PARIS (AP) - There's no question that great athletes take their sports to the level of art. But as the French host the Rugby World Cup, they're pushing that concept a step further by bringing rugby into an art museum. It's a genteel Parisian touch to a sport more often associated with muscle, body-crunching tackles or even incidents of ear-biting.
To coincide with the Sept. 7-Oct. 20 tournament, the Quai Branly museum is hosting rugby-related exhibits, visits and roundtables with archaeologists, historians, sociologists and former players. The museum also covered its roof over with green turf and turned it into a mock playing field with a close-up view of the Eiffel Tower.
''Rugby is actually very close to what we're showing here,'' said Pierre Hanotaux, the general director of the museum which is normally devoted to the so-called primitive arts of Africa, Asia, the Americas and Oceania.
If that seems like a stretch, he adds: ''We can't kid ourselves. It's also our way of bringing in people who never come to museums, because they find museums boring.''