Le Grand Louvre
2 place du Palais Royal
Whether people love or hate the pyramid
which sits at the center of the Louvres plaza, the projectas large in scope as
the image of the pyramid is well knownultimately has to be appreciated at least for
what it has accomplished in practical terms.
The Louvre is the most famous of the Grands
Projets (Mitterrands 15 billion franc program to provide a series of modern
monuments to symbolize Frances central role in art, politics, and world economy at
the end of the twentieth century). It is not so much the pyramid, but the entrance space
that it covers that is the most important part of the project. The brilliance of making an
entrance to the worlds largest art museum by hollowing-out its plaza and
constructing underground connections to its various wings could easily be lost amidst the
unmistakable iconography of the pyramid. The entrance has rationalized and opened-up the
collections of the Louvre to the throngs of museum-goers who visit its collections.
In addition to the major undertaking in the plaza, collections were redistributed and
several courtyards were covered and refurbished. Throughout, the restrained detailing of
the stone walls and floors, simple geometries, and generously proportioned spaces serve as
an appropriate backdrop against both new and old. The intricate steel connections and rods
that support the pyramid are a twentieth century expression equivalent to the ornate
carving in the masonry facades of the Palais du Louvre. The project also included the
construction of a shopping mall, cultural center, an auditorium, and parking garages.
Jay Berman 1999
How to visit
Take the Metro (Lines 1 or 7) to the station
Palais Royale Musée du Louvre, and follow signs to the museum.
The museum is open every day except Tuesday.
Books and other web
Click the book title to view and to order direct