Introducing… the Louvre Museum
Welcome back to the latest in our Introducing series where we give you an insight into the French capital’s best-known landmarks if it’s your first time here plus some quirky facts if you’ve been here before. This time we’re introducing you to the Louvre, one of the biggest attractions in Paris and just half an hour on the metro from ACCORD Language School. Ready to explore?
Let’s review some facts that you’ve probably already heard before but just in case you haven’t… the Louvre is both the biggest and the most-visited museum in the world with 15,000 visitors in attendance at any given time. It was originally meant to be a fortress but was turned into a royal palace in the 16th century before becoming a museum in the late 18th century.
If you allocated 30 seconds to each and every item in the Louvre then it would take you 100 days to visit the entire museum (that’s not including breaks, meals or sleep!). It’s home to arguably the most famous painting in the world, the Mona Lisa (we’ll come back to her later), and perhaps the most controversial architectural feature in recent history, the glass pyramid (which the Parisians hated when it first appeared). You can find out more about the history of France and Paris during your French language and culture lessons at ACCORD!
The Louvre Museum during World War II
During the Second World War, the Nazis looted homes and businesses for art all over France. The Louvre was emptied out and used as a storeroom to house all the stolen goods. What happened to all the art housed in the Louvre before the Nazi invasion? Well, Hitler’s army had already begun its systematic looting of artworks from homes and businesses in Germany so the museum’s director, Jacques Jaujard, thought it was only a matter of time before the same happened to his museum. He had 200 trucks carry nearly 2000 boxes of the Louvre’s treasures between August and December 1939, so that when the Nazi soldier’s reached the museums, they were met by empty frames. Despite the artworks having to be moved around several times to keep them out of enemy hands, miraculously none of the Louvre’s treasures were damaged or went missing!
The Mona Lisa at the Louvre Museum
Everyone knows the Mona Lisa hangs in the Louvre, but did you know that she was once stolen? Long before security cameras and sensors, an Italian museum worker hid in a storage cupboard so he could stay inside the museum at the end of his shift. Once everyone had left the museum, he stuffed the painting into his jacket, spent the night in the Louvre and walked out the next morning with a masterpiece. The painting wasn’t as famous then as it is now so it took a day or two for people to notice it was missing and it made headlines around the world. Pablo Picasso was suspected of stealing the artwork until the culprit tried to sell it to an Italian art dealer who informed the authorities. The Mona Lisa was found safe and sound… and that’s why she’s so famous today! Depending on the overall level of the class, your teacher may well ask you to write a news article in French covering the great art heist at ACCORD Paris. Whilst we’re on the subject of the Mona Lisa, you may not realise that Da Vinci painted the artwork on two separate occasions so the one hanging in the Louvre may well be the copy he produced at a later date. Mind blown.
The Louvre Museum and its Urban Legends
The Louvre has a lot of history behind it so it’s no surprise that it has its fair share of urban legends that may or may not be true. First up is the 666 myth that there are 666 panes of glass in the glass pyramid (the locals really did not like it). Never fear, there’s no sign of the devil in the pyramid as any mathematician would tell you it wasn’t possible and there are actually 673 window panes. If you’re a fan of Dan Brown then you’ll know that The Da Vinci Code speculates that Mary Magdalene is buried under the inverted pyramid in the Louvre’s underground shopping centre. She probably isn’t but you’ll have fun spotting the people visiting the museum to try to see for themselves! Some visitors and museum workers believe that the corridors at the Louvre are haunted by a mummy called Belphegor. Then a ghost dressed in red has been seen on several occasions in the Tuileries Gardens surrounding the museum and has been described as “totally unthreatening”. Have you ever encountered a ghost at a museum? Share the story with your fellow French students at ACCORD Language School during your French class. Happy ghost hunting!
The Louvre, 75001, Paris, France
Hours & admission
Closed on Tuesdays
Free entry for under 18s
17 Euros per ticket for over 18s
You are looking for the Best French Courses in France? Select one of the Accredited French Language Courses proposed by a Qualité FLE school. Study French in France with ACCORD Language School in the beautiful capital, Paris. ACCORD is an accredited Qualité FLE Private Institute of High Education.
ACCORD Language School near the Eiffel Tower: Founded in 1988, the all year round French language school is located just a few minutes’ walk from the famous Eiffel Tower, the Champs de Mars, the Musée du Quai Branly, the Invalides (with the tomb of Napoleon the 1st), the Seine river and the Bateaux Parisiens, and opposite the Eiffel Tower, the Trocadéro and its famous gardens and fountains.
ACCORD Language School: 3bis rue Jean-Pierre Bloch, 75015 Paris, France
Tel: +33 (0) 1 55 33 52 33