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One of the Louvre's most popular sculptures is the Winged Victory of Samothrace, also called Nike of Samothrace, a marble sculpture of the Greek goddess Nike (Victory), discovered in April 1863 on the island of Samothrace (in Greek, Samothraki) by the French consul and amateur archaeologist Charles Champoiseau. The statue was sent to Paris the same year, and since 1884 has dominated the Daru staircase displayed in the Louvre, while a plaster replica stands in the museum at the original location of the Sanctuary of the Great Gods on Samothrace. The Victory is one of the great surviving masterpieces of sculpture from the Hellenistic period, despite the fact that the figure is significantly damaged, missing its head and outstretched arms. By an unknown artist, (presumably Rhodian in origin), the sculpture is thought to date from the period 220 to 190 BC.
The Louvre in Paris origins date back almost a thousand years and its present structure has evolved in stages since the sixteenth century. The Louvre, which gets its name from a Frankish word leovar or leower, signifying a fortified place, according to the French historian Henri Sauval (1623-1676), was the actual seat of power in France until Louis XIV moved to Versailles in 1682, bringing the government perforce with him; the Louvre remained the formal seat of government to the end of the Ancien Régime.
The first royal "Castle of the Louvre"—it was first mentioned under this name in a charter of 1198—was founded in the centre of Paris by Philip Augustus as a fortified royal palace to defend the Île de la Cité, which had been the heart of Merovingian Paris and where the palace was still sited, on its west. In the fourteenth century, Charles V remodelled the structure to provide some suitably splendid apartments, but François I and Henri II demolished it to build a Renaissance palace; the foundations of the original fortress tower are now under the Salle des Cariatides ("Room of the Caryatids").
The earliest existing part of the Palais du Louvre was begun in 1535. The architect Pierre Lescot introduced to Paris the new design vocabulary of the Renaissance, which had been developed in the châteaux of the Loire Valley. His new wing for the old castle defined its status, as the first among the royal palaces. Jacques Androuet du Cerceau also worked on the Louvre. During his reign (1589-1610), Henri IV added the Grande Galerie. More than a quarter of a mile long and one hundred feet wide, this huge addition was built along the bank of the Seine; at the time of its completion it was the longest edifice of its kind in the world. Henri IV, a promoter of the arts, invited hundreds of artists and craftsmen to live and work on the building's lower floors. This tradition continued for another 200 years until Napoleon III ended it.
Louis XIII (1610-1643) completed the wing now called the Denon Wing, which had been started by Catherine de Medici in 1560. Today it has been renovated, as a part of the Grand Louvre Renovation Programme. The Richelieu Wing was also built by Louis XIII, the building first being opened to the public as a museum on November 8, 1793 during the French Revolution.
Commissioned by Louis XIV, architect Claude Perrault's eastern wing (1665-1680), crowned by an uncompromising Italian balustrade along its distinctly non-French flat roof, was a ground-breaking departure in French architecture. His severe design was chosen over a design provided by the great Bernini, who came to Paris for the purpose. Perrault had translated the Roman architect Vitruvius into French. Now Perrault's rhythmical paired columns form a shadowed colonnade with a central pedimented triumphal arch entrance raised on a high, rather defensive basement, in a restrained classicizing baroque manner that has provided models for grand edifices in Europe and America for centuries. The Metropolitan Museum in New York, for one example, reflects Perrault's Louvre design. The Louvre was still being added to by Napoleon III. The new wing of 1852- 1857, by architects Visconti and Hector Lefuel, represents the Second Empire's version of Neo-baroque, full of detail and laden with sculpture. Work continued until 1876.
The Louvre's Glass Pyramid, which serves as the main entrance to the museum, was built on the axis of the French Revolution in the central courtyard. Commissioned by then French president François Mitterrand, and designed by Ieoh Ming Pei, the Louvre Pyramid was inaugurated in 1989.
MUSEE DU LOUVRE, 75001 PARIS
Metro : Palais Royal Musée du Louvre
Bus : 21,24,27,39,48,68,69,72,76,81,95
Batobus : Get off at the Louvre stop,
quai François Mitterrand.
From Charles de Gaulle Airport
Take the RER B train, direction Massy-Palaiseau,
and change at Châtelet-les-Halles to line 14,
direction Saint-Lazare. Get off at Pyramides station
and walk to the Louvre from there (3 minutes).
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|NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL PARIS
Jump start your vacation tour with
a visit to the spectacular 12 Century Cathedral on
the Ile de la Cite in the Heart of Paris.
is the world's largest palace and
museum and a triumph of French architecture.
|SAINT CHAPELLE PARIS
Built in 1246 by Crusader King
Louis IX (Saint Louis) on the Ile de la Cite, in the
middle of Paris' Seine river, to house the relics of
the Crusades, including the Crown of Thorns.
|EIFFEL TOWER PARIS
Built for the 1889 Paris Exhibition;
the Eiffel Tower is the largest and most
recognizable landmarks in the world. Take the
elevator or climb to the 2nd level to take the
scary ride straight up its narrow neck in a glass
|OPERA GARNIER PARIS
Its underground waterway the
fabled setting for the Leroux's "Phantom of the
Opera" its a classy place to see French Ballet and
Opera. Its facade is adorned with marble and
|ARC DE TRIOMPHE PARIS
Suggestive of an ancient
Roman arch its the biggest triumphal arch in the
world commissioned by Napoleon in 1806.
|MOULIN ROUGE CABARET PARIS
Evocative of wild
Paris between WW I and II, the place and
Parisian shows were immortalized by painter
|SACRE COEUR PARIS
(Sacred Heart): glows
like a white cake atop the nearby hill of
Montmartre overlooking Paris.
|HOTEL DE VILLE PARIS
One of the most
stunningly beautiful buildings you will see in
Paris. Parisians and even some Tourists seem to
pay little attention to it since it stunning interior is
|NAPOLEAN'S TOMB PARIS
Prepare to be amazed, a
gargantuan sarcophagus on a granite base sunk in
a huge circular basin under a magnificent dome
in the center of a Parisian Cathedral.
|MUSEE ORSAY PARIS
in a splendid former Paris
railway station built in 1900, is the Musée
d'Orsay offering a wealth of artistic treasures
produced between 1848 and 1914.
Chenonceau, Cheverny, Amboise and more.
01 Paris: Louvre Museum - Notre dame Cathedral - Banks of the River Seine - Chatelet Tower - Place Vendome - Le Palais Royal - Le Louvre - L'orangerie - Pont Neuf - Pont de La Concorde - Le quartier Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois - Pont-Neuf aux Tuileries
02 Paris: Paris Stock Exchange - Textile district - L'Opera Garnier - La Concorde et les Tuileries - Place Vendome - Bourse - La Tour Jean-sans-Peur
03 Paris: Picasso museum - Centre Georges Pompidou - Republique - Conservatoire des Arts et Metier
04 Paris: Old Marais district - Modern Art museum - City Hall - Ile de La Cite; - La place des Vosges - L'Hotel de Ville - Notre Dame de Paris - La Conciergerie - La crypte archeologique - La Maison de Victor Hugo - La Sainte Chapelle - Pont de Sully
05 Paris: Pantheon - Botanical Gardens - Saint-Germain-des-Pres - Notre dame de Paris - Eglise de Saint Germain - Saint Michel - La mosquee de Paris - L'ile de la Cite; - L'Ile Saint-Louis - Bibliotheque Sainte Genevieve - La crypte archeologique - La Sainte Chapelle - La Conciergerie - Les Arenes Lutece - Jardin des Plantes - Pont Neuf - Pont d'Austerlitz - Pont de Sully
06 Paris: Saint Germain des Pres - Latin Quarter - Luxembourg Gardens - La Tour Montparnasse - Musee d'Orsay - Palais / Jardin du Luxembourg - Cimetiere du Montparnasse - Observatoir de Paris
07 Paris: Eiffel Tower - Marais - Orsay Museum - Invalides (Napoleon's resting place) - Champs de Mars - L'UNESCO - Ecole Militaire - Pont de La Concorde - Pont des Invalides - Pont de L'Alma
08 Paris: Champs Elysees - Arc of Triumph - Elysees Palace - La Concorde et les Tuileries - Place Vendome - L'Opera Garnier - Le quartier de la defense - L'eglise Russe - L'orangerie - Place de La Madeleine - Boulevard Haussmann - Pont de La Concorde - Pont des Invalides
09 Paris: Opera House - Saint Lazare Train Station La butte Montmartre - Moulin Rouge - Galeries Lafayette - Musee de la Vie Romantique - Le quartier de la Nouvelle Athenes - Gare Saint Lazare
10 Paris: Est Train Station - Nord Train Station - Saint Martin canal - Place de la Republique
11 Paris: Republique Plaza - Leather district - La place des Vosges - Bastille - Cimetiere Pere Lachaise - Boulevard Belleville
12 Paris: New Opera House - Nation Plaza - Vincennes Park - Gare de Lyon - Le Viaduc des Arts - Le Parc de Bercy - Bibliotheque Francois Mitterrand - Pont National - Pont de Tolbiac - Pont de Bercy - Pont Charles de Gaulle - Pont d'Austerlitz
13 Paris: French National Library - Chinatown - Croulebarbe aux Gobelins - Bibliotheque Francois Mitterrand - Orly - Le quartier de la Butte-aux-Cailles - Pont National - Pont de Tolbiac - Pont de Bercy - Pont Charles de Gaulle - Parc de Montsouris - Observatoire de Paris
14 Paris: Montparnasse Train Station - Observatory - Cimetiere du Montparnasse - Parc de Montsouris
15 Paris: Vaugirard Street - Beaugrenelle Antiques Area - La Tour Montparnasse - Paris Expo / Porte de Versailles - Ecole Militaire - Pont Mirabeau - Pont du Gariglialo - Parc Andre Citroen - Cimetierre de Grenelle - Cimetiere du Montparnasse
16 Paris: Trocadero Plaza - Boulogne Park - Parc des Princes - Stade Roland Garros - Champs de Mars - Palais des Congres / Porte Maillot - Promenade Hector Guimard et l'Art Nouveau - Le quartier de la defense - Auteuil - Musee d'art Moderne - Palais Chaillot - Bois de Boulogne - Pont de L'Alma - Pont de Grenelle - Pont Mirabeau - Pont du Gariglialo - Parc Andre Citroen - Cimetiere de Grenelle
17 Paris: Wagram - Ternes - Jacquemin Museum - Le quartier de la Defense - Sacre-Coeur - Palais des Congres / Porte Maillot
18 Paris: Montmartre Hill (home of Amelie Poulain) - Church of the Sacred Heart - Moulin Rouge - Stade de France - La Basilique Saint-Denis - Gare du Nord - Roissy Charle de Gaulle
19 Paris: Villette Techno Park - Buttes Chaumont Park - Geode - Zenith - Roissy Charle de Gaulle - Boulevard Belleville
20 Paris: Pere Lachaise Cemetery (Jim Morrison's resting place) - Place de La Nation - Roissy Charle de Gaulle - Boulevard Belleville
92 Paris: Parc des Expositions - Parc de Sceaux - Issy-les-Moulineaux - Roland Garros - La Defense
93 Paris: Eurodisney Park