Tour Itinerary of Paris

The route proposed tour along the Seine, the heart of the area classified as World Heritage by UNESCO. It starts in front of the iconic Eiffel Tower in the 7th district. It continues along the quays of the left bank in the 6th district. After crossing the islands (Ile de la Cité and Ile St Louis) and the Seine at the Pont de Sully which defines the perimeter of the site "Paris - Banks of the Seine" in the east, to return by the 4th district on the right bank then the 1st district. Finally, it ends with the 8th and 16th district. The Trocadero marks the western boundary of the classified site. Several days may be required depending on your interests center. You can explore on foot, by boat, Vélib ', bus or metro. Refer to the "getting around town" section. Good visit.

7th District

In this district, showcase of Parisian monuments, historic buildings are each more sumptuous than the last. They will transport you into the history of Paris and France from the 18th to the 20th century, beginning with museums and their major collections and finishing in triumph with the Iron Lady, the Eiffel Tower.


La Tour Eiffel
Parc du Champs de Mars, 75007 Paris
Website - tel : 08 92 70 12 39
Metro station: Bir Hakeim
Price : Second landing via stairway: €7/ 12 to 24 years old: €5 / 4 to 11 years old: €3. Free for children under 4 years old.
Second landing via elevator: €11 / 12 to 24 years old: €8.50 / 4  to 11 years old: €4. Free for children under 4 years old.
Open daily. June 15 through September: 9 a.m. to midnight. The rest of the year: 9:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Guided tour "Behind the scenes of the Eiffel Tower", available by reservation. A certified ‘‘Tourism and Handicap’’ location. Second landing is accessible for people with reduced mobility. For people with a hearing impairment, magnetic loop amplifiers are available at the ticket counter.

Symbol of Paris and France, the structure called The Iron Lady is named after its designer and architect Gustave Eiffel. Built in 1887 as the flagship of the World’s Fair of 1889, its destiny was to be temporary, but 120 years later, it still dominates Paris and is the global symbol of Parisian romance. Visitors from around the world come to be photographed during day and especially at night, when the tower shines with 1,000 sparkling lights.

Its completion was an unusual technical challenge, erected in just over two years, and represents the pinnacle of metal architecture of the industrial era. Endless source of inspiration for artists, it remains the most visited paid monument in the world. The bust of Gustave Eiffel, sculpted by Bourdelle in 1929, is located at the foot of the north pier.


The Eiffel Tower by the numbers

Height : 324 meters (including the antenna)
Weight : 7,300 tons of structural steel, 10,000 tons total

Lighting : 336 projectors
Number of steps up to the top : 1,665


Gustave Eiffel

Gustave Eiffel was born in 1832 in Dijon. Engineer by vocation, Eiffel founded a company specializing in structural steel in 1864. The Tower would be his crowning achievement, marking the culmination of his career and revealing his creative genius. However, Gustave Eiffel left his mark on other prominent and spectacular structures around the world, among them the metal structure of the Statue of Liberty in New York, the Porto Viaduct in Portugal, the Pest train station in Hungary or the dome of the Nice Observatory. He devoted the last years of his life to experimental research activities before dying in 1923.


Visit the Eiffel Tower

Two options are available for visiting the monument. It is possible to climb the 704 steps up to the second landing, which allows for a closer look at the metal structure. If you’re not feeling up to the challenge, elevators are available to transport you to the different landings.
On each landing there are many dining options: from snacks to the gourmet restaurant "Le Jules Verne" (see  box "Sleeping / Eating”).
1st landing : a museum retraces the history of the tower
2nd landing : spectacular views of Paris
3rd landing : Reconstruction of Gustave Eiffel’s office. Magnificent and gripping panorama of the entire city, especially at night.

Family
To learn about the history and the mysteries of the Eiffel Tower in a playful way, follow Gus, the tower mascot, along an educational tour full of inquiries and questions for children 6 to10 years old. Activity and guidebook available at Cineiffel on the 1st landing or you can download it on the Eiffel Tower Website.


Champ de Mars Park
Metro : Bir Hakeim.

The Champ de Mars, named after the Roman god of war, was installed in 1780, and evokes the military function of the plaza that once served as an exercise field for the cadets of the Military Academy. The park is decorated with lakes and ponds, and many birds have since taken up residence (including the tawny owl). Visitors will also appreciate the beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower.


Military Academy (closed to visitors)

1 Place Joffre, 75007 Paris

Metro station: Ecole Militaire

Louis XV founded the institution in 1748 in this imposing building. The school shaped the future officers of the royal army, including a certain Napoleon Bonaparte. Since its creation to today, its function has remained the same.


In the surrounding area

UNESCO Headquarters


Quai Branly Museum
37 Quai Branly
, 75007 Paris

Website - tel : 01 56 61 70 00
Metro station : Pont de l’Alma
Price : full price/ reduced price: €9/ €7. Free for EU citizens under 26 years old (free for non-EU citizens under 18 years old). Free general entry the 1st Sunday of every month.
Combined ticket for the museum and the temporary exhibitions: full price/ reduced price : €11/ €9. Free for those under18 years old
Open daily except on Mondays. Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday : 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. ; Thursday, Friday and Saturday : 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Guided visits available. Audio guides for available, as well as for those with hearing or vision impairment. Wheelchairs available for use.
Many educational activities for children and adults. Restaurants, museum boutique and book store

Opened in 2006, the building was designed by Jean Nouvel, its bridge-shaped metal structure recalling the Eiffel Tower. From an architectural point of view, the beautiful 800 m² green wall, which faces the Seine is also impressive. Designed by Patrick Blanc and by the landscape architect Gilles Clément, this garden haven is perfect for taking a break from a museum visit.

The museum is dedicated to the arts and civilizations of Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas (Central and South). There are around 3,500 objects on display (merely one percent of the total collection!), and the exhibits are regularly renewed. Exceptionally rich, the museum’s collections are supplemented by thematic areas addressing different cultural heritages or existential questions raised by different civilizations.

The Quai Branly Museum opens its doors to the world and its cultures, so different and so rich, calling for reflection and an understanding for one another. The museum also hosts major international exhibitions.


Pont de l'Alma
Connects the Place de le Résistance to the Place de l’Alma.

This bridge, now famous since the death of Princess Diana, was built under Napoleon III to celebrate his victory in Crimea in 1854. Of particular interest is the statue of the Zouave, which measures the flood levels of the Seine, and the copy of the Flame of Liberty given by the United States in gratitude for the restoration of New York’s famous statue.


Les égouts de Paris (The sewers of Paris)
Pont de l'Alma, face au 93 Quai d'Orsay, 75007 Paris
tel : 01 53 68 27 81
Metro station: Alma Marceau
Full price / reduced price: €4.40 / €3.60. Free for children under 6 years old
Open Saturday to Wednesday. October through April: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. ; May through September: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

This tour leads visitors a few hundred meters into the heart of the bowels of Paris, an unusual way to discover the history of the city, from its origins to the present day.


Pont des Invalides
Connects the Boulevard de la Tour Maubourg and Avenue Franklin Roosevelt

A first bridge was initially built at this location in 1829. Poorly designed, it was destroyed in 1854. Taking the piles of the first bridge, its successor was built the following year. The center stack is adorned with allegorical sculptures: the land victories are represented upstream, and the maritime ones downstream. Other piles are decorated with military trophies.


Pont Alexandre III (1900)
Connects Avenues Gallieni and Churchill

The bridge consists of a single arch, dedicated to the Franco-Russian friendship, and was designed for the World’s Fair of 1900. At the top of the four towers that adorn the 17 meter-tall north and south entrances, stand Pegasus figures in gilded bronze representing the Arts, the Sciences, Trade and Industry. At their base, the bas-reliefs represent great moments in the history of France, from Charlemagne through the Renaissance and Louis XIV, and on to the 20th century. You will also notice two copper compositions on the bridge: Nymphs of the Seine upstream and Nymphs of the Neva (Russian River) downstream. Pont Alexandre III is one of the most important artistic monuments of its time.


Promenade of the Invalides
Avenue du Maréchal Gallieni, 75007 Paris
Metro station: Invalides

Between the Pont Alexander III and the Hôtel des Invalides, this promenade surrounded by lime trees offers magnificent views of some of the most beautiful monuments of Paris. It was conceived in the early 17th century to serve as a garden for disabled veterans who were nearby residents.


Hôtel des Invalides (Hotel of the Invalides)
Esplanade des Invalides, 75007 Paris
Website - 08 10 11 33 99.
Metro : La Tour-Maubourg, Varenne, Invalides.
Open daily. April through October: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ; November through March: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The construction of the Hotel des Invalides was in response to a request by Louis XIV, who wanted a place dedicated to disabled veterans and retired military members, a first in Europe. Consisting of a hospital, barracks, a church and supplemented by the Dome Church in 1706, it could hold up to 4,000 residents at the time.


Church of Saint Louis of the Invalides 

Esplanade des Invalides 129 rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris
Metro station: Invalides

The Church of Saint-Louis of the Invalides houses the Tomb of Governors, where military leaders were laid to rest. Visitors will notice that here the vault is decorated with military trophies. The organ dates back to 1687.


The Dome Church and the tomb of Napoleon (1706)
Hôtel des Invalides, 75007 Paris
Metro station: Invalides
Full price / reduced price: €9.50 / €7.50. Free for EU citizens under 26 years old (free for non-EU citizens under 18 years old)

A single ticket allows access to the Army Museum, the Church of the Dome (tomb of Napoleon I), the Charles de Gaulle Historic Museum (closed on Mondays), the Museum of Relief Maps and the Museum of the Order of the Liberation.

Open daily. April through October: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ; November through March: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Audio guides available

Conceived by the greatest architects of the Palace, the Dome Church is a masterpiece of French classical architecture. For many, this is the most beautiful dome ever built in France.
On the exterior, in Doric and Corinthian styles, one can see the statues of Charlemagne and Saint Louis. Above them are represented Strength, Justice, Temperance and Prudence. Inside, the large mural painted in the dome represents Saint Louis handing his sword to Christ. A military mausoleum, it houses the tombs of military leaders, notably Napoleon Bonaparte (Napoleon I).


Musée des Plans-reliefs (Museum of Relief Maps)
6 Boulevard des Invalides, 75007 Paris
- tel : 01 45 51 95 05.

Metro station: La Tour-Maubourg
Full price/ reduced price : €11/ €9. Free for EU citizens under 26 years old (free for non-EU citizens under 18 years old)

A single ticket allows access to the Army Museum, the Church of the Dome (tomb of Napoleon I), the Museum of Relief Maps and the Museum of the Order of the Liberation.

Open daily. April through October : 10 a.m. to  6 p.m. ; November through March : 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Lecture tours available. Model workshops and discovery tours are offered during the Easter holidays for children 8 years old and up. Information and reservations, tel : 01 45 51 92 45. Price: €7 per child.

The Museum of Relief Maps presents a unique collection: historical models of fortified towns and the surrounding countryside, carried out between the reigns of Louis XIV and Napoleon III, from the 17th to the 19th century. Their function was primarily a strategic and informative one, just as today one would look at a map. The biggest battles are well presented. Through the different maps, visitors can view and understand the history of Paris and its urbanization over the centuries.
Each of the 28 models presented demonstrates a surprising realism and a meticulous attention to detail. They are indeed unique universal masterpieces.


Musée de l'Armée (Army Museum)
Hôtel des Invalides, 
129 rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris

Website - tel: 08 10 11 33 99
Full price / reduced price: €11 / €9. Free for EU citizens under 26 years old (free for non-EU citizens under 18 years old)

A single ticket allows access to the Army Museum, the Church of the Dome (tomb of Napoleon I), the Charles de Gaulle Historic Museum (closed on Mondays), the Museum of Relief Maps and the Museum of the Order of the Liberation.

Open daily. April through October: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ; November to March: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

It was quite natural that the Army Museum was installed in this prestigious building in 1905. The museum traces the military history of France, from antiquity to World War II


In The Surrounding Area

Rodin Museum (outside the perimeter of the World Heritage site)
Hôtel Biron, 77 rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris
Website - tel: 01 44 18 61 10
Metro station: Varenne or Invalides
Full price / reduced price : €10 / €7. Free for EU citizens under 26 years old (free for non-EU citizens under 18 years old)
Open daily except on Mondays : 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m., until 8:45 on Wednseday.

Rodin, arguably the greatest sculptor of the 19th century, settled in this beautiful 18th-century mansion in 1908, which became a museum two years after his death, in 1917. Sculptures and drawings by the master are supplemented by paintings by his friends (Monet, Van Gogh, etc.). The peaceful park surrounding the museum is suitable for a quiet stroll.


Palais Bourbon, National Assembly (1728)
126 Rue de l'Université, 75007 Paris
Metro station : Assemblée Nationale.

The Palais Bourbon, a place of parliamentary life, has welcomed the National Assembly in its various forms since 1798. Italian in style, its name comes from the Duchess of Bourbon who owned the land on which the monument was built. After the death of the Duchess, vast expansion work was carried out: the courtyard was surrounded by buildings and extended west to the Hôtel Lassay. The façade consists of 12 columns, and was completed in 1810.
Guided visits only.


Pont de la Concorde
Connects the Place de la Concorde and the Quai de Solférino, facing the Palais Bourbon

Built by Jean-Rodolphe Perronet, director of the National School of Bridges and Roads, it was completed in 1791 on the site of the old ferry that connected the two banks. It is built with stone that came from the destruction of the Bastille during the attack on July 14, 1789. Though several monumental statues adorned the bridge in the 19th century, they had to be removed and transferred to Versailles to prevent its collapse. It was refurbished and renovated several times during the 20th century.


Passerelle Léopold Sédard Senghor
Connects the Musée d’Orsay to the Tuileries Garden

In 1861 Napoleon III inaugurated the first bridge over the river at this location. For over a century it was known as the Solferino Bridge in reference to the battle won by Napoleon. Too fragile, it was later replaced by a steel bridge that lasted only 30 years until 1992, before giving way to the Passerelle Leopold Sedar Senghor, named in tribute to the prominent writer and politician who died in Senegal 2001.


Musée d’Orsay
1 Rue de la Légion d'Honneur, 75007 Paris
Website - tel: 01 40 49 48 14
Metro station: Solferino
Price: museum and exhibitions, full price / reduced price: €12 / €9. Free for EU citizens under 26 years old (free for non-EU citizens under 18 years old). Free general admission on the first Sunday of each month.
Open daily except on Mondays: 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. ; Thursday: 9:30 a.m. to 9:45 p.m.
Guided tours and audio guides are available. A certified “Tourism and Handicap” location. Wheelchairs available for use. Also houses temporary exhibitions

This museum is housed in the beautiful Orsay train station, built in 1898 to accommodate visitors to the World’s Fair of 1900. Its collections include paintings and Western sculpture from 1848 to 1942. Its internationally renowned collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings is the largest in the world. But more than the quantity is the quality of the masterpieces presented, which make it a must-see: "The Luncheon on the Grass" by Edouard Manet or "The Origin of the World" by Gustave Courbet, and many others. Other forms of artistic expression from this period are also presented (architecture, decorative arts, photography).


Pont Royal
Connects the Quai des Tuileries and the Quai Anatole France

The particularity of the Pont Royal is in the blocks of stone with which it was built. Indeed, previous attempts of constructing a bridge on this location had all failed, so Louis XIV decided to build a stone bridge of exceptional size that could withstand flooding. It was completed in 1689.


The booksellers of the Seine riverbanks
From Pont Royal to Pont de Sully, for the past four centuries, booksellers have been perpetuating the country’s literary traditions. Easily recognized by the rows of green boxes, visitors can find books, journals, postcards and posters, and even small wonders like first editions, original prints or rare novels.

6th District

The classified site in the 6th district of Paris includes the banks and quays of the Seine, as well as a few historic monuments


National School of Fine Arts
14 Rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris 

Metro : Saint-Germain-des-Prés

Heir to the royal academies of the 17th century, the National School of Fine Arts was located on the site of a former small Augustinian convent in 1816. Built in the early 17th century, the convent chapel is the oldest building of the school. Be sure to see the courtyard, the chapel of the Petits Augustins and the Mulberry court located in the former convent cloister. Do not hesitate to enter the main building and cross the beautiful courtyard and monumental glass building for temporary exhibitions and works by Veronese and others.


Pont des Arts
Connects the Institute of France and the Louvre

The Pont des Arts is named after the Louvre, which at the time of the bridge’s construction was also called the Palais des Arts. The first iron bridge built in Paris in 1801, the current bridge dates back to 1984. The original bridge was destroyed in 1979 because of damage endured by the bombardments during the two world wars.


Institut de France
23 Quai Conti, 75006 Paris
Website
Metro station: Odéon

Founded in 1688, the College of Four Nations operated for over 100 years and received prestigious students like d'Alembert or Lavoisier. This building is probably one of the finest in the city with its purity of lines and its balanced proportions. Just after the Revolution it was used as a prison and granary, then quickly the Institute of France was created with the motto "patron of the arts, letters and sciences.” The Institute includes the Five Academies: French, Classical literature, Science, Fine arts, and Moral and Political Sciences.


In The Surrounding Area

Saint Germain des Prés (outside the perimeter of the World Heritage site)
This area, which was very popular in the first half of the 20th century among intellectuals, is organized around the oldest church in Paris. After World War II, it was the Café de Flore and the Deux Magots, as well as the jazz clubs in the neighborhood that hosted philosophers, poets, artists and writers such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Boris Vian, Jacques Prévert Juliette Greco, Charles Trenet, Georges Brassens and Léo Ferré. Today the area has calmed and is perfect for romantic walks with its picturesque streets, its many buildings of the 17th century and its historic abbey.

Ile de la Cité

It is on this island, Ile de la Cité (City Island), that the tribes of Parisii settled ; the town then became Lutetia before taking the name Paris in the 5th century (see "History of Paris"). From the 6th century onward, Clovis, the first king of the Franks, made this his place of residence ; his son would later build the first cathedral of Paris. The island remained the seat of royal power until the Capetian dynasty.


Pont Neuf (1604)
Connects the Quai des Grands Augustins and the Quai de la Mégisserie

The oldest bridge in Paris, it is composed of 12 arches and adorned with half-moon turrets on each pile, which served as shops until the 19th century, as well as many macaroons, comical faces that adorn the cornices (there are over 300). This bridge was doubly innovative for its time: for the first time a bridge was lined with sidewalks for pedestrians, and for the first time in France a human statue, namely that of Henri IV, was exposed on a public road.


Vert Galant square

The little Vert Galant Square is located at the western tip of the island. A small green space with a few trees, it makes for a charming viewpoint of the Seine and its banks, bridges and monuments. The imposing equestrian statue of Henri IV reminds visitors that it was he who first took the initiative to develop the western tip of the Ile de la Cité into a residential area.


Dauphine Square
75001 Paris
Metro station : Pont Neuf

There are only two buildings that remain of the district created by Henri IV in 1607, both located towards the Pont Neuf. Other original buildings were demolished or enhanced from the 18th century onward. The site is now home to numerous art galleries and cafés, and has retained its peaceful calm of long ago.


Conciergerie (1248)
2 Boulevard du Palais, Ile de la Cité, 
75001 Paris
- tel : 01 53 40 60 80
Metro station : Cité

Full price/ reduced price : €8.50/ €6.50. Free for EU citizens under 26 years old (free for non-EU citizens under 18 years old).
Combination pass for the Conciergerie and Sainte-Chapelle
 : full price/ reduced price : €15/ €12.
Open daily : 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Classified as a National Monument.

Residence of the kings of France and symbol of royal power
In the 13th and 14th centuries, Saint Louis and his grandson Philip IV contributed to the building of a prestigious palace that became the symbol of the monarchy’s power. At the end of the 14th century, Charles V left the royal residence of the city. He chose to live in a better-protected place: at the Hôtel Saint-Pol (now defunct). A concierge, important figure of the court with powers of justice, administered the operations of the palace and the prison. The Conciergerie was a prison until the 19th century: Ravaillac (Henri IV’s assassin), the bandit Cartouche, Marie Antoinette, Robespierre and many others spent their last days inside its walls.


Daily life at the prison

The Conciergerie was known as the toughest prison of its time. During the Terror (1793), the cells held several hundred prisoners, housed in unsanitary and overcrowded conditions. Once a prisoner’s death sentence verdict was decided, he or she was allowed a final banquet meal.


The medieval halls 


The lower parts, the only sections remaining today, were reserved for the royal guard and the many people in the service of the king (about 2,000 people).

The Weaponry Hall, built under Philip IV, is a unique European example of civil Gothic architecture. Four fireplaces warmed the vast refectory.

The pavilion kitchens (14th century), of which only the ground floor remains, were used to serve meals to the palace staff. Located near the Seine, the goods arrived by river.

The guard room served as an antechamber to the king's apartments located upstairs. The Revolutionary Tribunal, which ordered dozens of daily executions, sat there from 1793 to its dissolution in 1795.

The prisoners’ corridor allowed inmates to move about "freely". A series of dungeons shows the different categories of prisoners.

The Girondins’ Chapel. In memory of the 21 Girondin representatives who feasted there before their execution on October 30, 1793.

The Memorial Chapel of Marie Antoinette was appointed in 1815 on the site of the cell where the queen awaited her execution.

The women's court, surrounded by two floors of dungeons prisoners, still has the fountain where they washed their clothes, stone tables where they took meals and "the corner of the twelve." It was here that the prisoners, in groups of 12, awaited the wagon that would take them to the scaffold.


Sainte-Chapelle (1242-1248)
6 - 8 Boulevard du Palais, Ile de la Cité, 
75001 Paris
  - tel : 01 53 40 60 80
Metro station: Cité

Full price/ reduced price: €10/ €8. Free for EU citizens under 26 years old (free non-EU citizens under 18 years old)
Combined pass for the Conciergerie and Sainte-Chapelle
 : full price/ reduced price : €15/ €12.

Open daily.
March through October : 9 :30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. / 2:15 p.m. to 6 p.m. ; On Wednesday until 9:30 p.m. from mid-May to mid-September.
November through February : 9 :30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. / 2:15 p.m. to 5 p.m..
Classified as a National Monument.

Sainte-Chapelle (The Holy Chapel) and the Conciergerie are precious testimonies of what the palace of the kings of France was like from the 10th to the 14th century. Sainte-Chapelle, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, was commissioned by Saint Louis (Louis IX) in order to preserve the relics of the Passion of Christ. The building was extensively restored in the mid-19th century.

Superimposed sanctuaries (1242-1248)

The lower chapel is dedicated to the Virgin, and carved decoration of the porch and the inside décor are from the 19th century. On the side walls, the sculptural medallions represent the 12 apostles with idealized faces. The scene of the Annunciation at the bottom left is the oldest mural in Paris. The golden lilies on a blue background and the starry sky vault are perfectly executed. The lower chapel was the palace staff’s place of worship.
The decoration of the upper chapel is simply sumptuous. Sculptures and glass combine to glorify Christ's Passion. Its 15 windows (most of which are original) diffuse light in shades of red and blue, almost heavenly. They show, in 1,113 scenes, the history of humanity, from Genesis to the resurrection of Jesus. This is the most extraordinary collection of stained glass from the 13th century. They read from left to right and top to bottom. Connected to the palace, access to the upper chapel was reserved for the king, his family and the college of canons.


The story of the Holy Relics

The 22 Holy Relics of the Passion of Christ had belonged to the emperors of Constantinople since the 4th century until Louis IX bought them to increase the prestige of France. Paris then became, in the eyes of medieval Europe, a "New Jerusalem", and by the same token, the second capital of Christendom. Among them, the most famous relics are the Crown of Thorns and a fragment of the True Cross carried by Christ. They were acquired in 1239 for a sum far exceeding the cost of the construction of the building.
For more information : the canopy recounting the history of the relics of the Passion (in the upper chapel) illustrates the story of their discovery by Saint Helena in Jerusalem until their arrival in France. The relics of the Sainte-Chapelle are now kept in the Treasury of the Notre Dame Cathedral.


Pont Saint Michel
Connects the Ile de la Cité and the Place Saint-Michel

The first bridge at this location dates back to 1378. The one in place today was completed in 1857, at the request of Napoleon III (he left his mark with the letter "N" on each pile). It is very similar to the Pont au Change that connects the Ile de la Cité to the right bank of the Seine.


Cathédrale Notre Dame
Place Jean-Paul-II, Ile de la Cité, 75004 Paris
Website - 01 42 34 56 10.
Metro station: Cité
Open daily : 8 a.m. to 6 :45 p.m.
Audio guides (fee) and guided tours (free) available. Organized tours are based on its architecture, stained glass, sculptures, history, and its ever-present prestige.

Famous worldwide, the Notre Dame Cathedral is a masterpiece of Gothic art. Its architectural cohesion leaves no trace that it was built, enlarged and restored for nearly eight centuries from the 12th to the 19th century, when the last major restoration was undertaken by Viollet-le-Duc. You could almost trace the history of Paris through the cathedral. It was present for some of French history’s greatest events, from Saint Louis’ crown of thorns in 1239 to Napoleon's coronation in 1804 to the celebration of the Liberation in 1944.


History of the Cathedral

The construction of the cathedral was led by Maurice de Sully, bishop of Paris in the 12th century, a project designed to build his capital a cathedral worthy of its place on the site of a Merovingian cathedral. The monumental construction site required the involvement of many actors: the church, the elders and the people of Paris. All participated in this great adventure based on their resources (some with  money, others with labor). During the construction, all guilds (cutters, sculptors, carpenters, masons, glassmakers) worked tirelessly under the management of experienced architects, and with the help of the population who provided manual labor. Begun in 1163, the work would be initially completed over a century later.

Though it is full of artistic treasures, visitors today focus in particular on two rosettes (or roses), 13 meters in diameter. The implementation of the framework required nearly 21 acres of oak trees.

Beyond the artistic beauty it exudes, it was indeed a considerable technical challenge. How would it be possible to hold roof that heavy on walls as high and open with windows and rosettes? The architects rose to this challenge by innovating; instead of basing the structure on the walls, they supported it on pillars. The cross-ribbed vaults inside and buttresses outside allowed for the distribution of the mass on all the pillars. The result is clear: the roof rises 33 meters high, the towers 69 to meters and the spire to 90 meters! Its unusual proportions make it the largest religious building in Europe. It served as an example for many other cathedrals, including the cathedrals of Amiens and Reims (listed as World Heritage sites), both built in the 13th century.

In the 13th century, architectural styles changed with the emergence of High Gothic, multiplying openings to promote the entry of light into the building.
As for many other monuments, the events of the Revolution damaged the statuary. In the mid-19th century Viollet-le-Duc recreated the carved decorations from old documents, or based them on works achieved in the cathedrals of northern France, contemporaries of the Notre Dame Cathedral. Today it remains the seat of the Archbishop of Paris.


The towers of the Notre Dame
 Cathedral
Rue du cloître Notre-Dame
, 75004 Paris
- tel : 01 53 40 60 80
Full price/ reduced price : €10/ €8. Free for EU citizens under 26 years old (free for non-EU citizens under 18 years old)

Classified as a National Monument. For information, the tour includes 422 steps, and has no elevator. The visit can be adapted for those with disabilities.

The upper room of the north tower : the keystone rises to a height of 14 meters. At the back of the room, hidden in a turret, is a remarkable spiral staircase.
Chimeras gallery owes its name to the statues that adorn the balustrade. The most famous of these chimeras, the stryge (half-woman, half-bird, to the right of the entrance) seems to contemplate the transformation of her capital. The richly carved decoration is visible from the gallery.


The Exterior of the Cathedral
The outside court, installed by Haussmann, is the symbolic heart of Paris. All French road distances are measured from this point.

The Façade of the Cathedral
The front of the cathedral is simply dazzling: its size, continuity and sculptures represent an exceptional masterpiece. The three portals are entirely decorated with statues recounting the Bible and the lives of Saints: 28 statues representing the kings of Judah and Israel, the ancestors of Christ. Above these characters, on either side of the facade, are statues of Adam and Eve. In the center, there is a statue of the Virgin and Child flanked by two angels. On the left, the Portal of the Virgin presents images of the Coronation of the Virgin. In the center, the portal of the Last Judgement is Christ judging the dead. The Sainte-Anne portal on the right shows Madonna and Child.

The Portal of the Virgin (to the left)
Depicted are the prophets who announced the Virgin’s glorious destiny and kings from which they descend. Above, the Virgin Mary is shown in her last sleep, presided over by Christ and the apostles. Even further above, an angel crowns Mary while Christ, seated on the same throne as his mother, hands her a scepter: Mary becomes Queen of Heaven. Saint Denis can be seen carrying his head in his hands ; evangelizer of the Gauls and the first bishop of Paris, he was beheaded around 250 AD. In front of him, the patron and protector of Paris, Sainte Genevieve, holds a candle that a little devil tries to extinguish.

The Portal of the Last Judgment (in the center)
Jesus is depicted as the one who welcomes us to Heaven, while Mary and Saint John pray. At the bottom is the Resurrection, while in the middle we see the weighing of souls: elected officials are taken to Heaven by angels, others are taken to hell by demons. Christ is surrounded by the twelve apostles.

The Saint Anne Portal
This portal is dedicated to Mary's mother. Holding the baby Jesus, Mary is surrounded by angels bearing censers, a bishop (perhaps Sully) and a king (perhaps Louis VII). The sculptures narrate episodes from the life of Mary: the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity, the Adoration of the Magi. The grandparents of Jesus, Saint Anne and Saint Joachim, can also be seen.

Saint Etienne Portal
Located on the south side of the cathedral, the carvings on this portal tell the story of the saint's life. At the top, Jesus blesses Saint Etienne and welcomes him to Heaven. The medallions on the sides narrate scenes of student life in Paris in the Middle Ages.

The Cloister Portal
The sculptures of this portal depict episodes from the life of Mary: the birth of Jesus and the manger, the offering to the temple of Jerusalem, the persecution of children by King Herod and his flight, and Joseph’s escape to Egypt to protect their son.

Gargoyles and Chimera
Implemented at the end of the gutters to drain rainwater from the roof, the gargoyles of Notre Dame are very famous (see box "The Story of a Novel"). The chimeras, also numerous, are simply decorative. They are particularly numerous on the front of the cathedral, as if they are watching the passers-by and admiring Paris. These creatures, drawn with great imagination by Viollet-le-Duc, are fantastic birds, hybrid animals or monsters perched on the towers.

The Bells
In the South Tower is the great bell, cast more than 300 years ago, and baptized Emmanuel by Louis XIV. The bell weighs 13 tons. From the top of this tower, you can enjoy a magnificent view of the Seine, its banks and bridges. In the north tower, four smaller bells provide hourly chimes and announce services in the cathedral.


The Interior of the Cathedral

The Wall of the Chancel
The Wall of the Chancel is decorated with carvings depicting the life of Christ: the north side recounts his childhood, and the south side shows his resurrection. The missing stages of this work were destroyed.

The Rosettes
The Notre Dame Cathedral has three monumental rosettes. Made in the 13th century, they represent a masterpiece of technical and artistic work. The two largest are each 13 meters in diameter. It is said that to see its completion, the king Saint Louis delayed his departure a few months for the second crusade (in 1270) should he not return. They represent the flowers of Heaven. Two rosettes show the Virgin and Child, the third smaller one, Christ in Majesty. Colorful medallions surround the rosettes with a variety of characters and scenes (Prophets, Saints, Angels, Kings, field laborers, etc.).

The Organ
The organ in place today dates back to the 18th century. Restored in 1868 by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll under the authority of Viollet Le Duc, it finds a symphonic fullness with 86 sounding registers, 5 manuals and pedals. It underwent a complete restoration in 1992 and is now considered the largest in the country.

The Treasury
Full price / reduced price: €4 / €2
Open Monday to Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. ; Saturday: 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. ; Sunday: 1:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
See box "The Story of the Holy Relics" of the Sainte-Chapelle.


The Story of a Novel

The famous novel by Victor Hugo, Notre-Dame de Paris, published in 1831, tells a historic story rendered gripping by the imagination of the novelist. The novel reconstructs medieval life around the cathedral in the 15th century. An important part of the action takes place in the towers, and a prominent place is given to the bells and their famous bell ringer, Quasimodo. Defender of French heritage, Victor Hugo actively participated in the important campaign that led to the restoration of Notre Dame in 1845.


The Archeological Crypt
Website - tel: 01 55 42 50 10
Full price / reduced price: €8 / €6. Free for those under 18 years old
Open daily except on Mondays and holidays: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The entrance is located next to the Police Station. The archaeological crypt under the court of Notre Dame has many remains found during archaeological excavations in 1965, especially the remains of buildings that have occurred on the site from the ancient times to the 19th century.


Pont de l’Archevêché
Connects the Quai de la Tournelle to Notre Dame Cathedral

Crossing the Pont de l’Archevêché (Bridge of the Archdiocese) 
visitors will notice hundreds of engraved padlocks hanging on the railings. Like before on the Pont des Arts, couples hang locks on this bridge to immortalize their love.


In The Surrounding Area

Panthéon 

Place du Panthéon, 75005 Paris
Metro : Luxembourg or Cardinal Lemoine
- tel : 01 44 32 18 00
Full price / reduced price: €8.50 / €6.50. Free for EU citizens under 26 years old (free for non-EU citizens under 18 years old).
Opening times:
April through September: 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. ;
October through March: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Colonnade is open from April to October.
A certified ‘‘Tourism and Handicap’’ location. Classified as a National Monument. Guided tours available

"To great men, a grateful homeland" is the motto inscribed on the pediment of this monumental building, which combines Greek and Gothic architectural styles. This imposing civic temple built under Louis XV was originally a basilica dedicated to Saint Genevieve, but just as it was being completed, the Revolution gave it a different destiny. Transformed in 1791 into a mausoleum and finally consecrated as the National Pantheon in 1885 at the funeral of Victor Hugo (named after the square on which it is located), it also houses the tombs of Pierre and Marie Curie, Alexandre Dumas, Jean Jaurès, André Malraux, Jean Moulin, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Voltaire. In the crypt, an exhibition presents the life and work of those buried there.


Latin Quarter

Long ago in the vicinity of the university, founded in the 12th century, teachers and students alike spoke Latin. And the name stuck. Mainly a student neighborhood (the University of the Sorbonne, the College de France, prestigious schools and Sainte-Geneviève library are all located here), its history has been strongly marked by the events of May 1968 and the student revolt. Today it is a pleasant area for walking.

4th District

The 4th district of Paris is composed of a part of the right bank of the Seine and the islands (Ile de la Cité and Ile Saint Louis). This section focuses on the right bank and the Ile Saint Louis. The Ile de la Cité is covered in its own section.


Pont de la Tournelle
Connects the Quai de la Tournelle to the Ile Saint Louis
An earlier stone bridge built in 1656 had to be demolished to improve the flow of the Seine. The current bridge dates back to 1928. A statue of Saint Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris, adorns one of the piles.


Ile Saint Louis
75004 Paris
MMetro station: Pont Marie

Installed in 1725, today the Ile Saint Louis (Saint Louis Island) exudes a timeless charm that cannot be found elsewhere. This little pebble stuck between the two banks of the Seine is conducive to romantic walks and exploration of the picturesque scenery: quays, cobblestone streets, beautiful mansions with wrought iron balconies, gardens and cafés ... Before winning over more recent visitors, the Ile Saint Louis conquered artists and celebrities such as Baudelaire, Marie Curie and Camille Claudel with its uniquely Parisian flair.


Church of Saint Louis en L’Ile
19 bis Rue Saint Louis en L'Ile, 75004 Paris

tel : 01 46 34 11 60
Metro station : Pont Marie

Open daily : 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. / 2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Completed in 1726 in honor of Saint Louis, its construction took more than 60 years to complete. The church houses works of art from the 18th century, as well as a clock in its curious bell tower.


Pont de Sully (1876)
Connects the Quai de la Tournelle to Boulevard Henri IV

The present bridge, which the city owes to Baron Haussmann’s urban renovation, replaces a previous bridge destroyed in 1848. Its southern part is made of cast iron, and the northern part is made mostly of stone. It is the last bridge within the classified area to the east of the capital. From the south are beautiful views of the Ile Saint-Louis and the Notre Dame Cathedral.


Pont Marie (1604)
Connects the Ile Saint Louis to the Quais des Célestins and the Marais

At its construction, 50 houses were built atop the bridge. In 1658, the Seine flooded, carrying a part of the bridge and houses with it, taking 60 lives. The bridge was rebuilt shortly thereafter and a century later the remaining houses were finally razed.


Place de l’Hôtel de Ville
75004 Paris
Metro station : Hôtel de Ville

Though it was called the Place de Grève (Strike Square), the Place de l’Hôtel de Ville (City Hall Square) was mostly used for public executions. Today, it is open on all sides and is strictly a pedestrian zone. It is around this square that the city installs an artificial beach during the summer months for the "Paris Beach” event.


City Hall of Paris
Place de l'Hôtel de Ville, 75004 Paris

tel : 39 75
Metro station : Hôtel de Ville

Guided visits are available, to be booked in advance.

It is here that stand the municipal institutions of Paris since 1357, though the first official municipality dates back to 1246 (Saint Louis). Thereafter it was destroyed, rebuilt and enlarged several times. The current building was constructed in 1882 on the site of the old City Hall, which was burned by the Commune of 1871. The façade, in neo-Renaissance style, is decorated with important people of the city of Paris: artists, scientists and politicians.


Pont Notre-Dame
It connects the Ile de la Cité to the Quai des Gesvres

Just like the Pont au Change, the Pont Notre-Dame was built on a bridge site that has existed since antiquity. Several bridges were built and replaced until the 15th century, when one with houses and shops was constructed. Destroyed in 1499 during a major flood, the wooden bridge was replaced by a stone bridge in 1507. The new bridge continued to host around sixty houses and shops on several levels. In the 18th century the houses were destroyed and in 1853 a new bridge was built as part of Baron Haussmann’s redevelopment. The architect of this bridge, Jean Resal, also designed the Pont Alexandre III. Thereafter, the initial five arches were reduced to three in order to reduce the number of marine accidents they engendered.


Saint Jacques Tower (1523)
Square de la Tour Saint-Jacques, 75004 Paris
Metro station : Hôtel de Ville or Châtelet

The flamboyantly Gothic Saint Jacques Tower is all that remains of the Church of Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie that was destroyed in 1797. This sanctuary was the starting point of the pilgrimage of Saint Jacques de Compostela through Tours. Richly decorated, at the tower’s base sits the statue of Blaise Pascal, a statue of Saint Jacques le Majeur, many gargoyles and 18 statues of saints. Symbols of the four evangelists (lion, bull, eagle and man) sit at the four corners.


In The Surrounding Area

Centre Pompidou (outside the perimeter of the World Heritage site)

Place Georges Pompidou, 75004 Paris
Website - tel : 01 44 78 12 33
Metro station : Hôtel de Ville
Full price/ reduced price €14 / €11 Free for those under 18 years old.
Open daily except on Tuesdays : 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
A certified ‘‘Tourism and Handicap’’ location. Audio guide with magnetic loop available. Wheelchairs available for use. Guided tours are available. Tours and workshops for children ages 6 to 12. For information about educational activities: 01 44 78 49 13
360 ° panoramic view from the 6th floor (additional fee: €3). Shops and restaurants.

Initiated by President Georges Pompidou, (President of the Republic from 1969 to 1974), it was designed by architects Rogers and Piano and opened in 1977. Its unique post-modern edifice is a landmark of 20th century architecture. The Pompidou Center regroups one of the most important modern and contemporary art collections in the world with over 60,000 works : paintings, sculptures, graphic arts, photography, new media, film, design, architecture. It houses key works of the masters of modern art (Picasso, Kandinsky, Matisse, Chagall, Léger, Miro, Dali, Dubuffet, Klein ...) and major artists of the contemporary scene. This artistic abundance makes the Pompidou Center a unique multidisciplinary gallery.


The Marais (outside the perimeter of the World Heritage site)


A beautifully preserved historic district, the Marais is filled with a myriad of mansions, each more beautiful than the last, lavish gardens and hidden courtyards. Although it is not listed as a World Heritage site, the Marais has an exceptional history that reflects that of the city.

1st District

The 1st district of Paris extends west to east from the Tuileries Gardens to the Place du Châtelet. It is rich with museums, including the most famous of all: the Louvre. But the area also contains some of the city’s earliest religious monuments and gives us the airy and relaxing Tuileries Gardens.


Pont au Change
Connects the Ile de la Cité and the Place du Chatelet

It seems that a bridge existed here in ancient times; others then followed over the centuries. An important thoroughfare, it was one of the only ways to connect the island to the city that stretched across to the right bank. Its name comes from the moneychangers and goldsmiths from 17th century, but the current bridge dates back to1860.


Place du Châtelet (Châtelet Square)

This square was created at the site of the Grand Châtelet, ancient fortress used as a prison and court under the old regime. In the center of the square stands the Fontaine du Palmier adorned with sphinxes and statues (1858). It is surmounted by a column erected in 1808 in honor of Napoleon's victories.


Théâtre du Châtelet (1862)
2 Rue Edouard Colonne, 75001 Paris
Website  - tel : 01 40 28 28 40

Metro station: Châtelet, Cité or Hôtel de Ville

The Imperial Châtelet Theater was built at the request of Baron Haussmann during the same period as the current City Theater; the two face each other on opposite sides of the square. Initially dedicated to the theater program, it now hosts opera and classical music concerts.


Church of Saint Germain l’Auxerrois
2 Place du Louvre, 75001 Paris 

Website  - tel : 01 42 60 13 96
Open from Tuesday to Sunday : 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The first Church of Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois was destroyed during the great siege of Paris by the Normans in 885 and 886. Rebuilt in the 11th century and later restyled, it was finally completed in 1580.

The exterior

The façade of the church is decorated with statues, restored or replaced in the 19th century. In the center sits the Virgin and Child. To their left are Solomon, the Queen of Saba and Saint Vincent. To the right, Saint Germain, Saint Genevieve (the patron saint of the city) and an angel. The center of the façade is illuminated by a rose, and the truss is topped by a statue of the Archangel Michael. The church’s tower dates back to the 12th century.

The interior

Though rebuilt many times, the church has a large number of remarkable works of art and furniture dating back to the period between the 13th and 17th centuries.
Part of the stained glass dates back to the 16th century, and is found in both arms of the transept. To the north are illustrated scenes from the life of Christ. On the other side are scenes depicting the Incredulity of Saint Thomas and the Assumption of the Virgin. The statuary is particularly noticeable in the Chapel of the Virgin. One is Saint Germain, bishop of Auxerre (13th century), another, Saint Mary of Egypt (16th century). Above the altar stands a Madonna and Child from the 14th century and over the door of the tower, the Virgin called the Bird of the 15th century. At the entrance of the choir, two statues represent the patron saints of the building: Saint Germain and Saint Vincent (15th century). Two altarpieces dating from the 16th century are devoted to one of the episodes of the life of the Virgin, and the other to the Passion. In the 19th century the wall and the windows of the choir and the chapel paintings were added.
Regarding the furniture, of note in particular are the pulpit, the pew (17th century), and the organ from the Sainte-Chapelle (Holy Chapel)


Oratoire ( protestant temple)
145 Rue Saint-Honoré, 75001 Paris
Metro station: Louvre - Rivoli
Open on Sundays only

This temple was formerly a Catholic church. Representative of the 17th century churches in Paris, it showcases a Neo-classical organ from the 1930s.


In The Surrounding Area

Domaine National du Palais Royal (outside the perimeters of the Word Heritage site)

Jardin du Palais Royal, 6 Rue de Montpensier, 75001 Paris
- 
tel : 01 47 03 92 16
Open daily. October through March : 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. ; April and May: 7 a.m. to 10:15 p.m. ; June, July and August : 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ; September : 7 a.m. to 9 :30 p.m.

Free tour of the garden and courtyard. Guided tours available

Built for Cardinal Richelieu, the main body facing the Louvre was a royal residence during the 17th century. The work was completed and revised during the 18th and 19th centuries. The three wings that close the sides of the garden date back to the late 18th century.


Musée du Louvre
99 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris
Metro station: Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre. 
Main entrance at the Pyramid
Website  - tel : 01 40 20 53 17

Price : €15. Free for EU citizens under 26 years old (free for non-EU citizens under 18 years old).

This pass allows access to the permanent collections and to the temporary exhibitions at the Louvre and the Eugène-Delacroix Museum.
Opening times : Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday : 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ; Wednesday and Friday : 9 a.m. to 9 :45 p.m. ; Closed on Tuesdays
Shopping : Book store, museum boutique, shops, cafés and restaurants

The Louvre museum is one of the oldest, largest and richest museums in the world. Operating as a museum since 1793, the Louvre brings together works of Western art from the Middle Ages to 1848, of oriental ancient civilizations, of Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan and Roman graphic arts and of Islamic arts.
The Louvre is above all the crown gem of the kings of France, its emperors and its presidents. From the dark fortress of the late 12th century to the glass pyramid of I. M. Pei, opened in 1989, many have ruled Paris and almost all have left their mark. Since the construction of the Tuileries Palace a few hundred meters away until its demolition in 1871, a series of extensions were made to connect the two royal residences.


History of the Louvre

In the 12th century, at the current location of the museum, sat a powerful fortified castle marking the boundaries of the medieval city. At the time it was used as a military arsenal.
The "Low Room" is the only remnant of the medieval Louvre interior (13th century), but its original function remains unknown. Over the following centuries, mainly because of the Hundred Years War, fortifications were pursued and developed. Gradually the Louvre lost its protective role and was absorbed by the new surrounding neighborhoods. From the 16th century onward, important developments to this dark fortress transformed it into a sumptuous royal residence. Gardens were created and its interiors were decorated with sculptures, tapestries and woodwork. But the history of the Louvre took a final turn when François I decided to move to Paris in 1527. The Middle Ages then gave way to the Louvre Renaissance.

From the Louvre to the Tuileries
Construction near the Tuileries Palace (1572) accelerated the grand destiny of this exceptional architectural complex and gave the succession of kings a common goal over the years : link the two palaces.  In 1664, under Louis XV, the center of the monument already looked as it does today.

1793 : Opening of the Central Museum of Arts
The Central Museum of Arts opened its doors on August 10, 1793 and has since operated as a museum. The acquisition of collections made it necessary to expand into the numerous rooms and different floors of the building.
At first, the museum served to enrich the conquests of Napoleon (paintings and ancient sculptures from Italy) and then in the 19th century the following were opened in succession: the gallery of modern sculptures, the Maritime Museum, the Spanish Louis-Philippe gallery, the Assyrian museum, the Mexican museum, the Algerian and ethnological museum, museum of the sovereign, the Napoleon Museum (Campana collection), the rooms devoted to Susa (Iran), and finally the completion of the connection with the Tuileries Palace. But during the events of the town in 1871, the Tuileries Palace, symbol of royalty, was burned by the Communards. It was finally demolished in 1883.

Contemporary Period
In the 20th century, museum collections occupied the entire building, though during World War II the collections were evacuated and the museum was temporarily closed.  Some collections were moved into other more thematic museums of the capital, such as the Maritime Museum to the Palais de Chaillot and the Asian collections to the Guimet Museum. The Glass Pyramid, built by I. M. Pei, was inaugurated on March 30, 1989. Built in the center of the Napoleon Court, it became the main entrance of the museum. The Richelieu wing, the largest expansion since the museum’s establishment two centuries earlier, opened in 1993.


Museum organization

The former palace of the kings of France holds collections of the West and of Islam (up to the mid-19th century), and a selection of African, Asian, Oceanic and American arts. A universal museum, it houses 35,000 works divided into eight departments: Oriental antiquities; Egyptian antiquities; Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiquities; Islamic art; sculptures; works of art; paintings and graphic arts. In addition to these collections, there is a section on the history of the Louvre including the base of the tower and the medieval moat built by Philippe Auguste in 1190.


Visit the Louvre : the (many) options

Guided Tours
Guided tours of the Louvre (time : 1 hour, 30 minutes) are presented by speakers of the National Museums. You can discover the museum's collections through a selection of works from a specific period, or an artistic movement or theme (there are 43!). The different options would be impossible to detail here. But if you are preparing your first visit to the Louvre, the "Masterpieces of the Louvre" tour allows you to discover the most famous works of art. The architectural promenade allows visitors to understand the various facets of the Louvre. As for the musical tour, it leads visitors to the works of art that represent a dialogue between painting and music. In addition to these options, the Louvre organizes more specific tours. These lecture visits focus on a particular theme in the history of art, a period, a genre or an artist.

Discovering the Louvre with the family
Though it may seem tedious for children, every effort is made to ensure that the discovery of the museum is fascinating for all. The museum offers activities for children and families, introductions to artistic techniques, an auditorium for special presentations, a multimedia guide ... But above all, on Sundays and during school holidays, a facilitator offers 30 minutes of tips for discovering the works while having fun before attacking the museum’s many rooms and hallways. This is a good introduction to art for children 6 years old and up, as well as adults, and is a free service. Other free services for families include : strollers, baby carriers, wheelchairs and folding chairs, all available at the central information desk.

Workshops and tours for children
For children from 4 to 13 years old, the museum offers painting, modeling and photography workshops to demonstrate artistic techniques and learn more about different civilizations. Workshops for the whole family are available (6 years old and up), allowing adults and their children to discover and better understand the museum's collections.

Chilren’s Itinerary
Children can visit the museum using a toolkit along with a guided thematic course on sculptures and techniques, the role of light in a picture, etc.


Thematic Tour Example

The "Masterpieces of the Museum" tour invites you to discover 12 major works of the Louvre:

Remains of the Louvre’s moat, from Philip Augustus and Charles V 

Around 1200, fearing an English invasion, Philippe Auguste built a fortified castle on the outskirts of the city (see "History of the Louvre"). When Francis I decided to build a palace in the Renaissance style, the fortress was razed. Perfectly preserved in the Carrée Court, the remains of the moat were uncovered during excavations in the 1980s and presented to the public in 1989.

"The Great Sphinx of Tanis" (Department of Egypitian antiquities).
It was under the leadership of Champollion (who deciphered hieroglyphics) that the statue was acquired in 1826. Carved more than 4,000 years ago, mixing images of a lion and a king, this monumental work is a major technical and artistic masterpiece.

Aphrodite, known as the Venus de Milo
This sculpture is a representation of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty dating from about 100 BC. An impassive and emotionless facial expression and ideal physical proportions represent the beauty of the gods, the feminine ideal, and the pursuit of absolute beauty. Commonly called "Venus de Milo", its name comes from the name of the Greek island where it was unearthed in 1822. A truly timeless masterpiece.

The Winged Victory of Samothrace 

Discovered broken in 1863 on the island of Samothrace, this statue depicts the Greek goddess of victory, Nike. It was made around the 2nd century BC. The statue was visible from afar by ships and brought them the protection of the gods. Its proportions, gestures, staging, and flapping drapes express a search for a sincere artistic realism.

The Oath of the Horatii (1785)
This painting may be the masterpiece of neoclassical painting. By Jacques Louis David, the painting recounts an episode in the life of the Horatii sons more than 2,000 years ago. Light, staging, decor, intensity and rendering are so realistic that the painter seems to have been a spectator at the scene.

Consecration of the Emperor Napoleon and Coronation of the Empress Josephine
Napoleon Bonaparte commissioned this painting by Jacques Louis David to immortalize his coronation in Notre Dame on December 2, 1804. It took three years for the artist to finish his work. The scene takes place in the choir of the cathedral in a grandiose setting.
The return to reality was not Napoleon’s goal for the depiction, and indeed the scene seems fictional: his mother is present in the painting when in reality she was absent that day as she was angry with her son. The physical beauty of Napoleon and Josephine is greatly exaggerated and probably does not reflect reality. The artist, a diplomat as ever, clearly glossed over some harsh truths to serve the political purposes of the Emperor. The lighting in the scene is striking and the attention to detail is pushed to its climax.

An Odalisque (concubine), called La Grande Odalisque (1814) 

With this female nude, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres recounts his passion for the Orient, here enhanced by a harem woman. A recurring theme in his overall work, he does not hesitate to gloss over realistic details, and you will notice that the proportions of the woman do not reflect the real, anatomical proportions of a body. But what matters most to Ingres are the sensual curves he recreates in his painting. Too avant-garde for its time, it nonetheless inspired many painters and modern artists like Picasso.

The Wedding at Cana
We owe this monumental canvas to Veronese, brilliant painter of 16th-century Venice. It recounts the first miracle of Christ at the wedding at Cana. Relocated to a Venetian décor, this painting amazes in its use of color, contrast and perspective. In the right foreground there is a character pouring water into wine, and two characters behind him look on at the miracle. The painting depicts a rich pageantry and dishes, however this episode of the Bible is supposed to have happened in a much more modest setting.

The Mona Lisa
With this painting Leonardo de Vinci created one of his most remarkable works. Its exceptional pictorial technique, light setting, contours and aerial perspective are mastered to perfection. However, the aging canvas tarnished the bright colors originally used by the artist. The woman pictured represents the perfect woman, a platonic beauty. This is probably a portrait of Monna ("Lady") Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo, wife of Francesco del Giocondo, begun in Florence between 1503 and 1507.

The Raft of the Medusa
Theodore Gericault is a precursor of critical thinking applied to art. Creating a scandal upon its introduction in 1819, The Raft of the Medusa, with its captain adrift, is a metaphor for the unstable and unsure leadership at the time, a critique of royal power. In the image a huge wave prepares to engulf the survivors of the unstable raft, and in contrast to this destruction, the shape of Argus (a giant) looms in the background, ready to help, though from the images there is no way to know the final fate of the characters …

Liberty Leading the People (July 28, 1830) 

In this painting, Eugène Delacroix recounts an episode of French history: the revolutionary riots of July 1830. The symbol of the Republic in her Phrygian cap, waving a tricolor flag, leads the people to power, expressing the will of freedom. This painting was scandalous at its introduction, not for his political stance, but by the physical representation of the Republic. This naked woman who guides the men is far from the allegorical representations of the perfect woman and the ideal of feminine beauty advocated by the painters of the time. In the background, behind the barricades, sit the towers of the Notre Dame Cathedral.

The Captives (1513)
These sculptures belong to a group otherwise housed at the museum of the Academy of Florence. From Michelangelo, they were meant to compose a monumental fresco to adorn the tomb of Pope Julius II. In the end, this project was not completed. One can see their incompleteness in the many tool marks on the sculptures, or in the hand of the rebellious slave still trapped in the unsculpted marble.


Musée des Arts Décoratifs
107 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris
Website  - tel : 01 44 55 57 50
Metro station : Tuileries
Collectively called the 107 Museums, the Museum of Decorative Arts, the Museum of Fashion and Textiles and the Museum of Advertising are housed in the same locale.
Full price/Reduced price : €11/ €8.50. Free for those under 18 years old (permanent collection only)

Open daily except on Mondays: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. ; Thursday until 9 p.m.
An audio guide is included in the entry price. Wheelchair accessible. Tactile tours for the visually impaired. Multimedia library.

The Museum of Decorative Arts presents a comprehensive overview of the trends in decorative arts from the Middle Ages to the present day. It brings together productions from the greatest artists and craftsmen, whether carpenters, goldsmiths, potters, glassmakers or designers.


Le Jardin des Tuileries (The Tuileries garden)
Place de la Concorde, 75001 Paris
Metro station : Tuileries Concorde
Open daily. April, May and September : 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. ; June through August : 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ; October through March : 7 :30 a.m. to 7 :30 p.m. Free visits (in French) of the garden are organized on Sundays at 3 :30 p.m. from March to December, meeting point in front of the l’Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel du Louvre. Time : 1 hour, 15 minutes.

A beautiful park with many ancient and modern statues, French gardens, ponds and a maze. With its landscape art, its prospects and its sculptures, the garden offers the perfect setting for a break during your visit to the Louvre.

It is at this location that Catherine de Medici built the Tuileries Palace in 1564. At that time the palace already had a beautiful garden. A century later, landscape architect Le Nôtre redrew the park in a French style and opened a viewpoint toward the west, which later became the Champs-Elysees. In the 19th century, following the destruction of the palace, the Carrousel garden was created. The creation of these gardens significantly altered the urban organization of the city, marking the view of the Great Axis, which today extends from the Louvre to the Grande Arche de la Defense. The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, completed in 1808, was created on the model of the Roman arch of Emperor Septimius Severus. Its bas-reliefs recount the victories of Napoleon in the campaigns of 1805.

The Tuileries Garden offers a number of games and activities for children: small boats, trampolines, pony rides and a carnival in July and August.


Musée de l’Orangerie
Jardin des Tuileries, 75001 Paris
Website - tel : 01 44 50 43 00

Metro station: Concorde
  
Full price/ reduced price : €9/ €6.50. Free for EU citizens under 26 years old (free for non-EU citizens under 18 years old).
Open daily except on Tuesdays : 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Composed of two major collections, Waterlilies by Claude Monet and the Walter-Guillaume collection, the museum also has several masterpieces of modern art, from artists such as Renoir and Picasso.

Waterlilies

The Waterlilies collection is the expression of artistic thought by Claude Monet, the ambitious project of a painter who wanted to explore all the different variations of light in his garden at Giverny (Normandy).

Walter-Guillaume collection

This collection is a unique ensemble of classic-modern creations and impressionist paintings from the early 20th century.

8th District

The 8th district of Paris follows the great axis from the Louvre to the Place de la Concorde and continues outside the classified area to the Champs Elysées, opening royally toward the Arc de Triomphe.


Place de la Concorde
75008 Paris
Metro station: Concorde

Changed from Place Louis XV in 1755, then to Revolution Square, and finally to Place de la Concorde, it symbolizes reconciliation and national harmony. The largest square in Paris, it became, just after the Revolution, a trendy place for public execution. Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette, Danton and Robespierre were all guillotined there.

In the mid-19th century it took its current appearance, drawn by Louis-Philippe. The obelisk was given by the Pasha (viceroy) of Egypt. 3,300 years old, this monumental obelisk covered with hieroglyphics is 23 meters high as was erected in 1836. It took four years to arrive in France from Luxor.

Two monumental fountains adorned with mermaids and goldfish decorate the square: the Fontaine des Mers (Fountain of the seas) and the Fontaine des Fleuves (Fountain of the rivers) celebrate maritime and river navigation. It is composed of eight statues representing eight French cities.

Located at the foot of the Champs-Elysées, the square is now surrounded by prestigious hotels and fits nicely within the urban plan, respecting the view from the Tuileries to the Arc de Triomphe. Lighting up the dark in the age of electricity, the then prestigious square became a symbol of the City of Light.


Eglise de Sainte Marie Madeleine (Church of Saint Mary Magdalene)
Place de la Madeleine, 75008 Paris
Website  - tel: 01 44 51 69 00
Metro station: Madeleine
Open daily: 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

This sanctuary houses the revered relics of Saint Mary Magdalene, witness of the resurrection of Christ and announcer to the apostles.
The first church dedicated to Mary Magdalene dates back to 1492. The reconstruction of the church was decided in 1757, and was completed in 1842. Its appearance is more reminiscent of an ancient Greek temple than a church. Indeed, during its construction Napoleon made it a mausoleum for the Grand Army. Very far from the standards of the churches of the time, it has neither crosses nor outside bells but many Corinthian columns and two monumental gates. The construction of this monument was part of the vast global development plan of the west side of the capital, including the Place de la Concorde.
The church houses a magnificent Cavaillé-Coll organ. Concerts at night.


Petit Palais - Museum of Fine Arts
Avenue Winston Churchill, 75008 Paris
Website - tel:  01 53 43 40 00
Metro station: Champs-Élysées - Clemenceau
Open daily except on Mondays: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Free admission. Audio guides available.
Educational activities for children and families: Discovery tours, workshops, introductions to art, stories. For those with disabilities: tours in sign language or lip reading, tactile tours.

The Petit Palais is a gem of late 19th century architecture. Built like its neighbor, the Grand Palais, for the World’s Fair of 1900, it now houses the Museum of Fine Arts of the City of Paris. In addition to the undeniable charm of the building, it is the interior that surprises visitors.

Composed of paintings and sculptures from the early 20th century and celebrating the Art and the City of Paris, it took 20 years to complete its decoration. The entrance hallway is decorated with four panels: Mysticism, Physique, Thought and Matter. In the Great Gallery, the history of Paris is illustrated, from Antiquity to the French Revolution. Another mural tells the story of modern Paris. The decorated ceilings of the pavilions celebrate famous intellectual triumphs and women. The Dutuit Dome traces the history of French art, and is decorated with portraits of artists and their works. You will also notice the beautiful stained glass windows at the entrance rotunda and the large mosaic pavement created by the famous Italian artist Facchina. Finally, the interior garden invites you to take a well-deserved break among the female figures symbolizing the seasons.

The museum's collections span from antiquity to the 20th century and have a wide variety of works: paintings, sculptures and objets d’art. The ancient and medieval collections are presented alongside the works of the French and Italian Renaissance, as well as Flemish and Dutch works. The Petit Palais hosts a magnificent collection of French paintings from the 19th century from the greatest artists of the time (Delacroix, Monet, Sisley, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, Courbet).


Grand Palais
3 Avenue du Général Eisenhower, 75008 Paris
Website - tel: 01 44 13 17 17
Metro station: Champs-Élysées - Clemenceau
Prices vary depending on the collection
Open daily except on Tuesdays: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. ; Wednesday: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The Grand Palace was built for the World’s Fair of 1900, a showcase for arts meant to demonstrate the vitality of contemporary art in all its forms (exhibitions, cultural events, concerts, art market). Its architecture, iron and stone, made particularly impressive by the monumental glass of the nave, the largest in Europe. The monument also houses the Palace of Discovery and the National Gallery, homage to other forms of creativity: cultural, scientific and technical.
A self-guided family tour consists of questions for children and parents, a fun and creative way to discover this wonderful building.


Palais de la Découverte (Discovery Palace, for families)
Avenue Franklin D. Roosevelt, 75008 Paris
Website - tel: 01 56 43 20 20
Metro station: Champs-Élysées - Clemenceau
Full price / reduced price: €9 / €7. Free for children under 3 years old.
Open daily except on Mondays. Tuesday to Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., until 7 p.m. on Saturdays ; Sunday and holidays: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Educational activities available.

Discovery Palace, a family museum. Located behind the Grand Palace, the Palais de la Découverte is both a science center and museum for children. It features permanent and temporary exhibitions, as well as a planetarium addressing the fields of astronomy, astrophysics, life sciences, physics, chemistry and mathematics. Children can participate in workshops and attend scientific lectures in which they conduct experiments.


In The Surrounding Area

The Champs Elysees (outside the perimeter of the World Heritage site)
Who does not know of the street some call "the most beautiful avenue in the world,” which connects the Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe? The development of this boulevard began under Louis XIV, and we owe its beauty to André Le Nôtre, landscape architect who created the gardens of Versailles.

But it was only from the 19th century onward that the Champs Elysées became a district composed of luxurious mansions and beautiful gardens. It is situated near the Place de la Concorde, between the Grand Palais and the Palais de l’Elysée, residence of the presidents of the French Republic. The English gardens, laid out in in 1859, are lit by chandeliers, and fountains and groves make it a privileged walking path.

Today the street is lined with prestigious hotels, fashion boutiques, restaurants, cinemas, and large, prosperous companies, making it a temple of shopping for high-end consumers.


Arc de Triomphe (outside the perimeter of the World Heritage site)
Place Charles de Gaulle, 75008 Paris
  - tel: 01 55 37 73 77
Metro station: Charles de Gaulle - Etoile
Full price / reduced price: €12 / €9. Free for EU citizens under 26 years old (free for non-EU citizens under 18 years old)
Open daily. April through September: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. ; October to March: 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
A certified “Tourism and Handicap” location. Classified as a National Monument.

The Arc de Triomphe was completed in 1836 under Louis Philippe. It is dedicated to the armies of the Revolution and the Empire. Its architect (Jean-François Chalgrin) was inspired by the ancient Arch of Titus, but in monumental proportions: 50 meters high and 45 meters long. At its base, the flame of remembrance recalls the presence of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, buried here in 1921. From the 19th century onward, the Arc de Triomphe became a national symbol and the location of patriotic ceremonies. The sculptures that adorn it are the work of renowned artists: Cortot, Etex and Rude.

16th District

The 16th district of Paris is renowned for its luxury boutiques and lavish mansions. Part of this district, which is part of the classified perimeter, is focused around the Trocadero promenade and includes many museums. Though it is the monumental architecture of the early 20th century that really stands out. It is from here that visitors can take advantage of the best views of the Eiffel Tower.


Palais de Tokyo (1937)
13 Avenue du Président Wilson, 75016 Paris
Website - tel : 01 81 97 35 88.
Metro stations: Iéna and Alma-Marceau
Full price / reduced price: €10 / €8. Free for those under 18 years old
Open daily except on Tuesdays: 12 p.m. to midnight

The Palais de Tokyo houses the Museum of Modern Art and the Site de la Création Contemporaine, a cultural center focusing on the emerging, interdisciplinary and contemporary scene in various forms. Renovated in 2012, the Palais de Tokyo has become one of Europe's largest centers for contemporary art.


Museum of Modern Art

11 Avenue du Président Wilson, 75016 Paris
Website - tel : 01 53 67 40 00
Metro stations: Iéna and Alma-Marceau
Free permanent collections, also houses temporary collections
Open Tuesday to Sunday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ; Thursday: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The Museum of Modern Art, established in 1937, is located in a wing of the Palais de Tokyo. The collection illustrates the different trends in French and European art during the 20th century, especially from the 1950s onward, paying homage to the great figures of contemporary art (Picasso, Gris, Matisse, Giacometti, Braque Klein). It is also exposes all other trends of nonrepresentational art and artists of the new generation. The different creative forms presented are varied: painting, sculpture, photography, video.


Trocadéro Square

Trocadero square offers a remarkable view of the Eiffel Tower. Organized around the Fontaine de Varsovie, lined with English gardens, and bound by the sweeping curves of the Palais de Chaillot, it is a great place to relax and walk among sculptures and trees. It has also become a meeting place for skaters and skateboarders. The Fontaine de Varsovie, which stands in the middle of the garden, offers a permanent show of water cannons. The fountain is decorated with sculptures golden horses, bulls, and the sculptures "Man" by Traverse and and "Woman" by Bacqué.


Palais de Chaillot
Place du Trocadéro, 75016 Paris
Metro station: Trocadéro

Built for the World’s Fair of 1937, the Palais de Chaillot is composed of two buildings surrounding the Promenade of Human Rights. It has many cultural attractions: the Museum of Natural Sciences (now closed), The Museum of Architecture and Heritage, the Maritime Museum and the National Theatre of Chaillot.


Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine (Museum of Architecture and Heritage)
1 Place du Trocadéro et du 11 Novembre, 75016 Paris
Website - 01 58 51 52 00.
Full price / reduced price access to the permanent collections: 8€ / 6€. Free for EU citizens under 26 years old (free for non-EU citizens under 18 years old).
Open daily except Tuesday: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. ; Thursday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Guided tours, lectures and workshops available

The museum takes you on an interactive journey through the history of French architecture from 12th century architectural moldings and murals to architectural panorama from the 19th and 20th centuries. 


Musée national de la Marine (National Maritime Museum)
17 Place du Trocadéro, 75016 Paris
Website - tel : 01 53 65 69 53.
Metro station: Trocadéro
Full price / reduced price for permanent collections: €8.50 / €6. Free for EU citizens under 26 years old (free for non-EU citizens under 18 years old). Audio guide included in the entrance price.
Open daily except Tuesday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
A certified "Tourism and Handicap" location.

The Maritime Museum was created under Louis XV. This is one of the oldest and most comprehensive museums devoted to this subject in the world. It includes many models depicting the evolution of maritime history (figureheads, paintings), navigation instruments and valuable objects. An interesting and informative museum for veritable sailors or mere landlubbers!


Musée de l’Homme (Museum of Human History)
17 Place du Trocadéro, 75016 Paris
Website -  tel : 01 44 05 72 72
Full price/ reduced price: €10/ €8. Free for children under 12 years old.
Open daily excepted on Tuesday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., until 9 p.m. on Wednesdays.

The museum retraces the journey from the first appearance of man 150,000 years ago until present day, in a completely redesigned space.
Closed for renovations since 2009, to reopen in 2015.


CinéAqua (family)
5 Avenue Albert de Mun, 75016 Paris
Website - tel : 01 40 69 23 23
Metro stations: Trocadéro and Iéna
Full price / reduced price: €20.50 / €16 / 3 to 12 years old: €13. Free for children under 3 years old
Open daily: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

CinéAqua is the aquarium of Paris, as well as an animation and manga studio. Workshops for children available


Pont d'Iéna
Connects the Eiffel Tower and the Trocadero.

It was Napoleon who decided on its construction in reference to winning the battle of Jena in 1806. It was completed in 1814, linking the Military Academy to the right bank of the Seine. Four knights open access to the bridge at both ends. On the left bank: a Gaul and a Roman, on the right bank: an Arab and a Grecian. In the early 20th century it was expanded and consolidated. On the bridge piers, the tympanums are decorated with imperial eagles.

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