Follow the footsteps of the teenage female superhero through Paris’s gardens, museums, monuments and fountains
Paris forms the backdrop for the well-known animated TV series ‘Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir’. The capital’s gardens, museums, monuments, squares and fountains feature prominently in episodes of this show for young viewers. Follow in the footsteps of Ladybug, the heroine, as you set out with the kids to explore the treasures of Paris’s heritage.
The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower – the most famous symbol of Paris and France – is the absolute favourite monument of Marinette Dupain-Cheng, aka Ladybug. Nicknamed the Iron Lady, the 330-metre-tall wrought-iron tower designed by Gustave Eiffel for the International Exposition of 1889 stands on the Champ-de-Mars, looming over the city like a lighthouse. It was supposed to be torn down after 20 years, but has stood the test of time. Thanks to Ladybug and Cat Noir, it has also stood up to attacks by ‘akumatized’ supervillains (ordinary Parisians transformed into baddies) seeking to destroy Paris. This must-see – as indestructible as the two young superheroes – appears in every episode.
Tour Eiffel -5 avenue Anatole France – Champ-de-Mars, Paris 7th
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When she isn’t busy catching evil akumas sent out by Hawk Moth, Marinette likes meeting up with her friends Alya, Adrien and Nino at ‘Troca’, where she also finds inspiration to design her new outfits. Facing the Eiffel Tower across the river, Trocadéro boasts gardens, ponds and some fine buildings. Start on Place du Trocadéro across from the Palais de Chaillot. From here, you will enjoy one of the loveliest vistas of Paris, and a breathtaking view of the Eiffel Tower.
Le Trocadéro – place du Trocadéro, Paris 16th
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Ladybug foils off attacks by three akumas inside the Louvre – Jalil Kubdel, who has transformed into The Pharaoh; The Mime, and Volpina, who creates amazing illusions. The world’s biggest museum was originally a castle built to protect Paris from Norman attacks. Today, it extends over an area of 243,000 m² and displays some 35,000 works. It has 403 rooms, 14.5 km of corridors and 10,000 steps. Stroll around soaking up more than 800 years of history, and do admire the glass and metal pyramid designed by I.M. Pei, where another of Ladybug’s adventures takes place.
Musée du Louvre -Pyramide du Louvre, Paris 1st
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Jardins des Tuileries
The Tuileries Gardens are located between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde, and bordered by the Seine and Rue de Rivoli. This 16th-century Paris park is the scene for Ladybug and Cat Noir’s confrontation with Backwarder, a supervillain who makes up for lost time by stealing it from Parisians. A memorable chase ensues through the lime-tree-lined alleys of these magnificent French-style gardens designed by the landscape architect André Le Nôtre. Who’s to say the ‘kwamis’ Tikki and Plagg – two of the sprite-like beings who help Cat Noir and Ladybug – aren’t hiding just out of sight somewhere in the gardens?
Les jardins des Tuileries – place de la Concorde, Paris 1st
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The Luxor Obelisk
Rising proudly from the middle of Place de la Concorde, the Luxor Obelisk is one of the many monuments featuring in the internationally successful French TV series. The obelisk was a gift to France in 1829 from Muhammad Ali of Egypt for the work Champollion had done to decipher hieroglyphics. It is the city’s oldest symbol, dating back more than 3,000 years. Ladybug, who will go to any lengths to save Paris, does not hesitate to cut off the tip of the 23-metre-high, 222-ton obelisk (a symbolic representation of the sun’s rays). Luckily, whatever the damage, Ladybug can repair it with her Miraculous and restore the City of Lights to all its former beauty.
Obélisque de Louxor, place de la Concorde, Paris 1st
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Arc de Triomphe
At the Arc de Triomphe, Vincent Asa transforms into the fearful akuma Numeric and goes about terrorizing the Champs-Élysées area. The Arc de Triomphe stands in the centre of Place de l’Etoile, from which twelve avenues radiate. It was commissioned by Napoleon after his victory at the Battle of Austerlitz as a tribute to his soldiers, whom he envisaged returning home ‘through arches of triumph’. Comprising two main vaults and two smaller ones, the Arc de Triomphe features decorative bas-relief sculptures illustrating scenes from the Revolution and the First Empire. The names of the great battles of these periods are engraved on its pillars. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier – a serviceman killed in the First World War – was incorporated into the base of the monument in 1921.
Arc de Triomphe – place Charles de Gaulle Etoile, Paris 8th
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The Tour Montparnasse inspired an episode as action-packed as any Hollywood thriller. Adrien’s bodyguard, who has been akumatized into Gorizilla, chases Cat Noir and Ladybug to the top of the 210-metre-high tower offering a spectacular 360° view over Paris. The skyscraper was built on the site of the former Montparnasse station and inaugurated in 1973. Its weight rests on 56 reinforced concrete pillars, buried 70 metres underground.
Tour Montparnasse – rue de l’Arrivée, Paris 15th
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Boris Lumé Boulangerie
On Rue Caulaincourt near Montmartre, you will find Boris Lumé’s bakery, which inspired the one owned by Marinette’s parents, Tom Dupain and Sabine Cheng, in the series. It has been so artfully copied that that you’ll feel as if you’ve been beamed into one of the episodes. The beautiful decorations on the listed façade include a drawing of the Moulin de la Galette. Inside, wrought-iron shelves and floral floor tiles form a charming backdrop to displays of sourdough, spelt, corn flour and chestnut bread.
Boris Lumé Boulangerie – 49 rue Caulaincourt, Paris 18th
Ladybug and Cat Noir joined the Musée Grévin’s line-up of celebrity wax figures in 2018. This event hailed by fans of the series gave rise to an episode that takes place among the eerily lifelike figures. The museum was opened in 1882 to help Parisians to put a face to names they saw in newspapers of the time. The Musée Grévin is a listed building with a striking art deco façade. The pediment is the work of the sculptor Albert Chartier. Beehives have been installed on the roof in tribute to these vital, but often overlooked, insects: without beeswax, there wouldn’t be any wax figures.
Grévin Paris – 10 boulevard Montmartre, Paris 9th
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Ladybug (Marinette) and Cat Noir (Adrien) also happen to be two ordinary teenagers studying at the Collège Françoise Dupont: the alter ego of Fantômette, another young female superhero, who dons a mask to fight crime in the eponymous French comic book series. The writers of the TV show made the Lycée Carnot in the 17th arrondissement the model for Marinette and Adrien’s school. Dating to 1869, the Lycée Carnot has a large courtyard with a glass-and-metal roof designed by Gustave Eiffel. The classrooms are housed in brick and stone buildings in the classical style. Can you spot Miss Bustier’s class?
Lycée Carnot – 145 boulevard Malherbes, Paris 17th
Hôtel de Ville
No Paris walk in Ladybug’s footsteps would be complete without a visit to the Hôtel de Ville, a frequent target of attqcks by supervillains. The largest municipal building in Europe, this magnificent structure designed by the architects Théodore Ballu and Edouard Deperthes has been the headquarters of the Paris City Council since 1357. There are 200 statues representing famous Parisians on its façade.
Hôtel de Ville de Paris – place de l’Hôtel de Ville, Paris 4th
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Fontaine des Victoires
A significant moment in the series takes place in Place du Châtelet, at the Fontaine des Victoires (also known as Fontaine du Châtelet and Fontaine des Palmiers). Ladybug kisses Cat Noir in front of this fountain, commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 to provide free drinking water to all Parisians. It is pillar shaped and adorned with sculpted palm leaves, with four sphinxes at its base. The gilded bronze Victory statue on top holding up a laurel crown in either hand was sculpted by Louis-Simon Boizot. The original statue is now housed in the Musée Carnavalet – maybe because of the damage Guitar Villain inflicted on the fountain when he played his ‘Shocking Riff’ against Cat Noir?
Fontaine des Victoires – place du Châtelet, Paris 1st
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Place des Vosges
The park near the Dupain-Cheng’s bakery was inspired by the Place des Vosges. In the series, the park has a statue of Ladybug and Chat Noir sculpted by the fictional artist Théo Barbot. The real Place des Vosges – the oldest square in Paris – is in the Marais district. It was built in 1605 on the site of a royal palace, the Palais des Tournelles, and indeed initially named Place Royale. It is surrounded by 36 pavilions, all identical except the king’s own pavilion at the southern end and the queen’s at the northern end, both intentionally higher.
Place des Vosges, Paris 4th
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The Canal Saint-Martin, a much-loved Parisian haven in the midst of a trendy district, appears in the two-episode finale of season 3 of ‘Miraculous’. Built in the early 19th century, this canal connecting the Bassin de la Villette to the Seine is 4.5 km long. It runs through the 10th and 11th arrondissements, and has four locks separating its basins (Bassin des Morts, Bassin du Combat, Bassin Louis-Blanc, Bassin des Récollets and Bassin des Marais), six pedestrian walkways, and two fixed and two revolving bridges.
Canal Saint-Martin, Paris 10th
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