Offered as a gift by French citizens settled in the United States, the Statue of Liberty is a smaller replica of the one located at the entrance to the Port of New York. Standing on the Ile aux Cygnes since 1889, it commemorates the centenary of the French Revolution and was inaugurated on 4 July by the President at the time, Sadi Carnot. The booklet she holds in her left hand bears the inscription “IV Juillet 1776 = XIV Juillet 1789”, the dates of the American and French revolutions.
The Eiffel Tower is the most famous icon of Paris, if not of France. 325m high (originally 313m), it was built in just 2 years, 2 months for the 1899 Paris Exposition by its namesake, Gustave Eiffel. Located on the banks of the Seine, at the end of the Champ-de-Mars, it hosts almost 7milion visitors each year, making it one of the most visited monuments in the world. Disparaged for many years, especially by intellectuals, its popularity only increased from the 60s, seeing it become an unmissable tourist destination for all tourists to the French capital. Often used for science experiments, today it is used as a radio and television transmitter.
Les Invalides opposite the Grand and Petit Palais, was built by architects Libéral Bruant and Jules Hardouin-Mansart between 1670 and 1679, by order of King Louis XIV. It was intended to be used as a shelter for disabled members of the Royal Armed Forces, treating them medically and feeding them, but it was also used to combat vagrancy. The monument also includes the Cathedral of Saint-Louis des Invalides, the Army Museum and the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte.
The Musée d’Orsay is a French national museum on the right bank of the River Seine. Constructed in 1898, the building used to serve as a railway station linking Paris to Orléans. It was originally intended to receive visitors to the 1900 Paris Exhibition in the heart of the capital, as the other stations of the time were too remote. Becoming obsolete due to railway innovations and city expansion, it escaped destruction in the 70s, becoming a museum of the arts in the nineteenth century. Many consider it an extension and continuation of the Louvre lying nearby, on the opposite river bank. World-renowned masterpieces can be seen there, such as Manet’s “Olympia”, Degas’ “Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer” and Courbet’s “The Origin of the World”.
The Louvre Museum was formerly a royal palace whose history can be traced from the Middle Ages to our time. It is located on the right bank of the River Seine, and served for defence purposes. Over the centuries and through changes of regime, the palace became a fortress, royal residence, and then a museum, as we know it today. With a building surface area of more than 135,000m2, it is the largest palace in Europe, housing Paris’ largest museum. Richly laden with world-renowned works of art, the Louvre houses objects from all eras and all continents. From Antiquity to 1848, from Western Europe to the Middle East, covering Greece, Egypt and Iran, the museum’s staggering collection is a one-of-its-kind in the world. More than 35,000 works are displayed across 60,600m2 of halls. Everything can be found there, from paintings to sculptures, archaeological relics, and sketches, to name but a few items. The museum’s most iconic works are Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa”, the Venus de Milo, Delacroix’s “Liberty Leading the People” and the “Winged Victory of Samothrace”. All of these objects d’art contribute towards making the Louvre the most visited museum in the world, hosting eight million visitors per year.
Notre-Dame de Paris is the capital’s cathedral, and seat of the archbishop of Paris. It symbolises Gothic architecture and is one of the French capital’s most well-known symbols. It was built over two centuries, and retains its mystery today, with historians not even being able to identify with any degree of certainty its original architect. For a long time it remained the largest Christian religious edifice in the Western world prior to the construction of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. It is located in the historic heart of the capital, at the end of the Ile de la Cité, and is a must-see in every visitor to Paris’ stay.
The AccorHotels Arena, formerly known as the Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy, is a multi-purpose hall on the right bank of the Seine, hosting all types of cultural and sporting events. Officially opened in 1984, it became the main location for international sporting events such as the Paris Masters, the Judo Grand Slam of Paris as well as concerts for major international artists. The site is preparing to host trials for the next Olympic Games in the summer of 2024.