Museums France

Louvre plans to evacuate works from Paris due to flooding risk

Paris museum to move art in its basement to new store to be built near Lens satellite

Most of the Louvre’s 460,000-strong collection is currently stored in the basement of the museum building on the banks of the River Seine

Officials at the Louvre hope to establish a storage facility in the north of France that would house most of the museum’s vast 460,000-strong collection. The Louvre’s holdings are currently stored in the basement of the museum building on the banks of the River Seine and could be damaged if the city ever floods. Around 35,000 works are usually on display at the museum.

The culture minister Aurélie Filippetti has announced plans to transfer works from the Paris museum to a special storage facility located around 200km away near the Louvre-Lens satellite branch in the northern region of Nord-Pas de Calais. The government has commissioned a feasibility study on the project.

A Louvre spokeswoman says, however, that a question mark hangs over whether the collection of 196,000 drawings will be moved to the new storage space. The works are now held on the first floor of the museum.

In 2009, the former culture minister Frédéric Mitterrand approved a storage centre scheme in the town of Cergy-Pontoise, 30km northwest of Paris, as part of an extensive new National Heritage Centre.

The proposed venue was due to house the collections of three Paris museums at risk from flooding: the Musée d’Orsay, the Musée du Quai Branly and the Louvre. But the idea was abandoned because of uncertainty over costs. Representatives from the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée du Quai Branly declined to comment on the Louvre’s new storage plans.

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