Counting up several million visitors per year, the Louvre is one of the most visited cultural venues in Paris and in the world. But before turning into a museum, this gigantic palace, covering over 350,000 square meters, was a living place and more particularly the living place of the Kings of France.
In the beginning, it was a fortified castle built in 1190 by Philip Augustus. It’s in 1546 that Francis I decides to obliterate this old fortification to transform it into a Renaissance place of residence, erected by Pierre Lescot. Works that continued under Henri II’s reign and Charles IX’s until Henri IV decides, in 1594, to unite the Louvre and the Palais des Tuileries, built by Catherine de Medici.
Works and layouts that suddenly stopped in 1678, at the time where Louis XIV chooses Versailles as a place to live for the Court. It’s in 1793 that the Louvre becomes a museum known as “Muséum central des arts de la République” [the Central Museum of arts of the Republic]. A venue that houses a whole collection of works of art going from painting to sculpture without forgetting furniture and decorative arts.
Among the stars of the museum, we find, Veronese’s Wedding Feast at Cana, the Winged Victory of Samothrace, the Venus de Milo, Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People, Géricault’s The Raft of the Medusa and even the museum’s and probably the world’s most famous masterpiece, Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
Yet, the Louvre Pyramid, an emblematic monument made out of glass, is the most recent one: built by Chinese-American architect Leoh Ming Pei, it’s inaugurated in 1989 by French President François Mitterand and echoes the Luxor Obelisk a gift from Egypt to France in 1830.
Good to know: the museum is so wide that if a visitor wishes to see all the exhibited pieces and if he stays for 30 seconds in front of each one of them, it will take him 100 years to visit the entire museum. A bit too long for a stay, but a very good excuse to come back and visit one of Paris most beautiful museums.
Musée du Louvre
Pyramide - Cour Napoléon
75001 Paris 1
Métro Palais Royal - Musée du Louvre
Billet sur place: €15
réservation billet coupe-file (en ligne): €17
Ouvert de 9h à 18h, jusqu'à 21h45 les mercredis et vendredis. Fermé les mardis