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Best Free Sites in Paris

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Canal Saint-Martin

Stretching from the Square Frédérick Lemaître, near the Place de la République, to the Rue Lafayette and the charming pool of the Parc de la Villette, this canal enables boats to take a shortcut through the 10th arrondissement past a long loop of the Seine. Since its creation in 1825, the canal has been made famous by artists and film directors. It was notably featured in Jeunet's Amélie. Today, tourists in Paris love to walk along the banks to watch the barges float by and navigate the nine locks along the length of the canal. You could also grab a hot cuppa at the Hotel du Nord, and reminisce about the fascinating day spent along the canal.

Paris, France
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Place de la Concorde

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.

Paris, France
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Palais Bourbon

Palais Bourbon in Paris is home to the French National Assembly. It is a beautiful historic building with Renaissance architecture. It was formerly a palace constructed for the daughter of Louis XIV. This beautiful structure was designed by Lorenzo Giardini and Jules Hardouin-Mansart. It is also known as the maison de plaisance and it overlooks the river Seine. Hôtel de Lassay, next to this building is the official residence of the National Assembly's President. Palais Bourbon has a beautiful collection of paintings, sculptures, medals and furniture. Guided tours for big groups can be organized.

Paris, France
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rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré

Many remarkable art galleries and boutiques are found on the Faubourg Saint-Honoré, an avenue of upscale commerce in Paris. For art enthusiasts, a walk down this avenue becomes a truly memorable experience. The galleries, which are mostly concentrated between Place St-Phillipe-du-Roule and Avenue de Marigny, offer some of the most exceptional work by contemporary artists and beautiful French furniture. This avenue also supports Paris' reputation as a world center for fashion as many famous designers such as Givenchy and Chanel maintain boutiques here. A walk along the avenue of Faubourg Saint-Honoré, filled with impressionist art and pulsating fashion, is guaranteed to leave an impression.

Paris, France
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Père-Lachaise Cemetery

Paris' most famous cemetery gets its name from Louis XIV's religious adviser, Père-Lachaise, who previously owned the historic property the cemetery is built on. In 1804, the city decided to turn the land it had acquired into a cemetery, the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise. 70,000 graves are interred here with memorial sculptures and ornate tombstones decorating the 44-acre (17-hectare) garden. Famous people buried here include authors Marcel Proust, Oscar Wilde and Honoré de Balzac, singers Edith Piaf and Jim Morrison (whose grave is one of the most visited), and renowned composer Chopin. Among the many 19th-century sculptures and monuments is the Mur des Fédérés, which was placed in memory of the 147 rebels shot here on May 28, 1871 during the Paris Commune.

Paris, France
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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.

Paris, France
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