Places to visit in Paris

Avenue de L'Opera to Museum D’Orsay


This is one of the short and beautiful walks from the opera boulevard to the d'Orsay museum. In just a hour and a half, the city will acquaint you with its history and culture of the second half of the nineteenth - early twentieth centuries. We learn about the fate of Napoleon III - the nephew of the famous Napoleon Bonaparte, who created the image of the modern capital of France. We will meet the history of the Tuileries Gardens and the events of Paris's history from the time of Joan of Arc to the construction of the southern station, which today houses the Orsay Museum. Enjoy the Seine from the pedestrian bridge named after the President of Senegal and an attractive meal at the end of the museum tour in his restaurant on the upper terrace.

Author & Co-authors
Helen Praysman (author)
1.9 km
1h 52 m
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Uploaded by Helen Praysman

We are about to cross one of the most significant avenues of Paris – the Avenue de l'Opéra. Pay attention that unlike most avenues in the city, there are no trees. Let us see the short story of this place to understand the fact. Once a huge hill extended to the west of the avenue. At the time of Joan of Arc, cannons were placed on it to attack the Porte Saint-Honoré – the city gate. Then the hill was lowered and become a slum unhealthy district with narrow, dangerous passages. In the 19th century, Napoleon, the third, decided to give Paris a new street planning. He invited architect Haussmann to build the streets longer to carry out the greatest military parades and wider to prevent the possibility of potential revolutioners close them with the barricades. The main avenue is supposed to connect between the northern part – nowadays a Grand Opera and the Louvre. Charles Garnier, the opera architect, agreed with Haussmann to leave the avenue with no trees to emphasize the great architecture.

The photo shows a reproduction of a painting by Pissarro depicting Opera Avenue from the Louvre hotel window.
Photo by Camille Pissarro - The Yorck Project (2002) 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei (DVD-ROM), distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH. ISBN: 3936122202., Public Domain

Uploaded by Helen Praysman

Do you know that modern Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia parts were the French provinces named Indochina? These lands raised the revolt for their independence between 1946 – 1954. Some years before, they were captured by military Japanese expansion during the second world war. French general Émile Lemonnier was captured by the Japanese and was killed after the massacre garrison of the citadel of Lạng Sơn on March 12, 1945. He was 51 years old. You can be mistakenly to recognize the equestrian monument in this place as commemorates the French general. This monument is dedicated to Joan of Arc. A little further along Pyramid Street is the Church of St. Roch, built on a former hill. In days of Joan, cannons were installed on this hill, firing at the city's western gate. This is where the city ended. There was a vacant lot behind the wall. On the banks of the Seine, clay was washed, and shingles were produced. Roof tiles sound French Tuile - this word gave the name to the gardens. We are entering the Tuilry gardens. The street that turns into a tunnel under the Tuileries Gardens is named after the general. It may seem strange that streets were dedicated to generals, monuments were erected to them. However, the military history of France is of great importance to the French. This is part of French glory. This is reminiscent of the powers that ruled the world.

The photo shows a monument to Jeanne d'Arc.
Photo By Jastrow - Self-photographed, Public Domain

Uploaded by Helen Praysman

The Tuileries is one of the two oldest parks in Paris. Both parks were built during the reign of Maria de Medici. The Luxembourg Gardens is considered the second oldest park. It is located in front of the former Chateau Marie de Medici, and today is the seat of the French Parliament. The gardens were used for different purposes. There was horse riding, cabaret, entertainment, and even a silkworm farm. In 1667 Charles Perrault, the author of The Sleeping Beauty and other fairy tales, was solicited before the king to open the garden to the public. Permission was obtained, except for beggars and soldiers. It was the first royal garden in history to be open to the public. In this garden, Napoleon's wedding procession with an Austrian princess took place, and after the defeat of Napoleon's army, English and Russian soldiers camped in it.

Panoramic view of the Tuileries Gardens.

Photo By dronepicr - Louvre Museum

Uploaded by Helen Praysman

Napoleon III not only built modern Paris but also succeeded in the role of president and monarch. As a nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, he came to power as president of the republic. He ended his rule in German captivity, becoming the last emperor of the last French empire. The first bridge on this site was built of cast iron and was intended to pass carriages from one bank of the Seine to the other. It was opened in 1861 and is dedicated to the battle near Solferino's Italian town when the French and Italians defeated the Austrians. A hundred years later, the bridge was replaced with a modern one. It is completely pedestrianized and leads directly to the Orsay Museum.

Uploaded by Helen Praysman

The museum displays French artworks from 1848-1914, including painting, sculpture, furniture, and photography. It houses the largest collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterpieces in the world. Most valuable exhibits: Paintings by Delacroix, Ingres, Moreau, Renoir, Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh. The building was originally a train station, Gare D'Orsay, built for the French railway company “Chemin de Fer de Paris à Orléans” (a railway from Paris to Orleans). It was the final stop of the railways of southwestern France until 1939. In 1939, the station's short platforms became unsuitable for longer trains. Therefore, after 1939, the building was used for suburban communications, and part of it became a postal center during World War II. In 1970, permission was given to demolish the station, but Jacques Duhamel, the Minister of Culture, abandoned the plan. The station was listed as a Historic Monument in 1978. The proposal to turn the station into a museum came from the directorate of museums in France. The idea was to build a museum that would bridge the gap between the Louvre and the National Museum of Modern Art at the Georges Pompidou Center. In 1981, Italian architect Gae Aulenti developed the interior design, including the interior layout, decoration, furniture, and fittings for the museum. Finally, in July 1986, the museum was ready to host its exhibits. It took 6 months to install about 2,000 paintings, 600 sculptures, and other works. The museum officially opened in December 1986 by the president of the period, François Mitterrand. Since its grand debut, the museum has created a renowned art collection that encompasses painting, sculpture, photography, and decorative arts.

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