(Various locations - see Le Guide Vert)
Four parks/monuments commemorating la gloire of French kings. Included are Place des Vosges, Place de la Concorde, Place Dauphine, and Place Vendôme.
|"Among other things, I learned that Paris has beautiful royal places (squares). Upon our arrival in Paris, and under the guidance of Sophie (our magnificent tour guide), we set out to discover four of the city’s Places Royales. The first was Place des Vosges: a beautiful serene, concealed square dating back to the 17th century. Place des Vosges is an excellent example of the brick-and-stone architecture of Henri IV and Louis XIII. Next was Place Dauphine, which is located at one end of Ile de la Cité. Place Dauphine is an intimate triangular shaped plaza also dating back to Henri IV. Place Vendôme and Place de la Concorde were the last on our tour. Place Vendôme, currently one Paris’ most luxurious destinations, is a giant rotunda with beautiful Louis XIV buildings that house some of the fancier stores and hotels in the world (Cartier, the Ritz). Place de la Concorde is Paris’ most impressive square characterized by the majestic obelisk in the center, splendid fountains, and beautiful buildings all around. All these squares are worth visiting. However, if you prefer the quiet, intimate setting, Place des Vosges and Place Dauphine are your best bets." (OJ)|
Arc de Triomphe
(M: Charles de Gaulle-Etoile)
Originally intended as a memorial commemorating Napoleon's victories, the world's most famous triumphal arch now houses the tomb of the unknown soldier. Standing 164 feet high, it lies at the head of the Champs-Elysées, and paves the road to La Défense.
|"This is one of my favorite Parisian monuments. From any angle you look at it, you are going to be amazed (I was). It is in the center of one of Paris’s busiest intersections (Etoile), so you should be careful when you visit. What I recommend is to try and see it from other monuments: The Eiffel Tower, the Tour Montparnasse, La Défense, Place de La Concorde, the Tuileries, and so on. Each view is great!" (OJ)|
(Ile de la Cité, M: St. Michel, Cité)
This majestic church is the apotheosis of French art. A Gothic masterpiece, its sparkling stained glassed rose windows, high towers and numerous flying buttresses make this cathedral unique.
|"Whether you’re religious or not, I guarantee that you will enjoy a visit to Paris’ Notre-Dame Cathedral. It is located right in the center of Paris, on what is called Ile de la Cite. Notre Dame is what I consider the poster-child of gothic architecture. Inside and outside, the cathedral is an architectural marvel. On the outside, make sure to take a look at the front of the cathedral, but also the rear – both views are equally impressive, but entirely different. I particularly enjoyed studying the gargoyles on the outside. For the inside, take a tour around the cathedral, and then stop and admire the rose windows and the main altar. I found it a good investment of my time to go to the church during mass – the choir was excellent!" (OJ)|
(M: Bir-Hakeim, Ecole Militaire)
Built for the World's Fair of 1899, the Eiffel Tower was the world's tallest building until 1931. Now the symbol of Paris, it is also its most visited monument with over 6 million visitors per year. It also hosts one of Paris's most chic restaurants.
|"The Eiffel Tower is a work of art - and every sight you get is bound to impress you. I remember that everytime the we got a good view of the tower- regardless of how many times we had seen it- we simply stood in awe and admired the tower's beauty. The Eiffel Tower is graceful, majestic, and simply stunning. No wonder it is Europe's most visited monument! If you want to get the best view of Paris, make sure you go up the tower on a clear day - it's definitely worth the € 10.50!" (OJ)|
(M: St-Michel, Cluny-la-Sorbone)
This is the heart of the Quartier Latin. It is most famous for its crypts below the building housing Voltaire, Rousseau, and the renowned French writer Victor Hugo.
Place de la Opéra, M: Opéra
Ordered by Napoleon III, and designed by Garnier in 1862, the Opéra Garnier is one of Paris's most impressive and luxurious buildings. This architectural marvel draws visitors for performances and admiration alike. The Opéra houses occasional operas and is the home to France's national ballet.