Monumental Paris

The Eiffel Tower, the Invalides, the Pont Alexandre III ... A walk with grandiose perspectives and sights

The area around the Eiffel Tower is on a fitting scale to the tower itself. On a clear night, its beam sweeps through the sky in a radius covering 80 kilometres. The spectacle is awesome and one feels so small in this grandiose area with its massive buildings and vast green spaces!
Just opposite, for example, are the gems of the 1937 Universal Exposition: 71 artists decorated the Palais de Chaillot and a quartet of architects designed the Palais de Tokyo and its white colonnade. On show in the latter is the acclaimed fresco La Fée Électricité by Dufy and the monumental La Danse triptychs by Matisse. For La Porte de l’Enfer, see the Musée Rodin.
And what spectacular perspectives – one stretching from the Esplanade des Invalides to beyond Pont Alexandre III, the other between the equestrian statues of the two marshals, Foch in place du Trocadéro and Joffre at the opposite end of the Champ-de-Mars, in front of the École Militaire. Did you know that this institution trained a young Corsican, who was 'an excellent sailor', and who was none other than Napoleon Bonaparte? Today, his imperial remains lie beneath the golden dome of the Invalides.

1 Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

The city’s museum of modern art, also known as MaM, reopened in 2006 after renovation and is situated in the east wing of the Palais de Tokyo. Inaugurated in 1947, it is a monumental building in a sobre style, composed of two perfectly symmetrical wings separated by a fountain and stone staircases. The glass ceilings provide natural daylight for the majority of rooms. The permanent collections of the museum comprise more than 8,000 works illustrating the many different artistic currents of the 20th century, with works by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris, Henri Matisse, Alberto Giacometti, Georges Braque, and Yves Klein, just to mention a few. The museum also shows major temporary exhibitions.

2 Palais de Tokyo - Site de Création Contemporaine

Palais de Tokyo, Paris © OTCP - Amélie Dupont

In 1934, while it occupied part of the ancient Savonnerie carpet factory, the state set about creating a national museum of modern art. On 24 May 1937, the Palais des Musées d’Art Moderne was opened. It has been modified numerous times, notably with the attribution of cultural sites within the Palais de Tokyo. In 1999 Catherine Trautmann, minister of culture and communication, decided to open the West Wing of the building to inaugurate the centre for contemporary art. Today, it is a cultural centre that takes an interest in the up-and-coming interdisciplinary and contemporary scene in various forms. The modular interior of the place makes it suitable for the installation of all types of events.

3 Musée Galliera - Musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris

Galliera Musée de la Mode de la ville de Paris © OTCP - Capucine Requillart

The musée Galliera is the City of Paris Museum of Fashion. Opened in 1977, it is housed in a Renaissance-style palace built at the end of the 19th century for the Duchesse de Galliera.

4 Musée des arts asiatiques Guimet

Musée Guimet, Paris © OTCP - Marc Bertrand

Created at the initiative of an industrialist from Lyon Émile Guimet (1836-1918), this museum has become a great centre for knowledge of Asian civilizations. The Galeries du Panthéon bouddhique, also part of the museum, have an exceptionally fine Japanese garden and tea pavilion, a gift from Japanese patrons of the arts. This place full of serenity was designed specially to harmonize with all the aspects of the traditional tea ceremony.

5 Musée national de la Marine

Musée national de la Marine, Paris © OTCP - Amélie Dupont

Discover one of the world’s oldest maritime museums, a meeting place for lovers of the sea and the curious-minded: models of ships from the 17th century onward, painting and maritime objects, legendary figures and current maritime issues are all explored here. The impressive age and diversity of its collections have contributed to its reputation as one of the world’s most important maritime museums.

6 Cité de l’architecture & du patrimoine

Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine, Paris © OTCP - Marc Bertrand

Housed in a wing of the Palais de Chaillot, this cité – open to all – devotes its 23,000 sq.m. to the urban environment. The museum’s galleries present architectural moulds, medieval and Renaissance wall paintings and an architectural panorama from 1850 to the present day.

7 Museum national d'Histoire naturelle - Musée de l’Homme

Musée de l’Homme, Galerie de l'Homme, mezzanine, d'où venons-nous, Museum national d'Histoire naturelle, Paris © Patrick Tourneboeuf - OPPIC - Tendance floue

Even its name will change! Come back in 2013 to discover a brand new wonderful Musée des Sciences naturelles de l’homme. To include a great journey through time from man’s appearance 150,000 years ago to the present day, in a totally museum layout.

8 Trocadéro

Trocadéro, Paris © OTCP - Marc Verhille

The elevated “Troca” has a privileged viewpoint of the Eiffel Tower on the opposite bank of the Seine. Between the curved wings of the vast Palais de Chaillot – emblem of the 1930s – are gently sloping terraces and gardens, bordered by century-old Caucasian wingnut and hazel trees, and dotted with gilded bronze statues. Skaters and rollerbladers weave alongside the fountains beneath the gaze of Apollo and Hercules, sculpted on the pediment of the pavilions.

9 CinéAqua