The Louvre des Antiquaires in Paris
The Louvre des Antiquaires is located across the street from the famous Musee du Louvre and is classed as a museum, although it is also a place housing over 200 galleries selling high end antiques from all over the world.
The beginning and the Grand Magasins du Louvre
The completion of the Rue de Rivoli was ordered by Napoleon III for the 1855 Universal exhibition in Paris, and Napoleon also commissioned a luxury hotel to be built at the Place du Palais Royal, which would be able to accommodate many of the visitors to the World Fair.
The Hotel du Louvre, named after its location opposite the Musee du Louvre was designed by the architects Charles Percier and Pierre-Francois Leonard Fontaine, and the brothers Emile and Isaac Pereire took charge of the construction of this luxurious 5 star hotel in Paris and they then became the owners.
When construction of this hotel in Paris had been completed, there were a number of different stores that surrounded the Hotel du Louvre and five years later, Emile and Isaac Pereire acquired the stores and established the Grands Magasins du Louvre department store.
At that time, the luxury hotel had 700 rooms plus the luxury stores, which numbered approximately 50, and these were a constant hive of activity for the upper class with their diversity and luxury that could satisfy the most demanding of its patrons within this large and grand building.
Special themed exhibitions were also held at the Grand Magasins du Louvre each year and within the hall of the Palais Royal, which were a tremendous success. Because of this, the entire building was soon being devoted to the department store and the Hotel du Louvre was moved to the other side of the square, which is where it remains a 5 star hotel today.
Even though the original department store no longer exists, you can still see traces of the stone lions on either side of the main entrance to the former Grand Magasins du Louvre.
The next century and the Louvre des Antiquaires
Unfortunately, a century later, the Grands Magasins du Louvre were in a state of disrepair and major renovations were needed in which to even contemplate bringing the building back up to a truly usable state.
But a few years later a British investor decided to take on the immense project of full renovations, and the intense work started in 1975, which lasted three years, and it was on 26th October 1978 that the new Louvre des Antiquaires opened its doors for the first time.
The upper floors of the building have been devoted to prestigious tenants such as the Ministry of Finance that was located here until 1990, but it is now known as the Louvre Business Centre, where it is home to the United States Embassy and the Banque de France.
Yet we are not thinking about this part of the building, as it is actually the new element and concept that the investor envisioned with the Louvre des Antiquaires, that we are focusing on, which became a collection of galleries showcasing high end antiques, antiquities and jewellery.
About The Louvre des Antiquaires
Today there are approximately 250 antiques and jewellery shops that offer a very wide range of different items and all kinds of specialities of art, which are suitable for either the experienced collector or a tourist just looking for an unusual impulse purchase to remember their holiday in Paris.
This makes the Louvre des Antiquaires a unique place in Europe to visit, which has an unusual atmosphere with corridors and subdued lighting that accentuate the display windows. Yet this is enhanced further with the multitude of different objects that gives an impression of profusion and consistency, without specialising in any particular sector.
Now, as you are no doubt aware, Paris is renowned for its art and artistic creations and the building with its galleries has become one of those places that attracts well over half a million international visitors every year.
They come in the search of rare and unique objects, or those that wish to discuss their passion with dealers who are obsessed with art and history, so from paintings through to furniture and miniatures through to ornaments, along with all different types of antique jewellery and much more, there is something here for all interests.
The Louvre des Antiquaires has also been classed as a museum, just purely because of how you can discover so many different antiquities from all around the world like bronzes, clocks, tableware, curiosities, fans, vases and much more.
In addition, if you have a specific item that you would like to know more about or have this appraised for valuation purposes or possibly selling, then many of the galleries offer these services as well.
Also there are also exhibitions organised each year, for instance a few of the past exhibitions have been dedicated to the passages of Paris in the 19th century, opium smoking in China in the 19th century, stained glass from the 12th to the 20th century and artists of the early 20th century to name a few.
Visiting Le Louvre des Antiquaires
You will find that the Louvre des Antiquaires is open from 11am to 7pm on a Tuesday through to a Sunday from September until June and a Tuesday through to a Saturday in July and August, however, it is always closed on a Monday and on all national French holidays.
Also do bear in mind when visiting this unusual historical tourist attraction in Paris, that there are numerous different galleries as we mentioned earlier, many of which specialise in specific types of items, and each has their own dedicated telephone number.
Access to Le Louvre des Antiquaires
When it comes to reaching the galleries via the public transport in Paris you will find that the nearest Metro station is called the Palais Royal - Musee du Louvre stop via lines 1 and 7.
Alternatively, taking a walk in a westerly direction past the Jardin des Tuileries you could then utilise the Concorde stop, which serves the Metro lines 1, 8 and 12, however, the nearest RER train station is located on the opposite bank of the River Seine called the Musee d'Orsay stop serving the RER C line.
In addition to these options, the bus lines 21, 24, 27, 29, 39, 48, 67, 68, 69, 72, 74, 81, 85 and 95 along with the Noctilien Night Bus Service via lines N11, N15, N16 and N24 will also get you within walking distance of The Louvre des Antiquaires, as will the Batobus, which is the water bus that has a dock by the Louvre Museum.