In the year 1200, Phillip Augustus used a castle which existed on the present site of the Louvre, for a state prison. Charles V. made additions to the building and placed the Royal Library in it. The present building was begun by Francis I., in 1528, and the southern side of the Louvre as it now exists was his work. Henry II., Henry IV., and Louis XIII., successively added to it, and in still later time, Louis XIV., Louis XV., Charles X., Louis Phillippe, and Napoleon III., have done the same.
Charles X. stood in one of the windows of the Louvre overlooking the Seine, and fired upon the poor victims of the massacre of St. Bartholomew. In July, 1830, the people made a terrible attack upon it, and it was courageously defended by the Swiss Guards, until everyone of them perished.
The Louvre is one of the noblest piles in Europe, and as a painting-gallery, it reflects great credit upon France. I used to frequent it, yet I must, to be honest, confess that many of its pictures are too sensual and licentious to suit my taste. Are such pictures as can be found in the French gallery, pictures which express sensuality and debauchery, productive of good?
Is it well to look at so much nakedness, even if it be executed with the highest art? In portions of the Louvre there is altogether too much nakedness, and I humbly hope that American ladies will never get so accustomed to such sights that they can stare at them in the presence of gentlemen without a blush. I now allude to the most licentious pictures in the collection. I saw French women stop and criticise pictures which I could not look at, in their presence, at least—pictures which exhibited the human form in a state of nudity, and at the same time expressed the most shameful sensuality and portrayed the most licentious attitudes. I cannot believe a woman of perfectly pure mind can delight to look at such pictures in a public gallery. But this nakedness is all of a piece with many other things which characterize French society, and but shows the corrupt state of the morals of the French people.
[Illustration: JARDIN DES TUILLERIES.]
The gardens of Paris are almost numberless. Some of them are free, and others are open only to those who pay an entrance fee. The latter class is great in numbers, from the aristocratic Jardin d’ Hiver down to La Chaumiere. In the first you meet the fashionable and rich, and in the last, the students with their grisettes, and the still poorer classes. But I will not describe this class of gardens in this article.