Located right in the middle of Paris, on the right bank of the river Seine, is arguably the planet’s most recognisable museum. Originally a defensive fortress, it became obsolete due to the expansion of the city limits. Over the years, it has been the residence of the French kings and the base of a few French cultural societies. It survived the French revolution mostly unscathed, becoming a museum in the year of 1793. Napoleon’s campaigns greatly augmented the number of art pieces and although some of the pieces’ legitimate provenance has often been disputed, the time has taken charge of most of the allegations. The German occupation during World War II caused many artworks to be moved to safer locations throughout France, only to see most of them safely returned afterwards. A major upheaval saw some structural changes by the end of the 1980s, giving the Louvre the face it shows today.
With an area of about 72.000 square metres (780.000 square feet) and an impressive set in excess of 38.000 pieces of art dating from pre-history until the present times, it is no wonder it is regularly one of the most sought museums in the world, with more than 8 million visitors in one calendar year.
Probably the most famous painting in the history of art, Leonardo da Vinci’s La Gioconda (Mona Lisa), painted in the early XVI century, is the star of the show, proudly displayed to awe the scores of onlookers who seek a glimpse of it on a daily basis.
The Louvre is normally open from 9:00 until 18:00, and longer on weekends and selected days. If you’re considering a visit, plan ahead: buy your ticket in advance and choose the masterpieces you wish to see and the entrance you’re going to take. Plenty of public transport will get you there. Enjoy!