The Louvre Museum started off as a royal palace and is today the world’s most popular museum.
If you are visiting Paris, Musee du Louvre must be on your itinerary.
Situated on the banks of river Seine, the Louvre houses one of the most impressive art collections in the world.
More than 25,000 tourists visit Louvre Museum every day making it one of the most popular attractions in Paris, France.
Louvre Museum history
The Louvre was built over many centuries.
In the year 1190, King Philip II built a fortress to stave off attacks from his numerous enemies. King Charles V made many additions to the fortress in the fourteenth century.
The Louvre got its current palace-like look in the late 15th century.
The 400-years-old fortress was demolished and in its place, the wing along the Seine river was built.
Ever since the Louvre has been growing. Every King who lived at the Louvre expanded it.
In 1682, Louis XIV decided to move the royal residence from Louvre to the Versailles palace – 16 KMs (10 miles) from Paris.
This freed up the Louvre palace for various art academies, and its members to display their art.
Once the French revolution started in 1789, everything that was once for the royalty was opened up to the public.
Towards this end, four years after the French revolution the French National Assembly opened the Louvre as a museum.
One interesting Louvre Museum information which not many are aware of is the fact that it started off with 537 paintings and today has 350,000+ items of art. More such interesting Louvre facts.
Napoleon is credited for Louvre’s popularity
Louvre Museum wouldn’t be what it is today without Napoleon Bonaparte’s contribution.
He wanted to create the world’s best art collection and went about it methodically.
As the first step, in 1802 Napoleon got the Museum renamed after himself – Napoleon Museum.
Next, he contributed artwork captured from different parts of the World during his war campaigns. While this was controversial, he did manage to increase the Museum’s popularity.
From 1802 to 1815 when he was defeated the French king brought in artworks from Belgium, Italy, Prussia, Austria, Egypt etc.
However, after his defeat at the battle of Waterloo, more than 5000 pieces of art were returned to the original owners.
Recommended Reading: Interesting Louvre Museum facts
Different wings of Louvre Museum
Once you have bought your Louvre Museum tickets, you can use one of the four Lourve entrances.
After entering the museum, you will gain access to three large wings: Sully, Richelieu and Denon.
Each of these wings has more than 70 rooms. Find out the best time to visit Louvre Museum.
What to see in Sully Wing
The Sully Wing is the oldest part of the Musée du Louvre.
In Sully Wing you can see remnants of the medieval castle of the Louvre and learn about the history of the Louvre.
In the ground floor of this Wing, you will find one of the finest sculptures in Louvre – Venus of Milo.
Another must visit artwork in this wing is the erotic Turkish Bath, painted in the late eighteenth century by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres.
One of the sculptures in Sully Wing proves that artists can also pull a cruel joke. To know what we mean, go and see ‘Sleeping Hermaphrodite’ in Room 17 of Sully Wing.
Don’t miss out on the 12-ton Great Sphinx of Tanis. This Sphinx was sculpted sometime between 2,600 and 1,900 B.C. and has a lion’s body and a human head.
What to see in Richelieu Wing
In the Richelieu Wing you get a chance to see Louvre in all its glory.
In the first floor of this wing, you get to see the highly decorated Napoleon III apartments – as it was when he lived there.
Master painters such as Rubens, Vermeer, and Rembrandt decorate the second-floor walls of Richelieu Wing.
Don’t miss out on Vermeer’s ‘The Astronomer’ and ‘The Lacemaker.’ And the four Rembrandt self-portraits which are also on display in this wing.
If you are into decorative arts, we suggest you visit the first floor for a treat of clocks, furniture, chinaware, tapestries, showpieces etc.
What to see in Denon Wing
Denon Wing attracts the most number of tourists at the Louvre Museum.
After all, it houses the most popular works such as Mona Lisa and the Winged Victory of Samothrace.
Some of the finest French paintings are available in the Denon Wing. Don’t miss out on Jacques-Louis David’s ‘The Coronation of Napoleon’ and Delacroix’s ‘Liberty Leading the People.’
The two sculptures in this wing, which we highly recommend are ‘Psyche Revived by the Kiss of Love’ by Antonio Canova and ‘Dying Slave’ by Michelangelo,
Glass pyramid at Louvre
The glass Pyramid in front of Louvre Museum is the most recognizable image of this Paris attraction.
The glass pyramid was designed by American architect I.M. Pei in 1989 and is one of the most recent additions to Louvre.
When it was being built, it was controversial for two reasons. The French didn’t like the architect selected by Louvre because he wasn’t French enough.
It didn’t help matters that the design proposed by the American architect had nothing to do with the classical design of the Louvre buildings.
However, the glass pyramid was built and today it serves as the entrance to the Louvre Museum.
Many don’t know this Louvre Museum information that the glass pyramid was a clever solution by I.M. Pei.
The Louvre needed a spacious central entrance, and the glass pyramid delivered that perfectly. Find out everything about the four Louvre entrances.
Departments in Louvre Museum
The artwork in Louvre Museum, Paris is divided into eight different departments.
Each of the department is shaped and defined by the activities of its curators, collectors and donors.
The eight departments at Louvre are:
2. Egyptian Antiquities
3. Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities
4. Near Eastern Antiquities
6. Decorative Arts
7. Islamic Art
8. Prints and Drawings
Tourist tools at Louvre Museum
Most tourists don’t know this Louvre Museum information – that there is a self-guided tour app they can download.
The app depicts all the artwork on display in the Museum, with additional information you may need.
The Louvre Museum app is available in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Korean and Japanese.
The Louvre Museum audio guides can be bought from four places in the Museum.
In front of Group Reception Area, also known as Accueil des Groupes, and the three main entrances of Denon Wing, Sully Wing, and Richelieu Wing.
Accessibility in Louvre Museum
The Louvre Museum is accessible to visitors with disabilities of all kinds.
Differently abled tourists and the person accompanying them enter the museum for free.
They even get priority access to the museum’s main entrance at the Glass Pyramid. Which means, no waiting in lines.
Wheelchairs are also available for rent free of charge. You may have to deposit an ID card.
Louvre has specially adapted tours for differently abled visitors. Find out about the different Louvre Museum tours.
Restaurants at Louvre Museum
Did you know that if you spent eight hours in the museum every day and spent 30 seconds in front of every artwork, you will still need eight days to see them all?
That’s why visits to Louvre Museum can be tiring – there is so much to see and so little time.
We recommend regular snack breaks in between to keep your energies high.
This is why this Louvre Museum information is critical for all visitors.
There are around 15 restaurants and cafes in Louvre.
If you are looking for a sit, relax and eat experience opt one of the three restaurants given below –
1. The Bistrot Benoit
Location: Under the Pyramid, Hall Napoléon
Opening Hours: Breakfast is available from 9 am to 11:30 am and lunch from 11:30 am to 5 pm. On Wednesdays and Fridays, it is open till 9:45 pm
2. The Café Marly
Location: Cour Napoléon
Opening Hours: Open daily from 8 am to 2 am
3. The Café Richelieu-Angelina
Location: Richelieu wing, 1st floor Between the Napoleon III Apartments and Decorative Arts galleries.
Opening Hours: 10 am to 4:45 pm and until 6:30 pm on Wednesday and Friday. In the months of July and August it is open till 8:30 pm
If you just want to grab a quick bite and move on, we recommend the following cafes –
1. Café Mollien in the first floor of Denon Wing
2. The Comptoir du Louvre located below the Pyramid
3. Denon & Richelieu takeaway counters located in the mezzanine entrances to the Denon and Richelieu wings
Shopping at Louvre Museum
When it comes to shopping at Musee Du Louvre, you have two options –
This is the perfect destination for books and gift shopping at Louvre.
It is located in the Hall Napoleon under the Pyramid.
It is open from 9:30 am to 7 pm on normal days. On Wednesdays and Fridays, the closing time gets extended to 9.45 pm.
The Carrousel du Louvre
This is a popular shopping center within the Louvre Palace and is open the whole week.
It is accessible via the Rue de Rivoli entrance.
The Carrousel du Louvre has numerous shops that sell clothes, accessories, home design, gifts etc.
The upper floor has an upmarket food court.
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