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.
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.
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.
La Gaîté Lyrique is situated where the former Théâtre de la Gaîté was and has combined the original theater's facade into its new existence. This contemporary music and digital arts center opened in 2010. La Gaîté Lyrique is a seven-storeyed building with the first five available to the public while the last two are private, including artisan shops. This huge space has three performance venues, various exhibition spaces, a resource center, video gaming area and artist rooms. Majority of these areas are adaptable and movable such as the dressing rooms and offices. You'll find concerts, lectures, films, and workshops at La Gaîté Lyrique.
Founded in 1889, this legendary cabaret is known to the world over for being the birthplace of the famous French form of dance, can-can, forever immortalized in the paintings of French artist Toulouse-Lautrec. This landmark red windmill near Montmartre attracted the free spirits and artistic souls of Paris' Belle Epoque with its extravagant and risque performances. Although during World War I popularity dropped off, it rebounded greatly with the advent of the glitzy dancer Mistinguette, perhaps the cabaret's most iconic performer, in the 1920s. Today, the red lights of the Moulin Rouge still glow in Pigalle, where visitors can get a taste of Paris' Golden Age.
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.
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 space for dance and other performing arts is located under the Place Igor Stravinsky, on level -1 of the Pompidou Center. The theater is actually a part of the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (Institute for Research and Coordination of Acoustics and Music) founded in 1977. Concerts, theater plays and other shows are organized by this institute and presented in various theaters in Paris.
The Théâtre du Châtelet, with its beautiful 19th-century decor, is in fact a wonderful time machine, thanks to both its well-preserved aesthetic features and its ambiance. Classical music is the mainstay here, opera and ballet especially; the audience consists of many of those refreshing music lovers who have still not forgotten that one dresses for the theater and who firmly believe that good music has no need for modernity. Tickets must be purchased at least two weeks before the show.
This popular jazz bar is situated in the heart of the city. Baiser Salé opened in 1983 and has a warm, bustling atmosphere and a cozy concert room with excellent acoustics. This jazz hot spot has featured the debuts of many greats, including Angélique Kidjo, Émile Parisien, and Richard Bona. On show nights the bar fills up with a younger student crowd.