The Louvre is the world’s largest museum and home to one of the most impressive art collections in history. In fact, it contains over 380,000 objects and displays roughly 35,000 works of art! If this unfathomable statistic alone hasn’t convinced you to visit the Louvre, the following fun facts will.
1) The Louvre and its contents are worth at least $45.5 billion
According to French historian Patrice de Moncan, “the Louvre, minus its contents, is worth a staggering $10.5 billion,” and its artworks and objects “have a likely MINIMUM value of $35 billion.” To put this into perspective, it would take someone with a $10 million annual salary 4,550 years to accumulate this wealth. No wonder there is so much security there!
2) It would take 100 days to see all of the art in the Louvre
It is literally impossible to see the entirety of the Louvre in just one visit. In fact, if you were to spend just 30 seconds on each piece of art, it would take 100 days to see them all! This does not even take sleeping, eating, or using the bathroom into account. So, make sure to arrive when the doors open and plan to spend the day here to see so much more than just the Mona Lisa.
3) 66% of the paintings in the Louvre were created by French artists
Today, there are nearly 7,500 paintings hanging in the eight departments in the Louvre and more than 66% were made by French locals. This is something that French people take great pride in, and rightfully so. Some of the most famous French paintings to see include The raft of the Medusa, Liberty leading the People and The Coronation of Napoleon.
4) The Louvre was not always used as a museum
In 1190, the Louvre was a grand fortress that would help prevent invasions from the north. In the 16th century, it became a royal palace. Francis I replaced certain parts of the medieval stronghold with classical antiquity and Italian Renaissance architecture. It was not until 1793, after the French Revolution, that the Louvre finally opened as a museum.
5) 15,000 people visit the Louvre every day
The Louvre is so big that you wouldn’t even notice, but when you visit it you will be sharing the experience with 15,000 other people. In 2018, the Louvre welcomed 10.2 million visitors, 3.5 million more than the Vatican Museums, the second largest museums in Europe. 70% of these visitors are foreign tourists, making it not only the biggest museum in the world but also the most popular.
6) The main glass pyramid in the courtyard is 21 meters tall
The beautiful and iconic pyramid that you can use as the main entrance to the Louvre is actually quite modern. In 1983 the museum needed a new entrance for an increasing number of visitors. Chinese-American artist I.M. Pei won the project with his design for a 21-meter-tall glass and metal pyramid.
7) Some think the Louvre is haunted
Considering the Louvre is over 800 years-old, it’s not surprising that many think it is haunted. There are three famous, but harmless spirits inhabiting the museum. Firstly, is the mummy Belphegor who is sometimes seen wandering the halls. Outside the museum, people see a nameless woman roaming the garden, dressed in red. Finally, there is the butcher “Jack the Skinner” who was wronged by the royals who once lived here.
8) The Louvre’s galleries span over 15 acres
If you took all of content of the Louvre galleries and stretched them out, the museum would measure eight miles long!
9) Abu Dhabi recently built their own Louvre museum
In 2016, Abu Dhabi finished constructing the second official Louvre museum in the world. This Louvre is the largest art museum on the Arabian peninsula, and it welcomes around one million visitors per year, which is miniscule in comparison to the one in Paris. Additionally, the Abu Dhabi Louvre cost the country over €600 million to finish!
10) Napoleon renamed the Louvre while when he came into power
During his reign, Napoleon Bonaparte temporarily renamed the Louvre after himself as Musée Napoleon. Napoleon’s army helped fill the museum with artistic spoils of war from all over the continent. In fact, after Napoleon’s fall in 1814, over 5,000 pieces of art were returned to their rightful owners though not all of them made it home!
Have you heard other fun facts about the Louvre? Let us know in the comments below.