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Paris Part 1 : La Tour Eiffel | Part 2 : La Défense | Part 3 : Montmartre & Sacre Coeur |
Part 4 : Notre Dame | Part 5 : Gare du Nord
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The Louvre was not in any way originally intended to become a museum. The "salle des antiques" which Henri VI set up on the ground floor of the Grande Galerie was not accessible to the general public, nor was the king's cabinet of drawings, created in 1671, or the king's cabinet of paintings, to which access was reserved for a privileged few.

From the date when, under Louis XIV, most of its occupants left the Louvre, its vocation as a "palace of the arts" appeared a quite natural progression in the eyes of the resident artists and the academies. The idea of a Palace of the Muses or "Mus徼m", where one could view the royal collections, was born in 1747. The museum concept, which was quite new at the time, ran along the same lines as the Encyclopedia and the philosophy of the Enlightenment. From 1779, purchases and museographical projects demonstrate the imminence of its realisation.

Covering an area of some 40 hectares right in the heart of Paris, on the right bank of the Seine, the Louvre offers almost 60,000 m� of exhibition rooms dedicated to preserving items representing 11 millennia of civilisation and culture. The "Grand Louvre" is also a cultural unit which has a didactic role towards the public, a role which it fulfils through lectures, audiovisual and interactive productions and very many printed publications which are available in the exhibition rooms or at the bookshop under the pyramid.

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