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Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles

The Palace of Versailles was originally the hunting lodge of France’s King Louis XIII, but was transformed into a magnificent residence by his son and successor, Louis XIV.

The ostentatious monarch built the Grand Apartment of the King and Queen which included the magnificent Hall of Mirrors before moving both his court and the government of France to Versailles in 1682. And so it remained until the French Revolution in 1789.

In the 19th Century King Louis-Philippe turned it into the Museum …

Les Invalides

Les Invalides

Les Invalides was originally built by the order of Louis XIV as a hospital and home for ailing soldiers. This order was given on 24 November 1670, the building designed by architect Liberal Bruant and Les Invalides was completed in 1676. In fact Les Invalides still operates as an institution for war veterans, under the name Institution Nationale des Invalides.

Following its initial construction, several further additions were made to Les Invalids, including a chapel in 1679 and the striking Dome …

Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris

Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris

Notre Dame Cathedral (Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris) is a gothic cathedral in Paris’s fourth arrondissement.

Original construction began in 1163, with the first stone supposedly laid in the presence of Pope Alexander III. At this time, it was the project of the bishop of Paris, Maurice de Sully who built it as a religious focal point in the city dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the original “Lady of Paris” or “Notre Dame de Paris”.

Notre Dame Cathedral has since undergone …

Sainte Chapelle

Sainte Chapelle

Sainte Chapelle or the “Holy Chapel” is a gothic church built by Saint Louis in Ile de la Cité in the centre of Paris.

The construction of Sainte Chapelle began in 1246 under the orders of King Louis IX, and was carried out with the specific purpose of housing the relics of the Passion of Christ, including the Crown of Thorns and a fragment of the true cross. In fact, even by the time Sainte Chapelle was consecrated on 26 April …

Pere Lachaise Cemetery

Pere Lachaise Cemetery

Pere Lachaise Cemetery (Cimetière du Père-Lachaise) was established by Napoleon I in 1804. Originally considered to be too far from the main city, Pere Lachaise Cemetery initially attracted few funerals, but following a marketing campaign and the transfer of the remains of French philosopher Pierre Abélard in 1817, its popularity grew and it soon gained over 33,000 residents.

From singer Edith Piaf, novelist Marcel Proust and impressionist painter Camille Pissarro to playwright Oscar Wilde, an array of famous figures are buried …

The Catacombs of Paris

The Catacombs of Paris

The Catacombs of Paris (Les Catacombes de Paris) came into use as a burial place for Parisian bones in the eighteenth century following the overpopulation of Parisian cemeteries and the closure of the Cemetery of Innocents (Les Innocents).

The Catacombs are underground quarries encompassing a portion of Paris’ old mines near Place Denfert-Rochereau and, at the time, were outside the city gates. The official decision to use the quarries was made on 9 November 1785 and they were blessed on 7 …

The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel) is an imposing iron monument on Paris’ Champ de Mars by the river Seine.

The Eiffel Tower was built between 1887 and 1889 based on the design of engineer Gustave Eiffel, after whom the tower was named. In fact Eiffel’s design was chosen out of 107 other proposals as part of a competition to create an iron structure as the entrance way to Paris’ Universal Exhibition World Fair or ‘Exposition Universelle’. The intention was to mark …

The Pantheon - Paris
Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe in Paris is a 162 foot monumental arch in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle. It was commissioned by Napoleon in 1806, shortly following his victory at Austerlitz, with the aim of commemorating French soldiers, particularly those who fought in the Napoleonic Wars …

Historial de la Grande Guerre

Historial de la Grande Guerre

Historial de la Grande Guerre (the Museum of the Great War) in Peronne, France is dedicated to exploring the social and cultural effects of the First World War. Based near the site of the Battle of the Somme, Historial de la Grande Guerre offers an in-depth insight into World War I from the perspective of the soldiers who fought in it and the civilians whom it affected …