Medieval Louvre Underground

Useful Information

Location: Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris.
(48.86060404156743, 2.337627906749093)
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours:  
Photography: not allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Medieval Louvre Underground, Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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12th century Louvre constructed under the rule of King Philippe Auguste.
1793 Louvre becomes Grand Gallery.
mid-1980s excavations reveal the Medieval Louvre.
2016 Medieval Louvre opened to the public.


The Louvre is known all over the world as one of the biggest art museums in the world. The glass pyramid is a famous landmark. Before it was a Royal Palace and home to the French Kings and Queens for many centuries. But this page is about the Medieval Louvre Underground. It all started in the 12th century under the rule of King Philippe Auguste (*1180-✝1223). He was leaving for the crusades and to protect Paris during his absence, he built the Louvre as a medieval castle, which was part of the fortress protecting the city. It was enlarged and embellished by his successors.

But the square medieval castle with circular defensive towers and an imposing central keep still exists as a basement of the Sully wing. It was rediscovered during the Grand Louvre Project. The Sully Wing was named after M. Sully (*1559-✝1641), Chief Minister of King Henri IV. The above ground exhibition in this wing includes the Egyptian and Greek Antiquities and the Venus of Milo. The basement shows foundation walls lining an empty moat, this is the acstle which existed from 1190 until the early 16th century. It was down to make way for the Renaissance palace of today.