General

The 5 most important monuments in Paris

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1 Eiffel Tower
Enjoy the view from the top of the most iconic monument in Paris.

The wrought iron lady – a tower is a feminine in French – is a must-see if you come to Paris. With a height of 324 meters, 3 floors and a staircase of 674 steps, it certainly can’t go unnoticed. You’ll find a Michelin-starred restaurant and a French macaroon bar on the second floor, as well as a champagne bar on the third floor. Its worldwide fame makes the Eiffel Tower a very busy place: it’s advisable to book a ticket online in advance if you want to go to the top by elevator. Beware of scammers lurking around the Eiffel Tower square.

2 Arc de Triomphe
One of the most typical and recognizable sights in Paris.

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The Arc de Triomphe is without a doubt one of the most emblematic monuments of Paris. Inaugurated in 1836, this imposing structure was originally built to commemorate Napoleon’s victory at Austerlitz in 1805. Today, it honors the French soldiers who lost their lives fighting in World War I, the Napoleonic Wars and the French Revolution.

The imposing 50-meter structure stands at the western end of the Champs-Élysées, in the center of the Place Charles de Gaulle. On the walls of the Arc are inscribed the names of all the war victories of France and its generals, and under the structure is the tomb of the unknown soldier. It is possible to climb the 280 steps of the Arc for a breathtaking view of the Paris skyline.

3 Notre Dame Cathedral
A Gothic icon of Paris and French literature.
The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is a stunning Gothic-style cathedral located in the fourth arrondissement of Paris. One of the first Gothic cathedrals ever built, work began in 1163 and it took 300 years to complete the project. The building is adorned with a multitude of sculptures, gargoyles, and colorful stained glass windows, and its distinctive buttressed structure was one of the first to be built.

The cathedral’s international fame blossomed after the 1831 publication of Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and it has been synonymous with Parisian culture ever since. Ravaged by a fire in 2019, restoration work is underway and full reopening is planned for 2024, during the Paris Olympics.

4 Pantheon
A pristine example of neoclassical architecture.
The Pantheon is an imposing neoclassical monument with a distinctive domed roof located in the Latin Quarter of Paris. Originally designed to be a church, the Pantheon was built between 1758 and 1790 and has since become a necropolis for a selection of France’s greatest citizens. The building’s impressive facade is based on the classical model of Greek temples and features huge Corinthian columns adorned with intricate sculptures by David d’Angers.

Inside the dome is a replica of the famous pendulum designed by Léon Foucault to demonstrate the rotation of the Earth, and beneath the building is the necropolis containing the remains of some of France’s most notable figures, including Voltaire, Rousseau and Victor Hugo.

5 Louvre Pyramid
A sleek, modern style with a French Renaissance background.
The Louvre Pyramid is a spectacular glass pyramid that serves as the entrance to the Louvre Palace. Designed by Chinese-American architect I. M. Pei, this elegant structure stands in the Napoleon courtyard of the palace and was commissioned to help accommodate the large number of visitors who come to the Louvre each year.

The elegant 21.6 meter main pyramid is surrounded by three smaller pyramids, each constructed entirely of glass segments and metal posts. Work was completed in 1989 and the building has become one of the most recognizable modern landmarks in Paris. The contemporary design of the pyramid provides a stunning contrast to the classical architecture of the Palais, and at night, its dramatic lighting brings it to life.

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