Department of Decorative Arts

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Present since the museum was founded in 1793, the Department of Decorative Arts exhibits objects from the royal furniture store. It has been added to over the years to form a real miscellany.

Move to the former Finance Ministry

A wide variety of pieces make up the collections of the Department of Decorate Arts. Furniture, tapestries, ornaments, clocks, and crockery, they give an insight into the lives and habits of the nobility and bourgeoisie from the Middle Ages to the 19th century. The department is aptly named. Each item was actually part of the everyday life of its owner. However, the art with which they were produced thanks to the talents of the craftsmen makes them little masterpieces.

The Grand Louvre project led to the department being installed in the Richelieu wing, previously occupied by the offices of the Finance Ministry. It has gradually grown. In 2000, the Napoleon III bureaus were added to the sector assigned to the department, in order to present 8,000 objects to visitors. Unfortunately, major electrical work on the palace closed the rooms. But since they reopened in 2004, the collection has been even more impressive. Some of the rooms were designed in the form of reconstructions furnished in accordance with the chosen eras between the reigns of Louis XIV and Louis XVI.

See the Louvre Museum’s decorative arts

The whole second floor of the Richelieu wing and part of the Sully wing are dedicated to the Department of Decorative Arts, which is divided into 7 parts. Each part recounts a period in French history: the July Monarchy, the Restoration, the Napoleon III Apartments, 19th century, Middle Ages, Renaissance, 17th century, Louis XIV and the Regency, and the neoclassical era.

A selection of 5 noteworthy objects

Equestrian statuette of Charlemagne

Found in 1807 by Alexandre Lenoir, this statuette of Charlemagne appears in numerous history books. This bronze statue, which was previously gold-plated, stands 10 inches high. It shows Charlemagne in a royal position inspired by the equestrian representations of Roman emperors. It has been suggested that it may actually be the grandson of Charlemagne, King Charles the Bald. The two men look very similar in the portrayals we have, as it was beneficial for the second to be the worthy heir of his grandfather.

Where to find it: Richelieu wing, room 1

Apostles from a Feuillantine convent

These stained glass plates were confiscated during the Revolution. They were originally housed in a convent in Paris. They depict Saint Paul and Saint Thomas and are credited to Léonard Limousin.

Where to find them: Richelieu wing, room 16

The crown of Louis XV

It was designed by jeweler Claude Rondé. The design was used whenever a unique crown needed to be made. The one made for Louis XV also drew inspiration from the crown of Joseph V of Portugal. In 1729, the original stones were removed. They have been replaced with copies. A crown like this one was only designed to be worn at the king’s coronation.

Where to find it: Richelieu wing, Apollon Gallery, room 66

The Napoleon III apartments

These are the most popular rooms in the Louvre's Department of Decorative Arts. They provide a realistic and unique representation of Second Empire fashion.

Where to find them: Richelieu wing, rooms 83 to 92

The collection of the Louvre Museum’s Department of Decorative Arts is a unique opportunity to get a glimpse of French history. Amongst the crockery, some plates may seem somewhat unusual. Food lovers will rediscover forgotten recipes! And remember to look out for the measuring instruments and mechanical objects. Their established ingenuity will surprise you.

The Department of Decorative Arts is one of the ten departments of the Louvre. To fully enjoy your visit and avoid wasting time queuing, you can book your Louvre tickets online now.

COVID-19 information: Due to the coronavirus situation, our tours are canceled until September 1st. Bookings for tours after this date can be made directly online. Check out our latest update HERE.