When you plan an itinerary for Paris, at the top of the list of sights-to-see are the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre – which is undoubtedly one of the most famous collections of art in the world. Other noteworthy pieces that call the Louvre home are the Winged Victory of Samothrace Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix and The Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault.
However, there are more things to see in the Louvre than just the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. Some of these treasures are the French crown jewels. According to Wikipedia, the majority of these jewels were sold off in 1885 by the Third French Republic however those that remain are housed in the Galerie d’Apollon, which is a fitting home as the Louvre was once a royal palace.
The Crown Of Louis XV
The crown of Louis XV is the first notable piece from the French crown jewels collection. According to the Louvre, in the middle of the crown is an embroidered satin cap and is encircled with a metal band. From this band come several metal arches which end in a fleur de lis – which was the emblem of the French royal family – at the apex of the crown.
The base of the crown is encrusted in precious stones and the Regent Diamond adorns the front aspect of the crown. It was customary for each French monarch to have their own crown made for them and this beauty was made for Louis XV by Claude Rondé.
Empress Eugénie’s Crown
Empress Eugénie was married to Napoleon and had a significant influence on her husband’s foreign policy. For the Paris Universal Exposition in 1885, Napoleon decided to have the Crown Diamonds reset for her in a crown.
The shape of the crown follows the shape of many other imperial crowns and is reported to contain 2 480 diamonds as well as 56 emeralds. The arches which extend from the base of the crown towards the apex are made from chased gold and was made by Alexandre-Gabriel Lemonnier as well as J.P. Maheu.
Bracelets For The Duchess Of Angoulême
Louis XVIII took the crown jewels with him when he went into exile and when he returned, he ordered that the former empress of France’s parure – which is a collection of jewellery – be reworked into a more modern style.
The result is the bracelets which were made for the Duchess of Angoulême. These bracelets are made of 24 oval rubies which are surrounded by 356 round brilliants. The rubies are interspersed by diamonds which sets off their brilliant red colour.
With more than 38 000 objects on display – from paintings to sculptures and everything in between – the Louvre is the world’s largest collection of art and it offers plenty of great entertainment options. It’s impossible to see everything in the Louvre in one visit. If you spend just 30 seconds in front of each piece, it will take you 100 days to see the whole collection! So, next time you’re in Paris stop in for a visit – even if it’s to see just a fraction of what’s on display.