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When it comes to the excellence of their collections, the beauty of their galleries and the sheer breadth of their cultural significance, few museums on earth can match Paris’ monumental jewel, the Louvre. In 1953, when LIFE photographer Dmitri Kessel visited, many of the Louvre’s rooms had recently been reorganized and redecorated — but the intrinsic, inherent grandeur of the vast place (eight miles of galleries) remained undiminished.
Here, LIFE.com presents a selection of Kessel’s pictures of the scenes inside what LIFE unhesitatingly called “the world’s top museum” — a title to which, even today, six decades later, the wonderful, storied, glorious Louvre can arguably still lay claim.
Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter @lizabethronk.