Formerly a royal palace, the Louvre has embraced the history of France for eight centuries. Intended as a universal museum since its inception in 1793, its collections—among the finest in the world—span several thousands of years and a territory that extends from America to the confines of Asia.
Divided among eight departments, these collections feature works admired throughout the globe, including the Mona Lisa, the Winged Victory of Samothrace, and the Venus de Milo. With nearly 10 million visitors in 2012, the Louvre is the world’s most visited museum.
In keeping with the universal scope of its vocation, the Louvre enjoys relations with more than 75 countries. Its activities serve to strengthen its bonds with its collections’ countries of origin, to gain a better understanding of overseas visitors, and to reach out to those who are unable to travel to Paris.
These activities can take several forms, including scientific consultancy, technical assistance, excavations, artwork loans, exhibition organisation, and the reception of official delegations.
Examples include the opening, in January 2007, of a new excavation site in El-Muweis, Sudan; the launch of a partnership with the Bardo Museum in Tunisia, enabling the creation of an archaeological field school as part of the restoration of the Carthage room; and the signing of a Protocol Agreement with the national museum foundation (FNM) of Morocco to prepare for the organization in October 2014 of an exhibition at the Louvre on medieval Morocco.
Furthermore, the Louvre has helped to organise more than 40 exhibitions held in 18 countries and which attracted close to four million visitors. In 2011 and 2012, twenty-four exhibitions were organised with its support.