It’s no surprise that the Galerie d’Apollon is an iconic room in the Louvre – it’s gorgeous and historically very significant. Recently, the space underwent renovations thanks to Cartier. The goal was two-fold: to bring the full collection of French Crown Jewels back together and to clean and restore the fabulous paintings and stuccos in the room itself.
In the past, visiting the Louvre was a daunting experience for me. It stressed me out to the point where I preferred experiencing it from the outside. In short, I find the size and number of daily visitors overwhelming. Subsequently, I hadn’t visited the Galerie d’Apollon before. Thanks to Romain, I shifted my approach and started visiting specific rooms and exhibitions. It makes the Louvre so much more manageable and enjoyable.
The French Crown Jewels first caught my eye on the Louvre’s Instagram account. Afterwards, they went high on my list of things to see in Paris. The photos are close ups of the jewels – I had no idea how fabulous the Galerie d’Apollon is.
Galerie d’Apollon History
Louis XIV constructed the Galerie d’Apollon beginning in 1661. The decor of the room revolves around the sun and its movement through space and time. It’s no surprise that the Sun King Louis XIV associated his first Royal Gallery with the sun god Apollo.
Ultimately, construction on the room took over 200 years to complete. The space features 105 works of art from dozens of French artists including Charles Le Brun, the first painter to Louis XIV, and Eugène Delacroix.
Later, the Galerie d’Apollon later served as inspiration for the Hall of Mirrors at the Château de Versailles.
The French Crown Jewels
François I started the collection of the French Crown Jewels in 1532. The collection grew with each of his successors and peaked under Louis XV, when he added the “Regent” diamond.
The “Regent” diamond weighed 426 carats before being sent to England for cutting. The final brilliant cut diamond weighs 140.64 carats. It is considered among the finest diamonds in the world thanks to its flawless brilliance and perfect cut.
In 1887, the French Third Republic decided to sell essentially the entire collection of French Crown Jewels. Fortunately, they excluded the “Regent” diamond from the auction.
Today, the 23 pieces of the French Crown Jewels that remain in the Louvre’s collection are displayed in three cases in the center of the Galerie d’Apollon. The cases are grouped by period: pre-Revolution, the First Empire, and the Second Empire.
The new cases allow you to see and examine the jewels from all angles. Descriptions of who the jewels belonged to and information about the commission are below each piece.
The Galerie d’Apollon at Musée du Louvre and its contents are visually stunning and definitely something to add to your Paris list. Contact me here to incorporate the Galerie d’Apollon and the French Crown Jewels into your upcoming France travel plans.