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.

Paris Facts

Here are some facts about Paris.

  • Paris is the capital of France and has a population of over 12 million. It is located in the north of the country, on the River Seine.
  • The city is divided in two by the River Seine. In addition, Paris is also divided into 20 arrondissements, or neighbourhoods, numbered from 1 to 20.

  • Paris is home to the Louvre, which attracts over 8 million visitors every year. The huge museum covers 60,000 square metres and displays almost 40,000 works of art.
  • The city’s famous Eiffel Tower, built for the 1889 World Fair, was not intended to be a permanent structure. The 342 metre tall building was the world’s tallest until the 1930s.
  • There are more dogs in Paris than children, about 300,00 of them.
  • About 45 million people visit Paris every year, making it one of the most visited places anywhere.Artists and writers have been attracted to the city for years, giving Paris the nickname City of Light. Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Hemingway and Gertrude Stein all lived and worked here.
  • Paris has been settled since Roman times, and the city’s name comes from a local tribe called the Parisii.
  • About 6 million people are buried in catacombs under the city’s streets.
  • Paris has about 400 parks and squares, and over half a million trees.
  • Every year, over 200 films are shot on location in the city, making Paris one of the most filmed cities in the world.
  • The famous Paris Metro was built in 1900 and carries over 6 million people every day. The network is so efficient that no station is more than 500 metres from any other station.
  • Paris has one of the world’s largest networks of sewers covering 2,100 km and dating from the 13th century. The sewer museum is one of the most popular and unusual attractions in the city.

Pompidou Centre: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about the Pompidou Centre.

  • The Pompidou Centre, also known as Centre Georges Pompidou, is an art gallery and library located in the centre of Paris, France. It was designed by architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers.

  • The building was opened in 1977, and was named after the French President, Georges Pompidou. It has about 100,000 square yards of floor space on 7 levels and is about 140 feet high.
  • The centre has about 200,000 square feet of gallery space. It contains over 65,000 pieces of art, by over 5,000 artists representing over 100 countries.
  • The Pompidou Centre houses Europe’s largest art museum, a large public library, a musical research centre. Since opening, over 180 million people have visited it the building.
  • One of the unusual and sometimes controversial features of the building is that all the plumbing, the electrical and air circulation wires and pipes and even the escalators are on the outside of the building.

Pompidou Centre

  • Although it has won architectural awards, not everybody likes the building. It has been described by its critics as a ‘monstrosity’, an ‘oil refinery in the middle of the city’ and a ‘gerbil cage’.
  • The museum has exhibited works by such famous artists as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Salvador Dali and hosts special temporary exhibitions every year. The museum also houses a restaurant, cinema and children’s play area.
  • The Pompidou Centre’s public library has a collection of almost 500,000 books and can easily accommodate 2,000 readers. Television shows from around the world can also be watched in the library.
  • The square in front of the Pompidou Centre contains the first modern fountain in Paris, with several sculptures. The square is also a popular place for mimes, musicians and other street performers.
  • The Pompidou Centre has even featured in a James Bond film. In the 1979 film Moonraker it can be seen as an office used by the film’s Bond girl.

Notre-Dame: Facts About the Cathedral in Paris

Here are some facts about Notre-Dame Cathedral.

  • Notre-Dame Cathedral is located in Paris, France on the Ile de la Cite, the very heart of the city. It is one of the largest religious buildings in the world.

  • Notre Dame is still a functioning Catholic church and the site of many important religious and ceremonial events. It’s also one of the most popular attractions in France, with 13 million visitors each year.
  • The cathedral was built between 1163 and 1345. During its construction, many different architects and designers introduced new elements, including the cathedral’s innovative flying buttresses.

Notre Dame

  • Notre-Dame is almost 400 feet long, and about 140 feet wide. The famous twin towers at the front are 200 feet high and have 387 steps from the ground floor to the top.
  • Although built of stone, an estimated 1,300 trees were also used in the cathedral’s construction and Notre-Dame is sometimes known as ‘The Forest’. The roof is made from over 1,000 lead tiles.
  • The cathedral actually belongs to the French government, because of a law dating from 1905. The government has given the Church permission to use the building.
  • Notre-Dame Cathedral is also the home of one of the world’s largest organs, and several huge church bells. The bell in the south tower is named Emmanuel and weighs 13 tons.
  • One of the most revered of religious artifacts, the Crown of Thorns, is kept in the cathedral. Ceremonies venerating the relic take place during Easter and throughout the year.
  • One of the world’s most well known books was set mostly in the cathedral. Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame was written to increase appreciation for the building.
  • Notre-Dame Cathedral is properly called Notre-Dame de Paris (Our Lady of Paris).

Notre Dame Gargoyles

  • Many statues can be seen on the outside walls of Notre-Dame, and gargoyles and chimeras were added to serve as decorative water spouts.