Famous for housing the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Arc de Triomphe is a site of memories, current events, and celebrations. Construction of the Arc de Triomphe began in 1806 and was completed thirty years later. Standing in a direct line between the Louvre and the Grande Arche de la Défense, the monument links the past with the present and offers amazing views of the city from atop the arch. Many of France's famous leaders, dictators, writers, and artists have passed under its arch on the way to their final resting place, including Napoleon and Victor Hugo. A closer look at the arc reveals six evocative reliefs carved into its historic facade, portraying key highlights and events that transpired during the French Revolution and Napoleon's reign.
Completed in 1989, Louvre Pyramid marks the entrance to the world-famous Louvre Museum. The stunning architectural monument was dreamed up by Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei who is also famous for designing the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, the east building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Miho Museum in Japan. The pyramid reached a height of 21.6 meters (71 feet) and is flanked by other, smaller pyramids. Built completely out of glass panes held together by metallic poles, the pyramid has become one of the most recognizable and iconic structures not only in Paris, but also globally. A gateway to one of the biggest art museums, the Louvre Pyramid is thronged by tourists.
Originally known as Place Louis-XV, this square was constructed between 1755 and 1775 based on the design of Ange-Jacques Gabriel. Renamed Place de la Révolution in 1792, a guillotine was installed and 2800 executions took place including that of King Louis XVI. Louis-Philippe christened it Place de la Concorde in 1830. The Louqsor obelisk, a gift from the Viceroy of Egypt to King Charles X of France, has been standing in the center of the square since 1840. The 19th-Century also saw the addition of eight statues representing France's largest cities and the two fountains. The square is home to one of Paris' most prestigious hotels, the Hôtel Crillon.
Palais-Royal has a storied past, evolving from a palace for Cardinal de Richelieu to a debaucherous hideout under the leadership of Louis XIV's brother to a center for new ideas and innovative thinkers during the Age of Enlightenment. Revolutionary Camille Desmoulins solidified the role of Palais-Royal as a historic locale by gathering a crowd and planning a rebellion at the Palais arches. Today, this palace features a serene garden and hosts the Ministry for the Arts and the Council of State.
Located in the 7th arrondissement, the St Francis Xavier of the Foreign Missions Church was constructed in 1894. Its parish dates from the time when Hôtel des Invalides had just been completed, and the surrounding area was just unkempt woods. The church's facade is inspired by the Italian renaissance, and its interior rejects the Gothic style in favor of channeled columns and wide bending arcs. From time to time the church hosts choral and classical concerts.
Surrounded by shady arcades that shelter beautiful boutiques, this square, situated in the heart of the Marais, is one of Paris' unmissable sights. Place des Vosges is perfectly symmetrical, measuring 140 meters (459 feet) by 127 meters (416 feet). Stone and brick houses, whose almost identical facades are all crowned by steep slate roofs, border its quasi-rectangular shape. Designed by Henri IV, it used to be the favored sight for duels. Famous people also lived in the area, including the Cardinal de Richelieu and the writer Victor Hugo.
This church, while retaining its function as a sacred space, is rendered utterly modern by the character and design of its architecture. Created by André Schulz in 1993, the simple, straightforward appearance creates a welcoming atmosphere in an original fashion. Respect for the past is shown through traditional symbols such as a lightwell bringing rays of sunlight into the church, and a stone from the Basilique Saint-Denis incorporated into one of the walls. The sunlight streaming through the lightwell and through eight colorful stained-glass windows makes the place a pleasant center of contemplation and meditation.
The La Ferté-sous-Jouarre memorial rests by the Marne river outside the La Ferté-sous-Jouarre commune. It was built in 1928 in the memory of the 3739 unclaimed soldiers of the British Expeditionary Force from the British Isles, and thus is also known as the Memorial to the missing. The graves are arranged as per rank and regiment. The sarcophagus is made of a white rectangular rock and has inscription of war trophies: ‘Their name liveth for evermore.’
The arboretum of École du Breuil is a vast complex containing 1300 trees of 500 different species and varieties. This beautiful arboretum is located in the Bois de Vincennes beside the Du Breuil horticultural school. It benefits from a wonderful quietness which squirrels and rabbits appreciate too! All the trees are labeled: you will see conifers, oaks, lime trees, poplars, etc. There are display panels about location of the different species, ecology and fauna. It is possible to have a guided tour as well as take gardening courses. Don t miss the pond and the Cercidiphyllum japonicum (its leaves smell of caramel in autumn), the Eucalyptus largiflorens (black gum) with autumn red leaves as well as the cunninghamia, a rare Chinese conifer.