Louvre Museum Paris
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The Louvre is one of the largest museums in the world. It is located in the heart of Paris, near the right bank of the River Seine. The building is a former royal palace. It is located on an axis that includes the Concorde, the Etoile and goes all the way to La Défense. It is also the largest museum in the world at 210,000 m2, of which 60,600 m2 are occupied by galleries. The Louvre, once a palace of kings, has been part of the history of France for eight centuries. Conceived since its creation in 1793 as a universal museum, its collections, which are among the finest in the world, span several millennia and an area stretching from the Americas to the borders of Asia. Egyptian antiquities, Oriental antiquities, Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiquities are represented along with more modern collections such as the departments of painting and sculpture, works of art, graphics and Islamic art.
The history of the Louvre begins during the reign of Philip Augustus (1180-1223), an authoritarian and religious monarch who was the first to sign his treaties with Rex France, assuming the status of King of France. The fortress was built at his request in 1187.
The medieval period of the Louvre extends from Philip Augustus to Henry IV. The fortifications were strengthened when Philip Augustus went on crusade with Richard the Lionheart. The fortress consists of 10 defensive towers and is entered only through two gates with drawbridges. They are located to the south and east respectively. The works were completed in 1202 and the “great tower”, as it was called at that time, already held prisoners. Louis IX gradually made changes in the life of the Louvre, building the rooms for non-defensive purposes. We owe it to him, for example, to the Salle Saint-Louis, the ruins of which can still be seen under what is now the Louvre.
The castle became a royal residence during the reign of Charles V in the second half of the 14th century, and a second, larger wall was built between 1360 and 1383. A second, larger wall was built between 1360 and 1383, as the old fence of Philip Augustus no longer reflected the limits of the city, which had greatly expanded. The king placed his apartments on the second floor and the queen on the first. Both are located in the center of the building on the side of the Seine.
The construction of the first building remains unclear: a document from the earliest budgets of the monarchy attests to the completion of the Louvre Tower around 1202 and 1203. It was a military tower designed to watch for the appearance of enemies from the Seine. It “protected western access to Paris, that is, access from Normandy, which was in the hands of the Plantagenets, kings of England,” explains Vivienne Richard, head of the history department of the Louvre at the museum.
The most famous royal palace in Paris has been built and perfected for nearly 800 years. Here’s a look at the evolution of the Louvre from its inception to the present day.
It all began during the reign of Philip Augustus. The king decided to build a fortified fortress to defend Paris, but above all he wanted to leave his mark on the kingdom. Thus, with this work of urbanization, the sovereign demonstrated his power. Thus appeared the Louvre. At that time it was not yet a royal residence. Designed in the shape of a square, it was protected by a moat and towers at the corners and in the center of the facades. In the center of the courtyard is the master’s tower with its own moat. It served as a royal vault and contained everything important to the king. It was also used as a prison for important persons. Gradually the position of the castle changes and it becomes the center of a lively district.
The main masterpieces of the Louvre Museum are paintings, sculptures, drawings, ceramics, archaeological objects and art objects…
Among the most famous exhibits of the museum are the Hammurabi Code, the Venus of Milos, Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Eugène Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People… The Louvre is the most visited museum in the world, with 15 million visitors in 2021.
This is the famous Mona Lisa, painted by Leonardo da Vinci between 1503 and 1506.
The Raft of the Medusa
A painting made by Géricault between 1818 and 1819. This painting, measuring almost 5 m by 7 m, depicts the shipwrecked French frigate Medusa running aground.
Venus de Milo
This sculpture was made a century before Christ and was found unarmed on the island of Milo in Greece.
The building and the pyramid
Finally, one of the most famous works of the museum is the monument itself and, in particular, its famous glass Louvre pyramid. Created by architect Leoch Ming Pei, this structure, over 21 meters tall, was inaugurated in 1988 and has contributed to the museum’s worldwide fame.
The museum today
From 1981 to 1999, the Grand Louvre project was implemented. Extensive modernization work was carried out. The most famous of these modernizations is the famous glass pyramid, which today is an integral part of the Louvre Museum.
Today, in addition to the museum, the Louvre houses the prestigious Louvre School, the Research and Restoration Center of the Musées de France, the commercial galleries, and the Carrousel du Louvre exhibition spaces.
2 Quai François Mitterrand
Restaurant and café
Within walking distance you can find great restaurants and small cafes to eat after visiting the museum. A great alternative is the Pyramid Cafeteria.