The Louvre: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about the Louvre.

  • The Louvre is the largest museum in the world, and one of the most visited. It displays an estimated 35,000 paintings, sculptures and other works of art, and houses thousands of other objects in its collections.

  • It would take 100 days to see everything in the Louvre if you looked at each item for 30 seconds, all day without a break. There are also several hundred thousand items not on display.
  • The museum is located in the 1st arrondissement, in the heart of Paris, France, next to the River Seine. About 8 million people visit the museum every year.
  • Originally built as a fortress in the 12th century, to protect Parisians against Viking attacks, the Louvre became a museum in 1793, during the French Revolution.
  • During the 15th century, the French kings did not go inside the Louvre, as they disliked the huge building.
  • It has also been used as a prison, and as an office for the finance ministry.
  • During World War II, the Nazis used the Louvre as a storeroom for stolen art, and Goering would choose paintings for his home. The museum staff hid many paintings in different places for safekeeping.
  • The Louvre Pyramid was commissioned by the French President and built in 1989. It is 20 metres high, covers an area of 1,225 square metres and is made from almost 700 panes of glass.
  • The world’s most famous painting, the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, is in the Louvre, protected behind bullet proof glass in a climate controlled area. In 1911 the painting was stolen and eventually returned.
Mona Lisa
Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci
  • The Venus de Milo, an Ancient Greek statue of Aphrodite, is one of the most popular pieces on display in the Louvre.
  • The Louvre contains about 7,500 paintings, of which about 66 percent are by French artists.
  • Works by Michelangelo, Raphael and Caravaggio can all be seen in the Louvre.
  • The Ancient Egyptian collection is one of the world’s largest and has over 50,000 items.
  • A mummy called Belphegor is said to haunt the museum. The nearby Tuileries Gardens are also said to be haunted by a man dressed in red.