Regarded as a true paradise for art lovers and boasting a collection of over 1 million pieces, Paris’ incredible Louvre is an attraction definitely worthy of a visit whilst exploring this truly magnificent city. Showcasing a superb exhibition of well-known paintings, including the world famous Mona Lisa, the Louvre occupies a prime position within the 1st arrondissement of Paris and is within easy reach of many of our holiday apartments.
Ideally located upon the banks of the majestic River Seine, alongside the beautiful Tuileries Gardens, is one of Paris’ most renowned museums – the fabulous Louvre. Set within an impressive building, which dates back to the 12th century, the museum is brimming with some truly incredible examples of breath-taking art and attracts millions of visitors from all over the world every single year. Originally built as a fortress, the Louvre was also used as a Royal Palace before being transformed into a fascinating museum in the late 1700s.
Set out over several floors and divided into separate wings, the Louvre exhibits a fine collection of paintings, sculptures and artefacts and is where you can expect to find delights such as the Mona Lisa and Venus of Milo. In 2003, Dan Brown’s best-selling novel – The Da Vinci Code which later became a Hollywood blockbuster, increased the Louvre’s already popular profile and resulted in a new variety of visitors.
Access into the Louvre is via several entrances, one of which includes the remarkable Louvre Pyramid which was added in the 1980s. Designed by the American architect I.M. Pei, the magnificent glass structure not only relieved the congestion of the museum’s other entrances but also allowed natural light to enter the lower floors and highlight the exhibitions on display. In the 1990s a further pyramid was added to the Louvre, and was designed in an inverted position, hence its name of Pyramide Inversée (Inverted Pyramid).
Once inside this incredible museum, you are able to explore a fabulous collection of permanent and temporary exhibitions, which cover a wide range of genres and offer something to everyone who visits. The Sully Wing, which is one of the oldest parts of the Louvre, is filled with Egyptian relics, including the well-known Seated Scribe. It is here that you will also find the museum’s Greek collection and the amazing statue of Aphrodite, or Venus of Milo as it is also referred to.
The Richelieu Wing is decorated with paintings from the Middle Ages through to the 19th century and features work by some of the world’s most prominent artists, such as Rembrandt and Rubens. The eye catching Napoleon III Apartments can also be located here, offering a taste of what life was like when the Louvre was used as a Royal Palace. The lower levels of the Richelieu Wing are adorned with an array of striking sculptures and historic antiques. Known as the most popular wing of the Louvre is the Denon Wing, which houses Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic masterpiece, Mona Lisa. This inspiring portrait is undoubtedly one of the museum’s most famous pieces and is recognised throughout the world. Crowds often gather in front of the painting, making it one of the busiest spaces in the Louvre. The Denon Wing is also the setting for many more prestigious pieces, including the Wedding Feast at Cana and the fantastic marble statue known as the Winged Victory of Samothrace.
More information, including opening times, ticket prices and details of the temporary exhibitions can be found on the Louvre’s official website – www.louvre.fr/en.