The Louvre Paris, France

One of the world’s largest museums and one of the most iconic landmarks of Paris, the Louvre is a place of alluring and enchanting majesty. Featured in films throughout the ages and reverberating strongly in popular culture, it has one of the largest collections of artwork – from prehistory right up to the present day – to be found anywhere. By turn it astonishes and amazes over eight million visitors a year.

The location of the museum is the Louvre Palace, a fortress dating from the 12th century. Over time, the building has seen many changes and renovations, and it has a long history of displaying artwork – in the 17th century, Louis XIV housed his collection of classical sculpture within the walls, and for a hundred years from 1699 the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture held exhibitions here too.

It was not until after the French Revolution that the Louvre became a public museum. Many of the first exhibits had been confiscated from the Church. The museum continued to amass collections, especially during the Second French Empire.

Today the collections represent countries and cultures all around the world. They are divided into eight sections, including classical antiquities divided by region, together with sculpture, painting and drawings sections. Prominent exhibits include paintings from Leonardo de Vinci, including the famed Mona Lisa, along with work from Raphael and Michelangelo, Vermeer and Watteau. Napoleon’s Apartments are an exercise in grandness and opulence, while the incredible sculptures include Akhenaten's statue and the Great Sphinx.

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