Paris, or "The City of Lights" is one of the grandest and most beautiful cities on Earth. It is both the capital and most populous city in France and has seen some of the most momentous events in history.
Since around the 17th Century, it has been one of the major European centers for art, science, technology, diplomacy, finance, and commerce.
For this reason, it is packed with wonderful monuments and other sites to see. Here are some of the most notable.
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What famous buildings are in Paris?
Paris, like many capital cities around the world, is a treasure trove of famous buildings.
Some of the most notable include, but are not limited, to:
- The Arc de Triomphe
The Eiffel Tower
Basilica of the Sacré-Coeur
Army Museum – Les Invalides (contains the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte)
Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral
What kind of architecture is in Paris?
Paris, like many large and old European cities, has a wonderful mix of some of the most iconic and interesting architectural styles in the world.
Some of the most notable include, but again are not limited to:
French Gothic architecture
French Colonial Architecture
Art Nouveau & Art Deco
What stone is used in Paris buildings?
Parisian buildings, like in many cities, tend to have a mixture of building materials from stone to brick and steel and glass depending on when it was built and in what style.
But there is one type of stone that is very prominent in Paris. This is Lutetian limestone, otherwise known as the "Paris Stone."
The "Paris Stone" is a variety of limestone that can be found locally in the city and happens to be a very beautiful and versatile building material. It has been used, in some form or other, since Roman times as a construction material.
Notable examples of buildings built from "Paris Stone" include the Louvre, Place de la Concorde and Les Invalides.
The stone itself appears to have been formed in the middle Eocene (circa 47 to 41 million years ago), and the name is derived from Lutetia, an ancient name for the city.
What are some great engineering-related places to visit in Paris?
When in Paris there are some important places you should make an effort to see. Of course, these are just some suggestions. There are many other amazing places to visit in Paris too.
1. You simply must check out the Eiffel Tower
If you are looking for some marvels of engineering while in Paris, then look no further than the iconic Eiffel Tower. This giant monument of steel is one of the world's greatest engineering feats and is a beautiful thing to boot.
Built, and named after, the great engineer Gustave Eiffel, the tower was built as the centerpiece for the 1889 Paris Exposition. This exposition was intended to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution.
Interestingly, the tower was only meant to be temporary and had been planned to be dismantled in 1909. But when the tower's ownership passed to the City of Paris, it was decided that it be kept as a permanent monument.
2. The Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace is definitely worth a visit
Located just outside Paris, this museum is great for one major reason - it is full of awesome planes! You can find it about 6 km outside of Paris, in the grounds of the Paris-Le Bourget airport.
This amazing air and space museum is widely considered one of the finest in the world and has a massive collection of over 400 aircraft. One hundred fifty of these are usually on display including some of the most iconic planes of all time like the Spitfire and, of course, the Concorde.
"The Museum of Air and Space is also a site museum. In fact, Le Bourget is a place that all aviation heroes have been through, including Charles Lindbergh. It is the birthplace of commercial aviation and includes buildings that are themselves of great cultural interest, like the terminal building with its Art Deco architecture," notes museeairspace.fr.
3. Be sure to check out the Louvre
When in Paris you simply must make a beeline for the Louvre. This incredibly famous and iconic museum is one of the must-see things in the city.
It was originally built to house the French Royal Family in the late 12th Century and was officially repurposed as a museum in the late 1700s. The palace has undergone various renovations and extensions over its history.
The most notable of which was the 1989 installation of I.M. Pei's iconic glass pyramids that top the museum's main entrance.
While the museum is primarily devoted to the arts and humanities, you will definitely find it a fascinating place to visit. Besides, if you are on holiday, take a break from engineering for a few hours!
4. The Paris Pantheon is amazing
The Pantheon in Paris can be found in the Latin Quarter of the City of Paris. It was originally built as a church dedicated to St. Genevieve and was inspired, unsurprisingly, by the original Roman Pantheon in Rome.
It was designed by architect Jacques-Germain Soufflot who embellished its classical structural design with Gothic detailing. Construction began in 1758 and work was completed in 1765.
Today, the building serves as a secular mausoleum that contains the remains of some of the most prominent French citizens including Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, and Pierre and Marie Curie.
The building is one of the finest examples of neoclassical architecture in the world and is a must-see for anyone visiting the city.
5. The Musee des Arts et Metiers' collection is a must-see
The Musee des Arts et Metiers is another must-see place in Paris for anyone with a passing interest in engineering and science. This amazing museum is dedicated to industrial design and houses the collection of the Conservatoire national des arts et métiers.
The museum was founded in 1794 and serves as a repository for the preservation of scientific instruments and inventions. It has, to date, around 80,000 objects and 15,000 drawings in its collection.
Of these, somewhere in the order of 2,500 are on permanent display in Paris. The rest are in storage in Saint-Denis.
Some of its notable exhibits are the original version of Foucault's famous pendulum, the original "Liberty Enlightening the World" model that was the template for the Statue of Liberty, and some of the world's first planes.
It really is worth a visit if, and when, you visit this historic city.