The Louvre is a fascinating place, it’s one of the greatest museums in the world and definitely one of Paris’s most visited attractions. It was originally the former residence of the kings of France and now holds a collection of over 35,000 works of art!
With more than 9 million visitors per year, the Louvre is the most visited museum in the world! Have you ever wondered what makes this expansive and priceless museum so enticing? There must be more reasons for such popularity!
Read on to discover the most interesting facts about the Louvre museum, and why you should definitely visit while staying in Paris!
Paintings in Louvre Museum (Photo credit – discoverwalks.com)
The museum is believed to be haunted by a mummy called Belphegor. The nearby Tuileries Gardens are also believed to be haunted by a man dressed in red. Creepy!
The Louvre museum has more than 15,000 visitors every single day!
The museum has more than 380,000 pieces in its collections, but not all of them are displayed.
The Mona Lisa was hung in Napolean’s private bedroom during his rule!
The Mona Lisa didn’t leave the museum again for 50 years until first lady Jacqueline Kennedy convinced French officials to allow the painting to go on a tour.
There are actually two Louvre museums in the world! The other one was opened in 2017 in Abu Dhabi!
The Louvre museum only had 537 paintings when it was opened to the public after the French Monarchy moved to the Palace of Versailles in 1793!
At one point Napolean renamed the Louvre to Musée Napoleon and expanded its collection by 5,000 pieces of art. They were then returned to the original owners after the military leader was defeated!
The Louvre museum first opened its doors on August 10, 1793, exhibiting more than 500 paintings and decorative arts. Majority of these had been confiscated from the royal family and French nobility!
The Louvre building complex had a major reconstruction and remodeling in the 80s and ’90s to make the old museum more accessible and accommodating to its visitors.
During this construction was when a large underground complex of offices, shops, exhibition spaces, a cafeteria, parking areas, storage areas, an auditorium, and a tourist bus depot, was constructed in a bunker. It was under the Louvre’s central courtyards of the Cour Napoléon and the Cour du Carrousel!
Louvre’s Famous Artworks (Photo credit – planetware.com)
The Mona Lisa is one of the most famous pieces of art in the museum. So much so that it is protected by bulletproof glass and has its own bodyguards!
The Mona Lisa is only slightly bigger than an A2 piece of paper.
Despite the intended protection of this famous work of art, it was stolen in 1911 before being returned to the museum 2 years later!
The two most well-known statues in the Louvre are the Venus of Milo and the Winged Victory of Samothrace.
The Venus de Milo is also known as Aphrodite of Milos. It’s an ancient Greek statue and is one of the most famous works of its kind!
It was created circa 100 BC and is believed to depict Aphrodite who was the Greek goddess of love and beauty, known as Venus to the Romans.
The Winged Victory of Samothrace is also known as the Nike of Samothrace and it is a 2nd-century BC marble sculpture of the Greek goddess Nike (Victory).
Popular artworks found in the museum include the Code of Hammurabi, Michelangelo’s tragic sculpture The Dying Slave and Antonio Canova’s 18th-century sculpture Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss.
There has been an on-going debate for centuries regarding Mona Lisa’s smile and identity
Many people believe that she is the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, as her real name in Italian is Lisa Gioconda. Some argue that Mona Lisa is actually a self-portrait and is an allusion to Leonardo da Vinci’s supposed homosexuality.
Another famous work of art, Liberty leading the people, by Delacroix, depicts the bare-breasted Liberty goddess leading a charge in the French Revolution and was designed as a political poster as a celebration of the 1830 revolution
It is thought to have inspired Victor Hugo’s “Les Miserables,” and Jacques-Louis David’s “The Coronation of Napoleon” was commissioned by Napoleon himself and is a reminder of the Louvre’s fascinating history.
Interesting Facts About the Louvre During World War II
Louvre During World War II (Photo credit – journalstar.com)
The Nazi’s used the Louvre as a storeroom for stolen artworks during the second world war!
130 years after opening, a grand army swept across Europe while conservators at the Louvre began evacuating thousands of pieces of artwork in a caravan. More than thirty trucks headed into the French countryside!
After the German occupation of Paris, Nazi officials ordered the Louvre to reopen but had no artwork to display!
They then commandeered part of the museum as a clearinghouse to package and ship art and confiscated personal items from wealthy French Jewish families back to Germany.
This was known as the Louvre sequestration and took over six massive rooms in the museum. The largest art theft operation in Paris was at the nearby Jeu de Paume museum where they processed thousands of confiscated masterpieces.
Many of these artworks were marked for the personal collections of the Nazi high command, and other works of art that were considered morally degenerate. Some of these include works by Picasso and Salvador Dalí, were then sold to non-German collectors or burned in a pubic bonfire at the Jeu de Paume in 1942!
Thanks to a curator who served as a double agent during sequestration, many of the pieces that passed through the Jeu de Paume were eventually recovered and returned to their rightful places
The Louvre, which had resisted working with the Nazis, was less successful in repatriating its lost artwork.
More than 70 years after the Nazis marched into Paris, the museum still comes under fire for its role in the greatest cultural theft in history more than 70 years later!
During the 1660s, the commission for the rebuilding of the Louvre was awarded to a team of three
The Axe Historique is a 5km architectural line that runs through Paris to the west. he Louvre is the nucleus of the line that is located in the center of Arc de Triomphe, the Grande Arche of La Defense and the obelisk of the Place de la Concorde.
Once the Palace of Versailles was completed, the French court moved its base away from Paris and the Louvre, leaving it incomplete and in a state of disrepair.
The buildings that remained open then played host to a number of cultural groups including painters, sculptors, and writers as members!
After over a century, construction picked up again due to Bourbon kings throwing money into the project and the artistic contents within it until the beginning of the French revolution in 1789!
The Louvre Museum extends outside the confines of the 16th-century museum and palace and is connected to the Musée National Eugene-Delacroix.
It fronts onto the oldest park in Paris, the Tuileries Gardens!
The almost 15-acre museum is divided into 8 departments. These are Near Eastern Antiquities, Egyptian antiquities, Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiquities, Islamic art, sculptures, Decorative Arts, Paintings, and Prints and Drawings.
On the museums’ 200th anniversary in 1993, the Richelieu wing that was originally occupied by France’s Ministry of Finance was rebuilt by Pei and opened as a devoted museum space!
This new wing had over 230,000 square feet of exhibition space and was where collections of European painting, decorative arts, and Islamic art were housed.
French sculptures and ancient Assyrian artworks were kept in the three glass-covered interior courtyards.
The museum’s expanding collection of Islamic art was later moved into its own wing that was opened in 2012 in another interior courtyard underneath an undulating gold-colored roof that was made of glass and steel!
The Louvre has the largest collection of French paintings from the 15th to the 19th century in the world!
The decorative arts department displays the treasures of the French kings, such as bronzes, miniatures, pottery, tapestries, jewelry, and furniture!
The department of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman antiquities features architecture, sculpture, mosaics, bronzes, jewelry, and pottery.
In 1826, the department of Egyptian antiquities was established to organize the collections acquired during Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign.
The department of Near Eastern antiquities is most renowned for its collection of Mesopotamian art.
The Louvre is the most expansive museum with the world’s largest collection of artworks in the world and is filled with fascinating historical significance and importance.
You’ll find some of the world’s most famous pieces of art in the Louvre, and won’t even be able to see every piece of art in the museum in one visit!
If you are planning on visiting this amazing museum in Paris, it’s best to get tickets beforehand to skip-the-queue in order to save some of the time that you’ll be spending wandering through the Louvre’s expansive departments and riveting corridors that are drenched in history and culture!
Born in Los Angeles, Aaron Hovanesian is one of the original staff writers for Hotel Jules. Having backpacked the world as a young man, Aaron now prefers to travel the world in luxury, proudly staying in the world's most amazing hotels and properties. When Aaron is not traveling he lives in Western Colorado he can be found brewing his own beer (probably an IPA) or spending time with his two amazing golden retrievers.