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The main courtyard of the Louvre. The entrance to the galleries lies below the glass pyramid.

The Louvre, or musée du Louvre in French, is a venerable museum in Paris, France. The building, a former royal palace, lies in the centre of Paris, between the Seine river and the Rue de Rivoli. Its central courtyard, now occupied by the Louvre glass pyramid lies in the axis of the Champs-Élysées, and forms part of the Axe historique.

It is one of the oldest and greatest museums in the world, with a long history of holding the rich artistic heritage of the French people from the early Capetian Kings through the Empire of Napoleon Bonaparte and to the present day.

The Louvre is managed by the French state under the Réunion des Musées Nationaux.

The Louvre attracts millions of visitors every year from all over the world, with arguably the best art collection anywhere. Among the thousands of priceless paintings is the Mona Lisa, perhaps the most famous painting in the world. Works of artists like Renoir Rembrandt, Rubens, Titian, Poussin, David, and Leonardo da Vinci can also be seen. Among the well-known sculptures in the collection are the Winged Victory of Samothrace and the Venus de Milo.

Besides art, the Louvre has many other types of exhibits, including archeology, history, and architecture. It has a large furniture collection, with its most spectacular item being the Bureau du Roi of the 18th century.

A painting in the Louvre: Galerie de Vues de la Rome Moderne by Panini (1759). Three metres (ten feet) long, it comprises paintings of real paintings.


The first royal "" on this site was founded by Philippe II at the end of the 13th century, as a fortress to defend Paris on its west. In the next century, Charles V turned it into a palace, but Francois I and Henri II tore it down to build a real palace; the of the original fortress tower are under the Salle des Cariatides (Room of the Caryatids) now.

During his reign (1589-1610), King Henri IV added the Grande Galerie to the Louvre. More than a quarter of a mile long and one hundred feet wide, this huge addition was built along the bank of the Seine River and at the time was the longest edifice of its kind in the world. King Henri IV, a promoter of the arts by all classes of people, invited hundreds of artists and craftsmen to live and work on the building's lower floors. This tradition continued for another two hundred years until Napoleon ended it.

Later rulers, including Louis XIV and Napoleon Bonaparte made improvements. On November 8, 1793, during the French Revolution, the Palace of the Louvre was turned into the Museum of the Louvre.

A scupture in the Louvre: The Winged Victory of Samothrace (200 BC). In commemoration of a Greek naval victory at Rhodes.

The most recent significant modification of the Louvre was the "Grand Louvre" project, under president François Mitterrand. This opened the north wing of the building, which had hitherto housed government offices, and covered over several small internal courtyards. Most spectacular of all, it added a glass pyramid designed by the architect I. M. Pei at the center of the palace. The much expanded and re-organized Louvre reopened in 1989.


Metro Palais-Royal--Musée-du-Louvre or Louvre--Rivoli.

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