Paris Attractions-continue

Written by Lisa Alexander 

7 Place de la Concorde

Place de la Concorde
Place de la Concorde
Created between 1755 and 1775 by the architect of King Louis XV, this impressive octagonal square is at the heart of 18th-century Paris. With its majestic dimensions, the Place de la Concorde is one of the most beautiful squares in the city. It was the scene of several key historical events, including the execution of King Louis XVI, and it was part of Napoleon’s triumphal route. The square offers sensational views of the triumphal route towards the Arc de Triomphe and the Défense, and towards theLouvre as well as to the Madeleine and the Palais-Bourbon. At the center is anEgyptian obelisk that was presented to Charles X by the Viceroy of Egypt. During summer, there is a Ferris wheel here. The Place de la Concorde is a busy intersection with heavy traffic, circulating at high speeds. French drivers don’t always pay attention to pedestrians, so make sure to get out of the way. To arrive at the Place de la Concorde, walk from the Louvre through the Jardin du Tuileries or the Rue du Rivoli, or follow the Quai along the Seine River. Alternatively take the Métro to Concorde station.

8 Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe
Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe is dedicated to the victorious French armies of the Revolution and the First Empire. Napoleon ordered the building of this mighty structure in 1806 but did not live to see its completion in 1836. Designed by JF Chalgrin, the arch features reliefs with larger-than-life-size figures, which depict the departure, victories, and glorious return of the French armies. Particularly noteworthy is the relief by François Rude on the Champs-Elysées front, Departure of the Volunteers of 1792, also known as The Marseillaise, illustrating the troops setting out, led by the winged spirit of Liberty. On the inner surface of the arch are the names of more than 660 generals and more than a hundred battles. From the viewing platform, there are panoramic views of the 12 avenues, which radiate from the Place de l’Etoile, including the route from the Champs-Elysées to Place de la Concorde and the Louvre. It’s possible to see all the way to La Défense, Montmartre, and the Eiffel Tower. At the foot of the Arc de Triomphe is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, dedicated in 1921 as a memorial to the dead of World War I. Every evening at 6:30pm, a small delegation of soldiers rekindle the flame at the tomb, and every year on November 11, the anniversary of the Armistice of 1918, there are ceremonies commemorating those who perished in both world wars.

Address: Address: Place Charles-de-Gaulle, 75008 Paris (Métro: Charles-de-Gaulle-Etoile)

9 Sainte-Chapelle

Sainte-Chapelle
Sainte-Chapelle
In the Palais de Justice on the Ile de la Cité, Sainte-Chapelle is considered a rare jewel of the Middle Ages. This masterpiece of High Gothic architecture was built from 1242 to 1248 for King Louis IX (Saint Louis) to house the precious Christian relics, which he had acquired from the Byzantine Emperor. The altar displays a relic of the Crown of Thorns. The chapel is renowned for its exquisite stained-glass windows, which give the sanctuary an iridescent glow and serene aura. The colors and light symbolize divinity and the Heavenly Jerusalem. Sainte-Chapelle is rarely used for mass but often serves as a venue for concerts. Listening to classical music in this space is truly an inspiring spiritual experience. To find the chapel, enter the iron gate of the Palais de Justice and walk through the inner courtyard.

Address: Address: 4 Boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris (Métro: Notre-Dame-des-Champs or Vavin station)

Saint Chapelle - Floor plan mapSaint Chapelle Map

10 Luxembourg Gardens

Luxembourg Gardens
Luxembourg Gardens
The Luxembourg Gardens are the best known park in Paris after the Tuileries. The gardens were laid out in the 17th century when the Palais du Luxembourg was built, but they were given their present form in the 19th century by the architect J.F. Chalgrin. The central feature of the park is the large octagonal pond with a fountain, flanked by two elegant terraces lined with statues. This part of the park is laid out in the French classical style, with many chairs spread about for visitors to use. The park is very popular with Parisians for relaxing and picnicking especially the students of the Latin Quarter. Another key feature is the picturesque Fontaine de Médicis, hidden under trees opposite the east front of the palace. The 17th-century fountain basin has a Renaissance monument featuring the river gods of the Rhône and the Seine and is a reminder of the former owner, Marie de Médicis. The large pond is popular with small children who use it to sail miniature boats (the boats can be hired at a kiosk by the pond), while other children enjoy the Grand Guignol, a traditional marionette show. In the southwest of the park near the tennis courts, the Théâtre du Luxembourg seats 275 and presents charming puppet shows in French.

Address: Address: 19 Rue de Vaugirard (and Rue de Médicis) 75006 Paris (Métro: Luxembourg or Odeon)

11 Sacré-Coeur and Quartier Montmartre

Sacré-Coeur and Quartier Montmartre
Sacré-Coeur and Quartier Montmartre
Sitting at the highest point in Paris like an ornamental decoration, the Basilique Sacré-Coeur has a special aura. Its alabaster facade blends Romanesque and Byzantine styles, and from far away, it looks like a wedding cake (which is its nickname). Inside the Basilica, the striking mosaic of Christ with a flaming heart gives the sanctuary an emotional and spiritual intensity, fitting for a church that was created as a symbol of hope after the Franco-Prussian War. The sanctuary is illuminated with many candles, which provide a contrast to the dark, somber ambience. Visitors can spend time on the terrace admiring the lovely views of Paris or climb the tower for an even higher perspective. The Esplanade that leads up to the church is a popular area for people to hang out and is often animated by street musicians. While visiting the Sacré-Coeur, it’s worth spending time exploring Montmartre. Once a little medieval village in the country, Montmartre has an old-fashioned charm with an avant-garde edge. During the Belle Epoque, the village of Montmartre began to attract famous artists such as Toulouse Lautrec and Edgar Degas. The Bohemian spirit of Montmartre is still found in its charming squares and cobblestone streets, especially around the Place du Tertreand the Carré Roland Dorgelès. There are also many excellent art museums including the Musée du Montmartre and the Espace Dali.

Address: Address: Basilique Sacré-Coeur, 35 Rue du Chevalier-de-la-Barre, 75018 Paris (Métro: Abbesses)

12 Panthéon

Panthéon
Panthéon
Originally built as a church, the Panthéon is the national memorial and burial-place of France’s great men. In 1756, King Louis XV commissioned the architect Jacques-Germain Soufflot (1713-80) to build a new church on the site of the ruined abbey of Sainte-Geneviève, and the church was completed in 1790. The architecture of the Panthéon marks a clear break from the playful Rococo of the Louis XV style and instead presents a more somber Neoclassical style. The Panthéon was the first building in Paris that sought to return to the architectural simplicity of classical antiquity. This monumental building set the standard for the period before and after Napoleon, and inspired the creation of other massive structures such as the Arc de Triomphe, the Madeleine, and the Bourse. The philosophers Voltaire and Rousseau and the writers Victor Hugo and Emile Zola are buried here.

Address: Address: 19 Place du Panthéon, 75005 Paris (Métro: Luxembourg station)

13 Place de Vosges

Place de Vosges
Place de Vosges
In the charming Marais district, the Place des Vosges is Paris’ oldest public square, spaciously laid out in harmoniously uniform style. This elegant square provided a model for other squares such as Place Vendôme and Place de la Concorde. The Place de Vosges was constructed between 1605 and 1612 and was originally called Place Royale because it was filled with aristocratic residences. Typical of Renaissance architecture, the square has a pleasing symmetrical form with uniform houses of red brick, stone detailing, and pitched slate roofs.

The Place de Vosges offered a splendid setting for festive occasions in the 17th century, such as tournaments, state receptions, and court weddings. It was also a favorite spot for duels, in spite of Cardinal Richelieu’s ban on dueling. The celebrated courtesan of Louis XIII’s reign lived at number 11, and the future Madame de Sévigné was born in 1626 at number 1 on the square. The Place de Vosges lies in the atmospheric Marais Quarter, a historic area with medieval and Renaissance palaces. The stunning Picasso Museum is housed in the Hôtel Salé, a graceful 17th-century mansion. The Marais has become a trendy quarter and has a significant Jewish community. For a luxurious experience, stop at the Mariage Frères (30 Rue du Bourg Tibourg). This exquisite tea salon serves its aromatic tea with savory and sweet delicacies; its adjoining shop sells a wide selection of the finest teas in Paris. Many tourists also enjoy the falafel shop, L’As du Falafel (34 Rue des Rosiers), but prepare to wait in line. Also worth noting: The Marais is one of the few areas of Paris where most shops and boutiques are open on Sundays.

Address: Address: Place des Vosges, 75004 Paris (Métro: Saint-Paul or Bastille station)

14 Place Vendome

Place Vendome
Place Vendome
This graceful square was laid out by Jules Hardouin-Mansart, one of the leading architects of the “Grand Siècle” under King Louis XIV. Originally, the square was called Place Louis le Grand. The facades of the houses were built between 1686 and 1701. The original intention was that the royal academies, the Mint, the Royal Library, and a hotel for foreign envoys would be installed in the square; but due to financial difficulties, the King was forced to sell the buildings to nobles and wealthy citizens. The new owners built beautiful mansions with courtyards and gardens. The charm of the Place Vendôme is that it has retained the consistency of the overall design, which combines regal ostentation with civic simplicity. Following careful restoration in the early 90s, it has been restored in all its splendor. The square is known for its upscale jewelry shops including Boucheron, Chanel, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Cartier. Another luxury establishment here is the Ritz Hotel, which was frequented by Ernest Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald, and Gertrude Stein. At the center of the square, the 44-meter high bronze column, Colonne de la Grande Armée, recalls the glorious deeds of the French army.

Address: Address: Place Vendôme, 75001 Paris (Métro: Tuileries or Opéra station)

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