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Notable Architecture

Top Rated Attractions in Champagne & Brie Region

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Eiffel Tower

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.

Arc de Triomphe

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.

Sacré-Cœur Basilica

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.

Palais Garnier

Palais Garnier, named after the architect who designed it in 1862, was immortalized by writer Gaston Leroux in his book Phantom of the Opera. The architecture is a mixture of baroque, classical, Greek and Napoléonic styles. Adorned with mosaics, the foyer has a cupola decorated by painter Marc Chagall and an impressive Rococo staircase, which leads to the theater's magnificent reception rooms. Outside, four stone statues represent allegories of Music, Lyric Poetry, Lyric Theater, and Dance. Since the opening of the Opéra Bastille, the Palais Garnier has concentrated on dance.

Les Invalides

This vast complex was founded in 1675, at Louis XIV's request to take in French ex-servicemen and handicapped war veterans; these men are the invalides commemorated by the building's name. It was the first French hospital-turned-home to be built entirely for soldiers. The building is adorned with a classical facade, a delightful little garden, a large courtyard and an impressive esplanade. An erstwhile hospital that cared for hundreds of disabled ex-servicemen, the complex also now houses the Eglise du Dôme, Tomb of Napoleon, the Musée de l'Armée, the Musée de l'Ordre de la Libération and the Musée des Plans-Relief.

Louvre Pyramid

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.

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