In 1190, under the reign of King Philippe Auguste, the Louvre castle came into existence. The castle was an arsenal surrounded by thick fortifications and only became a royal residence in 1364. Over several centuries, the palace was transformed by the French monarchs. Between 1595 and 1610, the Grande Galerie was constructed under the reign of Henri IV.
In 1791, an Assembly decree designated the Louvre to the Arts. In 1793, the Museum Central des Arts opened. Since this date, the museum has not stopped growing. The “Grand Louvre” project was created to improve the establishment’s facilities and better present the collections. I.M. Pei’s Glass Pyramid was inaugurated on 30th March 1989. The new rooms of the Department of Islamic Art opened in 2012.
In total, the Louvre has eight departments. The Egyptian Antiquities, the Near Eastern Antiquities; the Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities which are presented beside more modern collections as departments of Paintings and of Sculptures, the Decorative Arts, the Prints and Drawings and the department of Islamic Arts. Overall, 38,000 artworks are presented including universally-admired works such as The Victory of Samothrace, The Seated Scribe, The Winged human-headed bull from Khorsabad, The Mona Lisa, The Slaves of Michelangelo or the Napoleon III apartments.
In front of the palace, the Tuileries Garden is the largest and oldest public park in Paris, created during the Renaissance for Catherine de Medicis. In the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés the Musée Eugene-Delacroix, settled in the artist’s last apartment, houses a collection of paintings, pastels, drawings and lithographs, as well as a large number of letters and mementos by Delacroix.