The history of the Louvre Museum actually begins below ground. On the lower levels, visitors can view foundational ruins of a medieval castle and fortress that would later (200 years after its construction) become a royal residence for generations of French kings and emperors.
It was in 1190 that French king Philippe Auguste believed the city of Paris needed greater protection and fortification. Of primary concern was the military might of England. As a result, King Auguste commissioned the construction of a castle to reinforce the city wall. Security was enhanced with a large moat that was filled with water from the River Seine.
Architectural excavations of the area underneath the Louvre have discovered quite a number of elaborate ornamental objects (such as bas reliefs) that are thought to have been attached to the former castle’s facade and interior walls. In addition, column capitals and items used in daily life such as cups and pots were also found. Many of these items are on public display in a room called the Salle de Saint- Louis.
Video recreations of the fortress and moat are pretty cool to look at and very life-like.