* Irene's Country Corner * - Around the World - France


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The Louvre Museum


A medieval fortress built by King Philippe Auguste (1190), the palace of the kings of France, and a museum for the last two centuries, the architecture of the Louvre Palace bears witness to more than 800 years of history.

In 1528, François Ier had the "grosse tour" destroyed, and decided in 1546 to transform the former fortress into a luxury residence. The work, which was supervised by Pierre Lescot, continued under Henri II and Charles IX, involved two new wings which occupy two sides of the former fortress. Jean Goujon decorated the façade and the great hall of this Renaissance wing.

In the west, in a place known as the Tuileries, Catherine de Médicis had a huge palace built, which she left incomplete. As soon as he arrived in Paris in 1594, Henri IV decided to join the Louvre with the Tuileries to form a gigantic palace. This was the "Grand Dessein" or Grand Design, of which he had the first stage completed, the Grande Galerie.

Under Louis XIII and Louis XIV, the architects Le Mercier and subsequently Le Vau built the "Cour Carrée", four times the size of the former Renaissance courtyard. To the East, facing the city, a committee of architects, led by Perrault, planned the "colonnade". Poussin, Romanelli and Le Brun decorated the apartments and the "galeries". But this golden age enjoyed by the Louvre came to an abrupt end in 1678, when Louis XIV chose Versailles as his centre of power. The double palace remained incomplete for a long time. During the entire 18th century, new projects contributed to the "Grand Dessein" of the Bourbons.

Established in 1793 by the French Republic, the Louvre Museum, in the company of the Ashmolean Museum (1683), the Dresden Museum (1744) and the Vatican Museum (1784) is one of the earliest European museums and one of the largest in the world.

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The Louvre presents 30,000 works of art divided into seven main collections, including both Antiquity and Westerns Art, from the Middle Ages to the first part of the 19th century. Several temporary exhibition areas and a section dedicated to the history of the Louvre complete the permanent display of the museum.

Two rooms present the history and architectural development of the Louvre palace in chronological order, from the fortress built by Philippe Auguste in about 1190 in Lupara (later to become the Louvre) to recent works of the "Grand Louvre" project.

The first stage of the project was finished in 1989 (opening of the new access via the glass pyramid designed by the Sino-American architect Ieoh Ming Pei and discovery of the vestiges of the medieval Louvre).

I. M. Pei was responsible for the first major part of the modernization concept of the museum. His project, involving the construction of a huge pyramid in the center of the cour Napoléon, was exhibited at the palais de l'Elysée in 1983, where it caused considerable controversy. A lifesized simulation was planned and executed in 1985 and the project was given final approval.

The pyramid is surrounded by fountains and marks the entrance to the new museum. The Hall Napoléon is the name used to denote the space beneath the Pyramid which is now the official entrance to the Louvre.


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The Louvre has three wings: Sully, Denon and Richelieu. These wings are respectively to the west, south, and north of the Pyramid. Each of the wings has 3 stories (i.e. ground, first, and second). There is also an `Entresol' - below ground - level.


On the left you can see: the Richelieu Wing to the left of the Pyramid, the Denon Wing to the right and the Sully Wing in the middle of the two and the pyramid in front of it.

© Irene. Not for download.


© Irene. Not for download.

The Louvre collections are distributed into 7 departments: Oriental Antiquities Arts of Islam, Egyptian Antiquities, Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities; Sculptures, Objets d'Art, Paintings and Prints and Drawings.

Famous works such as the Liberty Leading the People, 1830, by Eugène Delacroix, the Mona Lisa, 1503-1506, by Leonardo da Vinci and the Venus de Milo among many others can be found in the Louvre.


The palace and the pyramid with the fountains. Unfortunately, the large glass pyramid partially covers the view of the the Sully Wing. This pyramid was very controversial during its construction. In my opinion, the pyramid is nice, but it destroyed the beautiful view of the palace.



A barrier separating the northern and southern parts of the city, the building constitutes the point of departure of the great East-West view, which crosses the Arc du Carrousel, the obelisk in the Place de la Concorde, the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Elysées, and extends right out to the new Arche de la Défense.

The two arches conceived by Napoleon, Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel and the Arc de Triomphe at Etoile, were erected to commemorate his victories, and the grand armies he had commanded. The bronze horses on top of the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel were taken from Saint-Marc of Venice. These were later returned after second World War.

The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel is decorated in rose marble on the columns and the front paneling. It is composed of three arches: a big one and two little ones. While the principal structure is 63 feet high, 75 feet wide, and 24 feet deep, the ceiling of the big arch is 21 feet high and 9 feet wide, and the two small arches are each 14 feet, 16 inches high and 9 feet wide.


Next Page
Inside the Louvre ::



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This page was created on: February 28, 2002.
Last updated on: July 8, 2008.
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Information from panflets I got at the museum, Les Pages de Paris
& Le site Officiel du Musée du Louvre.
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Sweet Room ~ Graphics by Irene ~ Comet Creations (www.cometcreations.com) ~


© Jaime. Not for download. Please, visit Comet Creations if you like this graphic.


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