Louvre Palace

Discover the Louvre Palace

Visit Louvre Palace to witness France’s iconic palace that is situated on the Right Bank of the River Seine in Paris. The palace had its beginnings as a military facility and was the seat of numerous government-related functions in the olden days. In the years between the 14th and 18th centuries, the palace also served as a royal residence until 1793 when the Louvre Museum was opened here. Today the Louvre Palace is best known for housing the largest museum in the world.

Although the Louvre Museum occupies most of the palace space, there are other important sections in it as well. Its other primary users are located in the building’s two western tips, the south western and the north western parts. These house the Center for Research and Restoration of Museums of France and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs respectively. After numerous reconstructions and remodelling since the 18th century, the Louvre palace today boasts a world-class museum space with an underground shopping mall, the Carrousel du Louvre

The architecture of Louvre Palace

The Louvre Palace architecture as you see it today comprises a vast network of pavilions and wings. These have come about after years of destructions, remodellings, modifications, additions, and reconstructions that the palace structure has undergone. Despite this, the Louvre Palace architecture continues to maintain a sense of consistency. This is thanks to all the architects and their conscious efforts to resonate with each others’ works and maintain a historical continuity across the centuries.

Pierre Lescot was the first architect to have been entrusted with the Louvre Palace architecture in order to transform what was then a fortress into a palace. Under him, two wings were demolished that were consistent with the Renaissance style. Later in the 17th century, Jacques Lemercier added the French Baroque style to the Louvre when he was expanding one of the wings and added a central pavilion. A few years later two architects, Louis Le Vau and Charles Le Brun were hired to work on the east façade of the Louvre. This is, today, one of the most notable features of the palace and is known as the Louvre Colonnade. Among the last additions to the palace was its glass pyramid that is visible outside as well as underneath the building.

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Explore Louvre Palace

Sully Wing
  • Explore Louvre Palace and witness its oldest part, the Sully Wing, which is located behind the pyramid.

  • Enjoy viewing exquisite historical antiques from Greece and Egypt, on the first and second floors.

  • Marvel at specific sections of the Sully Wing that were used as a fortress in the Medieval ages.

  • Witness a complete array of famous French paintings that you will find on the third floor when you visit Louvre Palace.

Denon Wing
  • Explore the Denon Wing, a must-visit section at the Louvre Palace that houses some of the most famous artworks at the complex.

  • Visit Louvre Palace to see the world-renowned Mon Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci that is kept in this wing.

  • Located on the side of the Grande Galerie, you can witness how the Louvre Palace and the Tuileries Palace were initially connected.

  • Other important works of art that you can view here include The Winged Victory of Samothrace, and the Rebellious Slave by Michelangelo.

Richelieu Wing
  • Visit Louvre Palace and marvel at a mesmerizing collection of European paintings, ancient sculptures, decorative arts, and Mesopotamian antiquities.
  • Enjoy watching the main highlights of this section- the royal sculptures on the ground level at the Cour Marly and the Cour Puget
  • This section has been named after a French clergyman, Cardinal Richelieu and is located on the north side of the Louvre Palace right opposite the Denon Wing
  • If you enjoy delving deep into the history of ancient France, explore Louvre Palace and see the famous apartments of Napoleon III in the Richelieu Wing

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Louvre Pyramid
  • Enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the magic of the Louvre Palace and its iconic glass pyramid forming the centre of the palace complex.
  • Marvel at the unique construction of the pyramid located in the palace courtyard, using glass and metal.
  • Learn how the structure has come to become a symbol of France’s artistic and cultural heritage.
  • Access the smaller inverted pyramid that is located below this through the Napoleon Hall.

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Tuileries Garden
  • Explore the Tuileries Garden when you visit Louvre Palace to see that last remaining part of the Tuileries Palace that had got destroyed in a massive fire in the 18th century
  • Enjoy meandering through the gardens that make for an elegant extension of the palace that was later restored to a certain extent by Napoleon I.
  • Enjoy looking at the garden’s own set of sculptures and monuments apart from a range of trees and plants here.

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History of the Louvre Palace

12th Century
  • Delve deep into the Louvre Palace history by exploring the remnants of this 12th-century fortress than can be found below the Louvre Palace today

  • Learn how the fortress was built during the Middle Ages by King Philip II to protect Paris from outsiders.

  • According to history, the order for the construction of this fortress was given by the king before he left for the Crusades in 1190.

  • The fortress originally comprised ten round defensive towers and was surrounded by a water-filled moat.

13th Century
  • If you dig into the Louvre Palace history you will learn how an impregnable fortress was transformed into a beautiful royal residence under architect Raymond du Temple.

  • The new palace was complete with a plethora of rooms and a massive library, all fit for royalty.

  • Construction work had begun under Louis IX in the 1230s for the medieval Louvre's main ceremonial room or Grande Salle which is the site of several historical events.

  • The decision of converting the fortress into a castle between 1364 and 1380 was that of Charles V who also commissioned the project.

14th Century
  • Learn how the popularity of the Louvre Palace started diminishing and as the centuries passed by, the monarchs of France chose to live in other palaces like the Chateaus of the Loire Valley instead of the Louvre.

  • The 14th century saw the complete demolition of the castle by King Francis I until Charles V came to its rescue.

  • Charles V breathed new life into the Louvre Palace, then known as the joli Louvre ("pretty Louvre") and added elaborate turrets, chimneys, and pinnacles to the courtyard.

15th Century
  • This is the time when the building of a completely new structure in Renaissance style in place of the old palace was commissioned by Francis I.

  • Work on the new palace complex was stalled for some time but soon picked up the pace again under the new King Henry II.

  • The original plan and design were put through certain changes by the new king who took charge of rebuilding the entire structure.

  • Most kings and royal visitors, however, continued to prefer staying at other palaces and the Louvre castle was left to be used as a prison and an arsenal.

16th Century
  • After the demolition of the Louvre’s old keep by Francis I, the 15th century saw the commissioning of a modernized Louvre in Renaissance style.

  • Know all about how the famous architect Pierre Lescot and sculptor Jean Goujon were entrusted with the task of modernization.

  • The western wing of the old Louvre castle was completely torn down and a new Lescot Wing was rebuilt in its place.

  • Meanwhile, the construction of a new palace called Tuileries Palace was declared by Catherine de Medici, the widow of Henry II.

17th Century
  • This is the time that marks the official beginning of the Louvre, particularly its museum to showcase the royal collection of art.

  • The Louvre Palace was largely inhabited during this time by noblemen, intellectuals, and artists, who felt the need for a museum and took the proposal forward to King Louis XVI.

  • Construction of the Court Carrée and the Louvre Colonnade, extending the Tuileries Palace was commenced under King Louis XVI.

  • Work on the palace however took a beating around the 1670s when all construction budgets were ordered to be redirected at the Palace of Versailles.

18th Century
  • The Louvre started getting occupied by a variety of individuals and organizations including the infanta Mariana Victoria of Spain.

  • 1789 saw the King and court come back to settle in Tuileries Palace from their seat at Versailles while several courtiers were moved into the Louvre.

  • In 1793, the Louvre Museum was officially opened to exhibit the huge collection of art and spoils of the royalty.

  • The Louvre apartments served as residences for various artists during the French Revolution.

19th Century
  • A new gallery was added to the north of the palace by Napoleon I who appointed Pierre Fontaine as the architect of the Tuileries and the Louvre.

  • The monumental entrance to the Louvre Museum was created by Percier and Fontaine which came to be called the Musée Napoléon.

  • Two more new wings were added by Napoleon III marking the completion of the spectacular Louvre Palace.

  • Most parts of The Tuileries Palace got engulfed in a massive fire, the remains of which were completely removed by the year 1883.

20th Century
  • Construction of the Louvre Palace continued in full swing, despite the fire that took place, destroying most of the Tuileries Palace.

  • The iconic glass pyramid and other fine details came to be added to the palace complex during this time

  • The museum in the Louvre started becoming one of the largest collectors of art in the whole world with newer collections getting continually added

  • The Louvre Palace received its current shape after the basement level of the Louvre Colonnade was excavated by minister André Malraux in 1964


What is Louvre Palace?

The Louvre Palace is the home of the greatest museum in the world, the Louvre Museum. It boasts an enviable collection of artwork and exhibits that include world-famous pieces like the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci among others. Initially built as a fortress to protect the city of Paris from enemy invasion, it was later converted into a royal residence. Several significant additions were made by subsequent monarchs until it arrived at its current architectural structure. Visit Louvre palace to understand its significance in depth.

What is the Louvre palace used for?

The Louvre Palace is largely occupied by the Louvre Museum which is home to some of the world’s most renowned works of art such as the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. However, when initially built it was used as a fortress and centuries later, as a palace and royal residence.

Where is the Louvre Palace located?

The Louvre Palace is located on Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France.

Can I visit the Louvre Palace?

Yes, you can visit the Louvre Palace with a valid entry ticket. However, if you are below 18 years of age, you can enter it free of charge.

Who designed the Louvre Palace?

The Louvre Palace was designed by French architect Pierre Lescot in 1546. He was commissioned to transform the fortress and design a palace in its place that could serve as a royal residence. It is also believed that Lescot worked with an established sculptor, Jean Goujon, on the project.

When was the Louvre Palace built?

The original Louvre Palace, then known as the Chateau du Louvre was built in 1190 at the order of King Louis Auguste. It was, however, converted from a fortress to a palace for the royalty in 1528 by King Francis I.

When did the Louvre Palace open to the public?

The Louvre Palace was opened to the public as a museum in August 1793 by the National Assembly. It housed a collection of 537 paintings at the time.

Who used to live at the Louvre Palace?

The Louvre was used as a palace and royal residence by King Francis I in the 16th century, for the first time since it was built to serve as a fortress.


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