As It Happens

This Toronto woman won a sleepover at the Louvre in Paris

Daniela Molinari slept in the glass pyramid, had drinks with Mona Lisa, ate dinner with the Venus de Milo and took in a concert in Napoleon III's salon.

Daniela Molinari slept in the glass pyramid, sipped drinks with Mona Lisa and dined next to the Venus de Milo

Daniela Molinari and her plus-one Adam Watson pose for a photo during their private reception next to the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris. (Alban Gendrot/AirBnB)

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Daniela Molinari spent her Tuesday night having drinks with Mona Lisa, eating dinner with the Venus de Milo and taking in a concert in Napoleon III's salon. 

She capped off the evening by crawling into a lush bed inside the famous glass pyramid outside the Louvre Museum in Paris.

Molinari — a Toronto woman studying art conservation at Northumbria University in England — won a Louvre sleepover package by writing a 300-word essay for an AirBnB contest.

When she got the news that she'd won, she said she was so taken aback that she wasn't even sure it was real.

"I obviously texted all my siblings and my parents and everyone was [saying], 'Are sure that's not a hoax? Maybe double check,'" Molinari told As It Happens host Carol Off.

But it was no hoax, and pretty soon she found herself having an extravagant evening in Paris with her boyfriend Adam Watson.

Molinari and Watson had a sleepover inside a small pyramid nestled inside the Louvre's famous glass pyramid. (Alban Gendrot/AirBnB)

It started with a private art history tour of the museum  — an honour previously reserved for VIPs like former U.S. president Barack Obama or celebrity power couple Beyoncé and Jay-Z.

Then it was on to drinks next to Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, where she and Watson enjoyed an unusually intimate view of the artwork that attracts throngs of onlookers during the day. 

"It was very unexpected and just an unbelievable experience, because I hadn't seen the Mona Lisa since I was about 12, and when I was that age I kind of thought, 'Oh, that's a bit underwhelming. You know, who cares?'" she said.

"And then I saw it again on the night and it was just a really breathtaking experience."

Molinari and Watson enjoy a five-course meal next to the Venus de Milo. (Alban Gendrot/AirBnB)

From there, it was on to dinner next to the Venus de Milo, an ancient Greek sculpture believed to have been created by Alexandros of Antioch.

"The entire experience of the dinner and everything just felt like an immense privilege," Molinari said.

"We had a personal chef. We've had someone bringing us these drinks and ... food. And we had five courses, which was ... amazing."

After that, she and Watson and a few other guests took in a concert in the salon of Napoleon III, the first elected president of France. 

"It was very intimate," she said.

Molinari and Watson take in a concert in the salon of Napoleon III. (Alban Gendrot/AirBnB)

Finally, it was off to bed in a small glass pyramid room nestled inside the Louvre's famous glass and metal pyramid, which was designed by Chinese-American architect I. M. Pei.

That part, she admits, was a bit less intimate.

"There wasn't a whole lot of privacy in the pyramid," she said.

But by that point, it didn't really matter. 

"Because the day was so full of events and so busy, I fell asleep immediately."

Written by Sheena Goodyear. Produced by Ashley Mak.