The Carrousel du Louvre is an underground shopping center directly adjoining the Louvre Museum in Paris. It was built from 1991 to 1993 as part of the second phase of the Grand Louvre project, and includes an entrance to the museum itself, which is open “at peak times” (according to the museum’s website) as an alternative to entering through the Pyramid.
Opinions differ as to whether the queues and waiting times are longer down in the Carrousel or up at the Pyramid, but one definite advantage of the Carrousel is that it is roofed over and air-conditioned, so you don’t have to wait outside in the rain or in the hot sunshine, as the case may be. Entry regulations are currently in flux because of the Covid pandemic, but as of 2021 visitors must book a time-slot, show a health pass and wear a face-mask to enter the museum.
In the Carrousel du Louvre there are 45 shops and several restaurants on two levels, as well as a studio-theatre of the Comédie-Française and three large multi-purpose meeting rooms which can be used for various events such as fashion shows.
Inevitably, there is also an underground parking garage for 700 cars. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, this parking facility encourages people to drive into the city, which causes unnecessary congestion, noise, pollution and danger in the nearby streets. On the other hand, if people do insist on driving, it is better not to have their parked cars taking up valuable space on the surface.
During the construction of the Carrousel du Louvre in the early 1990s, parts of a massive fourteenth-century defensive wall were uncovered. This wall was built from 1356 to 1383 at the behest of King Charles V to protect what was then the western border of Paris. Remnants of the wall have been preserved and are now visible in the “Hall Charles V”.
At the other end of the Louvre complex, under the Sully Wing, are remnants of an earlier defensive wall, namely Philippe Auguste’s wall, which was built from 1190 to 1215.
A unique feature of the Carrousel du Louvre is the Inverse Pyramid, a glass and metal construction which hangs from the ceiling and is open to the sky above. You cannot see the Inverse Pyramid from ground level, because it is in a round space in the middle of the street at Place du Carrousel and is surrounded by thick bushes.
The street entrance to the Carrousel du Louvre is at 99 rue de Rivoli, at the western end of the Richelieu Wing of the Louvre.
My photos in this post are from 2012. I revised the text in 2021.
See more posts on the Louvre Museum in Paris.