Paris, the City of light
By coming to ACCORD Language School to attend your French language course, you also have a great opportunity to explore Paris and all its famous attractions and sites as well as enjoying the lifestyle.
Famous for its rich history, beautiful architecture and cultural diversity, Paris remains one of the most visited cities in the world. Paris has always been a hive of artistic and intellectual activity with its 134 museums, 170 theatres, world famous universities and cultural festivals, which take place all year round.
Of course, Paris is also the capital of fashion and design and is internationally renowned for its boutiques, department stores and young designers.
Paris is divided in « arrondissements » and each « arrondissement » has its own monuments and places worth visiting. There are 5431 streets across the city, each one with a story of its own, relating to the history of France, its artists, scientists and saints.
As surprising as it may be, it is possible to walk to most of Paris's sites. It won't take you more than a few hours to walk from the Bastille area to the Eiffel Tower. If you don't feel like walking, public transport in Paris is second to none. The Left Bank and the Latin Quarter is the heart of the city for the young Parisians. This is where you will find the Universities and the well-known Sorbonne. Don't miss out on other fascinating areas such as Bastille, Montmartre, Pigalle, the Champs Elysées and the Ile de la Cité.
Avenue des Champs-Elysées
Once one of the French aristocrats' favourite walk, the Avenue des Champs Elysées was the symbol of what Paris was about : style and joie de vivre. Designed by Le Nôtre, this avenue was always a busy place with its hôtels particuliers (large townhouses for aristocrats) and carriages. With its famous Arc de Triomphe and obelisk, it is the venue for great national events and the traditional military parade on the 14th of July. Unfortunately, the multiplying number of large car showrooms, cinemas and fast-food eateries has somewhat tarnished the Avenue's reputation. Two kilometres long and seventy metres large, it remains however the ideal place to wander round the trendy bars, restaurants and large stores open until late at night and on Sundays.
Address: Avenue des Champs Elysées, Paris 8th arrondissement
Metro station: Charles de Gaulle - Etoile
Place de la Concorde
Formerly known as Place Louis XV, since it was created to host the king's statue in 1757, it took the name of Place de la Révolution in 1792 and became centre stage to many executions such as Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette, Danton, Robespierre, Saint Just, Lavoisier. To help forget its bloody history, King Louis-Philippe asks the architect, Jacques Ignace Hittorff, to erect on each square corner statues symbolizing the main cities of France and to design some fountains. In 1836, the 25 metre high Luxor obelisk, dating from 13th century B.C. and presented to France by the viceroy of Egypt, was erected on the square. The Place de la Concorde is the largest square in Paris. It is 360 metre long and 210 metre wide.
Address: Place de la Concorde, Paris 8th arrondissement
Metro station : Concorde
The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower was erected for the1889 Universal Exhibition to commemorate the French Revolution's centenary. Named after its designer, Gustave Eiffel, it is 320 metres high (1050 feet) and was the highest building in the world until 1930.
At first, it was not well received by the artistic and literary elite of Paris. Indeed, in 1909, it came close to being dismantled and only escaped this sad fate when it was discovered it would be an ideal location to fit aerials needed for the new technology of the time: radiotelegraphy.
There are 3 levels which can be reached via a lift or stairs. South-East of the Tower, there is a large lawn area: the Champ de Mars, from which the first hot air balloons took off. Nowadays, you can see many youngsters indulging in skateboarding and rollerblading.
Address: Champ de Mars, Paris 7th arrondissement
Metro station: Trocadéro or Ecole Militaire
Montmartre and the Sacré-Coeur
The old village of Montmartre was the birthplace of cubism with artists such as Braque, Picasso, and Juan Gris. Today you'll find artists working in this picturesque area and you'll enjoy wandering through the streets with its intimate cafés, lovely homes, gardens, and the nearby Moulin Rouge cabaret. At the top of the Montmartre hill, visit the famous Sacré-Cour, a Byzantine-style basilica dating from the 19th century and completed in 1914. From there you have a fantastic panoramic view of the capital!
Metro station: Anvers
Immortalised by French writer, Victor Hugo, in his novel "Notre Dame de Paris", the cathedral is one of the masterpieces of gothic architecture. Started in 1163, it was finished in 1345. Inside it is vast and can welcome over 6,000 people. You'll be amazed by the magnificent stained glass and rose windows as well as the unbelievable organ, which has just been restored. To get a wonderful view of Paris from the top, take the stairs by the North Tower and discover some wonderfully grotesque creatures designed by Viollet-Le-Duc whilst taking a breathtaking view of Paris.
Under the Parvis of Notre-Dame, opposite the cathedral, there is an archeological crypt where remains of gallo-roman buildings are kept.
Address: 6, place du Parvis de Notre-Dame, Paris 4th arrondissement
Metro station: Saint Michel or Cité
The Louvre Museum
This vast building was part of a fortress built in the 1200s and rebuilt in the middle of the sixteenth century to become a royal palace. It became a museum in 1793. Within President Miterrand's "Grands Travaux" during the eighties, the Louvre Museum was adorned with a 21 metre high glass pyramid, which became the public entrance. You're sure to be among those people who will go through the impressive rooms dedicated to painting, sculpture and antiquities and admire the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo and the Winged Victory of Samothrace.
Address: rue de Rivoli, Paris 1st arrondissement
Metro station: Louvre-Rivoli or Louvre-Palais Royal
The Orsay Museum, the Rodin Museum
The Orsay Museum used to be a railway station built in 1900 and was officially opened as a museum in 1986. It holds an impressive collection of masterpieces created between 1848 and 1914 by impressionist and post-impressionist artists. Most of the paintings and sculptures are on the ground floor and the glass ceilinged top floor. In between those two floors, you will discover beautiful Art Nouveau works displayed in magnificent rooms.
Close by, the Rodin Museum exhibits bronze and marble sculptures created by Camille Claudel and Auguste Rodin. You will particularly enjoy the museum's garden, a haven of peace in the middle of Paris.
Orsay Museum address: 62, rue de Lille, Paris 7th arrondissement
Metro station: Solférino or RER C, Musée d'Orsay
Rodin Museum address: 77, rue de Varenne, Paris 7th arrondissement
Metro station: Varenne
The Pompidou Centre
Built between 1972 and 1977, then closed for 2 years to be renovated, the Pompidou Centre reopened on the 1st of January 2000. The front still causes a stir with its skeleton of bright coloured pipes and revolutionary use of transparent tubes to house its escalators. Inside, the 70 000 m2 have been completely redesigned to present the whole landscape of modern France with its library, rooms dedicated to live shows, research centre, restaurant, shops, exhibitions and the Musée National d'Art Moderne. Todate, it has attracted over 155 million visitors.
Address: Place Georges Pompidou, Paris 4th arrondissement
Metro station: Rambuteau / Hôtel de Ville or RER Châtelet-les-Halles
Place des Vosges
The Marais district has long remained a marshy area before being transformed in 1605 by King Henri IV, who made it a residential area by creating the Place Royale. It was renamed Place des Vosges in 1800 as a tribute to the first French 'département' which paid its taxes. The current square counts 36 pavillons (mansions) such as the Pavillon du Roi, the Hôtel de Chaulnes and Victor Hugo's house, which is now a museum.
Address: Place des Vosges, Paris 3rd arrondissement
Metro station: Bastille