The Romano-Byzantine Sacre Coeur Basilica overlooks Montmartre, one of Paris's most picturesque districts. Its distinctive travertine stone dome rises up over the rooftops, allowing visitors to the basilica the perfect vantage point from which to survey the city. Within Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, often called Sacré-Cœur, visitors will find several interesting sites, including a mosaic of Christ, an elegant organ constructed by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, and a crypt. Commissioned by the Catholic Church, construction began in 1875 under the watchful eye of architect Paul Abadie, and was finally completed in 1914.
Underneath the glaze of the Parisian sky, the Eiffel Tower captures the dazzling spirit of its French capital. A magnificent wrought iron lattice tower that was originally built as an entrance to the 1889 World's Fair, the tower was designed by Gustave Eiffel after his inspiration was fueled by the pyramidal form of Egypt's historic landmarks. This comparison was met with ardent disapproval from several eminent Frenchmen before the tower came to be the celebrated global icon that it is known as today. At a stunning height of 324 meters (1,063 feet), the Eiffel Tower dominates the skyline as the city's tallest, and the country's second-tallest freestanding structure. Its majestic form sports three shades – darkest at the lowest level and colored in a light contrast as the tower ambles up to the top – an illusory mechanism adopted so as to complement its surroundings. The Eiffel Tower is one of the most winning sights in all of France, and even after more than a century, people continue to extol this monumental symbol of architectural beauty.
The Louvre Museum houses one of the largest collections of artworks and antiquities in the world. The museum is located inside the Louvre Palace, which was built in the 12th Century as a fortress by Philip II. After Louis XIV, he decided to move his court to Versailles, the palace was occupied by a variety of institutions related to the arts. The museum was first opened under the National Assembly in 1793. The establishment is divided into sections, including drawing, painting and sculpture, and houses antiquities from Egypt, Rome, Greece, and several other cultures. Visitors to the museum can explore its many wings and see some of the most famous works like the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and Liberty Leading the People.
Perched elegantly on Île de la Cité, Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris is as arresting as it is imposing. One look at the spellbinding architectural details, both inside and out, and you'll understand why it took nearly a century to complete, beginning 1160. Two monumental towers rise from it's western facade, marking the most intricately adorned portion of the cathedral. As a bonus, visitors can climb the 380 odd steps leading to the top of the towers for arguable the best views of the Parisian cityscape. Highlight of the cathedral's interiors are most certainly, the beautifully vivid rose windows in stained glass. History enthusiasts can also check out the archaeological crypt that exhibits interesting relics found in Paris. Considered to be a masterpiece of French Gothic architecture, Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris is deservedly one of the most visited of Paris' enchanting sights.
Located in the centre of the city within the Palais de Justice complex on the Île de la Cite, the Sainte-Chapelle (Holy Chapel) is a small Gothic chapel constructed in the Rayonnant style. Built by King Louis IX from 1238-1244, the chapel housed holy relics from the Passion believed to be Jesus' Crown of Thorns and a piece of the True Cross. These items were purchased from the Byzantine emperor Baldwin II in 1239 for a huge sum of 135,000 Livres (the church cost 40,000 livres to build) due to the King's desire to elevate France as the leader of Western Christianity. The Sainte-Chapelle provides visitors with a spectacular visual experience since the entire upper tier of the chapel is surrounded by enormous stained glass windows.
The Panthéon is a magnificent building that was built between 1764 and 1790, commissioned by King Louis XV and completed on the heels of the French Revolution. Not only is the building renowned for its Neoclassical architecture, but the Panthéon is also the resting place of famous individuals such as Victor Hugo, Voltaire and Marie Curie. The architecture is inspired by the Roman Pantheon, with the dome closely resembling that of the St. Paul's Cathedral in London. This is a must-visit for all visitors of Paris - not only for its grand history, but also the sheer beauty of the Panthéon.
Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant is the heart of the Disneyland Park in Paris. It is the counterpart to the original Sleeping Beauty Castle in the California Disneyland. The creation of the castle was a massive project. Inspiration was drawn from a Monastery of Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy, as well as the fanciful illustrations in the Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry. The authenticity is apparent in the structure with its towers and turrets, tapestries and colored glass. Peter Chapman, who had formerly worked on the restoration of Notre Dame, was in charge of the installation of the stained-glass windows.
Located in Meaux, a small town just outside of Paris, Meaux Cathedral stands against the test of time. After over three centuries of construction, the cathedral was finally completed in the 16th Century. Due to its lengthy span of construction, visitors can see multiple periods of Gothic architecture under one roof. The spacious interior rises nearly 30 feet (9 meters) and also features an organ dating back to the 17th Century. Meaux Cathedral is truly a sight to see.
Established in the 16th Century by a certain Antoine de Brennes is the Chateau de Gregy, which is now a ruined and dilapidated structure. The castle is located in the village of Seine-et-Marne, France and was rebuilt in the 19th Century by Antoine de Clairambault to add a few elements and a north wing. After him, the castle was owned by Ogden Codman, Jr., who was a renowned architect and decorator from America.
Château de Grosbois is a beautiful castle located in France. It can be dated back to the 17th Century and the architecture draws great influence from the designs of Jacques Androuet du Cerceau. There are three bridges that lead to the castle and it also features a moat. The castle attracts those who have a liking for history or architecture and is open to public visitation all round the year.
Villepinte is a commune and a suburb of Paris that is bountifully endowed with reminders of its historic and cultural heritage, yet is home to a modern community that is geared towards the future. From historic churches to magnificent mansions, architecture aficionados and history buffs are sure to find much to pique their interest here. Located within easy reach of the Charles de Gaulle Airport, and serviced by major highways and railways, Villepinte has quickly come to be a destination of choice for international businesses and travelers who are drawn by the commune's proximity to the Paris city center. A major attraction is the Paris-Nord Villepinte Exposition Center that hosts large-scale conferences and prominent events that attract participants from all over the world. Its proximity to the airport also means that accommodation is easy to find.