Local name: Musée du Louvre

This museum was built on a former fortress, which probably dates back to 1190. Around 1400 the Louvre became a royal residence and was extensively renovated. For example, French gardens were developed and cages for tropical birds and wildlife were built.

But in 1415 France was conquered by the English. Unfortunately, the Louvre was plundered and many art treasures were taken. In 1546, Francis I commissioned the start of the construction of the current building. But every king who came to power after Francis I had his own ideas for the Louvre. The total construction of the Louvre lasted over 300 years. And the result was an inconsistent whole of demolished, unfinished, restored and dilapidated elements.

Henry IV is seen as the great initiator who made the Louvre the center of art. He had hundreds of artists and craftsmen living in the Louvre. In 1793, just after the French Revolution, the Louvre became a public museum.

In recent years there have been numerous extensions. Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is the most famous piece of the Louvre collection. With the Venus di Milo as a close second.

More information: www.louvre.fr