"Louvre in the Sands" project stirs row in France

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Plans to export a version of France's most famous museum, the Louvre, to a resort in the oil-rich city of Abu Dhabi have sparked accusations the government is sacrificing cultural standards for profit.

The plan, backed by the Ministry of Culture, is part of a drive by the United Arab Emirates to create a luxury tourist destination and the contract to bring the Louvre to the Gulf is reported by French newspapers to be worth over 500 million euros ($655.2 million).

But the project to create a "Louvre in the Sands" has triggered opposition from experts in France, who fear it will distort the museum's true function as center of scholarship and home to some of Western art's greatest treasures from the Mona Lisa to the Venus de Milo.

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