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The Louvre:  A Museum Fit for Kings

Louvre Museum

Louvre museum, located in the 1st arrondissement on the Right Bank of the Seine, is without a doubt one of the most visited museums in the world.  The Louvre is one of the most significant and largest art galleries in the world located in central Paris. It is part of the Louvre Palace which was built in the late 12th century. One of the major highlights of Louvre museum is the famous Mona Lisa painting which was purchased by King Francis I.

Louvre museum was turned into a national art museum in 1793 during the French Revolution. When it was first opened, admission was free and artists were given more priority over general public. Most of the works of art were paintings from the French Royal family and they were displayed in Salon Carré and the Grande Galerie.

The French Revolution was taking place when the museum opened its doors and this paved way for intensive transformation. The Kings of France purchased and received donations of various works of art which are displayed at the museum to date. The collections gradually spread and soon took over the building.

Between 1796 and 1801, the museum was closed due to structural problems. The museum was later opened under the reign of Napoleon and it was renamed Musee Napoleon and greatly expanded its collection. In 1815, after his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo, many of the art works seized by Napoleon were reclaimed by or returned to their original owners. The holdings of the Louvre experienced two more expansions, one during the Second French Empire of 1852 to 1870 by 20,000 pieces and then once again during the Third Republic which lasted 40 years until World War II.  

Today it hosts a large collection of more than 380,000 objects and 35,000 pieces of classic and modern works of art. Louvre museum is divided into 8 curatorial departments which cover more than 60,000 square meters. It is considered  one of the largest and most visited museums in the world with an average of 15,000 visitors per day.

Visitors can access the museum via the Louvre Pyramid or the Carrousel du Louvre. The Louvre is divided into three wings. The first wing is the Sully wing and it is the oldest area in the museum with a collection of paintings and prints in the Second floor. On the first and ground floors of the Sully Wing you will find artifacts and sculptures from Ancient Egypt. The Sully Wing also displays remnants of the medieval castle of the Louvre.

On the third wing of the museum and perhaps most popular, the Denon Wing, you will find many of the famous works of art that the Lourve is known for. The Mona Lisa painted by Leonardo da Vinci and considered by many to be the best know piece of art in the world can be found here often surrounded by a crowd of on-lookers. There’s also a large collection of Roman antiques at the Denon Wing together with artifacts from Africa, Asia and the Americas.

On the Richelieu Wing which is usually the least crowded of the three wings, you will find paintings and sculptures from many different time periods and cultures, including the Art of Islam, Mesopotamia and Ancient Iran. Also on this wing you can stroll through the apartments of Napoleon III where you will get an idea of what it was like to live in a royal residence during the middle 1800s in France complete with furnishings.

The most recent addition is the Louvre Pyramid which is the museum’s main entrance. This pyramid is made of glass and it allows light to enter the museum’s ground floor. The museum has received numerous other additions that have made it contrast slightly with its original classical design.

Literally steps from the Louvre on the Right Bank is France Homestyle's Palais Royal One Bedroom apartment. This charming refinished pied-à-terre is a typically Parisian combination of clean modernity and 17th century grandeur.  Just across the Seine on the Left Bank is St. Germain Tri-Level apartment with two bedrooms and great views of Paris from several vantage points including a rooftop terrrace and private balcony.  The flat is a total of 1400 sq ft with an antique spiral staircase connnecting the three floors of the apartment.  This Rue de Seine apartment, in the popular and elegant St. Germain area, is within walking distance to the river, the famous open-air "Marché de Buci", and numerous outdoor cafés, boutiques, restaurants, bakeries and pastry shops.