Regarded as the world’s largest museum, the Musee du Louvre is a treasure house of priceless art that will delight any visitor. It houses an immense collection of some of the most renowned works of art from all around the world. In Paris, several Louvre museum private tours operate to guide visitors into this historic monument. With an annual visitor turnout of 8.8 million, the Louvre is the most visited museums in the world. Below are some unknown facts about the Louvre that will certainly be helpful to you during your next Louvre guided tour.
Originally Built as a Fortress
The origins of the Louvre can be traced back to the 12th century when Philip II ruled France. As medieval Europe’s most successful ruler, King Philip II ordered the construction of a military outpost across the banks of the River Seine. After its construction, the fortress contained a 98-foot tall-fortified tower as well as bastions located at each corner.
As the city borders began to grow during the rule of King Philip II, several other defense establishments were constructed on the outskirts of the city. The role of the fortress diminished during this period and it was eventually abandoned for defensive purposes.
Renovated as a Royal Residence
After the reign of King Philip II, the building was abandoned, and it was during the period of the Renaissance ruler Francis I that the fortress underwent a massive renovation. He ordered the demolition of the original structure to create a new building inspired by Renaissance design. The renovation work commissioned by Francis I included several major expansion and the addition of new wings by the renowned architects of the period. All this were eventually linked through a succession of galleries and pavilions that led to the creation of the true look of the Louvre as it is today.
Renaming of the Museum
After Napoleon seized power, he renamed the Louvre and used the building for storing many of the artworks that were gathered from different locations during the wars. The set of bronze horses that is now a part of the triumphal arc outside the Louvre remains Napoleon’s countless possessions during the period along with hundreds of other paintings and sculptures.
Clearinghouse under the Nazi Rule
During the German occupation of Paris, Nazis used the Louvre to store many of the stolen artworks and other items confiscated from the noble families of France. The collections occupied six rooms inside the museum and were known as the Louvre sequestration.