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.
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.
Millions of visitors come to see Musée d'Orsay's mammoth collection of French art every year. The building itself, called the Gare d'Orsay, was built as a railway station in 1900, is a striking Beaux-Arts edifice. At 138 meters long (453 feet) and 32 meters tall (105 feet), the opulent principal gallery of the ground floor is a reminder of the building's history. Among the masterpieces in this gallery are the Burial at Ornans by Gustave Courbet and the Gleaners by Jean-François Millet. Fans of impressionism should head directly up to the fifth floor, where works by the greatest masters of this genre can be found.
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.
The ground on which the Jardin du Luxembourg and the Palais du Luxembourg stand was originally the site of a Roman camp. In 1257, the Chartreux religious order bought the land and built a monastery here, while the princess regent Marie de Médicis had the palace built-in 1615. This is one of Paris' favorite gardens. Ornate fountains and lush lawns set against the backdrop of a palace look no less than magical. With a truly beautiful layout, the park is popular with students and residents in the city's Latin Quarter. Children can go on the vintage style carousel, play on swings and sail their toy boats on the octagonal pond. This park is a much-loved and popular meeting place.
Indisputably one of the most opulent buildings, the Palace of Versailles is the epitome of French royalty. Louis XIV commissioned architects Louis Le Vau and Jules Hardouin to build the Château de Versailles in 1664, on the site of his father's small hunting lodge. It became one of the largest palaces in Europe, accommodating up to 20,000 courtiers at a time. The interiors are extravagant and the highlights include the Royal Apartments and the world renowned Hall of Mirrors. The Grand Trianon (1687) and the Petit Trianon (1762) are also in the park. In the year 1919, the Hall of Mirrors played a significant role in world politics for being the place where the Treaty of Versailles was signed. An outstanding exemplar of the French Baroque architecture to this day, this UNESCO World Heritage Site palace enthralls visitors with its opulence and legends.
The romantic heart of France, one that is home to countless marvels that make a traveling spirit soar, is an eternal piece of iconography that is immediately both recognizable, yet full of surprises. On the banks of the river Seine, Paris is the enchanting home of 2.2 million people who live across its twenty arrondissements. A labyrinthine expanse of inexhaustible culture, architecture and history thrives along the riverside, while indelible symbols and stalwarts of art position themselves in venerated museums and galleries. Dominating Paris' soul-stirring skyline are monumental vestiges and landmarks that feed its charm and beauty – from the deeply iconic spire of the Eiffel Tower and the butter yellow facade of the Arc de Triomphe to the mysterious allure of the Louvre, and the French Gothic splendor of the Notre Dame. Forming part of its periphery, yet sparking instant association with the city are a host of other aspects that make Paris so great in stature; it is an evolved culinary hub, an international center for fashion, a metropolis seething with great artists, and a nexus of entertainment.
This splendid neo-Renaissance-style building is just minutes from the Seine and right in the heart of the capital. In 1260, Louis IX decided to endow Paris with the means of organizing its own affairs. Situated in Place de Grève (grève meaning 'strike' the square gets its name from discontented workers who often demonstrated here!), the building was used as the seat of government during the French Revolution, when a guillotine stood imposingly in front of its windows. Burnt to the ground during a working-class uprising in 1871, it was rebuilt 11 years later and became the current Town Hall. Crystal chandeliers, beautiful paintings and vast function rooms are all part of its sumptuous interior.
Hop aboard one of Batostar's electric vessels for a tour of the Seine and its islands. Immerse yourself in the rich history of Paris as you cruise through the city and take in the centuries of architecture and culture. The on-board bar and lounge offers light refreshments and delicious drinks. You can even book a vessel for a private event. Visit the website to find out times and pricing information.
Flanked by iconic French landmarks like the majestic Notre Dame and the Conciergerie, Marché aux Fleurs et aux Oiseaux has been in operation since 1808, making it the oldest and lone surviving floral market in Paris. Located in the heart of Ile de la Cité, the avenue sees an array of shops featuring exotic flowers, plants and shrubs. From primroses and orchids to violets and myrtles, the seasonal blooms paint a beautiful and tranquil picture in the tourist-dominated area. Open throughout the week, Sundays see bird traders set up shop with rare species of parrots, macaws, doves and budgies, as well as cages, seeds and accessories.
Dating back to 1912, it was among Paris's premier silent cinemas during that era. After a long closure during the World War II, it reopened as an auteur cinema hall. Over the many decades of its existence, Luminor Hôtel de Ville may have changed its name a few times, but its heart remained the same as an independent movie house. Showcasing independent films from all across the world wherein even catering to children, this cinema theater is among the best in the neighborhood.
This incredible theater was established by Régis Santon and five other actors in 1975. It is situated within an ancient medieval cave beneath the city streets of Paris. The plush red seats and modern lighting equipment are framed by the old stone walls, creating an enticing temporal dissonance that epitomizes modern France - the past and presents united as a vessel for French culture. Essaïon Théâtre offers a variety of productions including cabaret, theatrical productions, and tragedy as well as comedy shows.