Standing over a thousand feet tall, the Eiffel Tower stands as not only a symbol of France, but as an emblem of what architecture and ingenious engineering can accomplish when balanced against the backdrop of a city that seamlessly blends the old and the new. Drawing its design inspiration from the Latting Observatory in its sister city of New York, it has looked over the City of Lights since the World’s Fair of 1889, celebrating the French Revolution centennial. No trip to Paris is complete without a visit to this masterpiece, and with restaurants on the first and second levels and a champaign bar at the top, you are bound to find your spot!
About a mile north of the Eiffel Tower sits the imponent Arc de Triomphe, at the center of Charles de Gaule Square. At the conversion of twelve radiating streets that lead to all directions in Paris, the monument honors those who came from all parts of France, fought and died for it in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. At its base you can find the Tomb to the Unknown Soldier and a small museum in the attic, which displays a small model of the arch and its design history. With its many sculptures and arcade motifs, it’s a design feast for the eyes.
Just west of the city is the Palace of Versailles. Revered for its opulence and exuberant luxury, it served as the royal residence until the start of the French Revolution in 1789. With its ornate walls and fixtures in the rococo style, you hear echoes of history in every room, from the Hall of Mirrors in the Grand Gallery to the Royal Apartments. Every room tells a story. The royal court’s fashion choices in those days dictated trends the world over. It’s only fitting that, to this day, Paris continues to be a beacon of innovation to fashion lovers everywhere.
Originally built as a castle that housed the Louvre Palace, this magnificent construction on the Right Bank of the Seine has housed for the past two hundred years what is now the most visited museum in the world, the Louvre Museum. There you can spend a day traveling through time, visiting with art pieces that have influenced and inspired legions of artists and art lovers for centuries. From pieces of Islamic art to Egyptian antiquities, you’re sure to be inspired. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes and don’t leave until you spend some time with the Mona Lisa painting and the Winged Victory and Venus de Milo sculptures!
Built as a royal chapel in the 13th century, Sainte-Chapelle stands to this day as an exuberant example and one of the highest achievements of Gothic architecture. Its extensive original stained glass windows, with their multicolored palettes, fill the nave with soft, yet, brilliant light, depicting various scenes of biblical significance. Centrally located in the Île de la Cité, it is easily accessible. Don’t leave Paris without visiting this national historic monument!