Louvre Museum Guide (Paris)

Musée du Louvre is one of the oldest museums in the world with a huge collection of artistic and historical relics of France, from the time of the Capetian dynasty to the present day. The Louvre Museum collected artifacts from all over the world and milestones of historical periods, which is why it is called universal and worldwide. His collections span vast geographical and temporal spaces: from Western Europe to Iran through Greece, Egypt and the Middle East. It can probably be confidently called the “N1 Museum” of world history, culture and art, the most famous and most visited. At the entrance to the museum there is a long queue in which you have to stand for a long time, which is an indicator of the interest of tourists in this main museum attraction of Paris

Louvre Museum Paris  Tour Guide

Louvre Museum, Paris

A little about the architecture and history of the Louvre Museum, very briefly and simply.
Probably, it is necessary to note the incredible large number of styles of different eras that were mixed in this complex of the buildings. When in the 12th century Paris was still a small city and its western border passed in the area of the modern Louvre, King Philip Augustus built in 1190 a small fortress here to protect against external enemies. According to the traditions of that era, royal treasures and valuable papers were kept in such a well-protected fortress, which can be considered the first collection. In 1317, the property of the Templars was transferred to the Order of Malta, and the royal treasury was transferred to the Louvre. A little later, under Charles V, this fortress turns into a royal palace, adding elements of luxury to the interior. During the Renaissance, a major restructuring of the ensemble took place, while the architects fulfilled the wishes of two kings at once – Francis I and Henry IV. In 1528, Francis I ordered the destruction of the obsolete Great Tower of the Louvre, and in 1546 the transformation of the fortress into a magnificent royal residence began. The main part of the fortress wall was destroyed, but a huge gallery was built connecting the Louvre and the Tuileries Palace that existed at that time. These works were carried out by Pierre Lescaut, continued during the reigns of Henry II and Charles IX, and two new wings were added to the building. King Henry IV was not only the Ruler of France, but also a great art collector, so at the beginning of the 17th century he invited good promising artists to live and work in the palace. This team is allocated spacious premises for workshops and accommodation, and the masters themselves receive a special prestigious status as painters of the royal court. From this time on, the Louvre turned into a large royal art gallery. The square courtyard of the palace was created by the architects Lemercier, and then Louis Levo during the reigns of Louis XIII and Louis XIV, enlarging the palace fourfold. The design and decoration of the palace was then supervised by such artists as Poussin, Romanelli and Lebrun. In 1667-1670 The architect Claude Perrault built the Louvre Colonnade on the eastern façade of the palace, facing the Louvre Square, but in 1682 the work was abruptly suspended. And although Louis XIV  transferred the royal court to Versailles, famous artists, sculptors and architects, such as Jean Honore Fragonard, Francois Boucher, Jean Chardin, Jean-Louis David, Guillaume Coustou, continue to live in the Louvre. Without the status of a royal residence, the Louvre turns into a residence of artistic bohemia and falls into a deplorable state, so much so that there was a proposal to demolish the building. The French Revolution did not cause damage to the buildings, probably due to their appearance.After the revolution, work at the Louvre was continued by Napoleon I, his architects Percier and Fontaine began the construction of the northern wing along the Rue de Rivoli. It was decided to turn the Louvre Palace into the “Central Museum of Art”, probably for the working people. Napoleon III, who came to power, fulfilled the dream of King Henry IV and in 1852 added the “Richelieu Wing” to the Louvre, which became a symmetrical reflection of the existing Haut-Bor-de-l gallery. The Paris Commune and its communards, according to revolutionary traditions, simply burned down the Tuileries Palace in 1871, as well as part of the Louvre. In 1989, a glass pyramid was erected in the center of the Napoleonic courtyard (architect Yo Ming Pei).
Today, the Louvre’s collection includes more than 350,000 artifacts from around the world, and the museum employs almost 1,600 people, including security and caretakers.

Louvre museum Paris guided tours

Louvre museum collection and the tourists

Collection of the Louvre Museum and its exhibits. On August 10, 1793, during the French Revolution, the doors of the museum were first opened to ordinary people, and under the First Empire it became known as the Napoleon Museum. At the beginning of its existence, the Louvre replenished its funds from the royal collections collected at one time by Francis I (Italian paintings) and Louis XIV (the largest acquisition was 200 paintings by the banker Everhard Jabach). At the time of the museum’s founding, the royal collection numbered exactly 2,500 paintings. Gradually, the most valuable paintings of the royal collection were transferred to the museum’s collection. A huge number of sculptures came from the Museum of French Sculpture (musée des Monuments français) and after numerous confiscations of property during the revolution. During the Napoleonic wars, at the instigation of the first director of the museum, Baron Denon , the Louvre collection was replenished with military trophies, and at the same time the museum received archaeological finds from Egypt and the Middle East.During the 19th and 20th centuries, the museum’s collection was replenished as a result of many acquisitions and gifts, including the latest – the collection of Edmund Rothschild, which was inherited by the museum according to the latter’s will The exhibits came to the Louvre in various ways. The famous paintings of the Louvre – “La Gioconda” by Leonardo da Vinci and “La Belle Gardener” by Raphael – belonged to Francis I, who acquired Leonardo’s personal collection after his death in 1519. Many paintings ended up in the Louvre as trophies of the Napoleonic army, especially after the sack of Venice in 1798 (for example, “The Marriage at Cana of Galilee” by Paolo Veronese). “The Little Beggar” by Murillo was purchased by Louis XVI in 1782. And “The Lacemaker” by Vermeer and “Self-Portrait with a Thistle” by Dürer were acquired by the museum in 1870 and 1922, respectively. Finally, the painting “Christ on the Cross” by El Greco went to the museum for nothing, it was taken from the courthouse in Prades (Eastern Pyrenees) in 1908.
The most famous sculptures of the museum are the Venus de Milo, found in 1820 and then acquired by the French ambassador from the Turkish government, and the Nike of Samothrace, found in parts in 1863 on the island of Samothrace by Charles Champoiseau, an archaeologist and vice-consul of France in Adrianople. The Louvre collections contain masterpieces of art from different civilizations, cultures and eras. The museum has about 300,000 exhibits, of which only 35,000 are exhibited in the halls. Many exhibits are kept in storage because they cannot be shown to visitors for more than three months at a time for security reasons. The Louvre exhibits are divided into the following collections and sections:
– The Ancient East and the Art of Islam,
– Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Etruria, Ancient Rome,
– Arts and crafts, sculptures
– European painting (1200-1850), European sculpture (1100-1850) and graphics.

Mini-guide to the collections of the Louvre Museum and photo galleries of each section.
The main collections are located in three wings of the building: Richelieu (along the Rue de Rivoli), Denona (parallel to the Seine) and Sully (surrounding the square courtyard). A quick description of where everything is located.
The Ancient East and the art of Islam are located in the Richelieu Wing (ground and first floors) and in the Sully Wing. Objects of ancient art found in the territory from the Bosphorus to the Persian Gulf, Mesopotamia, Persia, the countries of the Levant. The “Ancient East” section was founded in 1881 and contains one of the richest collections in the world, telling about the heyday of Assyrian art in the 9th-7th centuries BC, artifacts from ancient Palestine, Tunisia and Algeria.
Ancient Egyptian art is located in the Denon Wing (ground floor) and Sully Wing (1st and 2nd floors). The exhibition shows ancient Egyptians – papyri, stuffed animals, sculptures, mummies, columns, fragments of temples, paintings, talismans, in total more than 55,000 exhibits, arranged in chronological order.
Ancient Greek, Etruscan and Roman art can be found in the Denon wing (ground floor) and in Sully (1st and 2nd floors). A collection of artifacts from areas inhabited by the ancient Greeks, Etruscans and Romans includes the main sculptural attractions of the Louvre – the Venus de Milo (100 BC), Apollo and Nike of Samothrace (found in the form of 300 fragments a thousand years after its creation). Greek and Roman jewelry is of particular historical, cultural and material value.
Decorative and applied arts occupy the Richelieu Wing (2nd floor – apartments of Napoleon III), the Sully Wing (2nd floor), and also the Denon Wing (2nd floor). Various artifacts from the throne of Emperor Napoleon I to tapestries, treasures from the Basilica of Saint Denis: jewelry, antique furniture, carpets, antique weapons, snuff boxes, glass, porcelain, bronze, ivory and wood, collection of miniatures, porcelain, fine bronze and even royal crowns.
The sculpture is located in the wing of Richelieu (ground and 1st floors) and Denon (ground and 1st floor), showing a collection from France, exhibits from Italy, Germany, Holland and Spain, including two works by Michelangelo.
Painting is located in the Richelieu Wing (3rd floor) — French school of the XIV-XVII centuries, Dutch, Flemish and German. In the Sully Wing (3rd floor) there is French painting of the 17th-19th centuries, in the Denon Wing (2nd floor) there are large format paintings from 19th century France, Italian and Spanish painting.
The famous “Mona Lisa” (“La Gioconda”) by Leonardo da Vinci himself is located in the Denon Wing, in the Great Gallery of Hall No. 6 with a huge queue of people wanting to see..
The graphics are located in the Richelieu Wing (3rd floor) – northern schools, in the wing. Sully (3rd floor) – French school, Denon (2nd floor) – Italy. The main attractions, of course, are the drawings of the Great Master himself, Leonardo da Vinci, the Moroccan album of Delacroix, as well as sketches by Rembrandt and more, in total more than 120,000 works.
The medieval Louvre in the Sully Wing on the ground floor showing the history of the museum complex, fortress, palace and buildings.
The museum complex is located in the very center of Paris, on the right bank of the Seine River, on Rivoli Street, in the 1st arrondissement of the capital and is indicated on all modern and old maps of the city.

Paris museums map

Louvre Museum, Tuileries Garden, Place de la Concorde on the historical map of Paris