It’s no wonder the Musée du Louvre is the most popular museum in the world. The historic Parisian fortress became the first museum accessible by even the lowest caste when the royal collection of King Louis XVI was opened to the public one year after his imprisonment during the French Revolution. Under the auspices of such rulers as Napoleon, Louis XVIII and Charles X, the Louvre’s collections only grew.
The Louvre holds over 380,000 objects, including famous works such as the Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa. Only a fraction of them is on display at any given time in the Louvre’s eight curatorial departments—Egyptian antiquities; Near Eastern antiquities; Greek, Etruscan and Roman; sculpture; painting; decorative arts and, most recently, Islamic art.
The most popular museum ranked first place with 8.3 million visitors when The Art Newspaper compiled its first list based on admissions data collected throughout 2007. It retained its place as the final tally for 2008 came to 8.5 million patrons.