The triumphal arch was commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 to celebrate his victory over Russia and Austria at the Battle of Austerlitz. The Arc de Triomphe was opened in 1836. The Arch of Constantine in Rome served as a model. 12 streets run in a star shape towards the triumphal arch, which stands in the middle of the central axis of Paris. The Arc de Triomphe can be visited, from the observation deck you have a good view of the Champs-Élysées and the Eiffel Tower.
Le Notre extended the avenue of the Tuileries westwards in 1667, creating the Grand Cours, which was later called Avenue des Champs-Élysées. The Elysium is in Greek mythology, the island of the blissful, and is located far to the west. The Champs-Élysées is the magnificent boulevard par excellence and is located between the Place de la Concorde and the Arc de Triomphe. With a width of around 70 m, it has 6 lanes in the middle, 2 rows of trees on each siede and very wide walkways. The Avenue des Champs-Élysées is part of the visual axis that extends from the Musée du Louvre to the Grande Arche in La Défense.
The Champs-Élysées is the most prestigious shopping street in Paris, all major brands and shops have a branch. Anyone who can afford the rents here is successful. In addition to luxury brands, you will also find restaurants and local shops, such as the Pâtisserie Ladurée where you can get artfully packed macarons and other delicacies that are also suitable as souvenirs.
There are also theaters and cinemas on the Champs-Élysées, in this category the Lido de Paris stands out. The Lido revue theater with cabaret and lightly dressed dancers is an attraction of Paris.
The square was named Place Royal and was built for a statue of Louis XV in 1776. In 1793 the guillotine stood on the square, with which over 1,000 people were executed after the French Revolution. King Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette were among the beheaded. In 1795 the square was given the name Place de la Concorde. The spacious square is located in the center of Paris, between the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe. In the middle stands an obelisk from Luxor with a gilded tip, which was erected in 1836. There are two beautiful fountains on the square, the Fontaine des Mers in the south and the Fontaine des Fleuves in the north. The columns around the Place de la Concorde are decorated with ship motifs, the coat of arms of Paris. In the north, the Rue Royal leads to the Eglise de la Madeleine. On the left is the Hôtel de la Marine (administration of the French Marine) and on the right of the Rue Royal is the luxurious Hôtel de Crillon.
The Place de la Concorde is the largest square in Paris and the second largest in France after the Esplanade des Quinconces in Bordeaux.
Place Vendôme was built between 1699 and 1806 on the site of the demolished Hôtel de Vendôme. A uniform facade was designed for the new square and an equestrian statue of Louis XIV was placed in the middle. After the equestrian statue of the king was destroyed in the french revolution, Napoleon I had the glorious idea of building a victory column for himself on the square, based on the Roman model of the Trajan's Column. The Victory Column was cast from Russian and Austrian cannons that Napoleon was able to capture at the Battle of Austerlitz. Napoleon stands on the 43 m high column as an emperor.
King Louis XV decided in 1764 to build the Madeleine Church. The work was interrupted in 1791 by the French Revolution. Napoleon had the idea in 1806 to turn the church into a hall of fame. After Napoleon's demise in Waterloo, the Hall of Fame was history. The Eglise de la Madeleine was inaugurated in 1845. Architecturally, the building is based on an ancient Greek temple. Huge Corinthian columns support the tympanum. Court architect Pierre Contant d’Ivry provided the design, which was completed by Jean-Jacques-Marie Huvé.
There is a beautiful sculpture of Maria Magdalena inside, surrounded by angels. The long hall is formed by three domes, the skylights of which illuminate the nave of La Madeleine.
Napoleon III commissioned architect Charles Garnier to begin construction on the Paris Opera in 1860. The site was chosen by Baron Haussman, who was redesigning the entire city. The young architect Garnier won the architecture competition and built a magnificent opera. Garnier realized that the audience was more about being seen than attending a performance. He created huge stairs and foyers on which the rich and beautiful of the city could glamorously stage themselves. The interior is a baroque orgy of gold and colored ceiling paintings. Apollon stretches a harp on the roof and two golden angels stand on the sides of the main facade.
After the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, the opera house was opened in 1875. The Opéra Garnier caused a sensation worldwide and was copied in many countries.
Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the most famous sights of Paris. It is located on the Île de la Cité, in the historic heart of Paris. From about 400 a bishop's residence and a basilica were built on the property, which was demolished in 1160 for the construction of the new cathedral. The construction of the Paris Cathedral began in 1163. The building was started in the Romanesque style and was completed in 1330 in the early Gothic style. Completed components were changed during the construction phase in order to follow the new architectural style. As a result, Notre Dame has a uniform Gothic appearance. The cathedral of Sens, which was started as the first Gothic cathedral in 1140, served as a model.
During the revolution of 1848 the interior was looted and Notre Dame de Paris had to be extensively renovated between 1857-1864. The pointed crossing tower, the royal gallery on the west facade and the famous gargoyle demons were installed.
If you have some time, you should climb the towers of Notre Dame and look at the grimaces of the gargoyles.
In front of the cathedral is the kilometer zero, from which all distances in France are measured.
Notre Dame de Paris was partially destroyed by a fire on April 16, 2019. The reconstruction should take about 5 years. During this time, the cathedral of Paris will most likely not be accessible from the inside.
After the lost war against Germany in 1871, the Catholic Church asked for a great church to be built for the Sacred Heart of Jesus. France would have lost the war because it had neglected its belief. Since the French Revolution, churches have been looted and religious property nationalized. In order to wash France away from these sins, the church Sacré-Cœur should be built on Montmartre.
Montmartre "Mountain of Martyrs" bears this name because Saint Dionysius was beheaded here. He came from Rome as a missionary and was beheaded by the Roman governor in Paris in 250. According to the legend, he raised his head, washed it at a spring and walked 6 kilometers to Saint-Denis, where he wanted to be buried. Since then, Dionysius has been the patron saint of Paris and the French crown. Montmartre became a place of pilgrimage.
For this reason, the Catholic Church wanted to build a basilica on this hill and called on the whole country to donate. The architect Paul Abadie began work on the basilica in 1875. He designed the church based on his hometown of Périgueux. The Cathédrale Saint-Front de Périgueux is a Byzantine style building with 5 domes, built of white limestone. Paul Abadie restored the cathedral of Périgueux before working on Sacré-Cœur in Paris. Difficult foundation work delayed the construction of Sacré-Cœur until 1914. Because of the First World War, the church was inaugurated in 1919.
Sacré-Cœur is 83 m high and stands on the 130 m high Montmartre, making the church a monument that can be seen from afar. In front of the church is a square from which you can enjoy a beautiful panorama over Paris.
The old village square of Montmartre is now a tourist market where you can find many painters and draftsmen who earn their money with caricatures. The Place du Tertre (square on the hill) is a beautiful place surrounded by small houses. The gallows used to stand here when Montmartre was the execution site of Paris. Those who are not bothered by the tourist hustle and bustle can watch the people in numerous restaurants and cafés.
The variety show with the red mill opened its doors for the first time in 1889 and quickly became the epitome of wicked Paris. The Cancan was invented here and the painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec spent his nights there and even designed posters for the Moulin Rouge. At that time, many other theaters, cabarets and variety shows appeared on the Boulevard de Clichy. The Moulin Rouge has become synonymous with burlesque and erotic theater worldwide. From the outside, the Moulin Rouge looks very small, the actual theater hall is located in the block interior and cannot be seen from the outside. The frivolous nightlife of Paris takes place between the metro stations Blanche and Pigalle.
The Porte Saint Martin was a former city gate, which had to give way to the city expansion in 1670. In 1674, the triumphal arch for the victories of Louis XIV was built near the old gate. The sun king is depicted on the reliefs as Mars the god of war and as Hercules. The Porte Saint Martin is 18 m high and was designed by Pierre Bullet.
Nearby is another triumphal arch for Louis XIV on Porte Saint-Denis. This triumphal arch was built by François Blondel in 1672 and celebrates the conquest of Maastricht and the crossing of the Rhine.
The Panthéon was planned as Sainte-Geneviève church before the French Revolution. Geneviève is the patron saint of Paris, who died in Paris in 502 and was buried here. Louis XV. commissioned the architect Jacques-Germain Soufflot to build the church in 1764. Sufflot designed a classical building with a row of corithic columns on the facade and a high dome. The similarity to the Pantheon in Rome is rather accidental.
The building was completed in 1790 and declared a National Hall of Fame by the revolutionaries. The name Pantheon means temple of all gods. The revolutionaries rejected the church for supporting the king, instead they declared their heroes gods. Since then great French personalities have been buried here, such as Marie Curie, Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo, Voltaire and Rousseau. Napoleon Bonaparte's final resting place is in the Dome of the Invalides.
In the interior of the Panthéon is the Foucault pendulum with which Léon Foucault was able to demonstrate the earth's rotation in 1851.
Place St. Michel was built in 1855 under Napoleon III. The Fontaine de Saint-Michel represents the Archangel Michael fighting the devil. The sculptor Francisque Joseph Duret created the fountain in 1860.
At the Saint-Michel Notre-Dame metro station there is an Art Nouveau entrance by Hector Guimard. Between 1900 and 1910, all new metro entrances were designed according to his design. As a result, the metro entrances have become the hallmark of Paris. At the station Abbesses (Montmartre) there is still a rare covered specimen.
The Eiffel Tower is the most famous landmark of Paris and the symbol of France. The tower was built by Gustave Eiffel in 1889 to mark the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. It was part of the world exhibition and was financed by the state and a private corporations. The 312 m high Eiffel Tower was the tallest building in the world until the Chrysler Building in New York. The Parisians initially found the tower ugly and wanted it to disappear. In the meantime, the Eiffel Tower has become one of the most famous buildings in human history. If you want to visit the tower, you should plan long waiting times.
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