The Louvre is a priority destination in many Paris city tours for tourists worldwide. It is the world’s largest art museum and a historical monument dating back to the 12th century. It was initially built as a fortified castle that was converted into a palace and the remnants of the castle are visible at the basement. The national assembly during the French Revolution declared that the Louvre should function as a museum as a location of national pride. Therefore, it opened its doors on August 10, 1793, with 537 paintings. The following are some of the lesser-known facts about Louvre.
Strange Royal Ritual
During the reign of King Henry IV, the halls of Louvre Palace enacted a royal ritual known as the Royal Touch. This is because French royalty was considered to be of divine origin and they were considered next to gods. Therefore, the French Royals were believed to possess the ability to heal illnesses such as tuberculosis, swollen limp nodes with their divinely touch. In the halls of Louvre, Henry IV received tuberculosis sufferers chanting “The King touches you, God is healing you” and anointed them with the holy water.
When Louis XIV or The Sun King moved to the Louvre many Parisian artists moved along with him and lived there. Because of this, they began exchanging ideas, creating art and as a result, many prominent artists emerged. Hence, the Louvre became the focal point for art in Europe. Since the French Revolution, the general public was able to aces the museum and thereby pioneered the concept of Art Museum.
The Glass Pyramid
This is one of the most iconic landmarks in Paris that has appeared in many pictures and movies. In 1983 the French President had a plan to renovate the old structure and architect Pei was handed over the responsibility. The glass pyramid is part of his renovation and restoration plan that is meant to blend with the landscape. Therefore, clear glass was used in the pyramid, because looking through it won’t alter the colour of the existing structure. Moreover, the metal used in the structure has the shade of grey similar to the rooftops of surrounding buildings.
The elevation of the glass pyramid is such that it won’t stand above the rooftops of surrounding buildings so that it is maximum unobtrusive. Because of this complexity architect, Pei kept the project a secret for several months for creating the blueprints.
Because of the above reasons, you must make visiting Louvre a priority in your Paris sightseeing tours.