After years of controversy and public debate, a renovated and sparkling Louvre museum opened Wednesday, crowned by a tall glass pyramid at its new entrance.

After President Francois Mitterrand cut the ribbon at the inauguration ceremony and toured the collection, hundreds of people crowded in for a look."It's light, it's beautiful, it's superb," said Martine Bieri-Duminy, who lives nearby and watched the pyramid, designed by American architect I.M. Pei, being built.

The dark, dingy Louvre most tourists remember is now a thing of the past. In its place is what is called the "Grand Louvre," a splendid ultramodern and high-tech facility.