Museums and Galleries "Le Louvre, Paris, France"

Visit the Louvre in the footsteps of the heroes of the novel and the movie The Da Vinci Code, exploring the places, works, and themes at the heart of the story.

Forty years after the French television series Belphégor, the Musée du Louvre and its collections have once again become the setting for, and the protagonists in, a rich work of fiction following the publication in 2003 of the novel The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown and the release in 2006 of the movie, filmed in part in the museum’s galleries by the director Ron Howard. The trail that we have created for you provides an amusing tour of the museum in the footsteps of the “symbologist” Robert Langdon and the cryptologist Sophie Neveu, the main characters of The Da Vinci Code. Without taking sides either for or against The Da Vinci Code, we will evaluate some of the key themes and rectify some of the exaggerations. Although the selection of things to see in the trail will no doubt be obvious to those who have read the book or seen the movie, it should enable everyone to see the Louvre in a new and amusing light, providing both a historical and literary perspective.

The Louvre or the Louvre Museum is one of the world's largest museums and a historic monument. A central landmark of Paris, France, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the 1st arrondissement (district). Nearly 35,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century are exhibited over an area of 60,600 square metres (652,300 square feet). The Louvre is the world's most visited museum, and received more than 9.7 million visitors in 2012.
The museum is housed in the Louvre Palace, originally built as a fortress in the late 12th century under Philip II. Remnants of the fortress are visible in the basement of the museum. The building was extended many times to form the present Louvre Palace. In 1682, Louis XIV chose the Palace of Versailles for his household, leaving the Louvre primarily as a place to display the royal collection, including, from 1692, a collection of ancient Greek and Roman sculpture. In 1692, the building was occupied by the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres and the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, which in 1699 held the first of a series of salons. The Académie remained at the Louvre for 100 years. During the French Revolution, the National Assembly decreed that the Louvre should be used as a museum to display the nation's masterpieces.

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The museum opened on 10 August 1793 with an exhibition of 537 paintings, the majority of the works being royal and confiscated church property. Because of structural problems with the building, the museum was closed in 1796 until 1801. The collection was increased under Napoleon and the museum renamed the Musée Napoléon, but after Napoleon's abdication many works seized by his armies were returned to their original owners. The collection was further increased during the reigns of Louis XVIII and Charles X, and during the Second French Empire the museum gained 20,000 pieces. Holdings have grown steadily through donations and gifts since the Third Republic. As of 2008, the collection is divided among eight curatorial departments: Egyptian Antiquities; Near Eastern Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities; Islamic Art; Sculpture; Decorative Arts; Paintings; Prints and Drawings.

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