The Louvre Pyramid © 2021 musée du Louvre – Nicolas Guiraud
The Louvre, once a royal palace, bears witness to eight centuries of French history. From the time of its founding in 1793, the museum was intended to be universal. Its collections, among the finest in the world, span several thousand years and an area stretching from America to the confines of Asia.
The Louvre began as a fortress with thick defensive walls, built in 1190 during the reign of Philippe Auguste. It became a royal residence in 1364 and was modified over the centuries according to changing styles and royal preferences. The Grande Galerie was built between 1595 and 1610, during the reign of Henri IV.
In 1791, during the French Revolution, it was decreed that the Louvre should become a museum of the arts. The Muséum Central des Arts was inaugurated in 1793, and thereafter the palace was increasingly given over to the museum collections and their display to the public.
From 1981 to 1989, the Pyramid project focused on putting visitors at the heart of the museum and its collections. The new Department of Islamic Art was inaugurated in 2012.
The Louvre is a universal museum with eight curatorial departments: Egyptian Antiquities; Near Eastern Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities; Paintings; Sculptures; Decorative Arts; Prints and Drawings; and Islamic Art. Some 35,000 works of art are on display, including world-famous masterpieces such as the Winged Victory of Samothrace, the Seated Scribe, the Winged Bulls of Khorsabad, the Mona Lisa and Michelangelo’s Slaves, and parts of the palace, such as the Napoleon III Apartments, are works of art in their own right.
In front of the palace is the Tuileries Garden, created during the Renaissance by Catherine de’ Medici, and a few miles away, at the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, is another museum managed by the Louvre – the Musée Eugène-Delacroix, housed in the painter’s last apartment.
THE MUSÉE DU LOUVRE IN KEY FIGURES
A total of 2,104 employees work at the Public Establishment of the Musée du Louvre:
– 67 curators
– 8 department directors
– 221 curatorial staff
– 1,153 reception and security staff
– 52 firemen on duty 24/7
The Musée du Louvre also includes:
– the Musée National Eugène-Delacroix (since 2004)
– the Tuileries Garden (since 2005)
– the Louvre Conservation Centre, inaugurated in 2019 in Liévin (northern France)
– 35,000 exhibited artworks, out of 500,000 (including 223,000 prints and drawings)
– 8 departments: Near Eastern Antiquities; Egyptian antiquities; Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities; Islamic Art; Decorative Arts; Sculptures; Paintings; and Prints and Drawings
– Over 3,000 artworks loaned each year to other institutions
– About 10 temporary exhibitions per year
– 244,000 m² of flooring
– 3,000 metres of façade (total length, including courtyards)
– 72,735 m² of exhibition spaces
– 403 rooms
– 14.5 km of rooms and corridors
– 603 diamond-shaped and 70 triangular glass segments
– Height: 21 m
– Length at the base: 34 m
– Weight of the structure: 95 tons of steel, 105 tons of aluminum
The cour Napoléon
– Surface: 28,000 m²
– Pavement: 650,000 stones of sandstone and granite
– 7 basins, 50 water pumps
In 2019, 9.6 million visitors, of which:
– 50% under 30 years old
– 75% foreigners (mainly from the United States, China and the E.U. countries)
In 2020, 2.7 million visitors
– 161 days open instead of 311 because of the sanitary crisis
– 70% French visitors
– 1 out of 2 benefited from free entry
PLAN YOUR VISIT
Museum hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, closed Tuesday
All visitors must book a time slot on ticketlouvre.fr, including those entitled to free admission. Admission free for residents of the European Economic Area (UE, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein) under the age of 26.
European health passes must be shown by all visitors age 12 and over.
More information: www.louvre.fr
Become a member: www.amisdulouvre.fr