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Pont Neuf is one of the oldest bridges which stretches across the river Seine. Ironically Pont Neuf, translated into English means 'new bridge'. Standing at the western point of the Île de la Cité, (island of the city), the Pont Neuf bridge connects the left and right banks of the city. The bridge was officially inaugurated in 1607, by King Henry IV. The attraction and specialty of Pont Neuf is that, it was one of the first to have pavements. Parisians love to socialize and hang out here, and hence there is no doubt that the bridge is one of the most visited spots in the city.
Keeping up with the 19th-century passageway trend in Paris, butchers Véro and Dodat built the arcade between Rue de Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Rue de Croix-des-Petits-Champs in 1826. One of the first to benefit from gas lighting and one of the last few surviving passages in the city, Galerie Véro-Dodat retains much of the majestic splendor that characterized it at its time of origin. Marble columns, black and white checkered flooring, frescoes and paintings on the ceiling illustrate the Neoclassical school of architecture. Frequented by Parisian elite, it is lined with a plethora of boutiques specializing in designer fashion, quaint antiques, furnishings, home decor and art. The historical landmark is worth a visit to explore, if not to shop.
The Louvre Museum houses one of the largest collections of artwork and antiquities in the world. The museum is located inside the Louvre Palace, which was constructed in the 12th Century as a fortress by Philip II. After Louis XIV 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 separated 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 famous works like the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and Liberty Leading the People.
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 the dome of the St. Paul's Cathedral in London. This is a must-visit for all visitors of Paris - not only for the grand history, but the sheer beauty of the Panthéon as well.
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.
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.
The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel punctuates the splendid landscape of one of Paris' iconic squares. Within stumbling distance of the Musée du Louvre and the ornamental gardens on Place du Carrousel, this triumphal arch is a must visit. Built in 1806, it is an ode to the glories of Napoleon I's army and is inspired by the Arch of Constantine in Rome. Two arches flank a taller central arch, and the perimeter of the 19-meter (63-foot) monument is surrounded by eight Corinthian columns. Statues of soldiers cap the columns and bas-reliefs representing battles are carved on the pediment. The quadriga on the top is reminiscent to the Horses of Saint Mark at St Mark's Basilica.
For connoisseurs of architecture in Paris, La Madeleine is a must visit. Pierre Constant d'Ivry began the construction of this monument in 1764, and it was completed by one of his colleagues. It was looted during the French Revolution and Napoléon I later decided to transform it into a temple in the memory of his glorious army. Eventually, this structure was instead dedicated to St. Mary Madeleine. One of Paris' most famous churches, its impressive façade is made up of 52 20-meter (65-foot) Corinthian columns, while inside its nave is magnificently crowned by three cupolas. Sculptor Charles Marochetti's marble statue the Ravissement de Sainte-Madeleine overlooks the high altar, giving it a unique splendor. Classical concerts are occasionally organized at this church.
Even for locals, the Montparnasse tower offers a fairytale view of the city. It is accessible thanks to Europe's fastest elevator that whisks you to the top in just 38 seconds. From here, 209 meters (685 feet) up, or from the bar/restaurant on the 56th floor, the panorama extends for miles. Situated above Montparnasse train station, the tower is home to offices and businesses. Just by the restaurant is an exhibition that traces the history of Paris since 1858.
Established in 1900 for the Worlds Fair Exhibition, Grand Palais stores a great treasury of history within its boundaries. The beautiful structure has attracted many a tourist through the years and why not, the architecture is breathtaking. The glass ceiling and walls allow a flood of natural light to immerse the objects within. There's a lot for you to explore here: Nef du Grand Palais, Palais de la découverte and Galeries nationales du Grand Palais.
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.
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.