Houses impressive collections of around 35,000 works of art and over 380,000 objects. Sculptures, paintings and other works of art ranging from the Middle Ages up to 1850, as well as Etruscan, Egyptian, Oriental, Roman and Greek artifacts are on the display in the museum.

NOTE: If you want to discover the principles of creativity, art techniques, and ancient civilizations, join one of the workshops in The Louvre.


Short History of Louvre Museum

Originally built by Philippe Auguste in 1190 as a castle to defend Paris against the Vikings. It had a moated quadrilateral (seventy-eight by seventy-two meters) with round bastions at each corner, defensive towers  and  at the center of this complex stood the massive tower (fifteen meters in diameter and thirty meters high).

In 1364, Raymond du Temple, architect to Charles V, began transforming the old fortress into a splendid royal residence. Charles VI continued the transformation, but after his death nobody took care of the palace until 1527, when François I decided to take up residence in Paris. He demolished The Grosse Tour and the medieval Louvre gave way to a Renaissance palace.

In the second half of the 16th century, the Louvre was a construction site with new buildings being added, other demolished. The Louvre we see today was accomplished during the reigns of Louis XIII and Louis XIV and added to by Louis XV.

However, following the completion of Versailles, royal interest in the palace waned, plunging the Louvre into a new period of dormancy.

The Revolution changed everything and the Museum Central des Arts opened its doors on August 10, 1793 in Louvre.  The museum collection, mostly paintings from the collections of the French royal family and aristocrats who had fled abroad came from Versaille and other noble chateauxs. Admission was free, with artists given priority over the general public, who were admitted on weekends only.


The burning of the Tuileries

In May 1871, during the last days of the Paris Commune, the army was poised to retake the city. The Communards raced to destroy the Hôtel de Ville (city hall), the Cour des Comptes (the seat of France's public finance watchdog), and the Tuileries palace, a potent symbol of monarchy. The resulting fire gutted the palace buildings and threatened the Louvre. The ruins of the Tuileries were demolished, after lengthy controversy, in 1883. The demolition of the Tuileries in 1882 marked the birth of the modern Louvre.

The palace ceased to be the seat of power and was devoted almost entirely to culture. Only the Finance Ministry, provisionally installed in the Richelieu wing after the Commune, remained. Slowly but surely, the museum began to take over the whole of the vast complex of buildings.


World War II: Evacuation and closure of the museum

At the outbreak of war in September 1939 the museum's collections were evacuated, with the exception of the heaviest pieces, which were protected with sandbags. The works were initially deposited at the Château de Chambord in the Loire valley, before being dispersed to numerous other sites, mostly châteaus. For safety reasons, many works were moved several times during the war. The Louvre reopened under the Occupation, in September 1940.

The need to improve the museum’s displays and provide better amenities for visitors became increasingly pressing. On September 26, 1981, President François Mitterrand announced a plan to restore the Louvre palace in its entirety to its function as a museum. The Finance Ministry, which still occupied the Richelieu wing, was transferred to new premises, and the Grand Louvre project, which would entail a complete reorganization of the museum, was launched.

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Location

Paris , France


Address

rue de Rivoli & quai des Tuileries, 1er


Telephone

+33 1 40 20 53 17


Getting there

Metro: Palais Royal–Musée du Louvre


More information

www.louvre.fr/en


Prices

adult/child €15/free


Opening hours

9am-6pm Mon, Thu, Sat & Sun, to 9.45pm Wed & Fri

Useful Tips

Need a break?

Your tickets allow you to leave and reenter the museum all day. Take a break in the gardens of the Tuileries, or to escape the crowds go to the Palais Royal Gardens across the street, which also have a little playground and quiet cafés under the arcades.

How to Survive The Louvre

No cues entrance

The Carrousel du Louvre is a shopping center beneath the Louvre, with many nice gift boutiques, a Virgin Megastore, tourism office, bank machine, bathrooms, food court, and direct entrance into the Louvre.

Enter by 99 Rue de Rivoli or from the stairs going down next to the Arc du Carrousel.

Decide what you want to see

All of the artworks in the Louvre can be looked online at their website, searchable by type, artist, name, or time period.

Explore the Museum on your own by visiting The Louvre Web site  www.louvre.fr. You will find a number of thematic trails designed to give you an overview of the scope and richness of the museum's collections.

Late Night at Louvre Museum

Until 10pm on Wednesday and Friday

The glass Pyramid

Built by I. M. Pei was inaugurated on March 30, 1989. Rising from the center of the Cour Napoléon, it is the focal point of the museum's main axes of circulation and also serves as an entrance to the large reception hall beneath. From here, visitors can also reach the temporary exhibition areas, displays on the history of the palace and museum, Charles V's original moat, an auditorium, and public amenities (coat check, bookshop, cafeteria, restaurant).


The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel

In 1806, Percier and Fontaine built a small triumphal arch.

Inaugurated in 1808, it was decorated with reliefs and statues celebrating French military victories. On the top, it had four antique bronze horses from the facade of Saint Mark's Basilica in Venice. The horses were returned to Venice in 1815.


New in Louvre - Art Islam

Twenty years after the pyramid project, the Louvre today sees the result of a ten-year project, which show-cases the Islamic Arts. Architects Mario Bellini and Rudy Ricciotti have created a magical exhibition area in the Cour Visconti, with a glass roof that seems to float above one of the palace’s most ornate courtyards. The interior is a light and airy exhibition space that host 3,000 objects with the wall of Ottoman tiles, Egyptian porch, carpets, boxes, carafes, paintings, ceramics, and much more. The collections by Renaud Piérard, presents the evolution of these Islamic Arts from the year 632 to 1800, in four large fluid parts.

A large multimedia installation accompanies the layout, giving visitors the keys to the visit and presenting the often little-known chronology and geography of these outstanding works.

Département Des arts De l’Islam www.louvre.fr/departement-arts-islam

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