Located along the Seine River in Paris, France, the Louvre is not only the largest art museum in the world, but it’s also the most visited, welcoming millions of people each year. But not everyone can make it to France to see the historic building that originally served as a castle for Philip II, especially with a pandemic going on. For this reason, the museum, which opened in 1793, offers virtual tours of both the facility and its exhibitions and galleries. All you have to do is visit the museum’s website. Once you finish up there, you can find even more virtual tours of the Louvre online.
Which Virtual Tours Are Available?
When you visit the Louvre’s website, you’ll find a handful of virtual tours available at any given time. They’re subject to change as exhibitions inside the museum change, but you’ll usually get a chance to see some of the museum’s most popular exhibits and galleries in the tours on offer.
You might catch a glimpse of “Egyptian Antiquities,” which features artifacts from the Pharaonic period, or “Body in Movement,” which is all about dance. You can also virtually tour the remains of the Louvre’s moat, which was built around 1200 by King Phillipe Auguste to protect Paris.
Other Online Activities at the Louvre
Once you’ve finished checking out virtual tours on the museum’s site, you can take a look at some of the other virtual resources the Louvre offers, all of which are family-friendly. One is the Mona Lisa virtual reality app that you can download for your iPhone or Android smartphone. The museum also offers a short children’s program via YouTube called “One Minute in a Museum.” It features three cartoon characters checking out various works of art that are on display at the Louvre. Speaking of YouTube, there’s an entire playlist set up on the Musee du Louvre account that features various famous YouTubers exploring the museum. Finally, you can visit the “A Closer Look” page of the museum’s website to learn more about some of the more famous art there via various forms of multimedia.
Other Sources for Virtual Louvre Tours
Beyond the Louvre’s website, there are countless other sources online that allow you to tour the museum without leaving the comfort of your home. A quick search will provide you with dozens of options. Some of the more popular ones are Youvisit.com, which provides a 360-degree view of various locations around the museum, and Openculture.com, which offers a list of different video tours.
Visiting the Louvre in Person
If you do ever plan to visit the Louvre in person, you can find it on the Right Bank of the Seine in the 1st arrondissement in the heart of Paris. Both the Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre Métro and the Louvre-Rivoli stations service the museum if you plan to take public transportation. Visitors can enter at the pyramid, which is considered the museum’s main entrance, or you can enter from Carrousel du Louvre, a mall that sits underground. A third entrance is at the Porte des Lions.
Origins of the Louvre
The Louvre was originally a castle built during the late 12th century for King Philip II of France, and remnants of this original structure are still visible in the current museum’s basement. By 1682, King Louis XIV decided to move the royal residence to the Palace of Versailles, and the Louvre was used to display the royal art collection, which included ancient Greek and Roman sculptures. During the French Revolution, the Louvre became a public museum, and it officially opened its doors in 1793 with about 700 paintings and other works of art. Initially, the public could visit for free on a few days each week.