The Louvre is the world's largest museum and houses one of the most impressive art collections in history. The magnificent, baroque-style palace and museum sits along the banks of the Seine River in Paris. It is one of the city's biggest tourist attractions bringing in about 8.1 million visitors in 2017.

The Louvre was originally built as a fortress in 1190, but was reconstructed in the 16th century to serve as a royal palace.  Long the seat of power, this royal residence was also home to French heads of state until 1870 and is one of the major backdrops to the history of Paris and of France.
Louis XIV, Marie-Antoinette and Napoleon Bonaparte are just some of it's famous residents.

It was Napoleon Bonaparte who created the foundation for the world famous museum it is today by creating a collection of art from all around the world. He enlarged its collection by bringing art from his military campaigns, private donations and commissions he made.

The Louvre's collection includes Egyptian antiques, ancient Greek and Roman sculptures, paintings by the Old Masters, crown jewels and other artifacts from French nobles. Its works span the (Middle Ages) sixth century B.C. to the 19th century A.D! More than 35,000 works are on display at any given time. Without question, the Louvre's most famous work is Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa." This small, iconic painting is covered with bullet-proof glass and flanked by guards.  This protection is the result of it being stolen in 1911. 

In 1980s and '90s an addition was added in order to make the old museum more accessible and accommodating to its visitors. To this end, a vast underground complex of offices, shops, exhibition spaces, storage areas, and parking areas, as well as an auditorium, a tourist bus depot, and a cafeteria, was constructed underneath the Louvre's central courtyards of the Cour Napoléon and the Cour du Carrousel. The ground-level entrance to this complex was situated in the centre of the Cour Napoléon and was crowned by a controversial steel-and-glass pyramid designed by the controversial American architect I.M. Pei. The Louvre's glass pyramid was built in 1989 to make the old museum more accessible and accommodating to its visitors and is 21 meters high. It is made solely of glass and metal and is now one of the city's most recognizable landmarks.  Many are unaware that the glass pyramid is one of four, as three smaller glass pyramids surround the courtyard, Court Napoleon.