The Louvre

After almost 500 posts (almost two years), mostly about different sites in Paris, I have managed to hardly speak about the Louvre. There are many good and complete web sites about the Louvre, what you can find in the museum... (e.g. this official one), so the need to make a post is quite limited. However, I felt that I “must” write something! I think I will show you how to reach the Palace / Museum, which as such is easy – you can’t miss it – but there are different ways.

The present large buildings were preceded by an earlier fortress from around 1200, demolished and replaced as from the 17th century. The Louvre Palace was constantly enlarged until the 19th century. It was more or less used by the royal family until Louis XIV moved to Versailles in 1674. It became a museum in 1793. Napoleon III had his apartments in the northern Richelieu wing, later occupied by the Ministry of Finance. Since the 1990’s, all buildings are consecrated to museum activities. We must of course also remember that what somehow completed the whole complex, the 16th century Tuileries Palace (see previous post) was demolished in the 1880’s after having been set on fire by the Paris Commune in 1871. (There is now a discussion about rebuilding it.)

So how do you access the Louvre? I will mention a few ways – you can see a general map at the bottom of the post.

Of the present Louvre buildings, the oldest ones are around the Cour Carrée (Square Court) and the original official entrance of the Palace is on its east side, where you can face the old church Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois (see previous post). The large cobble stone paved court is surrounded by 17th century buildings, generously decorated. Another obvious way to approach the Palace is via the Tuileries Gardens (see previous posts), possibly passing under Carrousel Arch of Triumph, erected by Napoleon I. (Regarding the Carrousel, see previous post about the guillotine.) From here you will have a view of what is called the “historical axis”, from the Louvre via Place de la Concorde, the Champs Elysées, the “real” Arch of Triumph, La Défense. On top of this Arch of Triumph you can see a quadriga preceded by horses, originally taken from the Saint Mark Basilica in Venice in 1798, but returned a few decades later and replaced. (The horses you see on my Venice photo are replicas. The originals which were taken by the Venetians from Constantinople in 1204 and may date from the 4th century are today to be seen inside the Basilica.)
Other possibilities to enter are via different porches, coming from Rue de Rivoli on the northern side of the Palace or via the Pont des Arts (see previous post) or the Pont du Carrousel (see previous post).

You will somehow end up at the large Cour Napoléon in the middle of which you have the Pyramid (by I.M. Pei) from 1989. This is one way to enter the underground, created simultaneously. From the lobby downstairs you have today a much more comfortable and weather protected way to enter the museum and also a wide and nice shopping area, restaurants, auditoriums. You can also discover some traces of the Tuileries Palace foundations and some 14th century moats. Here, under the Carrousel is also the smaller inverted pyramid referred to in the Da Vinci Code. However, the famous Rose Line does not pass here, goingather through the Cour Carrée (see previous post). You can of course use the metro to reach the Louvre. There is the traditional Guimard (see previous posts) designed station “Louvre Rivoli”, which is decorated with items (mostly copies) from the museum or the “Palais Royal – Louvre” station (with its different entrance design, see previous post) which gives direct access to the underground facilities.


feasting-on-pixels (terrie) said...

As you see on my Flickr stream, this is my favorite place to hang out in Paris, especially in the Cour Caree and the Cour Napoleon near La Pyramide...
Such wonderful images, Peter that take me right home to my neighborhood as my appartement is a 1 minute slow walk from the Louvre.
I love going inside the Louvre at night when there are fewer visitors and it is quiet...then you can feel the histoire...

In what arrondissment do you live?

Beautiful images as usual, mon ami...

Cezar and Léia said...

It's really one of the jewels of Paris.Cezar and I have visited it, each of us at different times before we met.Surely we will visit together as soon as possible I hope, and furthermore we will use your hints! Many thanks for share so wonderful pictures!
Have a greet week!
Kind Regards,
Léia :-)

Virginia said...

Ahhh! Peter I feel at home here! How nice to see your fabulous photos of musée du Louvre! So near our hotel and Tuileries. Of course it's a must no matter how many times I visit. Your post is as always an education. I learn more each time!

Karen said...

Me,too..as you know I "lived" so close and spent many hours walking around the places in your photos.. both day and night. So much to see and do around the Louvre that I barely went inside.

Thank you for taking me back.. I just finished watching a tv documentary that was filmed there. I am homesick for Paris..

Harriet said...

Peter, I love that photo of the Glass Pyramid with the fountain. I am a francophile like Virginia. (We are email friends.) I don't know when my next trip to Paris will be -- your photos are the next best thing (and I'm looking forward to Virginia's posts when she's there in May.) Merci.

Marie-Noyale said...

Quelle idee ingenieuse !!!
les differents acces pour ce celebre musée..
Tu fais vraiment des recherches extra pour tous ces posts. Nous avons beaucoup de chance de nous instruire avec de belles images!

Anonymous said...

I must admit I've never been in the Louvre, but I have walked through the Couer Carre and across the Pont des Arts many times. It always feels a most civilised and well proportioned space, and a sudden oasis off the Rue de Rivoli. I was interested to find out about the horses (naturally!)

lyliane six said...

Avant de lire tes commentaires, je me suis dis que tu avais mélangé des photos de Venise!
J'ai découvert les dessous de la pyramide du Louvre il y a peu de temps en allant au salon du thermalisme.
Je viendrai bien un jour avec Michel, mais il n'est pas encore en retraite et cette semaine est parti se promener en Suisse.

Olivier said...

la station redecoré est magnifique, on dirait une petite chapelle.
Et puis la pyramide du Louvre, qui est un vrai régal pour les photographes, superbe reportage

alice said...

Tous les chemins mènent au Louvre! Tu devrais pouvoir bénéficier d'un pass avec accès illimité à vie pour tout le travail que représente ce post!

Cergie said...

Le Louvre c'est un gros morceau ET tu l'as traité comme un gros morceau. Je ne sais si tu penses faire un autre post dessus. Tu as situé le Louvre ainsi qu'il est au fond : c'est le coeur de Paris...
Bravo pour ce message.

Anonymous said...

Le Louvre te remercie, Peter, le peuple te remercie aussi. Un travail détaillé qui nous facilite la vie, surtout la visite. Avec toi, je veux visiter Paris, partout!!!

Adam said...

Very impressively presented Peter! I have to confess that it was only after 10 years in Paris that I actually went to the Louvre for the first time! I don't particular like crowded places or museums where I have the impression of being herded around.

I think it must be wonderful to walk around the building at night or early in the morning though, but I'd have to be careful not to bump into Belphégor!

SusuPetal said...

I've never been to Louvre, although I've been in Paris. Louvre just seems soooo big!

Bhavesh Chhatbar said...

Wonderful wonderful post. Thanks a ton :)

The Upper Class Crow
Birdhouses, Birdfeeders, Birdbath

hpy said...

The absolutely best way, no, the only way to access the Louvre is walking.

Catherine said...

After that post, if readers don't come and visit the Louvre, they have no more excuses.
Best schedule to access : late afternoon, to avoid the crowd. (According me).
So documented !

Jill said...

Wonderful presentation Peter of all the different entrances and angles. Thank you so much.

EMNM said...

An amazing place to stay one day... no, two days or a week!

krystyna said...

Thank you Peter
for beautiful and educational post!
Great job!
I enjoyed my time being here.

Have a wonderful week ahead!

Jo's-D-Eyes said...

Hi Peter,

yes ooow the LOUVRE!!! Fantastic sries Peter... I would love to visit the Louvre (and Paris!) again, all that great pieces of ART and not to name the fenominal great museum itself is worth a visit on its own!!

Sorry I could not react on anything, because of an (1 week!)internet disturbing I am back now!
greetings JoAnn's-D-Eyes/Holland

Tanya Breese said...

What a gorgeous tour, thank you! Simply amazing!

Parisbreakfasts said...

I LOVE both your maps!!!
I love maps in general anyway...
I always get lost in the Louvre
but never in the shopping area..

Mandy said...

I have never been to France but you make me so impatient to go!! Well, I will be there in 3 weeks but we are only stopping off at the airport in Paris for an hour.

Thérèse said...

Très sympa ce premier cadre sur la Pyramide.
Et quel travail sur cet exposé! Bravo! Un régal dans tous ces détails.

Gaëlle said...

Effectivement c'est notre journée pyramide. Mais la tienne est quand même plus exotique que la mienne !

Starman said...

There used to be a musician who hung out near the Historic Main Entrance after dark playing his saxophone. Does he still play there?

Anonymous said...

All paths lead to Louvre - or so ...

Bettina said...

As always a completely fulfilling post !!! Thank you sooo much, Peter.

marie6 said...

Amazing place to visit, looks bigger than my hometown!

Anonymous said...

A very nice set of photographs, Peter.

Eddy said...

Une balade comme je les aime à travers cette ville.
Il y a une vingtaine d'années, j'avais pensé que la construction de la pyramide du Louvre etait une "horreur". Je trouve maintenant que cette architecture moderne s'y est bien adaptée.
Merci pour cette balade.

PeterParis said...

I checked your Flickr photos and was completely charmed! Fantastic, generally speaking, and your Paris photos are defintitely among the best I have ever seen. It's obvious that you must be in love with Paris!

To answer your question. I rather recently moved from the 16th to the 17th, the Batignolles area.

Thanks for your always kind comments! ... and I'm still waiting for you in Luxemburg!! :-)

Soon time for a new visit! :-)

PeterParis said...

I know about your night walks and your love of the area! So, when is the next time?

Thanks! Virginia's friends are mine! I hope you can find your way here also one day!

Il fallait bien que je parle du Louvre un jour! :-)

PeterParis said...

So many times in Paris and never at the Louvre! Next time, you must! :-)

C'est déjà bien que tu as reconnu Vénise! :-) Donc, il faut attendre quelques années avant de voir Michel à Paris?

Je fais peut-être partie des rares personnes qui ont immédiatement aimé la pyramide!

PeterParis said...

Tu fais la demande pour moi? :-)

Je pense que j'ai assez fait pour le Louvre pour le moment! :-)

Je viens du Nord:
Tu peux!! C'est pour quand?

PeterParis said...

There were no long queues when I visited! Try it again! ... even during the day. (I forgot, you have a job also!) :-)

It IS big!!! But still a must for a visit!

Thank YOU!

PeterParis said...

You are right, of course!

You are certainly right... or one of the late evening sessions?

It was a pure pleasure!

PeterParis said...

You can even make it weeks!

Sincere thanks... and the same to you!

Nice to see that things are getting in order for you!

PeterParis said...

Thanks for these kind words!

Well, you can of course combine, a lot of shopping possibilities underground! :-)

Too bad! I guess you are ging southwards?

PeterParis said...

En effet, un peu de travail, mais je n'ai rien contre! :-)

Bleeding Orange:
Pas si sur! :-))

Not the day I passed! Too bad!

PeterParis said...

You are right! Why did I do all this? :-))

You are welcome! :-)

Could well be! :-)

PeterParis said...

Abe (where is Pat?):

Je pense avoir été un des rares qui a aimé la pyramide immédiatement! :-)

Azer Mantessa said...

classical baroque type buildings. some pics remind me of the movie 'da vinci code'.

the last picture is very comprehensive. i like.

Mandy said...

Yup! Heading to Afrique Du Sud.

Anonymous said...

touristic visit !!! :-)

Ruth said...

So many entrees, and nearby places of interest, wow.

I am watching a DVD series on the Great Masterpieces of the Louvre, and it begins with a history, many things I didn't know, such as the wings that got added.

I am one who prefers Paris' smaller museums, but I still treasure the Louvre and am appreciating it more now that I am learning about and focusing on a few works.

Shammickite said...

When we were in Paris 3 years ago, my sons and I spent a day at the Louvre. When we got there we all went our separate ways as we all had different things to see, and met up later at the pyramid. What a wonderful museum! I could have spent a whole week there. I spent some time in the Egyptian Gallery , and saw the Mona Lisa (smaller than I expected).
My head was spinning with paintings, sculptures, jewellery, textiles, all marvellous!

PeterParis said...

It's normal that you think about the Da Vinci Code. The Louvre was a big item in the book.

That's what I guessed!

Yes, of course! :-)

PeterParis said...

If you have the time, you should of course visit the Louvre, more or less piece by piece. Then it becomes a lot of "small museums"! :-)

As I said above to Ruth..., but you don't really have all that time, if you just visit Paris. :-)

Rob said...

We visited the Louvre 3 separate times, spending only an hour or 2 per visit. This way we broke down the enormous museum into smaller more manageable areas to visit. The 6 day Museum Pass was a great buy. I found the Metro system easier to navigate than inside the Louve. For some reason, we were always lost in the Louvre. Wonderful and informative post, Merci!

Alain said...

La pyramide est surement plus photographiée que la Joconde.
Le Louvre, palais puis musée...c'est peut etre aussi le destin du palais ... de l'Elysée

Unknown said...

Peter, this post is absolutely brilliant! I think I've never seen such a complete coverage of the Louvre as you shows us here. Your perspectives almost make me think I've not been there... :-) Congratulations on this great work!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I've been to this place in a rainy winter. :(

And it is so different in your pictures. Much full of life.

Thanks for sharing.

PeterParis said...

Dusty Lens:
Yes, you would actually need a "metro plan" also for the Louvre!

Oui, les rumeurs disent que la présidence pourrait se déplacer vers Vincennes!

Thanks!! ... but you HAVE been there of course! ... as everywhere!

PeterParis said...

Whether its raining or not, now you can of course enter via the rain-protected underground.

Neva said...

Lovely....my niece was proposed to in front of the pyramid.....and spent her honeymoon in Paris...not bad for a french teacher!

Ash said...

The Louvre ? *Sigh* I want to be there RIGHT NOW!!!!

PeterParis said...



Michelle said...

Thank you for sharing your pictures. I loved seeing the inside. I have never been there but would love to.

Claudia said...

Fabulous post and some really gorgeous photographs! Congrats!

Accro Shopping said...

Nice job, nice article!