In the artistically poetic world of museums, the Louvre looms large. In one of Shakespeare's enduring works, Cassius describes Julius Caesar as “bestriding the narrow world like a Colossus,” and that “we petty men walk under his huge legs and peep about to find ourselves dishonorable graves.” That is precisely the position that one of the most iconic structures in the world holds. And this is no hyperbole.
The Louvre is the largest museum on the planet. It’s also the most visited, though a first visit requires a bit of pre-planning. And with more than 480,000 collections and exhibitions, it would take a person about 100 days to see all of them. And that’s if he or she is spending just a fleeting 30 seconds on an individual item. With this impressive reputation, the Louvre is obviously worth a visit. And even if one may not spend 100 days in it, the Napoleon Apartment Tour alone will make a visit worth it.
What To Know About The Napoleon’s Apartment Tour At The Louvre
On a typical visit to the Louvre, most visitors head straight to the Mona Lisa. And for a reason. It has been described as "the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world."
However, the Louvre is far much more than the Mona Lisa. In this article, we show that Napoleon’s Apartment Tour alone more than makes for a memorable visit. But first, who was Napoleon, whose name has been bequeathed to these glamorous apartments?
Understanding Napoleon III, The Man Behind The Louvre’s Apartments
For starters, there’s a distinction to be made. These apartments are called Napoleon III Apartments and not just Napoleon’s Apartments.
While the name Napoleon conjures up images of one of the greatest military generals in human history who played a key role in the French Revolution at the sunset of the 18th century, Napoleon III is a different individual altogether.
Napoleon III was the nephew of Napoleon I—who ruled France as the last monarch from 1852 to 1870. While building the Louvre began way back in the 16th century, it was Napoleon III who in the end completed the construction of the Louvre, thus completing the “Great Design” that had been envisaged by several French kings over the centuries.
This is not surprising for a man who viewed himself as an architect. Many times, according to reliable accounts, his visitors would find him, “pencil in hand,” working over a plan of a street or a building as someone who was truly immersed in architectural dreamland.
Here’s Why The Napoleon III Apartments Are Worth A Visit
Whether it was the style of Napoleon III or that of French royalty in that day and age, the sheer opulence and splendor on display at the Louvre’s Napoleon III Apartments speak to one or the other.
The Apartments are a treasure-house and quite impressive for their size. The high roof and walls feature dazzling chandeliers that are quite massive for their sizes.
In each of the many rooms are delicate furniture, gorgeous burgundy fabrics; thick, glossy drapes; oversize mirrors whose sheer grandeur would make a visitor appreciate the 19th-century court differently.
There’s gold in dazzling abundance as well as gilded bronze that overlays several objects that a monarch would love to surround himself with or cast his eyes upon. This includes several exquisite portraits where art and genius gave full expression.
A favorite part of this museum is the Grand Salon. This is where lavishness and exuberance seem to have a happy home. There is unbelievable opulence on just about every inch of this glitzy structure.
And perhaps no less glamorous is the State Dining Room. This was the place of rich dinners and elaborate parties, hosted not by presidents, but by powerful monarchs who had an idea of how food was to be prepared and served.
The dining table here is huge and surrounded by several red leather chairs that can seat about forty guests. The ceiling, which seems to be set high up in the skies, features paintings of Eugene Appert, a notable 19th-century Parisian portrait photographer.
Three rooms on the terrace side contain antique terra cottas, porcelains, and many other gorgeous works of art.
What To Know Before Visiting Napoleon's Apartments At The Louvre
Those who want to view Napoleon’s Apartments at the Louvre should head straight to the Louvre’s Richelieu Wing. This wing is on the northern side of the complex.
Once here, visitors should make their way to the first floor. The apartments begin in Room 544.
- How Much Does It Cost To Visit The Louvre? The admission fee to the Louvre is €17, which, at the current exchange rate, is just under $17 USD. That's for online tickets. At the museum, entry tickets go for €15, roughly $15 USD.
One of France’s most enduring monuments is the Louvre. This former palace is huge. For those who want to experience a single slice of this giant edifice, Napoleon’s Apartments is a good place to start!