All About Paris

Famous Paris Places and Neighborhoods

A handy primer and visitor information for the most popular tourist attractions in Paris.


The Eiffel Tower

When the Eiffel Tower was completed in 1889, it was the tallest building in the world at just over 300 meters high. The tower was originally built as a temporary structure to commemorate the centennial of the French Revolution for the 1889 World’s Fair exposition.  What was once a temporary exhibit became permanent and now the monument is the enduring symbol of the city of Paris and France itself.

Back in the 1880’s, the tower’s steel construction defied all traditional rules of architecture.  Gustave Eiffel’s design was considered quite bold at the time. Today the tower is the main television transmitter for the city of Paris and the most visited site in France.

An angled black and white image of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
An angled black and white image of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Read our full Visiting Eiffel Tower post.

Note: Is it recommended to book your Eiffel Tower tickets in advance.


The Arc De Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe is a monumental arch located at the western end of the Champs-Élysées in Paris, France. It is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city and serves as a symbol of French patriotism and pride. Commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1806 following his victory at the Battle of Austerlitz, the arch was designed by French architect Jean Chalgrin and completed in 1836, long after Napoleon’s death.

Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France, on a bright sunny day in Spring
Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France, on a bright sunny day in Spring

The arch stands at an impressive 50 meters tall and 45 meters wide, with a depth of 22 meters. It is made of limestone and is adorned with intricate sculptures and carvings, including four large reliefs on the pillars, each depicting a major battle from the Napoleonic Wars. The most famous of these reliefs is the Departure of the Volunteers, also known as La Marseillaise, which depicts French soldiers heading off to fight in the Revolutionary Wars.

The Arc de Triomphe is also adorned with several sculptures, including the famous statue of Napoleon on horseback. The statue is located on the top of the arch and is visible from all around Paris. Visitors can climb to the top of the arch to enjoy panoramic views of the city, including the Eiffel Tower and the Seine River.

Attractions at the Arc de Triomphe

One of the most moving features of the Arc de Triomphe is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, located beneath the arch. The tomb serves as a tribute to the soldiers who fought and died in World War I and is marked by an eternal flame that burns in memory of those who lost their lives in the war. Visitors can pay their respects at the tomb, which is open to the public daily.

Architectural Detail of Triumph Arc in Paris, France.
Architectural Detail of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France.

The arch is also home to a museum, which features exhibits on the construction of the arch, as well as its history and significance to France. There are also exhibits on the history of the French military, including displays of weapons, uniforms, and other artifacts.

The Arc de Triomphe is an important symbol of French patriotism and pride. It serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made by the soldiers who fought for France and is a testament to the country’s rich history and culture. The arch has played a significant role in French national events, including military parades and other celebrations.

Every year on July 14th, the French national holiday known as Bastille Day, the arc is the site of a massive military parade, which is attended by thousands of spectators. The parade culminates with the laying of a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, followed by a moment of silence in honor of the soldiers who gave their lives for France.

12 Seconds of traffic at the Arc de Triomphe roundabout.

The Arc de Triomphe is an iconic symbol of France and serves as a tribute to the soldiers who fought and died for the country. Its Neoclassical design and intricate sculptures and carvings make it a must-see destination for anyone visiting Paris. The arch is a reminder of France’s rich history and culture and serves as a source of pride and patriotism for the French people. Visit the official Arc de Triomphe official website for additional information.

Arc de Triomphe Visitor Information

The Arc de Triomphe is open to the public daily, from 10:00 am to 11:00 pm. Tickets cost around 13 euros for adults, with discounts available for students and seniors. Visitors can also purchase tickets in advance online, which is recommended to avoid long lines.

For those who wish to climb to the top of the arch, there are 284 steps to climb, but the effort is well worth it. The view from the top is truly breathtaking, and visitors can see all the way to the outskirts of Paris.

Getting to the Arc de Triomphe:

AddressPlace Charles de Gaulle, 75008 Paris 
Lines 1, 2, and 6 – Charles de Gaulle-Etoile 
Line A – Charles de Gaulle-Etoile 
22, 30, 31, 52, 73, and 92

Take a private tour of Paris with us to see the Arc de Triomphe.


The Champs-Élysées, the grand boulevard of Paris.

The river Seine divides this grand section of Paris, stretching from the imposing 18th century buildings of Les Invalides to the Art Nouveau Avenues surrounding the Eiffel Tower.

Tourists hanging out on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.
Tourists hanging out on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.

Two of Paris’s most impressive thoroughfares dominate the neighborhood to the north of the Seine: the ultra chic Champs-Élysées, and the rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré. St. Honoré is where you’ll find the well-guarded Palais de l’Élysée. It’s hard to believe this classy part of Paris was once a village (Chaillot), albeit a posh one, absorbed into the city in the 19th century. Not surprisingly, many of its opulent Second Empire mansions are now embassies or multi-national corporate headquarters.

The Champs-Élysées (Elysian Fields rendered in French) was designed to be a Royal promenade stretching from the Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe. Now filled with cars and mall-like shops, the new vision is to bring back the promenade feel, but without the royalty. Read more about it at Conde Nast Traveler.

Palais de Chaillot and Trocadero:

This immense Palais de Chaillot was built for the international exhibition of 1937 and is now home to four very different museums; with sections devoted to French monuments, the history of cinema, ethnology, anthropology and human biology, and to marine and naval history.

Tourists on the promenade at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris.
Tourists on the promenade at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris.

The complex also contains the Cinematheque repertory cinema and the huge Theatre National de Chaillot.

The fountains and statues in the Trocadero gardens below line up with the Eiffel Tower across the river and together form a gorgeous panorama when impressively lit up at night. 

Champs-Élysées Neighborhood Ratings

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Contact us to create a perfect Paris vacation.


Saint-Germain-des-Prés

iconic and charming neighborhoods in Paris. Known for its rich history, vibrant intellectual and artistic scene, and picturesque streets, Saint-Germain-des-Prés has long been a haven for writers, painters, and philosophers. Discover the heart of Parisian culture and indulge in the irresistible charm of this unique area.

The Soul of Parisian Art and Culture

Saint-Germain-des-Prés dates back to the 6th century when the Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés was founded. The district flourished during the Middle Ages and continued to grow in prominence throughout the centuries. In the 20th century, it became a hub for artists and intellectuals, with famous figures like Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Ernest Hemingway frequenting its streets, cafés, and bookstores.

Landmarks and Attractions:

1. Saint-Germain-des-Prés Church: The centerpiece of the district, the Saint-Germain-des-Prés Church, is the oldest in Paris. Its Romanesque architecture, fascinating history, and beautiful interior make it a must-see attraction.

2. Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore: These legendary cafés were once the epicenters of Parisian intellectual life, where artists, writers, and philosophers would gather to discuss ideas. Today, they remain popular spots for a traditional French café experience.

Legendary Les Deux Magots in Saint-Germain-des-Prés
Legendary Les Deux Magots in Saint-Germain-des-Prés

3. Le Procope: Founded in 1686, Le Procope is the oldest café in Paris and has hosted countless famous patrons, including Voltaire, Benjamin Franklin, and Napoleon Bonaparte. Its history-soaked atmosphere and delicious cuisine make it a memorable dining experience.

4. Luxembourg Gardens: Just a short walk from Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the Luxembourg Gardens are a beautiful and peaceful oasis, perfect for strolling, picnicking, or simply relaxing amidst the lush greenery and stunning sculptures.

5. Art Galleries and Antiques: Saint-Germain-des-Prés is known for its abundance of art galleries and antique shops. Wander through the streets and discover a treasure trove of unique pieces, ranging from contemporary art to rare collectibles.

6. The Odeon Theatre: This historic theatre, located in the heart of the district, showcases a diverse range of performances, from classic plays to contemporary productions. Check the schedule to see what’s on during your visit.

Shopping and Dining: Saint-Germain-des-Prés is a shopper’s paradise, offering a mix of high-end boutiques, quaint bookstores, and stylish concept stores. The district is also home to some of the best patisseries in Paris, such as Pierre Hermé and Ladurée, where you can indulge in mouth-watering pastries and macarons.

For a truly Parisian dining experience, visit one of the many bistros and brasseries that line the streets of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Enjoy traditional French cuisine in a cozy and authentic setting.

Getting to Saint-Germain-des-Prés

The Saint-Germain-des-Prés area is easily accessible by public transportation. The closest Metro stations are Saint-Germain-des-Prés (Line 4) and Mabillon (Line 10). Alternatively, you can take a leisurely stroll along the Seine River from Notre-Dame or the Louvre to reach the district on foot.

With its rich history, captivating atmosphere, and endless opportunities for exploration, Saint-Germain-des-Prés is a must-visit destination for anyone

Saint-Germain-des-Prés Neighborhood Ratings

The main section of the Jardins du Luxembourg in Paris on a summer day.
The main section of the Jardins du Luxembourg in Paris on a summer day.

Most of the 17th century buildings have survived, but signs of change are evident in the number of affluent shops dealing in antiques, books and fashion. Somehow, Saint-Germain-des-Prés has become an up-to-date place, through which runs it’s namesake Boulevard Saint Germain.

The boulevard is the most celebrated of the entire left bank, and curves across three districts from The Ile Saint Louis to the Pont de la Concorde. The architecture in the area is quite homogeneous because the Boulevard was another of Baron Haussmann’s bold strokes of 19th century urban planning. A perfect destination to include on a private Paris walking tour.


Tuileries

The 19th-century grandeur of Baron Haussmann’s Grands Boulevards offsets the bustle of bankers, theater-goers, sightseers and shoppers who frequent the area around the Opera. Throughout the neighborhood, a profusion of shops and department stores draw the crowds. Much of the area’s older character is found in the early 19th-century shopping arcades, with elaborate steel and glass roofs which are known as “galleries” or “passages” and were restored to their former glory in the 1970s. Gallery Vivienne, which is the choicest, has an elaborate, patterned mosaic floor. the Passage des Panoramas, Passage Verdeau and the tiny Passage des Princes are more old school Parisian.

The streets abound with food shops of all kinds, noted for their mouthwatering displays of expensive jams, spices, pates, mustards and sauces.

Golden statues atop the Palais Garnier opera house.
Golden statues atop the Palais Garnier opera house.

Elegant squares and formal gardens, among which the famous Tuileries park, give the area its special character. Parallel to the Jardin des Tuileries are two of Paris’s foremost shopping streets, the rue de Rivoli and rue St-Honore, full of expensive boutiques, bookshops and five-star hotels.

Monuments to monarchy and the arts coexist with modern luxury at its most ostentatious: the best example of this coexistence remains the Musee du Louvre, though other places, like place Vendome, home to exquisite jewelry shops and the luxurious Ritz Hotel, also are a heady mix of wealthy and chic.

The view of the Louvre from the Tuileries Gardens in Paris.
The view of the Louvre from the Tuileries Gardens in Paris.

Stroll Through the Tuileries Gardens in Paris

The Tuileries Gardens (Jardin des Tuileries) is a beautiful public park and garden nestled between the Louvre Museum and Place de la Concorde in the heart of Paris. Originally created in the 16th century for Catherine de’ Medici, the gardens have since evolved into an iconic Parisian landscape, providing locals and tourists alike with a serene escape from the bustling city.

History of the Tuileries Gardens

The Tuileries Gardens were initially designed by landscape architect André Le Nôtre, the same mastermind behind the gardens of Versailles. As the first French formal garden, the Tuileries have been a center of Parisian life for centuries, serving as a backdrop for royal events, public celebrations, and artistic movements.

The Tuileries Gardens with the Louvre in the background
The Tuileries Gardens with the Louvre in the background

The gardens span over 55 acres and are characterized by their symmetrical design, with meticulously maintained lawns, tree-lined promenades, and ornamental ponds. Visitors can stroll along the wide pathways, discovering hidden alcoves, vibrant flower beds, and a wide range of statues and sculptures, including works by renowned artists such as Auguste Rodin and Henry Moore.

Attractions and Practical Information

The Tuileries Gardens offer a variety of attractions and activities for all ages. Children can enjoy the traditional carousel, playgrounds, and trampolines, while adults can relax in the comfortable green chairs scattered throughout the park. During the warmer months, the gardens are home to temporary exhibitions and cultural events such as open-air concerts and art installations.

The Orangerie Museum, located at the southwest corner of the gardens, houses an impressive collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings, including Monet’s famous Water Lilies series. Meanwhile, the Jeu de Paume, situated on the opposite side, is a renowned contemporary art gallery.

Cafés and Dining: Several cafés and food stands can be found within the gardens, offering a variety of refreshments and light meals. The most notable is the Café des Marronniers, which serves classic French dishes in a charming setting under the shade of chestnut trees.

The Tuileries Gardens are open daily from 7:30 am to 9 pm (hours may vary depending on the season). The park is easily accessible by Metro, with several nearby stations including Tuileries (Line 1), Concorde (Lines 1, 8, and 12), and Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre (Lines 1 and 7). Admission to the gardens is free, but some attractions and museums may have separate entrance fees.

The Tuileries Gardens provide a picturesque setting for a leisurely walk, a romantic picnic, or a family day out. Whether you’re interested in art, history, or simply taking in the beauty of nature, the gardens offer a truly enchanting experience in the City of Lights. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore this Parisian gem during your visit to the French capital.

Place de la Concorde

Between the Champs Elysees and the Tuileries Gardens, lies the historic Place de la Concorde. First planned as a grand setting for a statue of Louis XIV, the Place has had many names, and been the site of many grim moments in French history, most famously during the French revolution.

The size and grandeur of the Place made it the ideal setting for the guillotine where more than a thousand aristocrats and enemies of the Revolution were beheaded, among them, of course, Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, and finishing with the once exalted, then disgraced, Robespierre.

After Napoleon I and III successfully righted the ship of state, the square was officially renamed Place de la Concorde in 1830.

At one end of the square is the magnificent Hotel Crillon; dead center is the priceless pink granite Obelisk of Luxor, presented to France in 1829 by the Egyptian Viceroy. The 3300 year old obelisk depicts the life and exploits of Ramses II in hieroglyphics.

Throughout the Place are statues representing the major cities of France: Brest and Rouen (in the northwest), Lille and Strasbourg (to the northeast), Lyon and Marseille (on the Quai des Tuileries) and Bordeaux and Nantes (in the southwest).

Tuileries and Opera Ratings

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The Historic Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral

Discover the breathtaking beauty and timeless majesty of Notre-Dame de Paris, an architectural masterpiece and enduring symbol of the city. With over 850 years of history, this iconic Gothic cathedral has captivated the hearts and minds of millions worldwide.

As you step inside, be awestruck by the soaring vaulted ceilings, the intricate stained-glass rose windows, and the detailed stone carvings. Marvel at the harmonious blend of architectural styles, from the Early Gothic choir to the Flamboyant Gothic facade, a testament to the centuries of craftsmanship and devotion that shaped this wonder.

Notre-Dame de Paris on a sunny day.
Notre-Dame de Paris on a sunny day

Notre-Dame is more than just an architectural gem; it’s a living monument that has borne witness to countless historic moments, from the crowning of Napoleon to the beatification of Joan of Arc. Experience its profound spiritual significance as you admire the relics, artworks, and organ that further enrich its story.

Although the 2019 fire has temporarily closed the cathedral for restoration, you can still appreciate the resilience and enduring beauty of Notre-Dame from its exterior. As it rises once more, like a phoenix from the ashes, Notre-Dame de Paris remains a beacon of hope, faith, and inspiration for generations to come. Embrace the magic of this beloved cathedral and let its enchanting presence forever live in your memories.A short video about the cathedral.

Historical Events at Notre-Dame de Paris

  • Construction of the cathedral takes place between 1163 and 1345 A.D.
  • 1452 – A multi-day stage play called “The True Mystery of the Passion” is performed in the square at the front of Notre Dame. The performance continues non-stop for four straight days.
  • 1558 – Mary Stuart, (Mary Queen of Scots), is crowned Queen of France at the cathedral of Notre Dame.
  • 1793 – During the French revolution, the cathedral becomes known as a “temple of reason” and is spared from destruction.
  • 1795 – The cathedral is sold to a private citizen who intended to destroy the building and use its stone as a quarry. Luckily his plans never come to fruition.
  • 1802 – Napoleon Bonaparte saves the cathedral from demolition.
  • 1804 – Napoleon Bonaparte is crowned Emperor of France in the cathedral.
  • 1940-1944 – Notre Dame square becomes the center of French resistance against the Nazis. Later the cathedral withstands a four day German siege.
  • 2019 – The great Notre-Dame fire destroys much of the cathedral.

Visit the official website of Notre Dame for more information.

Getting to Notre-Dame de Paris

AddressPlace du parvis de Notre Dame , 75004 Paris 
Line 1 – Hotel de VilleCite, Line 4 – Cite, Line 7,11, and 14 – Chatalet
Line B – Châtelet-Les Halles, Line C – Saint Michel-Notre Dame 
21, 38, 47, 58, 70, 72, 74, 81, 82

Île de la Cité

Île de la Cité is considered the birthplace of Paris (read our complete Paris history). Notre Dame Cathedral, the Palais de Justice, and Sainte-Chapelle are all located on the Île de la Cité. Île de la Cité translates into “Island of the City” in English.

Along with the Sainte Chapelle, la Conciergerie was part of the original royal Palace in Paris on the Île de la Cité. The Gothic vaulted Salle des Gens d’Armes and massive kitchens remain from the medieval period.

The palace became a prison under the watch of the Concierge during the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. Outside, la Conciergerie is the Tour de l’Horloge which contains the first public clock built in Paris. The clock, built in 1370, has been restored recently. It is a sight to see.

Link Paris Neighborhood Rating:

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Area Hotel Quality:
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(“Five Towers” is the highest rating possible)

At the eastern end of the island, a bridge connects with the smaller Île Saint-Louis. The island, a former swampy pasture, was transformed into a residential area with pretty, tree lined streets. Though Ile Saint Louis hosts no remarkable monuments, it’s considered one of the most pleasant places in Paris for a stroll or lunch. It has retained it’s charm and authenticity throughout the centuries.

  • Sainte-Chapelle: 4, bd du Palais, 1st; phone : 43 54 30 09 – open Oct-Mar daily 10am-5pm; Apr-Sep daily 9.30am-6.30pm.
  • La Conciergerie: 1, quai de l’Horloge

Marais, Les Halles, and Bastille

Beaubourg and Les Halles are Paris’s most thriving public areas, with millions of tourists, shoppers and students flowing between them each year. Young people flock to Les Halles, shopping for the latest street fashions beneath the concrete and glass bubbles of the underground arcades.

All roads from Les Halles appear to lead to the Pompidou Centre, an avant-garde assembly of pipes, ducts and cables which houses the Musée National d’Art Moderne (Museum of Modern Art).

The smaller streets around the center are full of art galleries which make there home in crooked gabled buildings.

The neighboring Marais, with some of the oldest surviving streets and buildings in Paris, was abandoned by its royal residents during the 1789 Revolution, and it descended into an architectural wasteland before being rescued in the 1960’s.

It has since become a very fashionable address. Small cafés, bakeries and artisans still survive in its streets. Enchanting sites, like Place des Vosges, as well as the surrounding XVIIth-century buildings are must-sees, just like Place de la Bastille, with its brand new opera house.

A Timeless Gem in the Heart of Paris

The Marais district, situated in the 3rd and 4th arrondissements of Paris, is a captivating neighborhood with a rich history, stunning architecture, and a vibrant cultural scene. A stroll through the Marais takes you on a journey back in time, as you meander through narrow cobblestone streets, admire medieval buildings, and explore charming courtyards.

Historically, the area was home to Parisian nobility, whose presence is still felt today in the form of elegant mansions known as “hôtels particuliers.” One such example is the Hôtel de Sully, a well-preserved 17th-century residence that now houses the Center of National Monuments. Nearby, you’ll find the enchanting Place des Vosges, the oldest planned square in Paris, surrounded by symmetrical red brick buildings and a lush central park.

The Hôtel de Sully in Paris
The Hôtel de Sully in Paris

In addition to its architectural beauty, the Marais is renowned for its thriving art scene, with numerous galleries and museums to explore. Visit the Picasso Museum, housed in the stunning Hôtel Salé, and the Musée Carnavalet, dedicated to the history of Paris. The area is also home to the city’s Jewish Quarter, where you can discover the history and heritage of the Jewish community at the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaïsme.

Culture in the Marais

Foodies will delight in the Marais’ eclectic mix of dining options, from traditional French bistros to trendy eateries and falafel stands. Shopaholics can browse the district’s countless boutiques and vintage stores or visit the BHV department store for a more upscale shopping experience.

Culture in the Marais beyond compare.
Culture in the Marais beyond compare.

The Marais is also known for its vibrant LGBTQ+ community, with many friendly bars, clubs, and events catering to diverse interests and preferences. No matter your inclination, the district offers something for everyone, making it an unmissable destination for anyone visiting Paris.

To get to the Marais district, take the Paris Metro to stations lik

Centre Pompidou

Opened in 1977, Centre Pompidou remains one of the most revolutionary contemporary buildings in Paris. Architects Richard Roger and Renzo Piano put the lifts, escalators, heating and air conditioning pipes on the outside, color coding them by their different functions and leaving the inside free for arts activities.

The modern exterior of the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
The modern exterior of the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

The policy of free entry, implemented by the governments Culture Department, means that the ground floor often resembles a rough and tumble speaker’s corner, a de facto extension of the street acts from the piazza outside. But do not let that put you off visiting the superb art collection, temporary exhibitions and the many other events.

Address: Plateau Beaubourg, 4th; phone : 44 78 12 33 – Open Mon, Wed-Fri noon-10pm; Sat, Sun 10am-10pm.


Place des Vosges

Located in the heart of the Marais district, the Place des Vosges is an enchanting and historical square in Paris. With its symmetrical architecture, lush gardens, and rich history, this charming spot offers a serene escape from the bustling city. Discover the stories and beauty that make Place des Vosges a must-visit destination for travelers and locals alike.

Place des Vosges in History

The Place des Vosges, originally known as Place Royale, was built in the early 17th century under the orders of King Henri IV. As the first planned square in Paris, it served as a model for future urban developments throughout Europe. In 1800, the square was renamed Place des Vosges to honor the Vosges department, which was the first to pay taxes in support of the Revolutionary government.

The Place des Vosges in Paris.
The Place des Vosges

The square, with its distinctive red brick façades and steep slate roofs, is a prime example of the French classical style. The 36 symmetrical houses encircling the square consist of ground-floor arcades, providing visitors with a unique shopping and dining experience. The vaulted arcades also create a sense of uniformity and harmony, with each building being as captivating as the next.

The Place des Vosges is home to the Maison de Victor Hugo, where the renowned French author lived from 1832 to 1848. This charming apartment, now a museum, allows you to step into the world of the literary giant and explore his life and works, including the famous Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.

Adding to the square’s allure is the luxurious Pavillon de la Reine, a 17th-century hotel that has welcomed a myriad of famous guests, from royalty to celebrities. With its ivy-covered façade and secluded garden courtyard, it provides a haven of tranquility for those seeking a respite from the city’s hustle and bustle.

At the heart of the Place des Vosges lies a beautifully manicured garden, adorned with vibrant flowers, trimmed lawns, and elegant fountains. Named the Square Louis XIII, the garden features four equestrian statues of the king and offers a delightful setting for a leisurely stroll or a relaxing picnic.

Beyond the borders of the Place des Vosges, the Marais district offers a treasure trove of attractions. The area is rich in history, with narrow streets, charming boutiques, and a diverse range of art galleries and museums, such as the Picasso Museum and the Carnavalet Museum.

The Place des Vosges, with its captivating history, architectural beauty, and picturesque gardens, is a true Parisian gem. Whether you’re exploring the apartment of Victor Hugo, indulging in a luxurious stay at the Pavillon de la Reine, or simply enjoying a relaxing afternoon in the gardens, this enchanting square offers an unforgettable experience for visitors and locals alike.

Bastille and the Opera:

Apart from a few chunks of the foundations inside the métro station, nothing remains of the infamous Bastille prison, which was stormed by the revolutionary masses in 1789.

The Place de la Bastille column in Paris, France.
The Place de la Bastille column in Paris, France.

But the Place de la Bastille is still the scene of a lively street activity every Bastille day (on July 14th). The column in the center of Place de la Bastille commemorates the Parisians killed during the riots of 1830 and 1848, and is crowned by the gilded génie de la Bastille.

On the south side of the square, Carlo Ott built his granite and glass, 2700 seat Opera Bastille in 1989, commemorating the 1789 French Revolution.


Sacré-Cœur Cathedral

After the Franco-Prussian War ended in 1870, the people of France decided to construct a church in honor of the Sacred Heart in Paris on the butte Montmartre. Originally the funds for the construction of Sacré-Cœur basilica were to come only from wealthy donors. However in 1873, the government of France decreed its construction to be a state undertaking. Seventy-eight different architects entered a competition for the right to design the church. The winning design was submitted by a veteran architect named Paul Abadie. Abadie was already well known for his restoration of the St. Front Cathedral in Perigueux.

The edifice of Sacré-Cœur church in Paris, France.
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Paris, commonly known as Sacré-Coeur Basilica

When Was the Sacré-Cœur Church Built?

The plans for the new basilica called for an edifice of Roman-Byzantine style, and the first stone was laid in 1875. Abadie died in 1884 with only the foundation of the church built. (Side Note: we offer a great private walking tour of Sacré-Cœur and the surrounding area)

Completed in 1914, the church, was not consecrated until 1919 after the end of World War I. The total cost to build the church was 40 million francs.

The interior art of Sacre Coeur church in Paris.
The interior art of Sacré-Cœur church in Paris.

Sacré-Cœur is one of the best places in Paris to visit, rivaled only Montparnasse Tower and the Eiffel Tower, for a birds eye view of the city.

The Latin Quarter in Paris

On the Rive Gauche (Left Bank) you’ll find the lively student area known as the Latin Quarter, so-named a few centuries ago because the students at the Sorbonne were speaking and learning Latin. Winding streets and few wide avenues make for a great walking area. Wandering will reveal cute shops and the remains of a Roman Amphitheater (Paris was once called Lutetia Parisiorum by the Romans. It’s a reference to the swamps beside the Seine. The look has improved over the centuries.

Besides students, the Latin Quarter is all about music. You go down into a cellar for the most part. Maybe that’s where we get the term dive bar? Mostly jazz but definitely pop-up raves as well.

The Latin Quarter area is home to many famous monuments, museums and gardens, ranging from the brand-new Institut du Monde Arabe to the Musee de Cluny, and the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle (Museum of Natural History) in the Jardin des Plantes.

The exterior of the Pantheon in the Latin Quarter.
The exterior of the Pantheon in the Latin Quarter.

Pantheon:

The domed landmark now known as the Pantheon was commissioned around 1750 as an abbey church. Due to financial problems the massive structure wasn’t completed until 1789. Two years later, the Constituent Assembly converted it into a secular mausoleum for the great men of the era of French liberty. Permanent guests of the Pantheon include Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Louis Braille, Emile Zola, Jean Moulin, René Cassin and Pierre et Marie Curie. The Pantheon’s ornate marble interior is less than cheerful, but you get a great view of the city from around the colonnaded dome, visible from all over Paris. 

Address: Place du Panthéon, 5th arrondissement. Open year round from 10 am-6 pm.

Sorbonne:

Paris’s most famous university, the Sorbonne, was founded in the Latin Quarter in 1253 by Robert de Sorbon, confessor of Louis IX (Saint Louis), as a college for 16 poor theology students.

A marble arch on the grounds of the Sorbonne in Paris, France.
A marble arch on the grounds of the Sorbonne in Paris, France.

After centuries as France’s major theological center, it was closed in 1792 by the Revolutionary government but was reopened under Napoleon. Today, the Sorbonne’s main complex (bounded by Rue de la Sorbonne, Rue des Ecoles, Rue Saint Jacques and rue Cujas) and other buildings in the vicinity house several of the 13 autonomous universities created when the Université de Paris was reorganized following the violent student protests in 1968.

Place de la Sorbonne links Blvd Saint Michel with Chapelle de la Sorbonne, the University’s domed church, which was built between 1635 and 1642. It is closed except for special exhibitions. Visit the Sorbonne online for more information.

Musée de Cluny (musée du Moyen Age):

This crenelated building was the Paris home of the medieval abbots of Cluny. It was built on the ruins of a Gallo-Roman baths complex, which is now partly restored.

The front of the Musée de Cluny (musée du Moyen Age) in Paris, France.
The front of the Musée de Cluny (musée du Moyen Age) in Paris, France.

The museum houses an exceptional collection of artifacts, including the celebrated “Lady and the Unicorn” tapestries, medieval statuary, enamels, ivory, fabrics, illuminated manuscripts and precious metalwork.

Address: 6 place Paul Painlevé, 5th. Phone 43 25 62 00. Open Mon, Wed-Sun 9:15am – 5.45pm.

Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle (Museum of Natural History):

Within the Jardin des Plantes botanical garden, the reopened Grande Galerie de l’Evolution has taken Paris’s Natural History Museum out of the dinosaur age, with the latest lighting and audiovisual techniques. An extensive fossil and geology collection are housed in a separate building.

Address: 57 rue Cuvier, 5th. Phone : 40 79 30 00. open Mon, Wed, Fri-Sun 10am-6pm; Thur 10am-10pm.

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The Louvre Museum

Embark on a fascinating journey through time and art at the Louvre Museum in Paris, the largest and most visited museum in the world. With over 800,000 square feet of exhibition space, the Louvre is home to an unparalleled collection of masterpieces and artifacts, attracting more than 10 million visitors each year.

The museum’s extensive collection spans from ancient civilizations to the 19th century, including Roman and Greek relics, Egyptian antiquities, and works by celebrated artists like Da Vinci, David, and Picasso. The museum also houses one of the most famous paintings in history, Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, always surrounded by throngs of tourists.

An early morning jogger runs near the Louvre in Paris, France.
An early morning jogger runs near the Louvre in Paris, France.

The Louvre’s rich history is a tale of transformation. Beginning as a 12th-century fortress, it evolved into a palace, and later a storage place for the French crown’s treasures. Following the French Revolution in 1789, it opened as a museum in 1793, showcasing the nation’s collective wealth. Though briefly closed for structural repairs, it reopened under Napoleon’s rule, who not only restored it but also named it after himself.

As you explore the museum, you’ll encounter an impressive collection of decorative arts, Islamic artifacts, and the history of France and the world. The museum’s vast array of exhibits warrants multiple visits to fully appreciate its grandeur.

The iconic glass Pyramide entrance, constructed in 1989 by French President Mitterrand, has become a symbol of change and acceptance in French culture. Initially hated, the Pyramide is now an iconic symbol of Paris.

A short introduction video to the Louvre Museum in Paris

Plan your visit using the official Louvre website, where you can find all necessary information and even explore the collection online. We also offer a private visit and a combination Paris Bike Tour and Louvre Visit. And if you’re in the area, don’t miss the Orangerie Museum in the Tuileries Gardens, home to Monet’s mesmerizing Waterlily series and an exquisite collection of paintings by renowned artists like Renoir, Cézanne, and Matisse.

Delve into the captivating world of art and history at the Louvre Museum, and let it leave you in awe of the creativity and craftsmanship that have shaped the human experience across millennia.

Getting to the Louvre

AddressPyramide – Cour Napoleon, A.P. 34, 36 quai du Louvre, 75001 Paris
Palais Royal-Musee du Louvre (Line 1)
21, 27, 39, 48, 68, 69, 72, 76, 95

Quick tip: you can enter off Metro Line 1, on which the museum has its own very elegant metro stop.  But that means you miss lining up to pass through security in the famed glass Pyramide.

Louvre Museum Opening Times

  • Open: Monday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 9:45 p.m.
  • Closed: Tuesdays and certain public holidays.

Nearby, in the Tuileries – Orangerie Museum

Location: Jardin des Tuileries, Place de la Concorde
75001

AddressJardin des Tuileries, Place de la Concorde 75001
 Concorde on the 1, 8, 12 lines 

Set in the southwest end of the Tuileries Gardens is the Orangerie Museum. The collection is made up of 144 paintings, predominantly by André Derain. There are also around 24 Renoirs, and about 24 of Soutines, fourteen Cezannes, a dozen by Picasso and Matisse, and some by Henri Rousseau, Utrillo, Modigliani, Marie Laurencin Van Dongen, Sisley, Soutine and Monet (Monet’s water lillies at the Orangerie).

The Monet gallery at the Orangerie Museum in Paris, France.
The Monet gallery at the Orangerie Museum in Paris, France.

The collection was given to France by Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume, on the stipulation that the works must always be exhibited together. It is very much a reflection of the fine and eclectic tastes of these two art mavens.

Don’t neglect to visit the basement Oval Rooms, where Monet’s Waterlily series is on permanent display.

This jewel of a museum doesn’t require marathon endurance to see it all and then return to your favorites for a second look.

La Defense

As the economy grew during the early 1960’s, the French government made the decision that instead of further crowding the city center of Paris they would create a business district outside the city. With tall buildings, colossal modern art, and concrete plazas, La Defense was regarded for a long time as a laboratory of contemporary architecture, with mixed results.

The modern Arch at La Defense in Paris.
The modern Arch at La Defense in Paris.

The district which extends along the communes from Puteaux, Courbevoie and Nanterre, is Paris’s business center and draws about 200,000 each work day.

La Defense is decorated by The Grande Arche. Finished in 1989 (one hundred years after the Eiffel Tower’s completion), the Arch is a modern salute to the Arc de Triomphe.

While the area offers good hotel deals at name brand hotels we recommend not staying in this area if you want to visit Paris on vacation. It’s a ghost town at night and quite far from all of the famous Paris sites. Is La Defense safe? Yes, it generally is a safe area, but it is still part of a large city so, as always, pay attention in large urban areas.

The area actually has a tourism site. Visit the La Defense website for more information.

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Historic Montparnasse

In the 18th century, students began reciting open air poems like the Greeks they admired. They named the hill where they gathered Mount Parnassus…. and voila, Montparnasse was born. This area has one of the grander boulevards of Paris, Boulevard Montparnasse, and also has the dubious honor of having Paris’s lone, reviled high rise, the Tour Montparnasse. The view of Paris from the observation deck is undeniably phenomenal, however.

Montparnasse was the favored neighborhood of artistic luminaries from Picasso to Hemingway, Chagall to Cocteau, until construction of the giant rail station meant blocks and blocks of cheap lodging was wiped away. Still, old school cafe life can be found at Le Dôme and La Coupole. Affordable crepe restaurants and stands are all over the area. This humble meal of Bretons took root since Montparnasse is where work-seekers from the region arrived in Paris in the 1930’s.

A sign in the metro at Gare Montparnasse in Paris, France.
A sign in the metro at Gare Montparnasse in Paris, France.

The area is neither fancy nor struggling, and is a haven for families that live and work in Paris. As such it’s a good destination for tourists looking for safe and decently-priced lodging.

About Montparnasse Tower:

It may be jarring to the eye amid the charm of Paris, but a visit to the tower is the only way to get those famous high shots of Paris without boarding a helicopter.

From the air-conditioned Montparnasse observation deck on the 56th floor, you can soak in the view, and then visit the restaurant and cocktail bar.

Open daily from 9:30 am to 10.30 pm in winter, 11.30 pm in summer.

Addressrue de l’Arrivée, 75015
Gare Montparnasse (lines 4, 6, 12, 13)

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Les Invalides

In 1670 King Louis XIV (the “Sun King”) founded a hospital for his old and injured “invalid” soldiers. Les Invalides was designed by architect Liberal Bruant. The hospital was completed in 1676. It was designed to house up to 4,000 soldiers. Today, Les Invalides is a museum and national monument, however, the French military still uses part of the complex as a base.

A suit of armor worn by an unfortunate soul in the middle ages.
A suit of armor worn by an unfortunate soul in the middle ages.

Beneath Les Invalides impressive gold dome are two churches. One for the common soldiers and the other for the King to be entombed upon his death. The King’s church is now the site of Napoleon’s tomb.

Visit our Les Invalides page for visitor hours and information.

The Bibliothèque Nationale de France

The National Library of France – The mission of the French national library, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, is to collect and conserve all works published in France, regardless of media, with the explicit purpose of making them available to researchers and journalists. Under French law, all publishers must deposit several copies of each work they publish in the library upon publication.

In 1368, Charles V, “the Wise”, had his own personal library moved into the Louvre. The collection contained nine hundred and seventeen manuscripts. In those days, however, royal collections were transient in nature as they were irretrievably dispersed on their owner’s death. It was not until Louis XI, who reigned from 1461 to 1483, that continuity was established – reflecting the continuity of the royal dynasty. Charles VIII and Louis XII each added more manuscripts as well as the first printed books to the archive. The collection was never again to be dispersed.

Bibliothèque Nationale de France Richelieu
Bibliothèque Nationale de France Richelieu

On the 28th of December 1537, the king introduced a new principle by royal decree, whereby all printers and booksellers were ordered to deposit copies of any printed book put on sale in the kingdom with the Château de Blois library. This obligation was known as the “Depot Légal” and its creation marks a fundamental date in the history of the library. Even though the decree was by no means uniformly enforced in the early stages, it marks an important date in French history.

The Bibliothèque Nationale de France was moved several times. First to Amboise and then to Blois and later to Fontainebleau. In the second half of the 16th century, the library was transferred to Paris. An inventory at the time listed just 4,712 manuscripts and printed works. In 1988, ground broke on a new site for the library in the 13th arrondissement of Paris. The much larger new building contains 3,600 reading units.

Significant Works

  • About 12 millions books, among them two copies of Gutenberg Bible
  • The world’s largest collection of geographical maps
  • The richest collection of engravings (12 million) and photos (2 million). 
  • 250,000 manuscripts including the Dead Sea Papyrus and medieval psalm books.
  • Painted works such as the Carolus Magnus and Louis IX’s private collections.
  • Over 600,000 coins, medals and antiquities.

Visitor Hours for the Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Tuesday to Saturday: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday: noon to 6 p.m.

 Quai Francois-Mauriac 75013

AddressQuai Francois-Mauriac, 75013
line 14, Grande Bibiliothèque, line 6, “Quai de la Gare” 
 62, 89.

 For more information about the Bibliothèque Nationale de France visit the library’s official website.

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For more information and mass times, visit the Paris tourist office.

The Picasso Museum in Paris

History of the Picasso Museum – Pablo Picasso was a native of Spain, but he spent most of his adult life in Paris and along the Cote d’Azur. After his death in 1973, at the age of 92, the French government was given thousands of Picasso’s wo

rks in lieu of estate taxes. You can see a rotating collection of the 10,000 sketches, notebooks, fine art and ceramics Picasso produced at the 17th century mansion in the trendy Marais district that houses his work.

A multi-year expansion and renovation was completed in 2014, allowing many more works to be seen.

The exterior of the 17th century mansion Aubert-de-Fontenay - Now home to the Musee Picasso.
The exterior of the 17th century mansion Aubert-de-Fontenay – Now home to the Musee Picasso.

Works of Picasso’s contemporaries such as Cezanne and Matisse have been added to the museum’s collection over the years.

Montmartre and Pigalle

Perched on a steep hill north of the city center is Montmartre and the beautiful Sacre-Coeur church. Montmartre remains a contained and slightly sullied throwback to a bygone era, with winding streets, ivy-clad houses with exquisite gardens, and artists’ studios that one could picture Picasso slaving away in.

The main square in front of Sacre Coeur church in the Montmartre area of Paris.
The main square in front of Sacre Coeur church in the Montmartre area of Paris.

Sacre Coeur is endlessly besieged by bus tours, as is the Place du Tertre, the main artist hub adjacent to the church. As soon as you get off the main thoroughfares though, the area is surprisingly village like. The tiny 12th-century church of St-Pierre de Montmartre is one of the oldest in the city, while the quiet streets, cafes and squares have a character quite unlike the rest of Paris. It is a lovely neighborhood. It isn’t surprising that the area is one of the most popular tourist attractions if Paris.

For a total change of mood, head down to Pigalle, the neighborhood along Boulevards Clichy and Rochechouart. Once known as an area consisting primarily of neon-lit peep shows, Pigalle is increasingly the center for music, lively nightclubs and quirky late night bars, as more and more former cabarets reopen as modern clubs and bars.

The area can still be a little rough at night so be careful.

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The Bastille holds a special place of importance in French history. By crossing the Seine and following the Boulevard de la Bastille, you will find the site of the Bastille Saint-Antoine, which was a major part of the defenses ordered by Charles V in the dark ages. Original construction began back as far as the year 1370!

Louis XIV had the ramparts demolished but kept the structure as a “luxury” prison for people of “quality”. Seen by the commoners as a symbol of the arbitrariness of the old monarchy, the prison was stormed by local Parisians on 14th July 1789, and later razed. A column surmounted by the “Spirit of Liberty” on place de la Bastille was erected not to remember the surrender of the prison during the French revolution, but the July Revolution of 1830, which replaced the autocratic Charles X with the “Citizen King” Louis-Philippe.

The Bastille and The National Opera of Paris

The top of the Bastille monument in Paris.
The top of the Bastille monument in Paris.

Months after the birth of the Second Republic in 1830, workers took to the streets demanding fairer treatment. All of eastern Paris was mobilized, with the fiercest fighting taking place on the rue du Faubourg-St-Antoine. The rebellion was quelled with a horrible massacre and deportation of the survivors, however it is the less contentious 1789 rebellion that France still celebrates. Political protesters have always used the area as a rallying point, and still do.

The Opera Bastille

The Opera Bastille was built by architect Carlos Ott and was inaugurated on July 14th, 1989. The modern building was designed to fit into the bustling working-class neighborhood where it resides. The main hall has a capacity of 2,745. There is also a 500-seat amphitheater and a 230-seat studio theatre on site.

The exterior of the modern Opera Bastille
The exterior of the modern Opera Bastille

The Neighborhood
The area was filled with lower-rent housing for a long time, but is now one of the most trendy areas of Paris. Businesses in the area range from old tool shops and ironmongers to cocktail haunts and sushi bars.

The Art
You’ll find art galleries clustered around rues Keller, Tamandiers and the adjoining stretch of rue de Charonne. And, on rue de Lappe, a very Parisian tradition: the “bals musettes”, or dance halls of the1930s “gai Paris”, frequented by Edith Piaf, Jean Gabin and Rita Hayworth.

Night life
The most famous bals musette,”The Balajo”, rue de Lappe was founded by Jo de France, who introduced glitz and spectacle into what were once seedy gangster dives, and brought Parisians from the other side of the city to savour the “rue de Lappe” life. The area can still be a rough place to be at night, so take care.

Visit the Opera Bastille website for more information.

Location: Place de la Bastille, 75012

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Musée Picasso, Paris

Located in the historic Marais district of Paris, the Musée Picasso is a treasure trove dedicated to the life and work of one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso. Housed in the stunning Hôtel Salé, a 17th-century Baroque mansion, the museum boasts an extensive collection of Picasso’s paintings, sculptures, drawings, and ceramics, offering visitors a unique opportunity to explore the creative journey of this iconic artist.

The exterior of the Musée Picasso in Paris
The exterior of the Musée Picasso in Paris

The Collection: With over 5,000 works of art and tens of thousands of archived pieces, the Musée Picasso boasts one of the most comprehensive collections of Picasso’s work worldwide. The museum takes you on a chronological journey through the artist’s career, presenting his diverse artistic styles and subjects – from the melancholic Blue Period to the innovative Cubism and beyond.

In addition to the artworks, the museum also showcases personal items such as photographs, sketchbooks, and letters that offer fascinating insights into Picasso’s life, creative process, and relationships.

A visit to the Musée Picasso is a must for any art lover exploring Paris. This exceptional museum provides an intimate glimpse into the life and work of an artistic genius whose impact on modern art is unparalleled. Immerse yourself in the captivating world of Pablo Picasso and be inspired by his creative spirit and remarkable legacy.

Visitor Information for the Musée Picasso

Visitor Information: The museum is open from Tuesday to Friday, 10:30 AM to 6:00 PM, and on weekends from 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM. It is closed on Mondays, as well as on January 1st, May 1st, and December 25th. Tickets can be purchased online or at the museum’s ticket office.

Location: Hôtel Salé, 5, rue de Thorigny , 75003 Paris 

Getting to The Musée Picasso:

Visit the Musée Picasso website for further information.

Saint-Paul (Line 1), Chemin-Vert (Line 8)
 29, 69, 76, 93

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The Palais Garnier

The Palais Garnier, or Opéra Garnier, stands as a testament to the lavishness and grandeur of 19th-century Parisian architecture. Home to the Paris Opera and Paris Opera Ballet, this iconic building has captivated audiences for over a century with its intricate design and rich history. Discover the stories, architectural features, and unforgettable experiences that make the Palais Garnier a must-visit destination for art and culture enthusiasts.

An Architectural Masterpiece and Cultural Icon in Paris

The Palais Garnier was constructed between 1861 and 1875 under the direction of Charles Garnier, a young architect who won the design competition organized by Emperor Napoleon III. The building was part of the Haussmannian transformation of Paris, a massive urban renewal project that sought to modernize the city. Since its inauguration in 1875, the Palais Garnier has been the host to countless operas, ballets, and other cultural events.

The Palais Garnier in Paris.
The Palais Garnier

The architectural style of the Palais Garnier is a dazzling blend of Baroque, Renaissance, and Neoclassical elements. Its opulent façade features numerous columns, statues, and friezes that represent different facets of the performing arts. The crowning glory is the statue of Apollo, accompanied by allegorical figures of Poetry and Music.

Upon entering the building, visitors are greeted by the grand staircase, a spectacular sight adorned with marble, gold, and velvet. The staircase leads to the various levels of the auditorium and the foyers, which are decorated with impressive frescoes and sculptures.

The auditorium of the Palais Garnier, with its plush red velvet seats and golden embellishments, is a sight to behold. The focal point is the massive chandelier, weighing over six tons, which was made famous by Gaston Leroux’s novel, The Phantom of the Opera. The ceiling, painted by Marc Chagall in 1964, adds a modern touch to the space with its vibrant colors and depictions of famous opera scenes.

The stage of the Palais Garnier is one of the largest in the world, measuring 54 meters high and capable of accommodating up to 450 artists. It features an advanced system of stage machinery that allows for seamless set changes and special effects, enhancing the magic of each performance.

Paris Opera Ballet

The Palais Garnier is home to the prestigious Paris Opera Ballet, one of the world’s oldest and most respected ballet companies. Established in 1669, the company boasts an illustrious history and a strong commitment to artistic excellence. With its world-class dancers and innovative productions, the Paris Opera Ballet is a major contributor to the global reputation of the Palais Garnier.

The interior of the Palais Garnier opera house
The interior of the Palais Garnier opera house

Visitors to the Palais Garnier can embark on guided tours to explore the rich history and stunning architecture of this Parisian landmark. Tours delve into the backstage areas, the foyers, and the auditorium, providing a glimpse into the world of opera and ballet. The theatre also hosts various events, including concerts, exhibitions, and workshops, offering a range of experiences for all ages and interests.

The Palais Garnier is a cultural icon that combines architectural splendor, a rich history, and world-class performances. Whether you’re attending a ballet, exploring the opulent interiors, or marveling at the majestic façade, a visit to this Parisian landmark promises an unforgettable experience for all who appreciate the beauty of art and architecture.

The Enchanting Jardins and Palais du Luxembourg

Located in the heart of Paris, the Jardins and Palais du Luxembourg offer a serene and picturesque retreat from the bustling city. This historic site, rich in art, architecture, and natural beauty, has captivated visitors for centuries. Explore the fascinating history, lush gardens, and cultural attractions that make this Parisian gem an essential stop on any visit to the City of Light.

The Palais du Luxembourg
The Palais du Luxembourg

History of Palais du Luxembourg

The Palais du Luxembourg was commissioned in the early 17th century by Marie de’ Medici, the widow of King Henry IV of France. Designed by architect Salomon de Brosse, the palace was inspired by the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, reflecting Marie’s Italian heritage. Over the years, the palace has had various functions, including a royal residence, a prison, and the seat of the French Senate.

Jardins du Luxembourg

The stunning Jardins du Luxembourg, designed by landscape architect André Le Nôtre, encompass 25 hectares of meticulously maintained greenery. Featuring a harmonious blend of French and English garden styles, the Jardins are adorned with elegant fountains, vibrant flowerbeds, and over a hundred statues and monuments. Stroll through the tree-lined promenades, admire the colorful blooms, and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere.

The Medici Fountain in the Jardins du Luxembourg
The Medici Fountain in the Jardins du Luxembourg

Main Attractions:

  1. The Medici Fountain: This exquisite fountain, built in 1630, pays homage to Marie de’ Medici’s Italian roots. The fountain’s allegorical sculptures, depicting Acis and Galatea, create a romantic and enchanting setting.
  2. The Orangerie and the Pavillon Davioud: The Orangerie, which houses a collection of citrus trees during the winter months, and the Pavillon Davioud, a charming architectural masterpiece, are both worth exploring.
  3. The Statue of Liberty: A smaller-scale replica of the iconic Statue of Liberty can be found in the Jardins du Luxembourg, a gift from the French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi.
  4. The Grand Bassin: The large central pond, known as the Grand Bassin, is a popular spot for families to sail model boats, feeding ducks, or simply relax by the water.

The Jardins du Luxembourg are open daily, with varying hours depending on the season. Entry is free for the gardens, while admission fees apply for certain exhibitions or events held within the Palais du Luxembourg. The gardens are easily accessible by public transport, with the closest metro stations being Luxembourg (RER B), Saint-Sulpice (Line 4), and Odéon (Lines 4 and 10).

Tips and Recommendations:

  • Visit the nearby Musée du Luxembourg, which hosts a variety of art exhibitions throughout the year.
  • Enjoy a leisurely picnic on the lush lawns or take advantage of the numerous seating areas scattered throughout the gardens.
  • For families with children, the Jardins du Luxembourg offer several playgrounds, a carousel, and pony rides.
  • Don’t forget your camera to capture the beautiful scenery and breathtaking views of the Palais du Luxembourg.

The Jardins and Palais du Luxembourg provide a unique experience, combining history, culture, and natural beauty in the heart of Paris. Whether you’re seeking a quiet escape from the city, an opportunity to appreciate fine art, or a picturesque setting for a leisurely stroll, this enchanting destination has something for everyone.

Sacré-Cœur

Nestled atop Montmartre, the highest point in Paris, the striking Sacré-Cœur Basilica stands as a symbol of spirituality and beauty. This enchanting white-domed church, officially known as the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, offers visitors stunning panoramic views of the city, intricate architecture, and a serene atmosphere.

Sacré-Cœur basilica on Montmartre in Paris, France
Sacré-Cœur basilica on Montmartre in Paris, France

Constructed between 1875 and 1914, the basilica was designed by architect Paul Abadie in a unique Romano-Byzantine architectural style. The basilica is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and serves as both a place of worship and a tribute to the memory of the 58,000 French soldiers who lost their lives during the Franco-Prussian War.

As you explore the church, marvel at the vibrant mosaics adorning the interior, particularly the striking Christ in Majesty, one of the world’s largest mosaics, which depicts Jesus with outstretched arms. Venture to the crypt to discover a treasure trove of relics and sculptures, and don’t miss the spectacular Grand Organ, which is often used for concerts and special events.

After visiting the Sacré-Cœur, take the time to wander through Montmartre, the charming bohemian village that surrounds the basilica. Explore the narrow, winding streets, visit local art galleries, and experience the romantic ambiance that inspired countless artists, including Picasso, Renoir, and Van Gogh.

Sacré-Cœur Visitor Information

  • Admission: Entry to the basilica is free, but there is a fee to access the dome and the crypt.
  • Dome and Crypt access: €6 for adults, €4 for ages 4-16, and free for children under 4.
  • Opening Hours: The basilica is open daily from 6 am to 10:30 pm, while the dome and crypt are open from 9 am to 7 pm (May to September) and 9 am to 6 pm (October to April).
  • How to Get There: The nearest metro stations are Anvers (Line 2) and Abbesses (Line 12). The Montmartrobus also stops near the basilica, or you can take the funicular up the hill for a small fee.
  • Official Website: Sacré-Cœur

Getting to Sacré-Cœur:

AddressParvis du Sacré-Cœur, 75018 Paris
Anvers, Abbesses, Château-Rouge, Lamarck-Caulaincourt
30, 54, 80, 85, Montmartrobus

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Musée d’Orsay

Nestled in the heart of Paris along the banks of the Seine, the Musée d’Orsay is a must-see destination for art lovers visiting the French capital. Housed in a stunning, repurposed Beaux-Arts railway station, the museum is home to an impressive collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and Art Nouveau masterpieces, as well as sculptures and decorative arts.

The Collection at the Musée d’Orsay

The Musée d’Orsay’s collection, spanning from the mid-19th to the early 20th century, showcases an incredible array of works by world-renowned artists. The museum is particularly famous for its extensive collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterpieces, as well as its selection of Art Nouveau and Realist art.

The majesty of the Musée d’Orsay
The majesty of the Musée d’Orsay

As you wander through the galleries, you’ll encounter the breathtaking work of legendary artists such as Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Vincent Van Gogh, Auguste Rodin, Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas, and many others. The museum’s carefully curated exhibits provide an immersive experience that allows visitors to appreciate the artistic innovations and techniques of these groundbreaking artists.

Some of the most iconic pieces in the Musée d’Orsay’s collection include:

  1. Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night Over the Rhône: This captivating painting showcases Van Gogh’s signature swirling brushstrokes and vivid color palette, with the shimmering stars and lights reflecting on the Rhône River.
  2. Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette: A lively snapshot of Parisian life in the late 19th century, this vibrant painting captures the movement, energy, and atmosphere of an outdoor dance at Montmartre’s Moulin de la Galette.
  3. James McNeill Whistler’s Arrangement in Grey and Black No.1: Also known as Whistler’s Mother, this iconic portrait is a masterful study in simplicity and restraint, showcasing the artist’s subtle approach to composition and color.
  4. Claude Monet’s Water Lilies: This series of paintings, displayed in the museum, captures Monet’s beloved Giverny garden in different lights and seasons. The delicate brushwork and luminous colors evoke a sense of tranquility and the beauty of nature.
  5. Auguste Rodin’s The Age of Bronze: This striking, life-sized sculpture showcases Rodin’s skill in capturing the human form, emotion, and movement. The Age of Bronze was one of the artist’s first major works, marking the beginning of his illustrious career.
Van Gogh's iconic "Starry Night Over the Rhône" at the Musée d’Orsay.
Van Gogh’s iconic “Starry Night Over the Rhône”

In addition to these famous works, the museum also features countless other gems, including sculptures, decorative arts, and photography. A visit to the Musée d’Orsay provides a unique opportunity to explore and appreciate the diverse and influential artistic movements of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Visiting Musée d’Orsay

Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 9:30 am – 6:00 pm (open until 9:45 pm on Thursdays) Closed on Mondays, May 1, and December 25

Address: 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris, France

Tickets: Full price: €14, reduced price: €11, free for visitors under 18 or EU residents under 26

To make the most of your visit, consider purchasing a Paris Museum Pass, which offers access to over 60 museums and monuments in and around Paris, including the Musée d’Orsay, the Louvre, and the Palace of Versailles.

Tips for Your Visit:

  1. Arrive early to avoid crowds, especially on weekends and during peak tourist seasons.
  2. Don’t miss the museum’s stunning clock face, offering a unique view of the city.
  3. Allocate at least a few hours to fully appreciate the extensive collection.
  4. Download the Musée d’Orsay’s official app for an interactive map, guided tours, and additional information on the artworks.

Getting to the Musée d’Orsay

Address1, rue de Bellechasse, 62, rue de Lille, Paris, 75007
Solférino (Line 12)
RER C Musée d’Orsay
24, 63, 68, 69, 73, 83, 84, 94

Visit the official Musée d’Orsay website for further information.


Sainte-Chapelle Chapel

Sainte-Chapelle is a stunning chapel located in the heart of Paris, France. Completed in the 13th century, it is widely considered one of the most beautiful examples of Gothic architecture in the world. From the intricate stonework to the breathtaking stained glass windows, Sainte-Chapelle is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in history, architecture, and art.

The chapel was commissioned by King Louis IX of France, who wanted to house his collection of religious relics, including what was believed to be the Crown of Thorns. The chapel was built in just seven years, from 1242 to 1248, and was consecrated in 1248. It was originally connected to the royal palace, which was located nearby, and was used by the king and his family for private worship.

he famous stained glass windows at Sainte-Chapelle in Paris.
The famous stained glass windows at Sainte-Chapelle in Paris. Photo by Hugo Manito

The exterior of the chapel is relatively simple, with the exception of the ornate rose window above the main entrance. However, the real beauty of Sainte-Chapelle lies inside. Visitors enter the chapel through a small door on the ground floor and climb a narrow spiral staircase to the second level. This leads to the upper chapel, which is the true gem of the chapel.

The upper chapel is an impressive space, with soaring ceilings and walls lined with intricate stonework. However, the most impressive feature of the chapel is undoubtedly the stunning stained glass windows, which cover almost every inch of the upper walls. The windows are arranged in 15 panels, each depicting scenes from the Old and New Testaments. The colors are incredibly vibrant, and the effect of the light streaming through the windows is simply breathtaking.

More About Sainte-Chapelle

The most famous of the windows is the rose window, which is located above the altar. This window is made up of 13 circles, each depicting a scene from the Book of Revelation. It is a true masterpiece of Gothic art, and visitors can spend hours admiring the intricate details and stunning colors.

One of the most interesting things about Sainte-Chapelle is that it was originally designed to be a functional space, rather than just a work of art. The lower chapel, which is much simpler in design, was used as a space for public worship, while the upper chapel was reserved for the royal family and their guests. However, over time, the chapel became more of a symbol of the king’s power and wealth, and was used less for its original purpose.

Today, Sainte-Chapelle is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Paris, drawing millions of visitors each year. It is open to the public every day, and visitors can attend daily mass in the lower chapel. The chapel is also used for concerts and other events throughout the year.

Visitors to Sainte-Chapelle can purchase tickets online in advance, which is highly recommended to avoid long lines. The chapel is open from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm from March to October, and from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm from November to February. Tickets cost around 10 euros for adults, with discounts available for students and seniors.

For those who are interested in learning more about the history and architecture of Sainte-Chapelle, there are audio guides available in multiple languages. These guides provide a detailed tour of the chapel, explaining the symbolism behind the stained glass windows and the history of the chapel.

Sainte-Chapelle is not only a beautiful example of Gothic architecture and art, but it is also an important historical landmark. It is a testament to the power and wealth of the French monarchy in the Middle Ages, and a reminder of the importance of religion in medieval Europe. It is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in history, architecture, or art, and is sure to leave a lasting impression on all who visit.


Les Invalides

Located in the heart of Paris, Les Invalides is an impressive historical complex that attracts countless visitors each year. Originally built as a hospital and home for disabled war veterans under the reign of Louis XIV, Les Invalides now houses several museums, monuments, and the final resting place of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Les Invalides in Paris.
Les Invalides in Paris.

As you approach the grandiose façade of Les Invalides, you’ll be struck by its stunning golden dome, which houses the Dôme des Invalides, the royal chapel built in the 17th century. The gilded dome, restored in 1989, is a marvel to behold, and its interior is equally breathtaking, adorned with intricate frescoes and sculptures.

One of the highlights of a visit to Les Invalides is the Musée de l’Armée, an extensive military museum showcasing the rich history of France’s armed forces. With exhibits spanning from the Middle Ages to the present day, you’ll find an impressive collection of armor, weapons, uniforms, and artifacts that provide insight into the country’s military past.

Another must-see attraction within Les Invalides is the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte. The former emperor’s resting place is located beneath the Dôme des Invalides in a grandiose red quartzite sarcophagus. Surrounding Napoleon’s tomb are the graves of his family members and several military leaders who served under him.

Napoleon's tomb at Les Invalides.
Napoleon’s tomb at Les Invalides.

Beyond its military history, Les Invalides is also home to the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, a unique collection of 17th to 19th-century scale models of French cities and fortifications. These intricate models, commissioned by Louis XIV and his successors, were used for military planning and strategy.

With its rich history, stunning architecture, and fascinating museums, Les Invalides is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Paris. Whether you’re a history buff, an art lover, or simply curious about France’s past, this captivating complex will leave a lasting impression.

Les Invalides Visitor Information

Before planning your visit, here is some essential visitor information:

Address: Esplanade des Invalides, 129 Rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris, France

Opening Hours:

  • Musée de l’Armée: Open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm (April 1 to October 31) and 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (November 1 to March 31)
  • Dôme des Invalides: Open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm (April 1 to October 31) and 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (November 1 to March 31)
  • Musée des Plans-Reliefs: Open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm (April 1 to October 31) and 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (November 1 to March 31)
  • Closed on January 1, May 1, and December 25

Admission Fees:

  • Adult: €14 (includes access to the Musée de l’Armée, Dôme des Invalides, and Musée des Plans-Reliefs)
  • Reduced rate (18-25 years old non-EU residents, large families, veterans): €11
  • Free for EU residents aged 18-25, disabled visitors, and children under 18
  • Audio guides are available for an additional fee

Getting There:

AddressEsplanade des Invalides, Paris, 75007
Line 8 (La Tour-Maubourg or Invalides), Line 13 (Invalides)
RER C (Invalides)
Lines 28, 63, 69, 80, 82, 83, 87, and 92