Paris, The City of Light

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Paris, the City of Light

The capital of France is situated on the River Seine in the northern part of France.
This region is called Île-de-France; Island of France.
© María O. Baum

The Age of Reason
"La Ville-Lumière" or City of Light was a center of education during the Age of Enlightenment or Age of Reason
The Age of Enlightenment was the cultural movement that intellectuals in the 18th. Century sought to reform society by promoting reason and opposed the abuses of the state and Church. 

Museums
  There are different ways to make your visit more affordable and convenient. 
There are two different kinds of museums; the ones that charge and the ones that are run by the city that are free to the public for the permanent displays, however there is a charge if you choose to visit special expositions.

  • Paris Museum Pass – free entrance to over 55 world famous museums and monuments without making lines; just step to the front and show your pass. Consecutive 2, 3 or 6 day passes are available. 
  • Paris Visite Metro Pass – consecutive unlimited travel on the metro buses and RER within central Paris. Card and ticket must be kept together at all times. Consecutive 2, 3 or 6 day passes are available. 
  • Les Cars Rouges Voucher – 2 consecutive day ticket to hop on and off. 
  • Paris Attractions Pass – Seine River Cruise, Tour of the Opera Garnier,  Musée  Grevin, Montparnasse Tower Panoramic Visit and Wine Tasting
© María O. Baum

You can either buy the passes separately or in a discount rate if you buy the bundle.


Ville de Paris Museums - "Mairie de Paris"
Free museums of the “Ville de Paris” are shown by a seal “Mairie de Paris.”

Museums of the Ville de Paris – Musées de la Ville de Paris 
Musée des Beaux-Arts Petit Palace – petitpalais.paris.fr (One of my favorite Museums).
Maisons de Victor Hugo   
Musée de la Vie Romantique                                    
Maison de Balzac   
Musée Bourdelle 
Musée Carnavalet, History of Paris 
Catacombes de Paris 
Crypte Archealogique de Notre-Dame 
Musée Cernuschi – Arts de l’Asie 
Musée Cognacq -Jay XVIII C. 
Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
Galliera, Musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris 
Memorial du Marechal Leclerc de Hauteclocque et de la Liberation de Paris – ml-leclerc-moulin.paris.fr  
Musée Zadkine

Bicycles in Paris   VELIB' 
A great service, available 24/7.
© María O. Baum
Thousands of self service bicycle stations; an inexpensive and ecological transportation. 
Enjoy the ride! 

Remember to be polite; this is different culture and you represent your country. 
French expect you to say bonjour before you ask a question.



Before you go, get informed: Travel, Consular, Warnings
Learn some words in French - French are very polite but they expect tourists to be polite too.

Châteaux de Versailles  Palace of Versailles 
If you are going to visit just one of the many Castles in France, this should be it.
With 2,143 windows, 1,252 fireplaces, and 67 staircases, this is the most visited castle.
Museum Pass - If you have the Museum Pass, go directly to the front to a special line for passes.
The Court of Versailles was the unofficial centre of power in France and it was here where the people made their stand against King Louis XVI, forcing the Royal Family to leave behind their life of decadence. 
After that, the capital was moved back to the city of Paris. Versailles is surrounded by gardens, fountains and sculptures.  
Check the concerts, opera, ballet and expositions. 
The headquarters of the Center of Baroque Music and the Academy of Equestrian Arts are housed here.
Musée d’Orsay©María O. Baum               
Musée d’Orsay 
Our favorite Museum. If you love sculpture, don't miss d'Orsay.
  • 1900 - Designed as a train station
  • 1950’s the platforms were too short for modern trains and the building became home to a theatre
  • 1970's the theater was converted into a museum displaying art from the 1848 to 1915. 
  • Work by Delacroix, Manet, Guaguin, Cézanne, Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Van Gogh and many more 
  • Don't miss "Woman Bitten by a Snake" – In 1847 Auguste Clésinger’s scandalized Paris by supposedly depicting a woman not bitten by a snake but in the throes of passion and, modeled from real life Apollonie Sabatier. 
  • "The Thought" and "The Gates of Hell" from the Musée Rodin and "Nature Unveiling Herself to Science" by Barrias which were in the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers are now displayed here. 
  • Do NOT miss room "Salle 51", a wonderful collection of Sculptures and an incredible room that is easy to miss.
Video Museums great site! If you love art this is the place to go. Visit the museums at your pace. 
Musée d’Louvre©María O. Baum

Musée d’Louvre  
One of the finest museums in the world. It is overwhelming, so plan ahead. 
If you have your Museum Pass ask for the special entrance.
You will pass through a check point for your bag and as you enter there are several places to leave your coats or umbrellas. 
  • When you walk through this incredible palace think of the Kings and revolutionaries that walked through those doors. 
  •  Louis XIII and Louis XIV saw major expansion and a linking of the palaces and halls 
  • 1882 – the Louvre ceased to serve as a seat of political power
Louvre FREE Admission on the first Sunday of each month, free entrance to art students studying in France. FREE admission to children and teenagers under 18. Friday nights are FREE if you are under 26 years. FREE admission to disabled people and their attendants. Check their site as it may change and always carry a valid ID
  • Surrounding the Louvre, visit the Carrousel Gardens.
Tuileries Gardens 
Musée d’Orsay ©María O. Baum
The Tuileries stretches along the Seine River from the Louvre to the Concorde square. The gardens were commissioned by Catherine de Médicis and designed by the gardener of King of France Louis XIV.  
The present layout of the formal garden (1664) was designed by Le Nôtre. It occupies 25 hectares between the Carrousel du Louvre and the Place de la Concorde, the Rue de Rivoli and the banks of the Seine


Musée de l'Orangerie Virtual visit of Les Nymphéas
Monet 1927
L’Orangerie is in the beautiful Tuileries Gardens; Jardin des Tuileries. 
Art gallery of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings located on the Place de la Concorde. 
Works by Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri Rousseau, Chaim Soutine, Alfred Sisley and Maurice Utrillo among others. 
Take your time to explore! 

Permanent collection is free. Check the times. Wonderful Museum owned by the city so the permanent collection is free. The architecture and display of collections is magnificent. Do not miss this Palace and the bridge that connects it. 

Musée Rodin©María O. Baum
Situated in Hôtel Biron. In 1916, Rodin donated his collection and the reproduction rights to the Government, opening its doors to the public in 1919.
Sculptures made of marble, bronze, plaster, wax, and terra cotta sculptures, ceramics, paintings, drawings. 
Works by Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, from the personal collection of Rodin.

Before you go, read about his lover and student, Camille Claudel, who some say, was the one that made the sculptures for Rodin and had a tragic end.

In 1809, Napoleon ordered its construction to celebrate the triumph of the Republican armies. Decorated with friezes of battle scenes and carved with the names of Napoleon's victories. Spectacular views from the top of the Arc.

Beautiful building, designed by the architect Charles Garnier. The foyers were designed to give the audience somewhere to people-watch and stroll during the interval. 
Wonderful decorations, mirrors and sculpture. If you bought your pass pay special attention to reserving the free tour. There is limited amount of people so check the time and get there before to reserve it. 
Ceiling, painted by Chagall and lit by a spectacular crystal chandelier. With 118,404 square feet and a stage with room for up to 450 artists, this magnificent theater seats 2,200 people.

Eiffel Tower
1889 - The most visited monument in the world. A couple of blocks away you can find great local cafes and bistros.

L'église de la Madeleine
Church designed as a temple to the glory of Napoleon's army. Concerts are held here several times a week - usually in the evening.

The Bateaux Parisiens pier is located close to the Eiffel Tower. It is a good way to have an idea of the main points of interest.

Website of the City of Paris - Virtual tours, information. Virtual tours, visiting or studying in Paris. 

Wonderful free concerts and museums. Plan ahead.

Latin quarter – Place Saint Michel  Within the Latin Quarter there is a plaza called Place Saint Michel with the fountain - Fontaine Saint-Michel 1855-60.
The central statue was supposed to depict Napoleon Bonaparte, but was changed to the image of Saint Michael, the Archangel with two dragons that spout water into the fountain and figures of the four classical Cardinal virtues.
The Sorbonne is a couple of blocks away as well as Notre Dame's Cathedral on Ile de la Cité (Island of the City). 

Shops, stores, bakery, open air markets, theater, Restaurants, Cafes, and lots of books and students.

Ile Saint-Louis - Island of Saint Louis
The most expensive real estate in Paris is composed by two isles: Ile aux Vaches or cow island, where some cows grazed in the 17th.C., and the larger island, Ile Notre Dame.
The two islands were united in the 17th.C when Louis XIII ordered to fill up the river separating the two islands. The Pont Marie connects them with the mainland. 
In the main street there are shops and bistros, the ice cream at Berthillon is famous and with big lines.
Hotel Lambert (2, rue St.Lambert) the most beautiful Hotel (small palace), formerly the residence of Michele Morgan, now the residence of Guy de Rothschild.
Walk to the Hotel de Jasson (19, quai de Bourbon) inhabited by Camille Claudel, the mistress of Rodin. Be sure to read about her tragic but wonderful story; there is also a movie about her
Hotel de Comans (16-18 quai de Bethune) is where the Duke of Richelieu lived.


Cathedral of Notre Dame 

Spectacular views from the towers, 422 steps (226 ft.).
Originally built in the site of a Roman Temple to Jupiter, a Christian basilica, and a Romanesque Church. The gothic construction began in 1163 during the reign of Louis VII and was completed in 1345.


©María O. Baum
Hôtel de Ville - Paris City Hall 
108 statues - representing famous Parisians. 30 statues - represent French cities.
The clock at the central tower is adorned with several sculptures representing: the Seine River, City of Paris, Work, and Education. 
From 1310, the "Place de Grève", in front of de Ville, was the square were most of the executions in Paris took place. People were beheaded or burned at the stake. In 1792, a guillotine was installed. The last execution took place in 1830.


Le Marais - Old Jewish District 
Behind the City Hall is the section called "Le Marais"; the old Jewish district with wonderful medieval houses 16-18th.C..
Picasso Museum, Vlictor Hugo's house and museum, surrounded by wonderful art galleries and squares and the main Synagogue on the Place des Vosges Square
are in this section.
Rue Charlot is one of the main streets in le Marais with a great mix of shopping, good restaurants, art galleries and many historic places.
 
Musée du Quai Branly 
©María O. Baum
Decorative Arts. Check time; one day a week opened until 10 p.m.. 5 stories; 6,000 items depicting the history of France's decorative arts; furniture, weavers, carpenters, furniture, china of royalty, etc.

Map of Monuments and Museums of Paris 
Get a bike, go on the metro or walk! Paris is the perfect city to walk. This is a great concise map so that you have an idea of where the monuments and museums are. 
Remember, get a small hotel near the metro station or the museum of your choice. Have fun. Eat with the locals. Dress smart and enjoy what Paris has to offer; culture, art and wonderful people. 

Picasso Museum - Great museum and terrific location. Explanation of Picasso's drawings, paintings, stages of his life.
Centre Pompidou - National Museum of Modern Art 
©María O. Baum
Musée Bourdelle - Antoine Bourdelle (1861-1929) French Sculptor. Incredible large size sculptures.
Musée Émile-Zola - 1840 – 1902 
French writer, and a major figure in the political liberalisation of France and in the exoneration of the falsely accused and convicted army officer Alfred Dreyfus which is encapsulated in the renowned newspaper headline J'Accuse.

Musée Eugène Delacroix - (1798 – 1863) French Romantic Artist.

Musée de la Vie Romantique George Sand -  (1804 - 1876) French Romantic Writter.

Musée Gustave Moreau - Dedicated to the works of Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau (1826-1898).

Musée Carnavalet - History of the City of Paris 

Hôtel de Ville "City Hall" beautiful palace housing the City of Paris's administration. 

Jardins et Palais du Luxembourg
Luxemburg gardens surrouds the Palace of Luxembourg. The beautiful garden has sculptures, presentations, concerts, and people sunbathing. It is the largest public garden in Paris.



Marais District - The Art Museum and Jewish History, is on the beautiful Marais district and on the Hôtel de St-Aignan, built in the 1600s. 
This museum of Jewish history has a beautiful collection of ornaments, documents and art.
Museum of Arts and Industry, and incredible Museum that all the family will enjoy. Check the site.
Townhouse of the great writer from 1832 to 1848. Beautiful collection of furniture, pictures, drawings, as well as furniture which belonged to Juliette Drouet, Hugo's mistress. 
Basilique du Sacré-Cœur in Montmatre - Sacred Heart