The Musée du Louvre is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Paris. The extensive galleries of classic art have earned its prestigious status. One of the biggest draws to the museum is the Mona Lisa painting that is on display here.
The museum is easily recognisable by its modern glass pyramid structures, but the Chateau surrounding these has a much more notable history. The Louvre was originally built as a fortified structure to defend Paris’ weak points along the Seine River. The Chateau had a moat and defensive towers of which some are still visible today. The Louvre also stood on the outskirts of the city at this time, but as the city developed around it, it has become a central location. Throughout the years the building’s use changed, and it became a residence to some of the Monarchs of France. It was updated and parts rebuilt to suit each occupier. As the Empire fell the Musée du Louvre increased. It wasn’t without its problems though; with low funding, purchase of fake artworks and the theft of the Mona Lisa in 1911 the reputation was damaged. However, they still managed some incredible developments in a difficult market and it continued to grow with generous support.
Today, the defining characteristics are the glass pyramid structures that were completed in 1989. Made of glass and metal, the Futurist Architecture was designed by I.M Pei. The largest of the glass pyramids serves as the entrance, to the museum lobby below. This was to solve the issue of the existing entrance being incapable of taking the numerous daily visitors. The new subterranean network serves its purpose beautifully, making navigation inside a breeze.
The pyramids were open to strong criticism including the inconsistent nature of the design against the French Renaissance style and that the pyramid was a symbol of death from Ancient Egypt. I, however, think it is a fantastic merger of modern and classic, and the functional benefits for the museum are clear.
Visiting Musée du Louvre
If you are planning on visiting the Louvre then consider referring to the website for information on admission. They have free admission on some Sundays and some free times for under 26’s. However, if you are just wanting to take a look at the stunning Architecture then I would suggest going at dusk, just as the pyramids light up. It is much quieter and simply gorgeous. The nearest Metro station is Palais Royal Musée du Louvre but if you’re sight seeing then you can take a walking route through the city. You can start in the East of the city at Notre Dame, and then head to the Pompidou Centre (15 mins walk) and then onto the Louvre (18 mins walk). Have you visited? Did you see the Mona Lisa? It was much smaller than I imagined!
– The Mona Lisa was stolen in 1911. It was found 2 years later when the thief tried to sell the famous painting.
– The glass and metal pyramids were completed in 1989. They received a lot of criticism as they were such a contrasting style to the surrounding Chateau.
– The largest pyramid now serves as the entrance to a subterranean network of corridors for navigation.