From a fortress to a museum
Founded as a fortress in the 12th century, the Louvre Palace, as it later became known, was home to several kings as they convened their royal courts within its ramparts. After Louis XIV moved to Versailles, the palace became home to several artists. During the French Revolution, the Louvre was decreed to be a museum and eventually, the “museum among museums.” She now houses priceless artifacts and works of art from pre-history to the 21st century.
The Louvre has three entrances – the most magnificent being the one through the main courtyard, the Cour Napoleon. The sheer grandeur of the architecture of the palace walls speaks volumes and as you walk beneath the Grand Pyramid, there is an overwhelming sense of having been transported elsewhere in the universe.
Home of the Mona Lisa and more
Once inside, you can pay homage to the “three great ladies” of the Louvre – Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and the Winged Victory. It is better to call on them as early as possible because the crowds around these masterpieces can get overwhelming by noon.
After that you can browse through Egyptian Antiquities, Islamic Art, Paintings, Decorative Arts or simply walk through the Michelangelo Gallery. Prepare to be astonished at the opulent décor of gold, marble, bronze and silk preserved in memory of a bygone era of French grandeur at the apartments of Napolean III and Anne of Austria.
The objets d’ art are displayed over 60,600 square meters and therefore, art lovers might want to stop by another day. Well, it’s not every day you get to see thousands of years through the eyes of art.
- Pick up Paris Museum Passes online. They save you precious time at not just the Louvre but also at more than 60 museums and monuments in Paris.
- A shopping mall underneath the museum, the Carrousel du Louvre, boasts of a food court and major retailers including France’s first Apple Store.
- Here’s a nifty tip for the budget conscious. The Louvre offers free admission to visitors on the first Sunday of every month during the off-season, namely, October to March.
- Cameras: Both still and video cameras are permitted but please disable the flash before entering the museum.
- Access via Metro: You can hop off at the Louvre-Rivoli or the Palais Royal-Musee du Louvre stations on Line 1.