The Louvre is one of the world's largest museums and a historic monument and a central landmark of Paris. Nearly 35,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century are exhibited over an area of 60,600 square metres. The Louvre is the world's most visited museum, and received more than 9 million visitors annually.

The museum is housed in the Louvre Palace, originally built as a fortress in the late 12th century under Philip II. Remnants of the fortress are visible in the basement of the museum. The building was extended many times to form the present Louvre Palace. In 1682, Louis XIV chose the Palace of Versailles for his household, leaving the Louvre primarily as a place to display the royal collection, including, from 1692, a collection of ancient Greek and Roman sculpture. In 1692, the building was occupied by the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres and the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, which in 1699 held the first of a series of salons. The Académie remained at the Louvre for 100 years. During the French Revolution, the National Assembly decreed that the Louvre should be used as a museum to display the nation's masterpieces.

The museum opened on 10 August 1793 with an exhibition of 537 paintings, the majority of the works being royal and confiscated church property. Because of structural problems with the building, the museum was closed in 1796 until 1801. The collection was increased under Napoleon and the museum renamed the Musée Napoléon, but after Napoleon's abdication many works seized by his armies were returned to their original owners. The collection was further increased during the reigns of Louis XVIII and Charles X, and during the Second French Empire the museum gained 20,000 pieces. Holdings have grown steadily through donations and gifts since the Third Republic. The collection is divided among eight curatorial departments: Egyptian Antiquities; Near Eastern Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities; Islamic Art; Sculpture; Decorative Arts; Paintings; Prints and Drawings.

Among many others the most famous pieces of art are undoubtedly High Renaissance works by Leonardo da Vinci (Mona Lisa, Virgin of the Rocks), Caravaggio, Titian and many more.

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Founded: 1793
Category: Museums in France

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Z Lee (26 days ago)
You probably need five weeks to cover the immense Materials in here. It’s incredible collection. I highly recommend at least one full day and to get the audio guide. Start with the masterpiece trial to get a good introduction. Left the museum by buying a guidebook that I’m still perusing at this point. Total mind blowing experience.
Sue Martindale (34 days ago)
Our family of seven (ages 8 to 69) planned in advance and bought tickets to the “My First Louvre” private tour led by museum staff, directly from the Louvre website. The 90-minute tours are Saturdays and Sundays at 11 o’clock. It’s just a brief overview to get you started. I was most impressed by the below ground viewing of elements of the castle remains on which the Louvre was built. Tour included a history of the museum before we set off. Make sure you allow plenty of time to find the starting place of the tour within the museum. It took us awhile to find where to enter the museum, and then to find our way to the location to pick up our headsets and the room to wait. So allow at least 30 minutes. Trust me! A stop to view the Mona Lisa is included, but there is a Disneyland-type queue to get close enough to snap a photo. We enjoyed our brief taste of the museum very much. We also enjoyed that there were places in the pyramid section to purchase beverages and baguette sandwiches.
Negar Javan (2 months ago)
You should definitely visit Louvre when you are in Paris! Plan your visit in advance by purchasing the ticket online. When you arrive, find the line with your visit time! The line will go fast so don’t scare of a big lineup! You need minimum 3 hours to see a few sections of the museum, and probably you can’t see all in one visit so take it easy and enjoy the museum.
Steve Chitsey (2 months ago)
What can you say... It's the Louvre. Fantastic but very large museum. Do some homework before you arrive to get the most out of the visit. The staff is very helpful and we were able to get through a see most of what we wanted to see. We tried a later in the afternoon time to beat the crowds, but the Mona Lisa had a large line to get in front of it. I think being there on the opening hour may be the best or definitely during a slower tourist season.
Saad Achwa (8 months ago)
One of the best places and 100% must visit place during the season, though you have to be careful of social distancing because Covid19 is high peak once again, may Hid protect all humanity and out loved ones. Be safe, Enjoy life, take precautions and travel safely. Life can never stop because of some viruses as humanity faces more challenges than this but surely protect yourself and keep safe. Must visit, must enjoy.
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Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.

The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.

The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.

Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.

At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.

In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.