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The Louvre Museum

You must definitely visit the Louvre while you’re in Paris. Just make sure that you pick the best accommodations while you’re there: a Paris luxury apartment, a luxury Paris rental, or a Paris vacation rental. These options are a great alternative to staying in a hotel, and they cater to the American traveler, the American in Paris.

The Louvre is one of the world’s largest museums, and the most visited museum in the world. Centrally located in Paris, it has been built on the Right Bank of the Seine in the 1st arrondissement, or district. It contains art objects from throughout history—from prehistoric eras to the 19th century—exhibited over a total area of 652,300 square feet (or 60,600 square metres).

The Louvre is a historical monument as well. It is housed in the Louvre Palace, which was originally a fortress built by Philip II during the late 12th century. Over the centuries, it was extended into the current Louvre Palace. In 1682, Louis XIV moved to the Palace of Versailles, leaving the Louvre as a place to display the royal collection, including a collection of antique sculpture since 1692.

The king’s move allowed artists to reside in the Louvre for the next one hundred years. A series of salons, or art exhibitions, were also hosted there. During the French Revolution, the government decreed that the Louvre be opened in 1793 as a museum to display the country’s masterpieces. The first exhibition included over 500 paintings, most of which consisted of royal and confiscated church property.

The museum’s collection has steadily increased throughout the centuries, mostly notably under Napoleon, Louis XVIII, and Charles X. Its collection gained 20,000 pieces during the mid-1800s. It currently has eight curatorial departments: Egyptian antiquities; Near Eastern Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities; Islamic Art; Sculpture; Decorative Arts; Paintings; and Prints and Drawings. It holds over 380,000 objects and displays 35,000 artworks.

Arguably the most famous piece of art in the Louvre is the “Mona Lisa,” by Leonardo da Vinci. Just follow the crowd; this painting is viewed by six million people per year. It is contained in a specially-built, climate-controlled enclosure behind bulletproof glass in the museum’s Salle des États section. It is surprisingly small for its fame: thirty inches by twenty-one inches (77 centimeters by 53 centimeters).

Make sure that you wear comfortable shoes while at the Louvre, and devote an entire day to it. There’ll still be more to see after spending the day there. Then you can return to your Paris luxury apartment, luxury Paris rental, or Paris vacation rental, and relax in style.