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It is situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-deFrance region (or Paris Region, French: Région parisienne). The city of Paris, within its administrative limits (the 20 arrondissements) largely unchanged since 1860, has an estimated population of 2,211,297 (January 2008), but the Paris metropolitan area has a population of 12,089,098 (January 2008), and is one of the most populated metropolitan areas in Europe. Paris was the largest city in the Western world for about 1,000 years, prior to the 19th century, and the largest in the entire world between the 16th and 19th centuries. Paris is today one of the world's leading business and cultural centres, and its influences in politics, education, entertainment, media, fashion, science, and the arts all contribute to its status as one of the world's major global cities. It hosts the headquarters of many international organizations such as UNESCO, the OECD, the International Chamber of Commerce or the informal Paris Club. Paris is considered one of the greenest and most liveable cities in Europe. It is also one of the most expensive. Paris and the Paris Region, produce more than a quarter of the gross domestic product of France. According to 2008 estimates, the Paris agglomeration is Europe's biggest or second biggest city economy and the sixth largest in the world. The Paris Region hosts the headquarters of 33 of the Fortune Global 500 companies, the highest such concentration in Europe, hosted in several business districts, notably La Défense, the largest dedicated business district in Europe. The Paris region has the highest concentration of higher education students in the European Union, is the first in Europe in terms of research and development capability and expenditure and is considered one of the best cities in the world for innovation. With about 42 million tourists annually in the city and its suburbs, Paris is the most visited city in the world. The city and its region contain 3,800 historical monuments and four UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Here's the 5-day plan for total enjoyment of this wonderful city:
Romantic gardens. Take a walk through bridge Pont d’léna Trocadéro Gardens is a 10-ha (25-acre) public garden opposite Eiffel tower on the other side of the Seine. The building on the north end is called Chaillot Palace (Palais de Chaillot) .The park descends gently from the palace to the Seine and the Pont d'Iéna. Beautiful trees, quiet walkways and bridges over small streams make it a romantic place to take a stroll. The highlight of the park is the rectangular pool lined with stone and bronze statues. The park was established in 1937 for the International Exposition dedicated to Art and Technology in Modern Life. Walk along the romantic garden , admire the statues, fountains, and the flowering trees. It is one of the best spots for taking the unmissable photo of the Eiffel tower.
The most spectacular view of Paris
The Eiffel Tower (French: La Tour Eiffel, [tuʁ ɛfɛl], nickname La dame de fer, the iron lady) is a puddle iron lattice tower located on the Champ de Mars in Paris. Built in 1889, it has become both a global cultural icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world. The tower is the tallest building in Paris and the most-visited paid monument in the world; millions of people ascend it every year. Named after its designer, engineer Gustave Eiffel, the tower was built as the entrance arch to the 1889 World's Fair. The tower stands 324 metres (1,063 ft) tall, about the same height as an 81-storey building. During its construction, the Eiffel Tower surpassed the Washington Monument to assume the title of the tallest man-made structure in the world, a title it held for 41 years, until the Chrysler Building in New York City was built in 1930. However, due to the addition, in 1957, of the antenna atop the Eiffel Tower, it is now taller than the Chrysler Building. Not including broadcast antennas, it is the secondtallest structure in France, after the Millau Viaduct. The tower has three levels for visitors. Tickets can be purchased to ascend, by stairs or lift, to the first and second levels. The walk from ground level to the first level is over 300 steps, as is the walk from the first to the second level. The third and highest level is accessible only by elevator. Both the first and second levels feature restaurants. TIP:To avoid 1hr waiting in queues go to http://www.eiffel-tower.com/ and buy tickets in advance (€9.3-13.4). The Eiffel
Tower has 3 floors. Before buying your ticket you have to decide whether you only want to go to the second floor or you want to visit the top floor as well. You have two options for getting to the first and the second floor: take the stairs or the elevator. To get to the top floor you have to take an elevator from the second floor (there is no direct elevator from ground level to the top floor). On the second deck usually there is a line to the elevator to the top. If you buy your ticket online you can jump the queue only at the main entrance (go straight to the reserved entrance), but from the second floor the elevator to the top is the same line for everyone (in case of bad weather the access might be restricted). The lines seem to be shorter at night and the tower and city are beautifully illuminated.
Parc du Champ de Mars
Great view on the Eiffel tower.Take a walk on Avenue de Tourville to Musée Rodin
The Champ de Mars is a large public greenspace inParis, France, located in the 7th arrondissement, between the Eiffel Tower to the northwest and the École Militaire to the southeast. The park is named after theCampus Martius (“Mars Field”) in Rome, a tribute to the Roman god of war. The name also alludes to the fact that the lawns here were formerly used as drilling and marching grounds by the French military. TIP: It is one of the best spots for taking the unmissable photo of the Eiffel tower
The famous The Thinker is on display. http://www.musee-rodin.fr/ Take a walk to the Army Museum and Tomb of Napoleon
TIP: Visiting only the gardens costs 1 € .You can save money by purchasing the Musée d'Orsay-Musée Rodin combined
ticket for 12 € (both museums must be visited on the same day)
Hotel des Invalides+Army Museum and Tomb of Napoleon
One of the largest collections of military objects http://www.invalides.org/ Take a walk through bridge Alexandre III - arch bridge that spans the River Seine, widely regarded as the most ornate, extravagant bridge in Paris.
Les Invalides in Paris, France, is a complex of buildings in the city’s 7th arrondissement containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building’s original purpose. The buildings house the Musee de l’Armee, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musee des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musee d’Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the burial site for some of France’s war heroes, notably Napoleon Bonaparte.
Walk to the south side of the Hotel des Invalides (next to the Dome Church) to reach the ticket office. Enter the Dome Church and make sure to collect your free audioguide . Visit Napoleon's Tomb in the spectacular Dome Church. Continue your visit in the Army Museum. TIP: One single ticket 9 € gives access to the following museums: Musée de l'Armée, Tomb of Napoleon I, Historial Charles de Gaulle (closed on Mondays), Scale-Models Museum, and Order of the Liberation Museum
Grand & Petit Palais
Grand Palais has a splendid glass roof
Le Grand Palais (“Big Palace”) is a large glass exhibition hall that was built for the Paris Exhibition of 1900. All of the exterior of this massive palace combines an imposing Classical stone façade with a riot of Art Nouveau ironwork, and a number of allegorical statue groups. Le Petit Palais (Small Palace) is a museum in Paris, France. Built for the Universal Exhibition in 1900 to Charles Girault‘s designs, it now houses the City of Paris Museum of Fine Arts.
One of the most famous streets in the world. Take a walk to Arc de Triomphe http://www.champselysees.org/
The Avenue des Champs-Élysées (French pronunciation: [av(ə)ny de ʃɑXzelize] ( listen)) is a busy street. With its cinemas, cafés, luxury specialty shops and clipped horse-chestnut trees, the Avenue des Champs-Élysées is one of the most famous streets and one of the most expensive strips of real estate in the world. The name is French for Elysian Fields, the place of the blessed dead in Greek mythology. The Avenue des ChampsÉlysées is known as "The most beautiful avenue in the world", La plus belle avenue du monde in French. The avenue runs for 1.91 km (1.18 mi) through the 8th arrondissement in NE Paris, from the Place de la Concorde in the east, with the Obelisk of Luxor, to the Place Charles de Gaulle (formerly the Place de l'Étoile) in the west, location of the Arc de Triomphe. The Champs-Élysées forms part of the Axe historique. One of the principal tourist destinations in Paris, the lower part of the Champs-Élysées is bordered by greenery (Carré Marigny) and by buildings such as the Théâtre Marigny and the Grand Palais (containing the Palais de la Découverte). The Élysée Palace is slightly to the north, but not on the avenue itself. Further to the west, the avenue is lined with cinemas, cafés and restaurants, and luxury specialty shops. The Champs-Élysées ends at the Arc de Triomphe, built by Napoleon Bonaparte to honour his victories.
Arc de Triomphe
Breathtaking views of Paris
The Arc de Triomphe (Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile) is one of the most famous monuments in Paris. It stands in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle (originally named Place de l'Étoile), at the western end of the Champs-Élysées. There is a smaller arch, the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, which stands west of the Louvre. The Arc de Triomphe (in English: "Triumphal Arch") honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. The Arc de Triomphe is the linchpin of the historic axis (Axe historique) – a sequence of monuments and grand thoroughfares on a route which goes from the courtyard of the Louvre, to the Grande Arche de la Défense. The monument was designed by Jean Chalgrin in 1806, and its iconographic program pitted heroically nude French youths against bearded Germanic warriors in chain mail. It set the tone for public monuments, with triumphant patriotic messages. The monument stands 50 metres (164 ft) in height, 45 m (148 ft) wide and 22 m (72 ft) deep. The large vault is 29.19 m (95.8 ft) high and 14.62 m (48.0 ft) wide. The small vault is 18.68 m (61.3 ft) high and 8.44 m (27.7 ft) wide. It was the largest triumphal arch in existence until the construction of the Arch of Triumph in Pyongyang, in 1982. Its design was inspired by the Roman Arch of Titus. The Arc de Triomphe is so colossal that three weeks after the Paris victory parade in 1919, (marking the end of hostilities in World War I), Charles Godefroy flew his Nieuport biplane through it, with the event captured on newsreel.
Take the underpass to access the arch. Never attempt to cross the chaotic and dangerous roundabout from the Champs Elysées! Climb the steps to the top of the Arch On the way up do not miss the small museum presenting the history of the monument. Enjoy the sublime view of the 12 avenues starting from the arch
END OF DAY 1
Musée du Louvre
The world's largest museum. http://www.louvre.fr/ Museum hours : open every day,except Tuesday and certain holidays.Pyramid entrance: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Porte des Lions entrance: 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., except Tuesday and Friday. Entrance: 9.5 € Take a walk to Tuileries Garden
Officially known as the Grand Louvre, The LouvreMusem (Musee du Louvre in French) is one of the largest, most visited museums in the world as a historical monument. As a central landmark in Paris, France it is settled in the 1st arrondissemen on the Seine Right Bank. In an area with 652,300 sq feet (60,600 square m.), about 35,000 works of art from prehistorical times to the 19th C. are proudly demonsrated.
Louvre Museum is located in the Louvre Palace (Palais du Louvre). Built under Philip II in the12th C, it was only a fortress of which the remnants are still open to easy view. To build the present Louvre Palace, it was broadened numerous times. TIP: Buy tickets in advance through www.louvre.fr. OR: In order to avoid the long lines approach the museum from the Palais Royal Musee du Louvre metro station. The underground exit takes you directly to the gallery. There is a Tabac shop where you can buy your tickets. Enter the musuem through 'Passage Richelieu' on rue Rivoli. The other option to avoid the long lines is to go in through the pyramid down into the main lobby. Head straight for the ticket machines rather than the kiosks. The machines only take cash but are simple to use. If you already have your ticket - bought it in advance or you have a museum pass – use either the 'Passage Richelieu' entrance located at 93 rue de Rivoli or 'Porte des Lions' entrance on the opposite side of the 'Passage Richelieu' entrance Be prepared that the museum is always very crowded; especially in front of the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. Visit in the evening on a late opening day (Wednesday and Friday). If you go after 6pm on these days the entrance fee is lower and you avoid the huge crowds and tourist groups. Make sure not to miss Venus de Milo, The Turkish Bath, The Card Sharper, The Lacemaker, Winged Victory of Samothrace, Mona Lisa and the Virgin of the Rocks or one of these masterpieces:
01.Near Eastern Antiquities: The Birth of Horus Stela of Naram-Sin Blessing Genius Gudea,Prince of Lagash King Asurbanipal on his Chariots 02a.Greek: Eos & Memnon Miletus torso Apollo Sanroctumis Diana of Versailles Heracles & cretan bull 02b.Roman The Tiber Statue of Marcellus 02c.Hellenistic Venus de Milo Hercules resting Nike Hermaphroditus asleep Portarit of Alexander Fighting warrior Inopos,Alexander the Great 03a.Sculptures France 17-18 Prometheus Bound Milo of Croton 03b.Sculptures France 19 Diana of Anet Spartacus Philopomen 03c.Sculptures Italy The Slave Cardinal de Richelieu Cupid & Psyche 04a.Paintings Flemish Charles I @ the hunt The Virgin of Chancellor Rolin The Moneylander & his wife 04b.Paintings Spanish The Countess del Carpio Christ on the cross adored by the donors The young beggar 04c.Paintings French The raft of the Medusa Pierrot Liberty leading the people Saint Joseph the Carpenter The death of Sardanapalus The three graces The consecration of Napoleon Una odalisque Le Bain turq Saint Francis of Rome/Poussin Diana leaving her bath Rinaldo & Amida Alexander in Babylon Portrait of Francois I Louis XIV Napoleon visiting the plague stricken Jaffa Eliezer & Rebecca/Poussin The rape of Sabine women/Poussin Summer or Ruth & Boaz/Poussin Gabriell d’Estrees & her sister 04d.Paintings Dutch The lacemaker 04e.Paintings Italian The Virgin & Child with St. Anna The Virgin on the rocks St. Sebastian Mona Lisa Madonna & Child in majesty surrounding The coronation of the Virgin The Pastoral concept Man with a glove The entombment of Christ Old man & young boy 04f.Paintings German Self portrait by Duerer Erasmus by Hans Holbein
Beautiful public gardens Take a walk to Musée de l’Orangerie for next
The Tuileries Palace (French: Palais des Tuileries) was a royal palace in Paris which stood on the right bank of the River Seine until 1871, when it was destroyed in the upheaval during the suppression of the Paris Commune. It closed off the western end of the Louvre courtyard, which has remained open since the destruction of the palace.The site is now the location of the Tuileries Garden (French: Jardin des Tuileries). After the death of Henry II of France in 1559, his widow Catherine de’ Medici (1519–1589) planned a new palace. She began building the palace of Tuileries in 1564, using architect Philibert de l’Orme. The name derives from the tile kilns or tuileries which previously occupied the site. The palace was formed by a range of long, narrow buildings with high roofs that enclosed one major and two minor courtyards. The building was greatly enlarged in the 1600s, so that the southeast corner of the Tuileries joined the Louvre.
The Tuileries is Paris' oldest and most lavish garden. Its royal roots stretch to the 16th century, when Marie de Medicis commissioned a palace behind the Louvre. Henry IV and Louis XIV would pursue construction and the palace housed the last monarchs of France, until it was burned down in 1871. The elaborate royal gardens remained. Today, the gardens are the starting point of a gorgeous and edifying walk from the Louvre to the ChampsElysées, forming what is referred to as the "triumphant line". The gardens also feature sumptuous sculptures by Rodin and Maillol and eye-catching, artful symmetry. Great for kids, too. The Jardin des Tuileries is a formal Paris garden that is stamped with history-- often of the bloody variety. The since-destroyed royal palace at Tuileries was stormed and pillaged during the revolution of 1789 and was later occupied by the last kings of France. In 1871, another revolution led to the arson of the Tuileries. Today, the remaining gardens are a major source of fresh air and greenery, and kids adore the carnival set up here each summer. Much like the Luxembourg gardens, Tuileries is an Italian-style park marked by the influence of the Medicis family. The gardens are filled with dramatic statuary and perfectly-symmetrical shrubbery, reflecting the Renaissance preoccupation with bringing rational design to nature. The Tuileries gardens stretch west toward Concorde and the Champs-Elysées and are the starting point of the "Triumphant Line": a nearly straight path leading from the Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe and the Grande Arche de la Defense west of Paris. Pomp abounds here, making for great perspectives. Jardin des Tuileries Highlights: Statuary by Rodin and Maillol can be admired amid elegant flowers and shrubbery just west of the Louvre, near the park entrance and around the "Grand Carré" fountain. Enjoy stunning views of the Seine from the Terrasse du Bord de L'Eau at the south end of the gardens. Dramatic statues are flanked by stairways and greenery near the octogonal basin at the park's central-west end. The Musee de l'Orangerie and the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume hold major exhibits through the year.
Musée de l'Orangerie
Monet's Water Lillies series is on display.
Opening hours: Daily: 10am - 6pm, Tuesday: Closed, May 1 and Dec 25: Closed • Admission: 7.5 €
Take Metro line 11 to Rambuteau station for next The collection includes paintings from Cézanne, Renoir, Picasso, Rousseau, Matisse, Derain, Modigliani, Soutine, Utrillo and Laurencin. Start your visit on the ground floor where you can enjoy the collection of impressionist paintings by various artists. Continue the tour at the top floor that presents Monet's 'Water Lilies' series in two oval rooms. TIP:You can save money by purchasing the Musée d'Orsay-Musée de l'Orangerie combined ticket for 13 € (this ticket is valid during 4 days)
Centre Georges Pompidou
Unique, futuristic building
Opening hours: Daily: 11am - 9pm, Tuesday: Closed, May 1: Closed • Admission: 12 €
Take a walk on Rue de Renard to Hotel de Ville for next
It houses the Modern Art Musuem (Musée National d'Art Moderne), Europe's largest of its kind. The center was designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers in high-tech architecture style. It became famous for its unique architectural approach of having its structural elements on the outside. It is named after Georges Pompidou, 2nd president of the 5th French Republic , who decided its creation . One fo the most popular features of the building is the colorful, snake-like escalator .The colorful Stravinsky Fountain was inspired by the composer's ballet The Firebird (1910): the bird spins and sprays water Admire the unique design of the impressive modern building. Walk to the colorful Stravinsky Fountain on the right side of the building. Head back to Pompidou Center and take the outside escalator up to the top level for a fantastic view of Paris TIP:The entrance to the Modern Art Museum is on the fourth floor and to the cinema is on the first floor. Large signs usually indicate the whereabouts of temporary exhibitions
Hotel de Ville
Beautiful Renaissance style building. Take Metro line 14 to Madeleine station (Direction:
Saint-Lazare ) for next
The Hotel de Ville (City Hall) is the building housing the City of Paris’ administration. Standing on the Place de l’Hôtel de Ville (formerly the Place de Grève) in the city’s IVe arrondissement, it has been the location of the municipality of Paris since 1357. It serves multiple functions, housing the local administration, the Mayor of Paris (since 1977), and also serves as a venue for large receptions. The Mayor of Paris is Bertrand Delanoë, since 2001. Hotel de Ville is the town hall of Paris built from 1873 to 1892 in French Renaissance style. Two previous buildings stood here (1357-1533, 1533-1871). The present building is a reconstructed of the former one that was burnt down by Common extremists in 1871. From the outside it is an exact copy of the 16th-century building; from the inside it was newly designed based on standards of its time. The square in front of the building, a pleasant place now, used to be a site of horrible executions. The assassin of Henri IV, Ravaillac, was quartered here alive in 1610. Enjoy the beautiful building from outside. TIP: In wintertime, an ice skating rink is built on the place de l'Hotel de Ville. The building is beautifully illuminated in the night.
Roman Catholic church with a unique design.
Opening hours: Monday - Saturday: 7:30am - 7pm, Sunday: 8am - 7pm • Admission: Free http://www.eglise-lamadeleine.com/
Take a walk to Opéra Garnier for next
L'Église Sainte-Marie-Madeleine, or simply La Madeleine, is a church dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene in Paris. It was designed as a classical temple to the glory of Napoleon's army. Two false starts were made on building a church on this site. The first design, commissioned in 1757 with construction begun in 1764, was by Pierre Contant d'Ivry, and was based on Mansart's Late Baroque church of Les Invalides, with a dome surmounting a Latin cross. In 1777 d'Ivry died and he was replaced by Guillaume-Martin Couture, who decided to start anew. He razed the incomplete construction and based his new design on the Roman Pantheon. At the start of the Revolution, however, only the foundations had been finished and work was discontinued, while debate simmered as to what purpose the building might serve in Revolutionary France: a library, a ballroom, and a marketplace were all suggested. In 1806 Napoleon made his decision, commissioning Pierre-Alexandre Barthélémy Vignon to build a Temple de la Gloire de la Grande Armée (Temple to the Glory of the Great Army) based on the design of an antique temple. The existing foundations were again razed and work began anew. With completion of the Arc de Triomphe in 1808, the original commemorative role for the temple was blunted. After the fall of Napoleon, with the Catholic reaction during the Restoration, King Louis XVIII determined that the structure would be used as a church. Vignon died in 1828 before completing the project and was replaced by Jacques-Marie Huvé. In 1837 it was briefly suggested that the building might best be utilized as a train station, but the building was finally consecrated as a church in 1842. Today, the Madeleine is affiliated with a Benedictine abbey. Daily masses, concerts and the most fashionable weddings in Paris are celebrated here. A simpler crypt offers more intimate weekday masses. The Madeleine is built in the Neo-Classical style and was inspired by the Maison Carrée at Nimes, the best-preserved of all Roman temples. Its 52 Corinthian columns, each 20 metres high, are carried around the entire exterior of the building. The pediment is adorned with a sculptured relief of the Last Judgment by Lemaire; the church's bronze doors bear reliefs
representing the Ten Commandments. Inside, the church has a single nave with three domes, lavishly gilded in a decor inspired by Renaissance artists. At the rear of the church, above the high altar, stands a statue by Charles Marochetti depicting St Mary Magdalene being carried up to heaven by two angels. The half-dome above the altar is covered with a fresco by Jules-Claude Ziegler, entitled The History of Christianity, showing the key figures in the Christian religion with - perhaps inevitably - Napoleon occupying centre stage. The church has a celebrated pipe organ, built by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll (1811-1899), which is widely regarded as one of the best in Paris. The composers Camille Saint-Saëns and Gabriel Fauré were both organists at the Madeleine, and the funerals of Frédéric Chopin, Saint-Saëns, and Fauré were held there.
Unbelievably ornamented opera
Opening hours: Daily: 10am - 5pm, Jan 1, May 1 and days of special events: Closed • Admission: 9 € http://www.operadeparis.fr/
Take a walk to Galeries Lafayette for next
The Palais Garnier, also known as the Opera de Paris or Opera Garnier, but more commonly as the Paris Opera, is a 2,200-seat opera houseon the Place de l’Opera in Paris,France, which was the primary home of the Paris Operafrom 1875 until 1989. A grand landmark designed by Charles Garnier in the Neo-Baroque style, it is regarded as one of the architectural masterpieces of its time. Although slightly smaller in scale than its predecessor, the Théâtre de l’Académie Royale de Musique, the Palais Garnier is a building of exceptional opulence. It seats an audience of roughly 2,200 under a central chandelier which weighs over six tons, and has a huge stage with room to accommodate up to 450 artists. The style is monumental and considered typically Beaux Arts, with use of axial symmetry in plan, and its exterior ornamentation. The Palais is opulently decorated with elaborate multicolored marble friezes, columns, and lavish statuary, many of which portray the deities from Greek mythology. Between the columns of the theatre’s front façade, there are bronze busts of many of the great composers, Mozart,Rossini, Daniel Auber, Beethoven, Meyerbeer, Fromental Halévy,Spontini, and Philippe Quinault.The central roof group, Apollo, Poetry, and Music, was the work ofAimé Millet. The two gilded figural groups Harmony and Poetry were both designed by Charles Gumery, and the two smaller bronze Pegasus figures at either end of the gable are from Eugène-Louis Lequesne. The interior consists of interweaving corridors, stairwells, alcoves and landings allowing the movement of large numbers of people and space for socializing during intermission. Rich with velvet, gold leaf, and cherubim and nymphs, the interior is characteristic of Baroque sumptuousness.The ceiling area, which surrounds the chandelier, was given a new painting in 1964 by Marc Chagall. This painting proved controversial, with many people feeling Chagall’s work clashed with the style of the rest of the theater. TIP: Take some photos and enjoy the amazing building from outside. If you have the time, participate in a guided tour of the beautiful building. English guided tours: Wed, Sat and Sun 11.30 and 14.30. Duration: 90 min. Price: 12.5 €
Amazing department store http://www.galerieslafayette.com/
Galeries Lafayette is a luxurious department store with an amazing selection of nearly everything. Opened in 1894 it is a fine example of Belle Epoque architecture. It was modeled after a Mideastern bazaar. Cutting-edge designer collections, jewelry and accessories, home furnishings, and cosmetics are all sold here. It features a fabulous gourmet food market, Lafayette Gourmet, which satisfies even the most critical foodies. The 7th floor offers great views The building itself and its atmosphere make it worth visiting even for those who don't want to buy anything. Enter the luxurious department store .Discover the many exclusive shops. Do not miss the stunning dome ceiling and balconies in the centre of the store .Finish your visit at the terrace on seventh floor for beautiful views.
END OF DAY 2
Notre Dame Cathedral
Notre Dame Cathedral (full name: Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, "Our Lady of Paris") is a beautiful cathedral on the the Île de la Cité in Paris. Begun in 1163 and mostly completed by 1250, Notre Dame is an important example of French Gothic architecture, sculpture and stained glass. The Notre Dame is the most popular monument in Paris and in all of France, beating even the Eiffel Tower with 13 million visitors each year. But the famous cathedral is also an active Catholic church, a place of pilgrimage, and the focal point for Catholicism in France - religious events of national significance still take place here.
UNESCO World Heritage site http://www.notredamedeparis.fr/
Opening hours: Daily: 8am - 6:45pm, Saturday, Sunday: 8am - 7:15pm • Admission: Free
The Notre Dame de Paris stands on the site of Paris' first Christian church, Saint Etienne basilica, which was itself built on the site of a Roman temple to Jupiter. Notre-Dame's first version was a "magnificent church" built by Childebert I, the king of the Franks at the time, in 528, and was already the cathedral of the city of Paris in the 10th century. However, in 1160, having become the "parish church of the kings of Europe," Bishop Maurice de Sully deemed the building unworthy of its lofty role, and had it demolished. Construction on the current cathedral began in 1163, during the reign of Louis VII, and opinion differs as to whether Bishop Maurice de Sully or Pope Alexander III laid the foundation stone of the cathedral. Construction of the west front, with its distinctive two towers, began in around 1200 before the nave had been completed. Over the construction period, numerous architects worked on the site, as is evidenced by the differing styles at different heights of the west front and towers. Between 1210 and 1220, the fourth architect oversaw the construction of the level with the rose window and the great halls beneath the towers. The towers were finished around 1245 and the cathedral was finally completed around 1345. During the reigns of Louis XIV and Louis XV at the end of the 17th century the cathedral underwent major alterations, during which many tombs and stained glass windows were destroyed. In 1793, the cathedral fell victim to the French Revolution. Many sculptures and treasures were destroyed or plundered; the cathedral was rededicated to the Cult of Reason and later to the Cult of the Supreme Being. Lady Liberty replaced the Virgin Mary on several altars. The cathedral also came to be used as a warehouse for the storage of food. Napoleon Bonaparte, who had declared the Empire on May 28, 1804, was crowned Emperor at Notre-Dame on December 2, 1804. A restoration program was initiated in 1845, overseen by architects Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Lassus and Eugene Viollet-leDuc. The restoration lasted 23 years, and included the construction of a spire.
In 1871, a civil uprising leading to the establishment of the short-lived Paris Commune nearly set fire to the cathedral, and some records suggest that a mount of chairs within the cathedral were set alight. In 1905, the law of separation of Church and State was passed; as all cathedrals, Notre-Dame remains state property, but its use is granted to the Roman Catholic Church.
The Te Deum Mass took place in the cathedral to celebrate the liberation of Parisin August 26, 1944. The Requiem Mass of General Charles de Gaulle took place in the cathedral on November 12, 1970. In 1991, a major restoration program was undertaken. It was expected to last 10 years but continued well into the 21st century - the cleaning and restoration of the old sculptures was an exceedingly delicate job. But now the scaffolding is down and the result is spectacular: the stone architecture and sculptures gleam in their original honey-toned color instead of industrial black.
The west front of the cathedral is one of its most notable features, with its two 69-meter (228-feet) tall towers. The
South Tower houses the cathedral's famous bell, "Emmanuel." The bell weighs 13 metric tons (over 28,000 pounds), its clapper alone weighs 500 kilograms. The bell is Notre-Dame's oldest, having been recast in 1631. The Galerie des Chimères or Grand Gallery connects the two west towers, and is where the cathedral's legendary gargoyles (chimères) can be found. The gargoyles are full of Gothic character but are not medieval - they were added during the 19th-century restoration. The King's Gallery is a line of statues of the 28 Kings of Judah and Israel, which was redesigned by Viollet-le-Duc to replace the statues destroyed during the French Revolution. The revolutionaries mistakenly believed the statues to be French kings instead of biblical kings, so they decapitated them. Some of the heads were found during a 1977 excavation nearby and are now on display at theMuseum of the Middle Ages. The beautiful West Rose Window dates from about 1220. See the section on Notre Dame's windows below for more details.
The three west portals of Notre Dame Cathedral are magnificent examples of early Gothic art. Sculpted between 1200 and 1240, they depict scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary, the Last Judgment, and scenes from the life of St. Anne (the Virgin Mary's mother). Many of the statues, especially the larger ones, were destroyed in the Revolution and remade in the 19th century. Last Judgment Portal (Center West Portal) The central west portal was sculpted last of the three, in the 1220s and 1230s, and its theme is the Last Judgment, with Christ emphasized less as judge and more as the suffering savior of humanity. Portal of St. Anne (Right West Portal) The Portal of St. Anne was the first of the three west portals to be installed (c.1200) and its tympanum is an earlier Romanesque work from the former St. Stephen's Cathedral, dating from about 1150. Anne is the Virgin Mary's mother, who is mentioned in early Christian stories but not in the Bible. The tympanum shows the Virgin and Child on a throne, accompanied by two censing angels, a bishop and his assistant, and a king. The upper lintel depicts scenes from the advent of Christ (Annunciation, Nativity, Magi, etc.) and the lower lintel tells the stories of Anne and Joachim and Mary and Joseph. On the trumeau is a statue of Saint Marcel, a 5th-century bishop of Paris, who spears a dragon symbolizing the scourges with which his diocese was cursed. Statues of Peter, Paul, and biblical monarchs (all remade in the 19th century) are on the door jambs. The wooden doors have original 13th-century ironwork. Portal of the Virgin (Left West Portal) The Portal of the Virgin, dedicated to the patroness of the cathedral, is usually the exit door for modern visitors. It was sculpted second of the three portals in the 1210s-1220s. Unlike the other two west portals, it is surmounted by a gable. The tympanum features the Coronation of the Virgin, with an angel crowning Mary while Christ blesses her and gives her a scepter. The top lintel depicts the Death of the Virgin - Mary lies on her death bed (corresponding to the Nativity bed in the same position on the right portal) surrounded by Jesus and the Twelve Apostles. Two angels at her head and feet lift up her up to Heaven. The bottom lintel has three Old Testament prophets (left) and three Old Testament kings (right), all holding scrolls representing prophecies of Christ. The archivolts are populated by the Heavenly Court (angels, patriarchs, kings, prophets). The door-jamb statues, destroyed at the Revolution and replaced in the 19th century, represent, from left to right: Emperor Constantine, an angel, Saint Denis holding his head, another angel, Saint John the Baptist, Saint Stephen, Saint Genevieve and Pope Saint Sylvester. On the trumeau is a standing statue of the Virgin and Child, with the pedestal below carved with scenes of the temptation and fall of Adam and Eve. The abutments of the doors have panels representing the natural universe, or life on earth. The panels on either side of the portal are weathered but elegant Zodiacs and Labors of the Months. The positions of the months echo the yearly cycle of the sun: rising in the sky from January to June (left jamb), then descending from July to December (right jamb). Completing the symbolic medieval universe on the inside jambs are the seasons (left) and the ages of man (right). Transept Portals The south transept portal is dedicated to St. Stephen. The bottom section of the tympanum depicts scenes from his life: ordination, preaching, and confrontation with the Jewish council. The top shows
his death by stoning, with Saul by himself to the left with a heap of clothes at his feet and a scene possibly relating to the finding of his relics on the right. The north transept portal has a 13th-century statue of the Virgin Mary on the trumeau that managed to survive the Revolution. The bottom section of the tympanum depicts scenes relating to the birth of Christ - Nativity, Presentation, and Massacre of the Innocents - while the upper two levels show miracles of St. Theophilus.
Stained Glass Windows
The stained glass windows of the Notre-Dame are very beautiful and a good part of them date from the 13th century when the cathedral was constructed. In this author's opinion, Notre-Dame's collection of stained glass is not as impressive as those at other French cathedrals, such as Chartres and Bourges, and in Paris the best place to enjoy an overall effect of stained glass is probably not Notre Dame but Sainte-Chapelle. Nevertheless, Notre-Dame's stained glass windows remain an important and beautiful work of 13th-century Gothic art, with interesting details well worth exploring in more detail. The highlight - and the greatest survival of original glass - is the set of three beautiful rose windows, which shine like jewels over the west door and in the north and south transept. West Rose (c.1220) The west rose window at Notre Dame is 10 meters in diameter and exceptionally beautiful. Dating from about 1220, it retains most of its original glass and tracery. The main theme of the west rose is human life, featuring symbolic scenes such as the Zodiacs and Labors of the Months. On the exterior, it is fronted by a statue of the Virgin and Child accompanied by angels. Unfortunately, the interior view of its colorful medieval glass is now more than half blocked by the great organ. South Rose (c.1260) The south rose window was donated by King St. Louis and installed around 1260. Designed by Jean de Chelles and Pierre de Montreuil, its general themes are the New Testament, the Triumph of Christ, and the symbolic number four. Repaired more than once over the centuries (in 1725 and 1727 by Guillaume Brice; beginning in 1861 by Viollet-le-Duc and Alfred Gérente), many of the panes are now out of order. In addition, Viollet-le-Duc rotated the entire rose 15° to create horizontal and vertical axes for stability in the masonry. The south rose is 12.9 meters in diameter and contains 84 panes of glass. Radiating out from a central medallion of Christ, it consists of four concentric circles of 12 medallions, 24 medallions, quadrilobes, and 24 trilobes. The original central medallion has been lost; it probably depicted Christ in Majesty. It was replaced in 1726 by the coat of arms of Cardinal de Noailles, the Archbishop of Paris who restored the window. Viollet-le-Duc replaced it with a modern Christ of the Apocalypse. The original medallions surrounding it include: 12 apostles (in the first and second circles), 20 angels carrying a candle, two crowns and a censer (fourth circle); the Wise Virgins; biblical scenes including the flight into Egypt, healing of the paralytic, Judgement of Solomon, and Annunciation (third and fourth circle); saints and martyrs including Lawrence with his grill, Denis holding his head, Pothin (Bishop of Lyon), Marguerite and a dragon, Blandine and two lions, George, Ambrose, and Eustacius; scenes of exceptional quality dating from the 12th century, depicting the Life of St. Matthew (third and fourth circle) The corner pieces depict: the Descent into Hell (left) with Moses and Aaron (top) and temptation of Adam and Eve (bottom); and the Resurrection of Christ (right) with Peter and Paul (top), and Mary Magdalene and John (top).Below the rose are 16 lancets (spear-shaped windows), which are entirely 19th-century replacements. Designed by Alfred Gérente under Viollet-le-Duc’s supervision, the depict 16 prophets. In the center, the four great prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel) carry the four evangelists (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) on their shoulders (inspired by Chartres Cathedral). North Rose (1250)The north rose window dates from 1250 and is also 12.9 meters in diameter. Its main theme is the Old Testament, but the central medallion depicts the Virgin and Child. TIP: Enter the cathedral through the West front Walk around and enjoy the unique architecture, history, and atmosphere. After leaving the cathedral do not forget to walk around it and admire its architecture. Audioguide is available for a fee of 5 € The Treasury of the cathedral can be visited for a fee of 3 €.
Tower of Notre Dame Cathedral
Spectacular views of Paris
Opening hours: April 1 - September 30: 10am - 6:30pm, October 1 - March 31: 10am - 5:30pm, Saturdays and Sundays in June, July and AugustÂ : 10am - 11pm, Jan 1, Nov 1, Nov 11 and Dec 25: Closed • Admission: 8 € http://www.notredamedeparis.fr/
Take a walk to Sainte-Chapelle for next
The stairs leading to the towers can be accessed from outside of the cathedral and are to the left of the main entrance. Climb the stairs paying attention to the famous gargoyles. Enjoy the sweeping panorama of the city from the top.
TIP: Be prepared for queues because only 20-30 people can climb the tower at a time. Please note that there are about
300 very narrow and slick steps leading to the top. Thus the climb requires some level of fitness.
Beautiful stained glass windows
Opening hours: March 1 - October 31: 9:30am - 1pm, November 1 - February 28: 9am - 1pm, Jan 1, May 1, Dec 1 and 25: Closed • Admission: 8 €
Take a walk to La Conciergerie for next
La Sainte-Chapelle (French pronunciation: [la sɛt ʃapɛl], The X Holy Chapel) is the only surviving building of the Capetian royal palace on the Île de la Cité in the heart of Paris. It was commissioned by King Louis IX of France to house his collection of Passion Relics, including the Crown of Thorns one of the most important relics in medieval Christendom. Begun some time after 1239 and consecrated on the 26th of April 1248, the Sainte-Chapelle is considered among the highest achievements of the Rayonnant period of Gothic architecture. Although damaged during the French revolution and heavily restored in the 19th century, it retains one of the most extensive in-situ collections of 13th century stained glass anywhere in the world. Start your visit in the lower chapel that was intended for the servants and lower orders of the Royal Palace. Continue to the upper chapel that houses the striking stained glass windows that soar up to the gothic, vaulted ceiling. TIP: If it is possible save the visit for a sunny day.You won't get the whole effect if it is cloudy or rainy. You can save money by purchasing a combined ticket to Sainte Chapelle and the Conciergerie (11 €)
Opening hours: Daily: 9:30am - 6pm, Jan 1, May 1 and Dec 25: Closed • Admission: 7 €
http://www.monum.fr/m_conciergerie/ Take RER B to Luxembourg station (Direction: Robinson or Saint-Rémy-les-Chevreuse) for next
La Conciergerie (French pronunciation: [la kɔXsjɛʒə]) is a former royal palace and prison in Paris, located on the west of the Île de la Cité, near the Cathedral of Notre-Dame. It is part of the larger complex known as the Palais de Justice, which is still used for judicial purposes. Hundreds of prisoners during the French Revolution were taken from La Conciergerie to be executed on the guillotine at a number of locations around Paris. La Conciergerie is an imposing Gothic palace built in the beginning of the 14th century . It was built by Philippe the Fair as a royal palace, later (1391) it was converted into a prison. It was during the Revolution that it earned its international fame as being a place of terror. Thousands were held here (incl. Marie Antoinette, Danton, and Robespierre) before their execution by guillotine. Today you can see prison cells and trial rooms, a medieval kitchen, and a torture chamber. Other highlight is the magnificently vaulted Hall of the Men-at-Arms (Salle des Gens d'Armes). The clock tower (Tour de l'Horloge), built in 1370, houses the first public clock of Paris. TIP: You can save money buy purchasing a Concergerie-Saint Chapelle combined ticket for 11 €
Great place to relax and picnic http://goo.gl/kjsgj Take a walk to the Panthéon for next
The formal Luxembourg Garden (French: Jardin du Luxembourg) presents a 25hectare green parterre of gravel and lawn populated with statues and provided with large basins of water where children sail model boats. In the southwest corner, there is an orchard of apple and pear trees and the théâtre des marionnettes (puppet theatre). The palace was built for Marie de Médicis. The palace is now the seat of the French Senate and the home of the president of the Senate. The park is characterized by gravel walkways, beautifully kept lawn, flower beds, and open-air cafés. The garden features and centers around the beautiful Medici Fountain. Statues of French queens, saints and copies of the Antique are scattered in the park .The garden is famous for its calm atmosphere and, thus, a popular destination for relaxation for Parisians
TIP: Get some cheese, a baguette, and some wine, and have a picnic in the park as the locals do. Enjoy the games, the
scenery, the greenery and the atmosphere. Admire the beautiful palace. Do not miss the famous Medici Fountain. Relax on a bench or take a coffee in one of the open-air cafés.
Opening hours: April 1 - September 30: 10am - 6:30pm, October 1 - March 31: 10am – 6pm, Jan 1, May 1 and Dec 25: Closed • Admission: 8 € http://pantheon.monuments-nationaux.fr/en/
Take a walk to St-Michel Notre Dame station then take RER from St-Michel Notre Dame station to Pont de l’Alma station for next
The Panthéon is a neo-Classical church in the Latin Quarter of Paris. It was originally an abbey dedicated to St. Genevieve (the patron saint of Paris), but now functions primarily as a burial place for famous French heroes. In 1744, King Louis XV vowed that if he recovered from a mysterious illness he would replace the ruined Abbey of Sainte-Geneviève with an edifice worthy of the patron saint of Paris. The king regained his health, and the Marquis of Marigny was entrusted with the fulfillment of the vow. Marigny's protégé Jacques-Germain Soufflot (1713-1780) was charged with the plans, and the construction of the Panthéon began. The foundations were laid in 1758, but due to financial difficulties, it was not completed until after Soufflot's death, in 1789. As it was completed at the start of the French Revolution, the new Revolutionary government ordered it to be changed from a church to a mausoleum for the interment of great Frenchmen. Twice since then it has reverted to being a church, only to once again become a temple to the great men of France. In 1851 physicist Léon Foucault demonstrated the rotation of the Earth by his experiment conducted in the Panthéon, by constructing the 67-meter Foucault's pendulum beneath the central dome. The original iron sphere from the pendulum was returned to the Panthéon in 1995 from the Conservatoire. On November 30, 2002, in an elaborate but solemn procession, six Republican Guards carried the coffin of Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870), the author of The Three Musketeers, to the Panthéon. Draped in a blue-velvet cloth inscribed with the Musketeers' motto: Un pour tous, tous pour un ("One for all, all for one"), the remains had been transported from their original internment site in the Cimetière de Villers-Cotterêts in Aisne, France. The Panthéon is an early example of Neoclassicism, with a Greek-cross plan and a massive portico of Corinthian columns. Its ambitious lines called for a vast building 110 meters long by 84 meters wide, and 83 meters high. The crypt is equally vast.The Panthéon's façade is modeled on that of the Pantheon in Rome, surmounted by a small dome that resembles that of St. Paul's Cathedral in London. Located in the 5th arrondissement on the top of Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, the Panthéon looks out over all of Paris. The inscription above the entrance reads AUX GRANDS HOMMES LA PATRIE RECONNAISSANTE ("For great men the grateful Nation"). Among those buried in the Panthéon's necropolis are Voltaire, Rousseau, Honoré Mirabeau, Marat, Victor Hugo, Émile Zola, Jean Moulin, Marie Curie (the only woman to be so honored), René Descartes, Louis Braille and Soufflot, its architect. Before entering the crypt, note the striking frescoes depicting scenes from St. Geneviève's life. Visit the basement of the building that is a crypt of famous French writers, statesmen and scientists. Make your way to the first floor housing Foucault's Pendulum. Climb to the dome galleries for the spectacular panoramic views of Paris.
Boat trip on river Seine
Romantic experience http://www.bateaux-mouches.fr/ http://www.batobus.com
Touring Paris via the Seine river is a great way to get familiar with many of the city's most stunning monuments, historical buildings, and ornate bridges. Bateaux Mouches is Paris' most famous boat tour company and is easily recognizable by its enormous decks and bright orange seats. TIP: Sit back and enjoy the sightseeing Sites to be seen include Notre-Dame, the Louvre, the Orsay Museum, Palais de Chaillot, the Eiffel Tower. For budget trips take a daily Batobus ticket and hop-on/hop-off as many times as you wish . 1 day €15/2 day €18/5 day €21
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Must-see museum for fans of Impressionism
Opening hours: Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun: 9:30am - 6pm, Thursday:9:30am - 9:45pm, Monday:Closed, May 1, Dec 25, Jan 1: Closed • Admission: 8 € http://www.musee-orsay.fr/
Take Metro line 12 from Assemblée Nationale station to Pigalle station (Direction: Porte de la Chapelle) Change to Metro line 2 to Philippe Auguste station for next
Musée d'Orsay is an art museum on the left bank of the Seine. The museum opened in 1977 and focuses mainly on French art between 1848 and 1915. It is best known for the world's largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, Gauguin and Van Gogh paitings are on display. The stunning building it is housed in used to be a railway station. The station that was operational until 1939 bearly escaped its demoltion in the mid-1970s. Orson Welles' 1962 film, The Trial was shot here. Pay attention to the impressive interior of the building. Admire the masterpieces on display (the layout makes it easy to do a self-guided tour) TIP: The impressionist and post impressionist paintings are on the ground floor (their original location, the top floor is being renovated) No photography is permitted in the museum.Combined tickets are available: Musée d'Orsay-Musée de l'Orangerie for 13 € (this ticket is valid during 4 days), Musée d'Orsay-Musée Rodin for 12 € (both museums must be visited on the same day)
Père Lachaise Cemetery
Opening hours: Mid-March - early Nov: 8:30am - 6pm, MidNov - early March: 8:30am – 5:30pm http://www.pere-lachaise.com/
Take Metro line 2 from Philippe Auguste station to Pigalle station (Direction: Porte Dauphine) Change to Metro line 12 to Abbesses station (Direction: Porte de la Chapelle) for next
Père Lachaise Cemetery is the world's most visited cemetery and the largest (50-ha, 109 acres). It takes its name after the confessor of Louis XIV, Jesuit Father Lachaise, who used to live on the site. Napoleon established a cemetery here in 1804 after the city of Paris purchased the area Jim Morrison, the legendary singer of The Doors, is buried here (one of the reason for its popularity). Other famous people who rest here are Chopin, Oscar Wilde, Balzac, Edith Piaf, Colette, Molière and Delacroix. More than 300.000 people are buried in the cemetery You will definitely need a map, so print one at home, or take one from the principal entrance of the cemetery ( "Porte du Répos", metro station Philippe Auguste - Line 2). Visit the tombs of famous people that you are interested in. TIP: Try to go on a sunny day. Make sure you walk to the cemetery's summit for a great view.
Most romantic neighborhood of Paris http://www.montmartre-guide.com/langue/en.html Take a walk to Sacré Coeur for next
Montmartre is a hill (the butte Montmartre) which is 129 metres high, giving its name to the surrounding district, in the north of Paris in the 18th arrondissement, a part of the Right Bank. Montmartre is primarily known for the white-domed Basilica of the Sacré Cœur on its summit , Moulin Rouge and as a nightclub district. The other, older, church on the hill is Saint Pierre de Montmartre, which claims to be the location at which the Jesuit order of priests was founded. Many artists had studios or worked around the community of Montmartre such as Salvador Dalí, Amedeo Modigliani, Claude Monet, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh. Montmartre is also the setting for several hit films. Montmarte is the most romantic neighborhood of Paris. Rather than having lots of things to see, it offers a charming area to take a stroll. Staircase streets, quaint windmills, and sweeping views characterize the area. The area played an imporant role in belle époque (a prospering period in European social history). Wander around on the narrow, hilly streets of Montmartre. Fall in love with streets like rue des Abbesses, rue des Trois Freres, and rue des Martyres. Find the windmills on rue Lepic and the famous Moulin Rouge near Blanche metro station. Stop at a patisserie for a freshly baked chocolate croissant, a taste of creamy brie or sharp bleu at one of the many fromageries, a succulent orange you'd swear was fresh from the orchard. Then relax in a 'petit café' to enjoy a café au lait while watching people. TIP:Beware of pickpockets. Beware of the false portrait 'artists' on Place du Tertre. Some will quote a low price, and after producing something that does not look remotely like you demand a far higher price. It is recommended to watch them first before choosing one.
One of the most recognized building in Paris
Opening hours: Daily: 6am - 10:30pm • Admission: Free http://www.sacre-coeur-montmartre.com/
The Basilique Sacré-Coeur (Basilica of the Sacred Heart) is a Roman Catholic church and familiar landmark in Paris, located on the highest point of the city in Montmartre. The site of the 19th-century basilica is traditionally associated with the beheading of the city's patron, Saint Denis, in the 3rd century. According to legend, after he was martyred, Bishop Denis picked up his severed head and carried it several miles to the north, where the suburb of Saint-Denis stands today. After France's 1870 defeat by the Prussians in the Franco-Prussian War and its aftermath, the Commune of 1871, the basilica was planned as a guilt offering and a vote of confidence to cure France's misfortunes. The church was dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a cult that gained popularity after 1873, when the first pilgrimage was organized to Paray-leMonial in Burgundy. It was there that revelations encouraging prayer to Christ's sacred heart had been reported in the 17th century. The foundation stone of the Basilique Sacré-Coeur was laid in 1875. It was consecrated in 1891, fully completed in 1914, and elevated to the status of a basilica in 1919, after the end of the First World War. The Sacré-Coeur was paid for by national subscription, and its iconography is distinctly nationalistic. It has much in common, both historically and architecturally, with the Basilica Notre-Dame de Fourviere in Lyon. Designed by Paul Abadie in a Romanesque-Byzantine architectural style, the Sacré-Coeur was inspired by St-Front in Perigueux (Dordogne), a multi-domed Romanesque church the architect had recently restored.
The triple-arched portico is surmounted by two bronze equestrian statues of France's national saints, Joan of Arc and King Saint Louis IX, designed by Hippolyte Lefebvre. Even the great bell, the Savoyarde, has nationalist references: Savoy was annexed to France in 1860. Cast in Annecy in 1895, it is one of the world's heaviest bells at 19 tons. The Sacré-Coeur Basilica is built of Château-Landon (Seine-et-Marne) stone, a frost-resistant travertine that bleaches with age to a gleaming white. The main portal has grand bronze doors with foliage designs. Inside, the Sacré-Coeur is dim and rather gloomy except for the golden mosaicsglowing from apse. The floor plan is an equal-armed Greek cross, with a large dome (83m high) over the crossing. In the huge choir, 11 tall round arches support a barrel vault. The bronze altar is based on the one at Cluny Abbey in Burgundy. Since 1885, the Blessed Sacrament has been continually on display in a monstrance above the high altar. Perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament has continued uninterrupted in the Basilica since 1885. The apse mosaic, designed by Luc-Olivier Merson (1922), is the largest in the world. It depicts Christ in Majesty and The Sacred Heart worshiped by the Virgin Mary, Joan of Arc and St. Michael the Archangel. A climb to the top of the dome provides an excellent view of Paris - at 271 feet above Montmartre it is the second-highest viewpoint after the Eiffel Tower - and the walk around the inside of the dome alone is worth the climb. The dome is supported by 80 columns, each topped with a different capital. The crypt contains statues of saints and a relic that some believe to be the verySacred Heart (Sacré-Coeur) of Christ. At the rear of the grounds is a contemplative garden and fountain. After wandering around the small, narrow and hilly streets of Montmartre take the funiculaire to the top of the hill to this staggeringly beautiful basilica. Enjoy the atmosphere, visit the church and have a walk along the small and narrow streets on top of the hill. The views over Paris are gorgeous from there.
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Overview of Day 5
Palace of Versailles and Gardens
One of the most magnificient palaces in the world
Opening hours: April 1 - October 31 - palace: 9am - 6:30pm, April 1 - October 31 - garden:8am - 8:30pm, November 1 March 31 - palace: 9am - 5:30pm, November 1 - March 31 garden: 8am 6pm, Monday: Palace closed, Jan 1, April 5, May 1, Nov 1 and Dec 25: Closed • Admission: 25 € http://www.chateauversailles.fr/
Take a walk or take Petit Train to Trianon Palaces for next
The Palace of Versailles ( /vɛərˈsaɪ/ ; French: [vɛʁˈsaj]), or simply Versailles, is a royal château in Versailles in the Île-deFrance region of France. In French it is the Château de Versailles. When the château was built, Versailles was a country village; today, however, it is a suburb of Paris, some 20 kilometres southwest of the French capital. The court of Versailles was the centre of political power in France from 1682, when Louis XIV moved from Paris, until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in October 1789 after the beginning of the French Revolution. Versailles is therefore famous not only as a building, but as a symbol of the system of absolute monarchy of the Ancien Régime. Chateau de Versailles is one of the most extravagant palaces in the world. Construction started in 1661 and took 50 years (1710) to turn Louis XIII's hunting lodge into this fascinating palace. The king and his family lived in the Petits Appartements the reason why the king's and queen's rooms are so much overdone. Highlight of the palace is the unbelievable Hall of Mirrors (71m, 223-ft) designed to reflect sunlight back into the garden to remind people that the Sun King, Louis XIV, lived here. French royals lived such a decadent life here in a period of deep poverty that their excesses started the Revolution of 1789. The treaty ending World War I, in 1919, was signed in the Hall of Mirrors. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Enter the palace and pick up a map and an audio guide (included in the admission fee). Visit all the rooms of the palace. The Hall of Mirrors will probably be the highlight of your tour. Admire the beautiful gardens with lakes, canals, geometric flower beds, long avenues and fountains.
TIP: During low season you can avoid the huge crowds, but the gardens are not so spectacular and the fountains do not work. Try to purchase your tickets at the tourist bureau in Paris to avoid the huge lines. Also, if you book online you might be able to avoid the long lines (unfortunately even the preferential access can also have a long line). Another way to avoid the long lines is buying your tickets from the vending machines on site (only accept cards).
Trianon Palaces & Marie-Antoinette's Estate (Grand appartement de la reine)
Walking into a fairy tale
Opening hours: April 1 - October 31: 12 noon - 6:30pm, November 1 - March 31: 12 noon 5:30pm, Monday: Closed, Jan 1, April 5, May 1, Nov 1 and Dec 25: Closed • Admission: 10 €
Take RER C5 from Versailles Rive Gauche station to Invalides station, Change to Metro line 13 to Champs Élysées Clemenceau station (Direction: Saint DeniseUniversité), Change to Metro line 1 to La Défense station (Direction:La Défense) for next
Grand Trianon and Petit Trianon are a larger and a smaller palace next to the Palace of Versailles. Grand Trianon was commissioned (1687) by Louis XIV to have somewhere to retreat from the strict étiquette of Court life. Petit Trianon was designed by the order of Louis XV for Madame de Pompadour, his long-term mistress. Grand Trianon was also the home of Napoleon and his family. Marie-Antoinette's Estate is much like a country hamlet where Louise XVI's wife found a simple life away from the formality of Court. To get to the Trianon Palaces, be prepared to walk a lot (around 30 min.) or take the "Petit Train' (return ticket: 6,5 €) Start your visit at Marie-Antoinette's Estate. Continue to the Petit Trinanon palace. Finish your visit at the Grand Trianon palace. TIP: The Trianon palaces are much less crowded than the main palace. If you only want to visit the Trianon Palaces and Marie-Antoinette's Estate you can purchase your ticket at these sites.
Futuristic district of Paris http://www.ladefense.fr/
La Défense is Paris' financial district with skyscrapers. 14 out of the 72 glass and steel buildings are higher than 150 meters It was purposely built to the west of the city to keep the centre free of skyscrapers. La Défense is Europe's largest purpose-built business district. More than 150.000 people work here. Paris' Historical Axis ends here, a 10 km long imaginary line that connects the city's main historical sites (Louvre, Champs-Élysées, Arc de Triomphe, Grande Arche). Grande Arche is 100 meter tall and large enough to hold Notre-Dame in the middle. Leave the metro station and head to the Grande Arche. Have a look at the surrounding skyscrapers. Enjoy the view from the steps of the Grande Arche. You can see the all the way down the Champs Elysees past the Arc de Triomphe and to the Louvre. TIP: Lots of shopping possibilities around
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Now when you know what to do, here's a short list of what NOT to do while in Paris:
Don't Spend all day at the Louvre or Musée d'Orsay
The Louvre and the Musée d'Orsay are Paris's most celebrated museums, and yes, they do house some famous works of art. But don't for a second think that they're your only—or, indeed, even your best—options. The lines to get in can be harrowing in high season, the crowds are exhausting, and the sheer quantity of art on display is overwhelming. If the prospect of beating back the hordes seems like it will detract from the experience (and, really, how could it not?), don't despair.
Instead Get to know Paris's lesser-known museums
Many of Paris's smaller museums contain equally important and beautiful art—and are often more pleasant, since you won't be elbowed out of the way by a photo-snapping swarm. You'll find Monet's famous Nymphéas (water lily) murals in the Musée de l'Orangerie (pictured), at the far end of the Tuileries Gardens. The Musée Marmottan is home to the world's largest
collection of Monets. And the Musée Rodin, housed in a luminous villa with a lovely garden, is one of the most romantic museums in all of Paris. Not in the mood for an art lesson? There are plenty of museums in Paris that focus on lighter and frothier fare, including fashion, wine, and money. Once you've discovered the pleasures of these intimate galleries, you might be hard-pressed to bother with the Louvre at all.
Don't Seek out bohemian ambience on the Left Bank
Sartre and de Beauvoir may have loved Les Deux Magots on the Boulevard St. Germain, but these days, this onetime hangout of intellectuals has all the authenticity of Times Square. You're far more likely to find yourself cheek by jowl with your tourist brethren than eavesdropping on any famous philosophers. You may, however, find yourself delivering a tirade on the immorality of charging $16 for buttered toast and orange juice. Does gouging tourists for the privilege of sitting on a sidewalk mark the decline of civilization? Yes, indeed.
Instead Find the "real" Paris on the Canal St. Martin
Bobo (short for bourgeois bohemian) hipsters have laid claim to the area around the Canal St. Martin, a once-derelict part of the tenth arrondissement that now buzzes with cafés and hip boutiques, particularly along the Rue Beaurepaire. Settle at a sidewalk table at Chez Prune, the see-and-be-seen ground zero for this trendy Right Bank 'hood, sip your café crème, eavesdrop on the locals, and enjoy the views of the picturesque canal—and bask in the smug knowledge that you've found a corner of real Paris, far from the touristy hordes.