Remarkable architectural creations

Paris has its fair share of unique constructions designed by leading architects.

Paris, like other major cities such as Barcelona, Chicago or Brasilia, has its fair share of unique constructions designed by leading architects.

In the heart of Paris, the most noteworthy are unquestionably the Pompidou Centre, designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, the Institut du Monde Arabe by Jean Nouvel, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France by Dominique Perrault and, of course, the Louvre Pyramid by Ieoh Ming Pei.

Philharmonie de Paris extérieur vue d'ensemble © Guilhem Vellut via Flickr

The Modernist wave also swept through Greater Paris, bringing several key developments with unusual architecture: the follies in the Parc de la Villette by Bernard Tschumi, the Philharmonie de Paris by Jean Nouvel or the Cinémathèque Française and the Fondation Louis Vuitton by the deconstructivist master Frank Gehry.

At Les Docks – Cité de la Mode et du Design, the architects Jakob and MacFarlane have successfully grafted an apple-green glass envelope onto an existing industrial building. Another architectural gem is the Fondation Jérôme Seydoux Pathé, opened in 2014, with an astonishing glass shell designed by Renzo Piano behind a façade sculpted by Rodin.

Stade de France

The capital’s sports facilities also include some remarkable architectural treasures, such as the Palais des Sports de l’Île des Vannes in Saint-Ouen, which includes La Grande Nef, a stadium designed by Pierre Chazanoff, Anatole Kopp and René Sarger, with an incredible curved roof resembling an upturned boat, or the futuristic Tournesol (sunflower) swimming pools designed by Bernard Schoeller, a handful of which still exist, for example in Bondy and Les Lilas.

Greater Paris is also home to many record-breaking constructions: the legendary Stade de France in Saint-Denis, apart from being the world’s largest modular Olympic stadium, is an astonishingly original design inspired by a flying saucer.

Finally, a number of examples of religious architecture are worth visiting, like the modernist Eglise Notre-Dame du Raincy built by Auguste Perret in the 1920s. Nicknamed the “Sainte-Chapelle du béton”, it is the first religious building to be built in concrete. The Eglise Saint-Louis de Vincennes is a very fine example of the revival of sacred art in the early twentieth century.

Not forgetting the first twenty-first centurycathedral, Notre-Dame de Créteil which, following its renovation in 1987, is utterly contemporary if not futuristic, with its rib-vaulted bivalve dome reaching up into the sky and its monumental stained-glass window arching overhead like a bridge of light.

The all-concrete Eglise du Saint-Esprit, completed in 1935, contains numerous treasures and can be explored in the company of a guide.
The Eglise Notre-Dame-des-Missions in Epinay-sur-Seine combines different architectural styles, with a bell tower in the form of a minaret and an entrance resembling an oriental pagoda.

Finally, hospital architecture is not to be outdone. The Hôpital Avicenne in Bobigny, for example, listed as a historic monument, is an inspiring combination of modern construction and Moorish-style features.

Centre Pompidou

Museum
Place Georges Pompidou, Paris, 75004

The Centre Pompidou, designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, is a 20th-century architectural marvel, immediately recognizable......

Philharmonie de Paris

Concert hall
221 avenue Jean Jaurès, Paris, 75019
Book

The Philharmonie de Paris is the new musical heart of the capital. The new building was designed by architect Jean Nouvel. Beside......

Fondation Louis Vuitton

Museum
Bois de Boulogne - 8 avenue du Mahatma Gandhi, Paris, 75116
Book

The Fondation Louis Vuitton, situated in the Bois de Boulogne, a stone's throw from the Jardin d’Acclimatation, opened its doors......

Parc de La Villette - Plein Air

Exhibition and Trade Show venue
211 avenue Jean Jaurès, Paris, 75019

Built on the site of former abattoirs and designed by the architect Bernard Tschumi, the Parc de la Villette is the largest urban......

Institut du monde arabe

Museum
1 rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard, Paris, 75005
Book

A cultural bridge between France and the Arab world The Arab World Institute was founded in 1987 by France and the states of the......

La Cité de la Mode et du Design

Exhibition and Trade Show venue
34 quai d'Austerlitz, Paris, 75013

The site is immediately recognizable by the ultra-contemporary, bright green structure on its exterior. It houses spaces......

Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé

Museum
73 avenue des Gobelins, Paris, 75013

Officially recognized as a non-profit organization in 2006, the Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé aims to preserve, restore and......

Stade de France

Sporting activities
Porte H - Avenue Jules Rimet, Saint-Denis, 93200

Built for the 1998 Football World Cup, the Stade de France is the biggest stadium in France, with a capacity to host more than......

Pyramide du Louvre

Street, area of interest
Cour Napoléon, Paris, 75001

The former President François Mitterand wanted it, so the Chinese-American architect Ieoh Ming Pei made it! Opened on the 30th......

La Cinémathèque française

Museum
51 rue de Bercy, Paris, 75012
Book

Housed in a resolutely modern building designed by architect Frank Gehry, the Cinémathèque Française is entirely devoted to......