Formerly a fortress, built during Philip-August’s reign at the end of the XIIth century, to defend Paris from the Norman attacks, the Louvre (word which would come from “lower”, an old-french word meaning “watchtower”) became step by step a residential palace, done up by the king Charles V (XIVth c.) and remade by Francis I (even if his heart belonged to the Châteaux de la Loire…), Henry IV and Louis XIV, who was the first one to gather over 2,000 works of art in order, one day, to show them to the public.
But the Sun King had another design, a large-scale project : Versailles. Then the Louvre has been left by the kings until French Revolution (except by the artists, who took up residence in a real mess), time when it officially became a museum, following nationalization of royal goods. That was in 1793…
The most visited museum of the world nowadays, and the biggest as well, the Louvre owns its reputation thanks to the quality and diversity of masterpieces which are housed in there : from the Venus de Milo to Mona Lisa, from the Sarcophagus of the Spouses to the “treasures” of the Valley of the Kings, from the Medieval Louvre to Napoleon III’s appartments…we couldn’t quote the 35,000 works of art which fill the old royal residence.
Photo credits : Emilie Robaldo