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.
What is the Louvre Palace?
The Louvre Palace is one of the most famous tourist destinations in the world, and for good reason. The palace is home to the Louvre Museum, which contains about 480,000 works of art, including some of the most famous paintings in history. This includes the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, David by Michelangelo, and many others.
The palace is also located in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Paris. If you're looking for a vacation that offers culture and beauty in equal measure, then a trip to the Louvre Palace should be at the top of your list.
History of the Louvre Palace
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 Museum Tickets & Tours
Frequently Asked Questions About the Louvre Palace
A. The Louvre Palace is a famous building in Paris, home to the Louvre Museum.
A. The Louvre Palace is located in Paris, France.
A. Yes. The Louvre Palace is open throughout the year. You can visit it by booking your tickets online.
A. Many hands were involved in designing the Louvre Palace and museum, including Hector Lefuel, Pierre Lescot, Louis Le Vau, Claude Perrault.
A. The original construction of the Louvre Palace began in 1546 under King Francis I and was completed in 1793.
A. The museum inside the Louvre Palace officially opened to the public in 1793.
A. 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.
A. Yes. The Tuileries Garden outside Louvre Palace is open to visitors throughout the year.
A. Tickets to visit the museum inside Louvre Palace start at €17.
A. Yes. You can take a guided tour of the museum and learn about all the history of the Louvre Palace.