The Louvre Palace, often referred to simply as the Louvre, is an iconic building of the French state located on the Right Bank of the Seine in Paris, occupying a vast expanse of land between the Tuileries Gardens and the church of Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois. Originally a military facility, it has served numerous government-related functions in the past, including intermittently as a royal residence between the 14th and 18th centuries. It is now mostly used by the Louvre Museum, which first opened there in 1793.
Whereas the area had been inhabited for thousands of years, the Louvre's history starts around 1190 with its first construction as a fortress defending the western front of the Wall of Philip II Augustus. The Louvre's oldest section still standing above ground, its Lescot Wing, dates from the late 1540s, when Francis I started the replacement of the medieval castle with a new design inspired by classical antiquity and Italian Renaissance architecture.