Histoire du Louvre (Medieval Louvre)

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Histoire du Louvre
Louvre Medieval
Originally built outside the city walls of Paris, the Château du Louvre dates back to the reign of Philippe Auguste (1180-1223). The powerful sovereign indeed intended to strengthen the defensive system of the Capetian capital, exposed to the danger of invasions from the Seine. The keep of this fortress also served as a safe for the monarchy and a prison for its enemies.
Initially a garrison castle, the Louvre nevertheless lost its military vocation due to the extension of the city and became a royal residence during the Middle Ages. Under the Valois, more particularly during the reign of King Charles V (1364-1380), the building, transformed into a pleasure palace, housed the library and the king’s apartments.
During the demolition of the medieval castle, which took place from 1528 to 1660, we limited ourselves to backfilling the underground parts, which were rediscovered under the Second Empire, in 1866, thanks to the excavations carried out by Adolphe Berty, the founder of topography. Parisian. Later, in 1882, work carried out under the Caryatids room revealed the lower room, known as the “Saint-Louis room”, whose ribbed vaults had been amputated in the 16th century to fit out the Renaissance palace.
But it was during the construction of the Grand Louvre that the medieval Louvre was really exhumed, when the excavations carried out between 1984 and 1985 by Michel Fleury in the Cour Carrée unearthed the powerful remains of Philippe Auguste’s fortress, which later became palace of the kings of France. Now preserved, the medieval Louvre is now accessible to visitors to the museum, who can walk through the former moats of the royal residence, around the perimeter of the famous Grosse Tour. A wealth of archaeological material has been unearthed during the latest excavations, the most emblematic piece of which is the “chapel” of Charles VI, a parade helmet decorated with fleur-de-lis, inventoried in 1411 and found broken into innumerable pieces in the keep well.
The two rooms arranged in the extension of the course of the ditches, reconfigured in the summer of 2016 with the opening of the museum space of the Pavillon de l’Horloge, house an evocation of the old medieval Louvre, which has long remained in the memories thanks to a few rare images and that archaeological explorations have made it possible to make visible again to all.

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