Monuments of Paris

Paris, the most visited city in the world

With its 20 arrondissements and 12 million inhabitants, Paris, the capital of the Ile-de-France region, is located on the loop of the Seine, in the center of the Paris Basin. It is the most visited city in the world, thanks to the many monuments of Paris and the number of people who visit it continues to increase each year. Since 2013, for example, Paris has recorded an annual tourist flow of more than 32 million visitors who never leave disappointed. This fame is undoubtedly due to the multitude of monuments in Paris which are an integral part of its history and culture.

Nicknamed the City of Light or that of lovers, it indeed attracts millions of visitors each year. Everyone is looking for a little French charm through gastronomy, luxury, architecture or even culture. Paris is fortunate to have everything in one place. The French capital is constantly being discovered and rediscovered as you stroll along the Seine or along historic streets. It is good to stroll through the different districts and arrondissements to discover all the facets of Paris. From the Marais, to the Buttes Chaumont via Saint Germain des Prés, do not miss the best visits to Paris.

Paris is a city rich in monuments of all kinds and vestiges of the city’s history that bear witness to a bygone past. Whether they are known or not, in different arrondissements, massive in size or on the contrary simple places but full of history, these monuments are the strength of Paris. The following monuments represent compulsory stops for the visitor who wishes to leave Paris, being sure to have visited the essential. The monuments of Paris are part of excellence à la française.

Eiffel Tower

 The Eiffel Tower is undoubtedly one of the most emblematic monuments of Paris. Built in 1989 for the World’s Fair, attendance at the tower continues to increase, breaking a record in 2014 with more than 7 million tourists. In front of it you will find the Champ de Mars where you can enjoy these magnificent gardens after your visit.

 From exploring the historic gardens to the dazzling view of Paris from the top, discovering the Eiffel Tower is incredibly emotional. On the 1st floor, on the glazed floor, one feels the unique sensation of walking above the void. On the platform, along the outer passageway, screens, touch screens, display cases, digital albums, reproductions of objects, etc., allow visitors to understand all the often overlooked aspects of the Tower through a museum tour. Arriving on the 2nd floor is a delight for the eyes and the taste buds. It is in fact here that the starred restaurant Le Jules Verne is nestled, as well as a macaroon bar, take-out sales areas as well as the monument’s official souvenir shops. Final destination: the summit! Thanks to the two levels (one sheltered, the other outside), you can stroll around and enjoy the unique view of the City of Light at a height of 276 meters while enjoying a glass of champagne. This space also allows you to admire the reconstruction of Gustave Eiffel’s office.

 A gastronomic destination in its own right, the Eiffel Tower represents French excellence. In addition to the Jules Verne with Frédéric Anton at the helm who revisits the great French classics, the Brasserie (reopening in autumn 2020) will offer Parisian bistro cuisine thanks to Thierry Marx. Finally, visitors find take-out dining areas from the forecourt to the summit.


The Notre-Dame cathedral

 Located in the historic center of Paris, at the end of the Ile de la Cité, Notre-Dame Cathedral is the most visited monument in the capital. It welcomes nearly 13 million people each year. And for good reason ! This impressive structure illuminates the entire landscape of the 4th arrondissement. With its tall towers, it is one of the monuments of Paris, which inspired Victor Hugo for one of these works, testifies to the history of the city of Paris. This building, which began construction in 1163 and took nearly two centuries to build, is a must-see in the city.

Over the centuries, Notre-Dame has found itself at the heart of great moments in history. With the marriage of Henri IV and Marguerite de Valois in 1572, the funeral of the great Men of the Nation through the coronation of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1804. As many events that have forged the history of France as that of the cathedral . Pieces of history will be told to you during your visit, during which you will be in awe of the stained glass windows and rosettes of the place, dating from the 13th century.

The monument can be visited every day, entry is free. During your visit, you will be guided by the sound of the immense bells of the cathedral, the same bells which were said to « set the soul of Paris on fire every time they rang » – Victor Hugo, Le hunchback of Notre -Lady. The interior of the cathedral and its 43 meter high ceiling will fascinate you.

You will also be able to discover « the Treasury of Notre-Dame » and attempt the vertiginous climb of the monument to reach the top of these towers and thus enjoy a panoramic view of Paris from more than 69 meters high. It is also possible to climb on the roofs of the cathedral to contemplate the view, the roofs, the bells and of course the famous gargoyles of Notre-Dame. Please note, the ascent has 422 steps, without a lift.

The Louvre Museum

The Louvre is undoubtedly one of the most famous museums in the world. Former home of the kings of France, we can discover today through different collections, Western art from the Middle Ages to 1848 but also many ancient civilizations.

This monument of Paris is attractive for different reasons. First of all, the exterior of the building which impresses with its size and style. A former palace renovated several times in Renaissance style, the building surrounds the famous Louvre pyramid, created in 1989 in the middle of the Napoleon courtyard. The museum, which covers more than 60,000 square meters, has 460,000 works, including La Joconde and La Venus de Milo. Almost 9 million tourists visit this museum every year. It is one of the Paris monuments best known by tourists.

You can therefore find major artistic works, whether in sculpture with the Winged Victory of Samothrace or the Venus de Milo or in painting with the Raft of the Medusa by Géricault. Of course, finally, how can we not talk about the portrait of Lisa Gherardini? Better known as Mona Lisa, painted by Leonardo Da Vinci. The Mona Lisa alone symbolizes the museum because this painting is shrouded in mystery, like the place that shelters it. In fact, the Louvre, in addition to these great works, is a place full of mysteries that you still have to discover.


The Basilica of the Sacred Heart

 The Basilica of the Sacred Heart is also one of the emblematic monuments of Paris, the second most visited religious monument in the city with more than 10 million visitors each year. Located at the top of the Montmartre hill, the Sacré-Coeur basilica is one of the monuments of Paris, offering a unique view of the capital and its surroundings.

Perched 130 meters high, this monument of Paris, in Romano-Byzantine style, is a true architectural work. It has 4 domes and a central dome 83 meters high. The secret of this monument is its bell, one of the biggest in the world.

Inside the building, the ceiling is decorated with the largest mosaic in France, measuring 480 m². The crypt is also worth a visit. And to gain even more height, the visitor can access the dome, from where the 360 ​​° view of Paris is magnificent. A few steps from the basilica are the Place du Tertre, the Abbesses district with its small steep streets, and at the foot of the hill, the famous Moulin Rouge cabaret.

The Sacré-Coeur was built in 1873 at the request of the National Assembly of the time, which wanted to build a place to pay homage to the victims of the 1871 war between France and Prussia. Besides the magnificent view, is one of the monuments of Paris which contains many secrets, as soon as you return you will be struck by its large mosaic measuring 480 m². You can also visit the crypt. Just like Notre-Dame, you can visit the basilica for free.

The Arc de Triomphe

 One of the most famous monuments in Paris, located on Place de l’Etoile, at the top of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, the Arc de Triomphe is one of the largest arches in the world. Built in 1806 to celebrate Napoleon’s victory at Austerlitz, it is inspired by the Roman arch, but compared to the latter, the Arc de Triomphe shines in its dimensions. Indeed, this monument is freed from its model, with its 50 meters in height, 45 meters in length and 22 meters in width.

It is located in the center of Place Charles de Gaulle (initially Place de l’Étoile), at the western end of Avenue des Champs-Élysées. The Arc de Triomphe pays homage to those who fought and died for France during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its interior and exterior surfaces. Under it is the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Constantly watched, the flame of the tomb is rekindled every evening at 6.30 p.m.

Contrary to what one might think, the Arc de Triomphe is one of the monuments of Paris which, like the other four monuments, can be visited. Indeed, it is possible to climb to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. You will thus have a breathtaking view of the Champs-Elysées and the Place de la Concorde located at the other end of the avenue.

If you are interested, you can check out our article on French service and our article on champagne.

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