Grands Châteaux of the Loire and Ile-de-France: Château du Louvre

Grands Châteaux of the Loire and Ile-de-France: Château du Louvre

Live from France with Guillaume Fonkenell

Thursday, March 25 at 12:00 p.m.
$8 Members / $15 Non-members
Online via Zoom • in English

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12:00 p.m. (Chicago) • 1:00 p.m. (Miami)  7:00 p.m. (Paris) 

Our series inviting you to visit ten Grands Châteaux live from France concludes on a high note! Today Russell Kelley explores the Château du Louvre, the product of 800 years of building campaigns and home to the world’s most famous museum. He will be joined by Guillaume Fonkenell, co-author of the definitive history of the Louvre.


The history of the Château du Louvre spans the entire period covered by this lecture series, with all the great builder kings, emperors and presidents and their architects enlarging and refining the Louvre over 800 years. It started in 1190 when Philippe-Auguste ordered the construction of a fortress to protect the western entrance to his new wall around Paris. Two hundred years later, Charles V transformed the fortress into a royal palace. Two hundred years after that, Catherine de Médicis built the Château des Tuileries a quarter-mile downriver from the Louvre. In 1595, Henri IV drew up his Grand Dessein (Great Design) to develop the Louvre. It envisaged the construction of the Cour Carrée (Square Courtyard), a waterside gallery to connect the Louvre Palace with the Château des Tuileries, and a northern gallery opposite the waterside gallery, enclosing a vast courtyard between the Louvre and the Tuileries. It would take 250 years before Henri IV’s Grand Dessein would finally be completed by Napoléon III, and another 100 years before the Grand Louvre project initiated by François Mitterrand culminated in the inauguration of I. M. Pei’s Pyramide du Louvre in 1989.


Guillaume Fonkenell has been Chief Heritage Curator at the National Museum of the Renaissance at the Château d’Écouen since 2014. He is author of Le Palais des Tuileries (Éditions Honoré Claire, 2010), and co-author of the three-volume Histoire du Louvre (Édition Musée du Louvre, Fayard, 2016).


A board member of the Alliance Française Miami Metro, Russell Kelley is the curator and moderator of the lecture series on the Grands Châteaux of the Loire and Ile-de-France. He is author of The Making of Paris: The Story of How Paris Evolved from a Fishing Village into the World’s Most Beautiful City, to be published by Globe Pequot Press in March 2021. He has lived in France for nearly 30 years and has visited every château featured in this series many times since his first visit to the Loire Valley 50 years ago.


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This program is presented in partnership with the Alliance Française Miami Metro with communication support from the Federation of Alliances Françaises USA, the French Heritage Society, and WICE - Paris.

Through our Entrée Libre initiative, free admission to this program is offered to students enrolled in French Studies in universities and French schools in Chicago and the Midwest. This project is partially supported by a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events.