In 1940, knowing that France was falling into the hands of the Germans, the workers of the Louvre took action. All 400,000 works were evacuated and sent to the south of France. In secret they transported the priceless paintings and statues, and held by wealthy families in Vichy,where they would remain for five years, only returning at the end of the war.The quick action of the workers without a doubt saved the masterpieces from becoming part of the over 5 million works that were looted by the Nazis during the war.
The French called this time of day “l’heure bleue.” To the English it was “the gloaming.” The very word “gloaming” reverberates, echoes—the gloaming, the glimmer, the glitter, the glisten, the glamour—carrying in its consonants the images of houses shuttering, gardens darkening, grass-lined rivers slipping through the shadows. During the blue nights you think the end of day will never come. As the blue nights draw to a close (and they will, and they do) you experience an actual chill, an apprehension of illness, at the moment you first notice: the blue light is going, the days are already shortening, the summer is gone.