Louvre Museum, external view
External view

In this article, Louvre the Palace, I will make a brief historical tour of such a unique building, located in the heart of Paris.

The palace of Louvre has witnessed the history of France from the Middle Ages to the present day

This building has witnessed the history of France from the Middle Ages to the present day.

It was originally a defensive fortress. The walled structure had in the center the tribute tower with a cylindrical plan.

During the Middle Ages it was modified in numerous times, being the royal seat and the court.

The Hundred Years War meant the destruction of the building.

French king Francis I built a Renaissance palace and also had Leonardo da Vinci

With the arrival of King Francis I, from 1546, a Renaissance palace was built on its foundations. The king chose the architect Pierre Lescot.

The king also wanted the advice of Leonardo da Vinci and hired him as a painter, engineer and architect. The artist lived in the French court until the end of his days.

On the other hand Catalina de Medici was a very influential woman of her time since she was queen consort with Enrique II, after his death, she advised her son King Francisco II who died, passing the crown to her second son, Carlos IX, in which period she acted as regent queen. But Carlos IX also died becoming his third son Henry III, with whom she served as a counselor until her death.

Catalina de Medici ordered the construction of the Tuileries Palace

At that time, Catalina de Medici ordered the construction of the Tuileries Palace, in front of the Louvre Palace, at its western end. Catalina wished to have a Palace next to the Louvre in order to facilitate her influence in court.

King Enrique IV demolished what was left of the old fortress and ordered the Louvre to connect with the Tuileries Palace through the Grande Galerie, a building 400 meters long and 30 meters wide, running parallel to the Seine. Henry IV was a great promoter of the arts.

Henry IV connected the Louvre with the Palace of the Tuileries through the Grande Galerie

With Louis XIV the Louvre ceased to be the site of the royal family, moving the court to the Palace of Versailles. the Academies including the one of painting and sculpture occupied the old palace.

French Revolution made the Louvre devote itself to the arts and sciences, receiving the royal collections.

In 1793 was first opened to the public, but as in the Prado, this opening was gradual.

After the French Revolution, the Louvre Museum was opened to the public

But in 1871 the Tuileries Palace was destroyed during the Paris Commune by a fire. It was a popular uprising, of self-managed socialist ideology, that came to rule Paris for 60 days. Public buildings that symbolized the government burned down. The Palace fire lasted 48 hours. The Richelieu del Louvre library, was also demolished by the fire. The effort of the curators of the museum and the firefighters prevented the rest of the Louvre from being razed.

Between 1981 and 2002, last interventions made at the Louvre Museum took place , at the stage of the presidency of François Mitterrand. It is an underground architectural complex, which is accessed through the glass pyramid.

The Louvre Museum and the glass pyramid
Glass pyramid

Last intervention has been the set of underground spaces that are accessed by the glass pyramid

Designed by architect Ieoh Ming Pei, it contains access to the museum, the auditorium, a cafeteria and a tourist bus terminal.

A brief but interesting video about the history of the Louvre Palace can be viewed (in english):

History of the Palace

In the next video (in french), we can visualize an interesting 3D recreation of the building’s evolution:

The construction process of the Palace in 3D

If you want to visit the Louvre Museum website here is the link

To buy tickets online this is the link

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