Musee du Louvre

Musee du Louvre

The Louvre is the country’s most renowned museum and is one of the most visited in the world. Opened in 1796, the museum was free for the public and showcased the monarchy’s art collection along with other things that had been pillaged along the way.

Musee du Louvre

Its permanent collection features almost 300,000 works of art, of which only 35,000 are visible to the public. All of this dates back to before 1948. It is organized by themes such as Egyptian Antiquities, Greek Antiquities and others spread across over 652,300 square feet of palace space.

The building wasn’t always a museum however, it began as a palace. The building itself is quite the work of art as are the rooms therein. While wandering the halls one can imagine King Louis XIV strolling the opulent halls before moving to Versailles for a change of scenery. I guess a palace can get boring so you need to switch it up, or so I’ve been told.

Musee du Louvre -  museum

The original building was constructed in the Middle Ages as a fortress, you can actually see the remainder of the fortifications under the museum. Charles V took up the project and transformed it into a palace. It even housed the National Library of France. Wars and the royal wanting to get away from the city left the palace in pursuit of country manors like those found in the Loire Valley.

François, I came to power during the Renaissance and it was during this time that the original palace was demolished and the structure rebuilt. Catherine de Medici had the Tuileries Palace and gardens constructed. Then Henri IV constructed a large gallery that connected the Louvre and Tuileries Palaces so he could move from his office to his residence without dealing with the common peasants.

Musee du Louvre -  Statue

Louis XIV began the modernization of the palace and while he was at Versailles the Louvre would be occupied by noblemen, artists and, intellectuals. It was during this time that the idea to create a museum was sparked in King Louis’s mind.

Before any progress could be made on that front, however, the French Revolution began and Louis and his wife Marie were beheaded. Napoleon was the next resident of the palace and filled it with new pieces “acquired” from other lands.

Charles X constructed a new gallery along the Rivoli positioned parallel to the one built by Henri IV. This section was to house the Greek and Egyptian collections. Work continued throughout the years, adding to the massive collection and renaming of wings.

In 1981, President François Mitterrand chose architect Ieoh Ming Pei to oversee the redevelopment and renovation of the Louvre which included the addition of the glass pyramids.

Musee du Louvre -  Glass Pyramid

Confession time. I used to hate the glass pyramid outside the Louvre because, to me, it detracts from the building’s opulent and stunning architecture. Now, I think I am just used to it. Whether you love or hate the I.M. Pei Pyramid, it is here to stay. Let me know what you think about it.

Musee du Louvre -  Inside

If you want more information on the top things to see at the Louvre, click here.

              In order not to feel rushed or be able to take breaks here and there, you need to plan for either a half day or a whole day for this museum. If you just want to see certain things, figure out where they are and make a beeline for them as soon as you get into the space.

The biggest advice I can give you is to get there early and go see the Mona Lisa first. Trust me on this. It will make the difference between getting to appreciate the small painting without being pushed around and having to fight your way through the crowd to try to see it.

Tickets can be purchased online here.

Helpful Information

Best Time to Visit: The museum is located on the subway line at Palais-Royal Musee du Louvre (lines 1 and 7). Address is Rue de Rivoli, Paris 75001 It is open every day (excluding Tuesdays) from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Wednesday and Friday, the museum is open until 9:45 p.m. There is free admission on the first Saturday of each month from 6 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. The Louvre is closed on January 1, May 1, and December 25.

Important Information


Kristal Ham

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