Places to visit in Paris

Famous and beautiful places in Paris for the first time


The route begins not far from the famous opera house, runs along Richelieu Street, the garden of the royal palace, the secret square of Valois, the new bridge, the statue of Henry the fourth, the st. Shapel, the Citte, the Notre Dame de Paris, St. Louis island, the embankments and bridges and ends in Latin quarter

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Evgeny Praisman (author)
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10.2 km
6h 21 m
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This beautiful building stands at the crossroads Rue de Hanovre and Rue Réaumur. Today it houses a bank and residential areas. The building is symbolic not only for its architecture but also for its location. Hanovre Street began its history during the French Revolution, and the street Rue Réaumur was built already during the Third Republic. Between them, almost 100 years of the history of the city from revolutionary innovation through the strict and imperial architecture of Hausman to the innovation of the early 20th century. The name of the street Hanover comes from the pavilion of Hanover, which Marshal Richelieu built on this site, at the expense of money from the capture of Hanover, during the war of 1756-1757. This is the time of greed and oppression of that absolute monarchy which the revolution will completely sweep away. The street Réaumur is named after a physicist and naturalist who lived also in the time of monarchy and invented one of the thermometers - this is the time of restoration of culture and science - the new post Napoleonic France wants to immortalize. But look at what a small and narrow street of Hanover and what a wide and bright street of Réaumur. Because between them lies the era of the great architect of Paris - prefect Hausmann. He well executed the order of his patron Napoleon the third. Emperor wanted the streets of the Paris to be wide enough to go through them magnificent military parades and they could not be blocked by barricades.

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The Qatre Septembre metro station is called so by the name of the street. On September 4, 1870, the third Republic was proclaimed in France. It existed before the capture of Paris by the Nazis in July 1940. Right opposite the metro station stands a huge bank building called today la Centorial. This is the brightest example of the architecture of Haussmann era. In 1887 a magnificent opening of the building took place. It impressed with its scope and beauty as a client and investors. Metal structures were made by Eiffel, an engineer of the Eiffel Tower. The owner of the bank Henri Germain was born in Lyon in the early 19th century. He was the son of a silk businessman. In 1863, he founded the first bank in France to offer savings accounts with interest. The bank was named Crédit Lyonnais and was the biggest bank in the world by 1900. It was nationalized in 1945, as was the most of the banking sector in France after the war. But the fate of the building as its master was not as cloudless as it might seem. During the First World War, the building of the bank suffered from a German bomb. Scandals accompanied the history of the bank. In 1976, on the steps of the bank, his chairman was shot. In 1980, the bank became the largest owner of Hollywood studios but very quickly lost its rights due to corruption and extreme luxury. In 1996, the building was a fire. It burned 12 hours and it was the biggest fire in Paris in the last 25 years. In 2005 it was renamed LCL in order to avoid negative references to its troubled recent history. It is owned by, but with, the existing French retail network of Crédit Agricole.

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The Fontaine Louvois was built in 1830’s during the reign of King Louis-Philippe. The author of this fountain is the Italian architect Louis Visconti. He also worked on the fountain of Moliere and the construction of the Luxembourg gardens. This fontaine features in Episode 1 Season 4 of Gossip Girl. The Fontaine sits the place of former Théâtre National de la rue de la Loi which was very popular during the French Revolution. He had been built in 1792 and demolished in 1820. Right opposite the Fontaine essential part of the French National Library is located. It named after the famous cardinal Richelieu. But may be the right name of the library should be after cardinal Mazarin?

From the official site of the library:

The Library was originated in the private collections of Cardinal Mazarin (1602-1661), Richelieu's successor and prime minister during Louis XIV's minority between 1643 and 1661. The library in Mazarin's mansion (which later became the historic site of the Bibliothèque nationale de France) was opened to scholars in 1643, making the Mazarine France's oldest public library. By the mid seventeenth century the collection approached 40,000 volumes. During the Fronde (1648-1652), when Mazarin fled Paris and his property was confiscated, this first library was dispersed in a public auction at the beginning of 1652. Back in power, Mazarin pieced part of it together again. He decided to attach it to the Collège des Quatre-Nations, a school he founded shortly before he died for the education of sixty young men from the four provinces annexed to the kingdom of France during his government (Alsace, Flanders, Roussillon and Pignerol).Amputated of its manuscripts, which were exchanged with the royal library in 1668, the collection was transferred to the grandiose building designed by Louis Le Vau for the Collège des Quatre-Nations. Reopened in 1689, the Mazarine Library continued to operate throughout the Revolution because it was public, while the college itself was closed down. Its librarian, Abbé Gaspard Michel, called Leblond, worked hard to channel books confiscated during the Revolution into the library's collections. Several thousand volumes came from aristocratic or monastery libraries (Notre Dame Cathedral, St Victor abbey, the abbey of Saint Germain des Prés, the Jacobin convent in the rue Saint Honoré, etc.), and from conquered territories. In this way the Library built up a remarkable collection of More than 350 years after its foundation, the Mazarine Library is a veritable museum of the book and a study and research library and it is still open to all.

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Here on the corner of Richelieu and Moliere streets stands a fountain dedicated to Moliere. This is the first monument in the history of Paris, which is dedicated to the writer and not to the military. Previously, there was a fountain and a monument dedicated to Richelieu. Near the house a memorial tablet on which the important moments of the writer's works are mentioned. In the house itself is the apartment of composer and performer chanson Mireille Khartukhu, known as Mireille (1906-1996), who lived here for many years, along with her husband the journalist and essayist Emmanuel Berl. They both come from noble Jewish families. Berl was known as the composer of speeches for Marshal Philippe Petain. During the occupation of Paris, Mireille and Emmanuel hid in the south of France and participated in the French resistance.

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From Wikipedia:

Les Deux Plateaux, more commonly known as the Colonnes de Buren, is a highly controversial art installationcreated by the French artist Daniel Buren in 1985–1986. It is located in the inner courtyard (Cour d'Honneur) of the Palais Royal in Paris, France. The work replaced the courtyard's former parking lot and was designed to conceal ventilation shafts for an underground extension of the culture ministry's premises. Some of the columns extend below courtyard level and are surrounded by pools of water into which passersby toss coins. The project was the "brainchild" of the culture minister Jack Lang and elicited considerable controversy at the time. It was attacked for its cost and unsuitability to a historic landmark. Lang paid no attention to the orders of the Commission des Monuments Historiques, which objected to the plan. In retrospect Ayers has remarked: "Given the harmlessness of the result (deliberate — Buren wanted a monument that would not dominate), the fuss seems excessive, although the columns have proved not only expensive to install, but also to maintain."

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Gardens Palais Royal got a new look a few years before the French revolution, in 1786. It was made according to the decision of the Duke of Orleans. Gardens were open to all Parisians. This event aroused great respect and honor to the duke, but did not save him from the cruelest years of the Revolution. Only his son will survive the turmoil and become the king of France in 1830. But let us speak about this later. Palais Royal itself was built almost 150 years earlier as a residence for Cardinal Richelieu. After the death of Richelieu, the widow of Louis the 13th, Anne of Austria, inherited the Palais. Relations of Louis the 13th, Anna and Richelieu were described by Alexander Dumas in the novel The Three Musketeers. Anna had two sons. Louis the 14th who said: I am the state. He was called Sun King. The second son was called Philip the First from Orleans. But in the close future, the fate will turn over. Their descendants will switch roles. Son of Philip the first - Philip the second will be the regent of France during the reign of his nephew Louis the 15th. Settlers in America will call New Orleans in honor of Philip the second Duke of Orleans. Pushkin will describe the regency of Philip in the unfinished historical novel The Moor of Peter the Great. However, in Peterhof Palace, a monument depicting Peter the Great dandling the boy of Louis the 15th - King of France will be erected. This monument was ironically called: Peter holds the whole of France in his arms. All these events took place here in the Palais Royal. The boy - the king of France grew up and strove to rule himself. He fell under the influence of his mistresses. The most famous among them was Madame de Pompadour. Wasteful and lecherous, he brought France to the loss of India and Canada on the benefit of England. He ruined the treasury. He became the spot of popular discontent. There was only one answer to all the reproaches: "Après moi, le déluge" ("After me, the flood"). He died of smallpox in 1774. His grandson, Louis 16th, who at the time of his grandfather's death was 20 years old, will be beheaded in the Revolution Square - today the Place de la Concorde. This was happen in 1993, when the king was only 39 years old. On the way to the execution he asked: What news about the expedition of La Perouse?

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This part of the city is named after Duke of Valois, future Louis-Philippe, 1st King of France. Louis-Philippe d'Orléans was born next to this area at the Palais-Royal in Paris on October 6th, 1773. 11 years later, in 1784, the old reservoirs that supplied the garden ponds in the Palais-Royal were ruined with the opening of Rue de Valois. One year later, in 1785, Louis-Philippe, like his father the Duke of Orleans, became Duke of Chartres and supported the French Revolution. Later he joined the club of Jacobins and supported the formation of the Civil Constitution of the clergy. But his sympathy to the revolutionists did not save him from the bloodthirstiness of the revolution. His father was trialed and executed on November 6th, 1793. After being crowned as Duke of Orleans, Louis-Philippe moved to Switzerland where he worked as a teacher, but his fake identity was unmasked and he was forced to immigrate again. He was sheltered by the Scandinavian countries. In 1796, the Directory exiled him with his two young brothers to the United States. They settled in Philadelphia. Three years afterwards he stayed in Havana before being driven out by the Spanish government. Napoleon Bonaparte did not put an end to his exile during the rule of his Empire, and Louis-Philippe and his brothers settled in England in January 1800. Only after the abdication of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1814, Louis-Philippe returned to France, as Duke of Orleans, and inherited his own home, the Palais-Royal. Louis-Philippe was proclaimed 'King of the French' by the Chamber of Deputies on August 9th, 1830. The strong symbol of the new monarchy, was the tricolor flag that replaced the white flag of the Restoration. But, despite the fact that the period of the king's rule was marked by the expansion of the colonies in Africa and in the New Word, the strengthening of the ties with England and the creation of a constitutional monarchy, Victor Hugo said "The current king has a large amount of small qualities". Fearing of getting tied with a similar fate as Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, Louis-Philippe 1st disguised himself and embarked on March 2nd, 1848 from Le Havre to England, where he and his family settled at Claremont Castle provided by Queen Victoria. The Second Republic of France was proclaimed. Two years later Louis-Philippe died in his place of exile and was buried in the chapel of St. Charles Borromeo in Weybridge. 27 years later in 1876, his body as well as that of his wife Queen Marie-Amélie, who died on March 24th, 1866, were brought back to the royal chapel of Saint-Louis.

It's time for a snack. Sandwiches and pastries. Time for a sandwich or fresh bakery in Paris usually before noon. This place is small. You can hardly find a place to sit, but there is no need for it. You pay first in cash, get what you want and leave this place for sunny streets surrounding of northern wings of the Louvre.

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Here in the square in front of the Louvre there is a view of the church Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois. It was the parish church of the Valois dynasty. On August 24th, 1572, on the day of St. Bartholomew on the orders of Catherine de Medici, the bells of this church signaled the beginning of the massacre of Huguenots, who were invited to the wedding of Henry of Navarre with Margarita de Valois, - so began the Bartholomew night. It is considered that they called from the main preserved tower, but this is not true: the Catholics were sounded by a small bell tower on the south side of the church.

From Wikipedia: Founded in the 7th century, the church was rebuilt many times over several centuries. It now has construction in Roman, Gothic and Renaissance styles. The most striking exterior feature is the porch, with a rose window and a balustrade above which encircles the whole church, a work of Jean Gaussel (1435–39). Among the treasures preserved inside are a 15th-century wooden statue of Saint Germain, a stone carved statue of Saint-Vincent a stone sculpture of Isabelle of France (saint), a Flemish altarpiece carved out of wood, the famous "churchwarden's pew" where important people sat, made in 1683 by François, Le Mercier from drawings by Charles Le Brun.

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Pont Nuef namely the “new bridge” was build in 16 century and is the oldest bridge in Paris. The bridge connects left and right bunk of Siena through the island – Cite – the historic heart of Paris. The interesting fact is that the bridge connected not only the banks of the river but also a small islet to the west of the Cite with the Cite itself. Exactly on this small islet on March 18, 1314 the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, Jacques de Molay, was burned at the stake. The original name of this small islet was Île aux Juifs - island of Jews.

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From Wikipedia:

At the point where the bridge crosses the Île de la Cité, there stands a bronze equestrian statue of king Henry IV, originally commissioned from Giambologna under the orders of Marie de Médicis, Henri’s widow and Regent of France, in 1614. After his death, Giambologna's assistant Pietro Tacca completed the statue, which was erected on its pedestal by Pietro Francavilla, in 1618. It was destroyed in 1792 during the French Revolution, but was rebuilt in 1818, following the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy. Bronze for the new statue was obtained with the bronze from a statue of Louis Charles Antoine Desaix, as well as from the statue of Napoleon in Place Vendôme, which was melted down. The new statue was cast from a mold made using a surviving cast of the original. Inside the statue, the new sculptor François-Frédéric Lemot put four boxes, containing a history of the life of Henry IV, a 17th-century parchment certifying the original statue, a document describing how the new statue was commissioned, and a list of people who contributed to a public subscription.

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Today, here is the building of the gendarmerie and the palace of justice. But exactly here the first castle of the first French kings was built. Hence the French Crown begins its history. Over time, when the fortress and the palace lost their importance, the whole complex became a court building, a prison and a gendarmerie. Here Marie Antoinette was imprisoned before the execution. Here the trial of Sarah Bernhardt took place after she broke a lifetime contract with Comedie Francaise. Here was Dreifus trial. Here dancer and spy Mata Hari was accused of spying and sentenced to death.

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Louis IX build the Sainte-Chapelle or "Holy Chapel", as a part of the royal palace on the Île de la Cité (now part of older administrative complex and court) to house collection of relics of Christ which Louis purchased from Baldwin II, the Latin emperor at Constantinople. The relics arrived in Paris from Venice. The relics were stored in a silver chest, named Grand-Chasse. Thay says that Louis spent 100,000 livres for this chest. Some ones say this was the French monarchy and state rising. At the time of French Revolution the relics dispersed and various reliquaries, including the grande châsse, were melted down. Some ones say this was the French democracy and republic rising.

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Some Interesting facts about Notre Dame de Paris from Wikipedia:

1170: Existence of a cathedral school operating at Notre-Dame. This corporation of teachers and students will evolve in 1200 into the University of Paris in an edict by King Philippe-Auguste.

1185: Heraclius of Caesarea calls for the Third Crusade from the still-incomplete cathedral.

1239: The Crown of Thorns is placed in the cathedral by St. Louis during the construction of the Sainte-Chapelle.

16 December 1431: Henry VI of England is crowned King of France.

7 November 1455: Isabelle Romée, the mother of Joan of Arc, petitions a papal delegation to overturn her daughter's conviction for heresy.

18 August 1572: Henry of Navarre (later Henry IV of France) marries Margaret of Valois. The marriage takes place not in the cathedral but on the parvis of the cathedral, as Henry IV is Protestant.

2 December 1804: the coronation ceremony of Napoleon I and his wife Joséphine, with Pope Pius VII officiating.

1831: The novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame was published by French author Victor Hugo.

26 August 1944: The Te Deum Masstakes place in the cathedral to celebrate the liberation of Paris. (According to some accounts the Mass was interrupted by sniper fire from both the internal and external galleries.)

12 November 1970: The Requiem Mass of General Charles de Gaulle is held.

26 June 1971: Philippe Petit surreptitiously strings a wire between the two towers of Notre-Dame and tight-rope walks across it. Petit later performed a similar act between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.

January 1996: The Requiem Mass of François Mitterrand is held.

10 August 2007: The Requiem Mass of Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, former Archbishop of Paris and famous Jewish convert to Catholicism, is held.

21 May 2013: Around 1,500 visitors were evacuated from Notre-Dame Cathedral after Dominique Venner, a historian, placed a letter on the Church altar and shot himself. He died immediately.

8 September 2016: Notre Dame Cathedral bombing attempt. Arrests made after an explosives-filled car was discovered parked alongside the cathedral.

10 February 2017 Police arrested 4 people in Montpellier, France, including a 16-year-old girl and a 20-year-old man already known by authorities to have ties to extremist Islamist organizations, on charges of plotting to travel to Paris and attack the cathedral.

6 June 2017 2017 Notre Dame attack Lone attacker armed with hammer arrested for attacking police officer outside the Cathedral.

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