Sightseeing guide for Paris
Created in 1882, this museum hosts wax figures from celebrities from France and all over the world which are in today's news or out of the history books. The Hall of Mirrors Light and Sound show was created for the 1900 Universal Exhibition in Paris. It was moved to the Grevin in 1906 where it has fascinated thousands of visitors through successive generations.
Maxim's museum is situated in Maxim's restaurant. It hosts an impressive collection of furniture, earthernware, silverware, bronze artifacts, glassware and much more from the 1900. The museum evokes the grand Belle Epoque era with a furnished period apartment.
Foundation Cartier pour l'art contemporare
The Foundation promotes and helps the contemporary creation. Exhibitions of contemporary art from international artists, international exhibitions and donations are often organised here.
Institut du Monde Arabe
This museum is dedicated to the Arabo-Islamic art and civilization, from its origins to the present day. Numerous art objects, Koran calligraphies, miniatures, a collection of contemporary Arab art is hosted. The building was built along the Seine in 1987 by Jean Nouvel.
Musee de Notre Dame de Paris
The Museum relates the life of the City Island since Lutece (former name of Paris) through artifacts found in the archaeological crypt.
Catacombes de Paris
In 1785, six million bones from Parisian cemeteries were transferred to Montrouge and assembled in the former Montrouge quarries.The labyrinth of corridors covers a length of 1.7 km.
Maison de Balzac
In this house Balzac wrote "La Comedie Humaine". The museum presents personal memories belonging to the writer and his family, numerous original editions, manuscripts and illustrations.
Maison de Victor Hugo
Victor Hugo lived on the 2nd floor of the Hotel de Rohan-Guemenee from 1832 to 1848. He wrote some of his major works there such as Marie Tudor, Ruy Blas, Les Burgraves, Les Chants du crepuscule, Les Voix interieures, a large part of Les Miserables and many more. The visit of the apartment illustrates the three main stages of his life (before, during and after exile) through the display of his furniture, different memorabilia and some astonishing interior decoration produced during his exile in Guernesey. A rich library is also open to the public by appointment. The museum organizes seminars in the apartment of Victor Hugo and workshops for young visitors.
Musee Carnavalet | Musee de l'histoire de Paris
Opened in 1880, this museum is devoted to the history of Paris from its origins to recent times. Rich archaeological artifacts of the Gallo-Roman and Medieval periods, memorabilia of the French Revolution, paintings, sculpture, furniture and works of art that give the visitor a stong sense of how the private residences from the 15th to the 19th century looked like.
The Petit Palais was designed by the architect Charles Girault. Its collection offer a rare and wide range of works of art such as paintings, sculpture, tapestries and icons donated by Roger Cabal. Masterpieces by Delacroix, Monet, Sisley, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec and Courbet are displayed in this museum. The richness and diversity of the collections naturally endow the Petit Palais with an educational vocation, for the discovery and introduction to art.
Arc de Triumph
The Arc de Triumph was ordered by Napoleon in order to be able to celebrate his victories and march triumphant with his army in Paris. The arch is decorated with restorations of the victories of Napoleon. From the top you can admire the Champs Elysees and the Seine as well as all Paris.
The Champs Elysees was designed as part of a triumphal way out from the Tuileries and planted with elms a century before Napoleon planned the arch. Nowadays it is the most famous avenue in Europe and one the most beautiful ones.
Built on the site of the substantial remains of Palais des Capetiens, the Conciergerie bears witness to the remarkable civil architecture of the 14th century.This is the oldest prison in France and is where Marie Antoinette was imprisoned during the Revolution. Its four towers, Tour l'Horloge, Tour Bombec, Tour d'Argent and Tour de Cesa, border the Seine.
Place de la Concorde
The Place de la Concorde is the largest public square in Paris. Situated along the Seine, it separates the Tuileries Gardens from the beginning of the boulevard Champs-Elysees. The square was designed by Jacques-Ange Gabriel, Louis XV's architect. Construction of the square began in 1754 and was completed in 1763. Several decades after its construction, this square was to serve as a focal point for the bloodiest political upheaval in the history of France, the French Revolution. When the hordes of revolutionaries seized power, they renamed the square Place de la Revolution, tore down the statue of Louis XV and replaced it with a guillotine. Between 1793 and 1795, more than 1300 people were beheaded in public executions, including Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, Danton and Robespierre. Supplanting the guillotine is the powerful Obelisk of Luxor, a pink granite monolith that was given to the French in 1829 by the viceroy of Egypt, Mehemet Ali. The edifice, which once marked the entrance to the Amon temple at Luxor, is more than 3,300 years old and is decorated with hieroglyphics portraying the reigns of the pharaohs Ramses II and Ramses III. Installed in 1833, the Obelisk, weighing 230 tons and standing 22.83 meters high in the center of the square, is flanked on both sides by two fountains constructed during the same period.
The Grande Arche de la Fraternite is a monument in the business district of La Defense to the west of Paris. It is usually known as the Arche de la Defense or simply as La Grande Arche. An international design competition was launched at the initiative of French president Francois Mitterrand. A Danish architect designed the Arche which is almost a perfect cube.
The Eiffel Tower, an immense structure of exposed latticework supports made of iron, was erected for the Paris Exposition of 1889. The tower elicited some strong reactions, and a petition of 300 names, including those of Maupassant, Emile Zola, Charles Garnier (architect of the Opera Garnier), and Dumas the Younger, was presented to the city government, protesting its construction. It is generally agreed that one hour before sunset, the panorama is at its best. The Eiffel Tower at night is one of the great sights of Paris and shouldn't be missed.
The Jardin du Luxembourg is a magnificent green oasis on Paris' fashionable Left Bank. The formal gardens are filled with many statues, fountains and flowers. There is also a big playground and a puppet theater but you can also rent boats and sail in the ponds.
Notre Dame de Paris
Situated on the Ile de la Cite, and dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Notre Dame is a tribute to the early gothic architecture. The Christmas Mass is attended by thousands of people who listen to the choir singing carols in many different languages. The view of Paris from the tower is amazing.
The glass and metal paneled building was a product of an international design competition, won by Carlos Ott, a young Canadian born in Uruguay. Unfortunately, the specifications given to competitors required such sheer mass, that the bulky result could not possibly strike a harmonious note with the architectural context of its neighbours. Since its construction the rents on the neighbourhood have risen dramatically and the are has become very popular. Although there were many problems with the conductors and the music played in the beginning, nowadays the opera hosts some of the best music performers.
The sumptuous and prestigious Paris Opera building, designed by Charles Garnier in 1861 and completed in 1875, is one of the largest theater venues in the world. The stage (11,000 square meters with room for 450 players) and the 2156 seat capacity auditorium, whose ceiling was painted in 1964 by Marc Chagall are the main elements of the Opera. At the Musee d'Orsay, one may view a complete maquette. The main chandelier weighs six and a half tons, while 19km of halls and corridors wind over several levels. The structure is built on top of an underground lake and stream, which persist beneath its cellars. The tale "The Phantom of the Opera" was set here. Since the opening of the Opera Bastille, the Opera Garnier has devoted its repertoire exclusively to ballet. Though its productions are internationally renowned for their quality, they tend to remain on the traditional side of contemporary dance. Previously the ballet was directed by Rudolf Nureyev. The Ballet de l'Opera de Paris and the Opera National de Paris schedule some performances here and some at the Opera de la Bastille.
Pantheon is actually a temple devoted to all the great men of France such as Voltaire, Rousseau, Mirabeau, Marat, Victor Hugo, Emile Zola, Soufflot and Jean Moulin.
Basilique du Sacre Coeur
Built in the Romano-Byzantine style as an act of penance following France's defeat by the Prussians in 1870, this basilica offers a panoramic view of Paris. Its construction began in 1875 and was completed in 1914.
From its 56th floor you will be able to admire the amazing view to Paris. The Montparnasse district used to be a center of culture and arts but nowadays this has changed. The skyscraper offers the perfect opportunity to explore Paris from above.
Place des Vosges
Place de Visges is Paris' oldest square and it is surrounded by 36 houses of considerable historical significance. Place des Vosges is a perfect architectural achievement as it forms an exact square and the buildings surrounding it are completely symmetrical.
Center Georges Pompidou
The Georges Pompidou museum is housed in a building that is practically reverserd, the outside facade is the interior of the building. Stairs, air ducts, water-pipes and huge steel scaffolds form its external facade. As a result the interior is wide enough and spacey to host very important works of contemporary art. Matisse, Picasso, Miro and Pollock are some of the artists that their works are displayed in the museum.
The building that houses the Louvre museum collection was once a fortress made by Phillipe-August in 1190 to protect the city from the attacks of the Vikings. As the years passed by and different emperors inhabited the palace, the building went under many constructions to obtain its today's form. The latest add to the palace was the glass pyramid in the central yard which is actually the entrance to the museum. The Louvre collection consists of 8 sections: the collection from the Far East, Islamic art, Egyptian antiquity, Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiquity, paintings and sculpture. World famous masterpieces such as the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, the Venus of Milo (sculpture from the Greek antiquity), the self-portrait of Albrecht Duerrer, paintings by El Greco and the code of Hammurabi and many more are on display here.
The Picasso museum was firstly opened in 1986 due to the fact that the French government inherited many of his works since he lived in Paris for a very long period of his life. The museum is housed in a 17th century mansion in Marais. The collection includes works of art from his blue, pink and cubist period of Picasso. Works like "the Kiss", "two women running by the beach" and a self-portrait are some of his works displayed in this museum.
In 1986 the building designed by Victor Lalou opened as the Orsay museum. This building formerly was the central train station of Paris and it was almost turned down but fortunately was saved from demolition. Today, it houses a magnificent collection of works of art, paintings, sculptures, antiques, furniture and even a maquette of the Opera Garnier in Paris. Rodin, Renoir, Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Gaugin, Degas, Delacroix and many more artists exhibit their masterpieces in this beautiful museum. There are also temporary exhibitions held here and you can marvel the excellent view to the Seine and the Louvre from its upper floors.