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French Culture

The Monuments of Paris — Le Louvre

By Christopher Measom on December 11, 2012

On our way to Notre Dame from Sacré-Coeur we will make a quick stop in front of the Louvre—one of the oldest, largest galleries on the planet—just to get some background history.

The Louvre Museum in Paris

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The Louvre’s Mission: To conserve, protect, restore and develop France’s national treasures

Number of Visitors: Six million per year, 64% foreign

Staff: 2,000 (half are security)

The Louvre Timeline – From Fortress to Museum

1190: The Louvre—a fortress—is built on the western edge of Paris (the largest city in Europe at the time).

1527: François I moves in making it a palace.

1672: The court moves out (to Versailles).

1692: The Académie Royale de Painture et de Sculpture moves into the abandoned palace.

1699: The first exhibition of art is held in the Grande Galerie.

1793: The revolutionaries create a public museum in the Louvre displaying art (gathered from the royal family and aristocrats who fled).

1798: The museum gains acquisitions through Napoleon’s conquests and is later renamed Musée Napoléon.

1815: Napoleon is defeated, conquered nations take back their art, the museum is temporarily disbanded.

1939: As World War II threatens, all but the heaviest items are packed up and hidden in the countryside.

1989: I.M. Pei’s glass pyramid is unveiled.

2015: A branch of the Louvre, designed by Jean Nouvel, is scheduled to open on Saadiyat Island (Island of Happiness) in Abu Dhabi.

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More articles in this series:

The Monuments of Paris — L’Arc de Triomphe
The Monuments of Paris — L’Avenue des Champs-Elysées
The Monuments of Paris — L’Obélisque de Luxor
The Monuments of Paris — La Madeleine
The Monuments of Paris — L’Opéra
The Monuments of Paris — Le Moulin Rouge
The Monuments of Paris — Le Sacré-Coeur
The Monuments of Paris — Le Louvre
The Monuments of Paris — Notre Dame
The Monuments of Paris — La Tour Eiffel
The Monuments of Paris — Père Lachaise Cemetery

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