History and Description of the Louvre

The Louvre Museum is one of the most famous and iconic museums in the world. It is the largest national museum in France, and the most visited museum on the planet. The Louvre is located in the first arrondissement or neighborhood of Paris on the Right Bank of the Seine River. The museum consists of over six hundred and fifty square feet of space and contains almost thirty-five thousand pieces of art. The building it is located in, the Louvre Palace, was originally a twelfth century fortress, although the building has been renovated and expanded many times since then.

The Louvre has come a long way from its humble beginnings when it opened at the end of the eighteenth century during the French Revolution with a little more than five hundred paintings. The museum only stayed open a few years until structural problems forced its closure for five years during which the first major renovations occurred. For a short while during Napoleon’s reign, the Louvre was renamed the Musee Napoleon.

During the Restoration in the first part of the nineteenth century and the Second Empire in the mid-nineteenth century, the collection of art at the Louvre continued to grow and more money began pouring into renovations and expansions. This included the addition of the famed Venus de Milo under Louis XVIII. Toward the end of the century twenty thousand new pieces were added to the collection and two new galleries were added. Growth and expansion of the museum slowed during and after World War I and during World War II almost all art was removed from the museum and hidden away. These were returned following the end of the war and expansion of the collections continued again.

In addition to the thirty-five thousand works of art, the Louvre contains more than three hundred eighty thousand objects, including archaeological finds. The current museum is a huge rectangle and consists of three wings and the central visitor’s center which contains the famous Louvre Pyramid. The museum averages fifteen thousand visitors a day and has a staff of two thousand employees. If possible, the museum achieved even greater fame by being the centerpiece of the book and movie, The DaVinci Code. The museum was paid two and a half million dollars to allow filming in the galleries.

The Louvre is located in the first arrondissement adjacent to the Palais-Royal-Musee du Louvre Metro station. There is also an underground parking garage. The museum is open from nine to six ever day except Tuesdays and holidays. Admission to the museum ranges from six to fourteen Euros depending on the access desired. There is a new art campaign aimed at educating the public to the six rules that need to be observed while visiting the Louvre. Photography is allowed, but the use of flash is not permitted. There is no cell phone use, smoking, eating or drinking, loud talking or touching any piece of art allowed.

In addition to the main building there is a beautiful garden on the grounds of the Louvre. Besides being a public park, the space is also used for concerts and other public gatherings. Inside the museum there is also an auditorium where concerts, films, lectures, and other public performances are held.

The exhibits at the Louvre can be divided into eight departments, each rich with art and artifacts. These departments are Near Eastern Antiquities, Egyptian Antiquities, Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities, Islamic Art, Sculptures, Decorative Arts, Paintings, and Prints and Drawings. While some of the famous paintings, such as the iconic Mona Lisa, are many people’s only concept of the museum, the rich and vastly diverse collection at the Louvre are a modern wonder in itself.

A visit to Europe cannot be considered complete without a stay in Paris, and a trip to Paris cannot be considered complete without a visit to the Louvre Museum. Whether you can spend a day or a week, you will be amazed at the vast and beautiful collection of art and artifacts that make up this magnificent collection.