Louvre is officially called the Grand Louvre, or the Musee du Louvre. In present days it’s the largest national museum in France and the most visited museum in the world. It is not only a museum but also a historical monument with a rich history.
Louvre is situated on the right bank of the Seine, in the 1st arrondissement. The museum of Louvre is housed in the Louvre Palace which dates back to the end of 12th century when it was built as a fortress. Years later, in the end of 17th century Louis XIV moved official residence of French kings to the Palace of Versailles, and it was decided to use the Louvre as a house to the Royal collection. The museum opened its doors to the first clients in 1793 and presented a collection of 537 paintings. But soon it was closed for reconstruction due to problems with the building.
During the reign of Napoleon it was renamed to the Musee Napoleon, and its collection was reasonably enlarged. But after the defeat at Waterloo many collections were returned to their original owners. During years the collection kept on increasing, resulting in the necessity of dividing it into eight cultural departments: Eqyptian Antiquities, Near Eastern Antiquities, Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities, Islamic Art, Sculpture, Decorative Arts, Paintings, Print and Drawings.
At present the museum possesses over 380 000 objects and displays about 35 000 works of art that occupy more than 60 600 sq m. It is visited by around 15 000 people daily.