5, 2022. (Reuters)

Colombia’s congress voted Tuesday to ban bullfights in the South American nation, delivering a serious blow to a centuries-old tradition that has inspired famous songs and novels but has become increasingly controversial in the countries where it is still practiced.

The bill calls for the banning of bullfights in a three-year span, making the tradition illegal by the start of 2028. The new law now needs to be signed by President Gustavo Petro, who has been a longtime opponent of these events.

Bullfighting originated in the Iberian Peninsula and is still legal in a handful of countries, including Spain, France, Portugal, Peru, Ecuador and Mexico.

It was once a popular event, broadcast live by multiple television networks. But the tradition has come under increased scrutiny as views change about animal welfare, and many find it unacceptable to see an animal suffer for entertainment's sake.

“This ban is a huge victory for organizations that have worked to transform society and reject violence against animals," said Terry Hurtado, an animal rights activist and city council member in Cali, who has been leading protests against bullfights since the 1990s. “I feel relieved that bulls and horses (which also participate in some bullfights) in Colombia will no longer be tortured, and that children will no longer be exposed to this spectacle.”

In bullfights, a matador faces bulls that are bred to be aggressive. The matador taunts the bull with a red cape and kills the animal with the blow of a sword after it has been injured with lances and daggers, and is tired of charging at the matador in a circular arena.

In Colombia, where bullfights have been held since colonial times, less than two dozen municipalities continue to hold these events, although the annual bullfights in the city of Manizales still draw tens of thousands of spectators.

Bullfighting aficionados described the ban as an assault on the freedoms of minorities as well as a problem for cities where these events draw thousands of visitors.