At each high tide of the river, it’s right bank used to be flooded … whence the name “Marais” or marsh. The wealth of the Marais’ historical heritage appeals to numerous visitors to stop by. One can find there a unique characteristic of Paris: museums, luxury hotels and historical sites side by side with modest dwellings and very attractive boutiques.
The Beaubourg Georges Pompidou Center
This Modern Art Museum was created by President Georges Pompidou who was himself an amateur. Inspired by the worry to suppress all interior obstacles, so that maximum liberty could be attained, it’s the building exterior that exhibits its entrails: metallic structural units, different-coloured tubing (green for water, blue for heat and air-conditioning, yellow for electricity, and red for piping). Thereupon, the beauty resides in the volumes and not in décor.
The Carnavalet Hotel
The Capital’s History Museum, this hotel is a beautiful example of Renaissance architecture. It was edified for Jacques de Lignetris, First President of the Paris parliament.
The Seine River’s Right Bank "Musts”
The Champs Elysées Avenue
Today the Champs Elysées remains one of the world’s most famous avenues, whereas to, begin with, it was just a question of ordinary fields until Marie de Médicis decided in 1616 to transplant onto them a large alley flanked by trees.
Then, the dignitary Le Nôtre prolonged in 1667 the Tuileries Gardens’ perspective and, in 1724 the avenue is extended all the way to the Etoile Square (called the Butte de Chaillot).
Charles Dickens lived there at n°43.
The Arch of Triumph
It’s a round public place serving as tributary for twelve large avenues whose names are in memory of Napoleonian victories (Wagram, Iéna, Friedland, …) and by the Avenue de la grande armée. It was ordered in 1806 by Napoleon 1st, to celebrate his victories.
The Madeleine Square
At the end of the rue Royale, is the Madeleine Church with its Greek Temple architecture. This temple dedicated to Grande Armée glory was ordered by Napoleon from the architect Barthelemy Vignon. The commemorative role of this structure was thereafter abandoned.
In 1814, Louis XVIII confirmed the church character of the Madeleine structure. In 1837 it almost became the first train station of Paris, but after arduous effort, in 1842 the church character was conserved.
Around the church, one finds a superb flower market. Gourmets from around the world frequent the famous Fauchon fine food boutique in the North-east corner. Around the surrounding pavement, other fine food shops and restaurants complete the gastronomic circuit.
The Big Palace
The Big and Small Palaces were constructed for the 1906 Universal Exhibition. The building of these two structures was part of an urban architectural program destined to create a perspective between the Champs Elysées Avenue and the massive Invalides Square. Thanks to a very important renovation initiative, the Big Palace’s glass roof has found its original transparence.
The Eiffel Tower
One of Paris’ symbolic elements, it bears the name of the engineer responsible for its construction: Gustav Eiffel. Constructed in view of the 1889 Universal Exhibition, it was then supposed to be dismantled. It was saved in extremis because of its potential as a broadcasting terminal. 324 meters high, it is situated on the Mars Fields and opposite the Trocadero Palace.
The Montmartre Hillock
All that remains today of the market gardening village whose fields and vegetable patches surrounded the Montmartre neighbourhood, is the famous place du Tertre, the rue des Saules, and the Saint Piété church. Only those whose resources were diminished, could convince themselves to climb those slopes, because rent was so cheap there. Thereupon invaded by penniless poets and artists, Montmartre became “capital of bohemian life”.
Today somewhat disfigured by the frenetic tourist crowds, the Montmartre village conserves its popular character around the Abbesses and Lepic streets.