Contents

Explore the Grand Louvre Palace and 800 Years of its History

The Louvre Palace is an iconic landmark located in Paris, France. It is home to the Louvre Museum, which is one of the largest and most famous museums in the world. We’ve put together all the information you need to know about this magnificent palace and its glorious history.

Louvre Palace Timeline

  • 1190s: King Philip II orders the construction of a fortress to protect Paris during his absence for the crusades. The remains of this fortress exist beneath the current Louvre Palace.
  • 1364 - 1380: Charles V commissions the transformation of the fortress into a castle under architect Raymond du Temple, turning it into a royal residence with extensive renovations.
  • 14th Century: Monarchs of France prefer other palaces, leading to the demolition of the castle by Francis I.
  • 16th Century: King Francis I initiates the rebuilding of the palace in Renaissance style, later continued by his son King Henry II with alterations.
  • 17th Century: Louis XIII adds additions to the palace, while Catherine de Medici suggests the construction of the Tuileries Palace and designs a garden.
  • 1610: King Henry IV builds the Grande Galerie connecting the Louvre Palace to the Tuileries Palace.
  • 17th Century: The Louvre begins its transformation into a museum, with King Louis XVI ordering the construction of the Cour Carrée and the Louvre Colonnade. The museum officially opens to the public in 1793.
  • 1815: Napoleon I adds a new gallery to the north of the palace.
  • 19th Century: Napoleon III adds two new wings, completing the Louvre Palace. In 1871, a fire destroys the Tuileries Palace, which is subsequently demolished by 1883.
  • 19th Century: Construction continues on the Louvre Palace, with the addition of the iconic glass pyramid and expansion of art collections, solidifying its status as one of the world's largest art museums.

Louvre Palace History Explained

Dating back to the 12th century, the Louvre Palace has a long and fascinating history. A palace that was once used as a military fortress is now one of the best public museums in the whole world.

Louvre Palace

12th century

During the middle ages, a fortress was built by King Philip II to protect Paris from outsiders. He ordered its construction before he left for the crusades in 1190, which continued into the 12th century. The remains of the fortress can be found below the Louvre Palace today.

Louvre Palace

13th century

Charles V commissioned the fortress to be turned into a castle between 1364 and 1380. Under architect Raymond du Temple, the fortress was transformed into a beautiful royal residence with several rooms and a massive library.

Louvre Palace

14th century

In the following years, the monarchs of France chose to live in other palaces like the Chateaus of the Loire Valley instead of the Louvre. This led to the demolition of the castle by Francis I during the 14th century.

Louvre Palace

15th century

King Francis I commissioned the rebuilding of the old palace in Renaissance style. Although this work was interrupted by his death, his son King Henry II took over the rebuilding and ordered for his own changes to the original design.

Louvre Palace

16th century

Louis XIII, the successor of Henry II, made some additions to the palace, while Catherine de Medici, his widow, suggested the construction of a new palace called the Tuileries Palace. She also designed a garden outside the palace for her personal use. Following this, King Henry IV built a Grande Galerie in 1610 that connected the Louvre Palace to the Tuileries Palace.

Louvre Palace

17th century

The 17th century marks the official beginning of the Louvre Museum. During this time, the palace was inhabited by artists, noblemen, and intellectuals, who urged King Louis XVI to build a museum showcasing the royal collection of art. The King ordered the construction of the Cour Carrée and the Louvre Colonnade, extending the Tuileries Palace. In 1793, the museum officially opened to the public.

Louvre Palace

18th century

In 1815, Napoleon I added a new gallery to the north of the palace. Napoleon III continued his work and added two new wings, which marked the completion of the magnificent Louvre Palace. Towards the end of the 18th century in 1871, a fire destroyed the Tuileries Palace. The remains of the palace were completely removed in 1883.

Louvre Palace

19th century

Untouched by the fire, construction of the Louvre Palace continued with the addition of the iconic glass pyramid and other finer details. Newer collections were added to the existing ones, making it one of the largest art collections in the world.

Architecture of the Louvre Palace

Louvre Palace

The Louvre Palace is a beautiful example of French and Renaissance architecture. It has a historic and regal feel to it, with its imposing facade and grandiose interior. The palace was originally built as a fortress in the 12th century, and its architecture reflects that military history. However, the palace was later renovated and turned into a royal palace by Francois I in the 16th century. This renovation added more ornate details and flourishes, making the palace into the beautiful sight that it is today.

Over about 800 years, the palace underwent several changes and transformations, each echoing the work of the previous structures. Today, it is one of the largest and most elegant palace museums in the world.

Major Areas of the Louvre Palace

Situated on the right bank of the River Seine, the Louvre Palace spans across 40 hectares of land. It is composed of several buildings and wings and a beautiful pyramid right at its center. There are four major parts that make up the palace museum - the Sully Wing, the Denon Wing, the Richelieu Wing, the Pyramid, and the Tuileries Gardens.

Louvre Palace

Sully Wing

The Sully Wing is located behind the pyramid and is the oldest part of the Louvre Palace. It is home to an array of famous French paintings, which you can find on the third floor of the Louvre Palace.

It also consists of historical antiques from Greece and Egypt, on the first and second floors. You will also find old parts of the palace that was once used as a medieval fortress in this section.

Louvre Palace

Denon Wing

A must-visit at the Louvre Palace, the Denon Wing is located on the side of the Grande Galerie. This section was initially built as a connection between the Louvre Palace and the Tuileries Palace.

Inside this wing are some of the most famous artworks at the Louvre, including the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, The Winged Victory of Samothrace, and the Rebellious Slave by Michelangelo.

Louvre Palace

Richelieu Wing

Right opposite the Denon Wing on the northern side of the Louvre Palace is the Richelieu Wing. Named after Cardinal Richelieu, a French clergyman, this wing holds a collection of ancient sculptures, European paintings, decorative arts, and Mesopotamian antiquities.

You will also find the famous apartments of Napoleon III here. One of the main highlights of this wing are the royal sculptures on the ground level at the Cour Marly and the Cour Puget.

Louvre Palace
Louvre Palace

Louvre Palace Today

After a long history spanning over 800 years, the Louvre Palace is now home to the most revered museum in the world - the Louvre Museum. With about 480,000 works of art from every major time period, the museum sees over 9 million visitors each year! Beyond its artistic treasures, the palace's architectural grandeur and historical significance make it a must-visit destination, offering visitors a glimpse into France's past while serving as a testament to human creativity and achievement.




Book Louvre Museum Tickets

Louvre Museum Reserved Access Tickets with Optional Audioguide
Mobile ticket
Flexible duration
Audio guide
More details
from
€24.90
Louvre Museum Reserved Access Tickets with Direct Hosted Access to Mona Lisa Painting
Free cancellation
Instant confirmation
Mobile ticket
Flexible duration
More details
Louvre Museum Guided Tour
Free cancellation
Instant confirmation
Mobile ticket
2 hr. - 3 hr.
Guided tour
Transfers included
More details
Combo (Save 5%): Louvre Museum + Versailles Palace Tickets
Mobile ticket
Flexible duration
More details
from
€54.06
Louvre Museum Reserved Access Tickets & Seine River Cruise
Instant confirmation
Mobile ticket
Flexible duration
Audio guide
More details
from
€40.85
Louvre Museum VIP Small-Group or Private Guided Tour
Free cancellation
Mobile ticket
2 hr. - 8 hr.
Guided tour
More details
Royal Combo: Sightseeing Seine River Cruise + Disneyland Paris/ Louvre Museum/ Eiffel Tower Tickets
Mobile ticket
Flexible duration
Audio guide
Guided tour
More details
from
€37.71
Turbopass Paris City Card: 60+ Attractions with Paris Museum Pass & Eiffel Tower 2nd Floor Access
Mobile ticket
Flexible duration
Guided tour
More details
from
€197.91
Combo (Save 5%): Louvre Museum Reserved Access + Orsay Museum Tickets
Mobile ticket
Flexible duration
More details
from
€35.54
Louvre Museum Guided Outdoor Walking Tour with Entry Tickets
Instant confirmation
Mobile ticket
45 min.
Guided tour
More details

Frequently Asked Questions About the Louvre Palace

What is the Louvre Palace?

The Louvre Palace is a famous building in Paris, home to the Louvre Museum.

Where is the Louvre Palace located?

The Louvre Palace is located in Paris, France.

Can I visit the Louvre Palace?

Yes. The Louvre Palace is open throughout the year. You can visit it by booking your tickets online.

Who designed the Louvre Palace?

Many hands were involved in designing the Louvre Palace and museum, including Hector Lefuel, Pierre Lescot, Louis Le Vau, Claude Perrault.

When was the Louvre Palace built?

The original construction of the Louvre Palace began in 1546 under King Francis I and was completed in 1793.

When did the Louvre Palace open to the public?

The museum inside the Louvre Palace officially opened to the public in 1793.

Who used to live at the Louvre Palace?

Before the Louvre Palace turned into a museum, it was a royal residence to the monarchs of France including Philip VI, Charles V, Clementia of Hungary, and John II.

Can I visit the garden of Louvre Palace?

Yes. The Tuileries Garden outside Louvre Palace is open to visitors throughout the year.

How much does it cost to visit the Louvre Palace?

Tickets to visit the museum inside Louvre Palace start at €17.

Are there guided tours of the Louvre Palace?

Yes. You can take a guided tour of the museum and learn about all the history of the Louvre Palace.