The world’s most visited museum a.k.a Musée du Louvre or the Louvre Museum is the national museum and art gallery of France, housing 380,000 art pieces, although all aren’t exhibited to the public.
Here are 10 facts about the Louvre that you probably didn’t know!
1) The Louvre Museum was originally a Fortress
The first fact about the Louvre Museum is that it was initially a fortress. However, in the 16th century, it was reconstructed to serve as a palace for the French Monarchy. Nearly every French Monarch expanded it. In 1682, King Louis XIV moved the royal residence to Versailles. It is said that during the French Revolution Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette were forcibly removed from Versailles. They were kept in the Tuilleries Palace, then located next to the Louvre museum, later they were executed there in 1793.
2) It was once called the Musée Napoléon
In August 1793, the National Assembly opened the Louvre as a museum with a collection of 537 paintings, it was shut in 1796 because there were structural problems with the building. Napoleon Bonaparte reopened the museum in 1801 and expanded the collection by 5000 art pieces, he then renamed the museum as Musée Napoléon, but after he was abdicated with the treaty of Fontainebleau, the museum reverted back to its original name as the Louvre.
3) Another fact about the Louvre Museum is that it houses the famed Monalisa
The Monalisa by Leonardo Da Vinci is the museum’s most famous attraction and millions of people visit the museum each year to take a look at it. The iconic painting is only 21 by 30 inches and it is encased in bulletproof glass and has its own set of guards protecting it. This security is due to the fact that it was stolen in 1911 but was returned in 1913.
4) It is allegedly haunted by a mummy!
Another fact about the Louvre Museum is that it’s said to be haunted by a mummy called Belphegor. This myth even spurred a French television series and film. Another ghost who is said to haunt the museum is the Red Man of the Tuileries.
5) The Nazis used it to store stolen art
During the beginning of the German invasions during World War II, anticipating the fall of France, the director of the National Museum Jacques Jaujard, decided to do the evacuation of the Louvre collection into the provinces. The Louvre was officially closed for 3 days on 25th August 1939, during this time much of its collection was sent to Chateau de Chambord. During World War II the Nazis used the museum to store stolen art.
6) The Louvre’s glass pyramid is one of the most famous landmarks of Paris
The Louvre pyramid is the entrance to the Louvre museum, it was built by the Chinese-American architect I.M.Pei. Completed in 1989, it is entirely made up of glass and metal. Today it has become one of the most famous landmarks of Paris.
7) The most visited museum in the world
Another fact about the Louvre Museum is that in 2018, a record of 10.2 million people visited the museum! Thus making it one of the world’s most popular museum of art. A music video shot by Beyonce and JayZ at the museum has said to have contributed to this boost.
8) There are two Louvre Museums
Another fact about the Louvre Museum is that there are two of them! The second Louvre is located in Abu Dhabi. It was opened in 2017 and it is the largest art museum in the Arabian Peninsula. The architect for the museum is Jean Nouvel.
9) Axe Historique
Axe Historique, also known as Voie Triomphale(triumphal way). It is a 5 km line of monuments, buildings and thoroughfares that extends from the centre of Paris to the west. The Louvre is at the centre and is located in the middle of the Grande Arche of La Defense, Arc de Triomphe, and the obelisk of the Place de la Concorde.
10) The last fact about the Louvre Museum is that it houses the largest collection of French paintings!
The Louvre houses the largest collection of French paintings from the 15th to the 19th century. It includes famous paintings such as The Raft of Medusa by Gericault, The liberty guiding the people by Delacroix, The coronation of Napoleon by David, The rape of Sabines women by Poussin and more.