Top Places to Visit in Paris

We are going to take you on a journey of the top places to visit in Paris – the famous capital of France. From the looming Eiffel Tower to the royal Conciergerie, you will see astonishing views full of knowledge, culture, and adventure. Without further ado, strap on your walking shoes and pull out your camera because our first stop is the Eiffel Tower!

Table of Contents

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

Did you know the Eiffel Tower has over 1,710 steps? As one of the most recognized monuments in the world, it was built in 1889 by Gustave Eiffel. Today it acts as a beacon to tourists and archeologists alike as well as having physical purposes such as transmitting radio and television broadcasts on around the clock. When the tower was the first process of being built hundreds of artists offered plans but only the great Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel and engineer Maurice Koechlin were granted such a burden. The Eiffel tower has a unique design, made of over 1,800 pieces, with each base piece formed to the four points of a compass. However, due to its beautiful and ingenious design, most of Paris loved the tower but some disliked it so much that they even moved their homes. At first, it was a temporary piece, but after World War 1 it served such an important role that the French people couldn’t bear to be without its glory.

Notre Dame de Paris

Notre Dame de Paris

The Notre Dame de Paris translates to Our Lady of Paris. This notorious landmark in Paris is a Catholic cathedral and is considered the finest sample of French Gothic design in its time. As well as being one of the most recognizable churches in the world, it contains some of the most high-valued religious items such as the Crown of Thorns, a piece of the True Cross, and one of the Holy Nails. As beautiful as the church was, it underwent a horrible fate in the 1790’s which ruined most of its amazing stained glass windows. However, it was partially restored in 1991 but will never have the same beauty. When you next visit the Notre Dame, be sure to spot the famous gargoyles you may have seen in the Disney movie “Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

The Louvre


For museum buffs, this is your go to stop. The Louvre is not only the world’s largest museum but also a significant monument in Paris. It is the 2nd most visited museum, where the Palace Museum in china takes the cake. Its location is in the Louvre Palace which was first built as a fortress and remnants of its ancestry can be seen from the basement. The Louvre was opened in August of 1793 with over 530 paintings residing within. However, due to design issues, it closed and wasn’t available to the public until 1801. Today, the Louvre is home to over 25,000 paintings from 8 different cultures.

Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe was built between 1806 to 1836, at the center of the Place Charles de Gaulle. In representation of the French people who fought during the Napoleonic Wars, you can see on the arch all the general’s names as well as the names of the wars during that period. Under the arch, there are transcriptions of the Tomb of the Unnamed Soldier from World War 1. This is the perfect tourist spot for any history or war buff that likes physically seeing history.

Musee d’Orsay

Musee d’Orsay

The Musee d’Orsay is another exclusive museum in Paris that is home to many paintings, sculptures, photography, and furniture pieces. Some of the most famous artists whose art is included is Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, Gauguin, and Degas. Originally built as a train station, however in 1929 it was an unsuitable building for train boarding, it then used as a mail center during World War 1, until it officially opened as a museum in 1986. With its long history comes its long line of artwork collected. It actually took over 6 months to install and deliver all the pieces which led to a late December opening. Some of the most memorable art includes: The Birth of Venus, Olympia, Starry Night Over the Rhone, The Circus, Whistler’s Mother.



The Champs-Elysees is a road in Paris that includes many theaters, luxury shops, and cafes, connecting the Place de la Concorde and the Place Charles de Gaulle. The street is just over a mile long and is surrounded by tourists year long who want to delve into the culture of food, art, and design. Back in the 1560’s most of the Elysees was entirely kitchen gardens and fields, not nearly as diversified as it is today. In today’s modern Elysees, the streets are composed of high-end shops such as Nike, Adidas, the Disney Store, H&M, and Zara. The best time to visit the Champs-Elysees is July 14th, commonly known as Bastille Day, this is when the military parade (biggest in the world) passes by it as well as having the Elysees full of fun festivities. Also during the fall and winter seasons, you can see the famous lighting of the Champs-Elysees, which is one of the more popular events that happen on a yearly basis.



The Montmartre is a giant hill in Paris, 430 feet high, home to many artist studios such as Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Salvador Dali. As well as settings for major movie sets, it also has 16 major train lines running through it. As a fun fact, Montmartre translates to mountain of the martyr, in memory of Saint Denis who met his demise in 250 AD by decapitation on the hill.

Sacre-Coeur Paris

Sacre-Coeur Paris

The Sacre-Coeur Paris is another popular church due to its significance of both political and cultural meaning. The church was built in 1914 by Paul Abadie and was primarily used for religious purposes after World War 1. The design of the building showed Romano-Byzantine features complete with a historical pipe organ being on of the largest and most modern one of its time. The church can be accessed by bus or train, open from 6:00 am to 10:30 pm every day with moderately changing winter and fall schedules.


One of the royally known churches, the Sainte-Chapelle has a gothic design and was built for King Louis IX, where he could reside his religious relics such as Christ’s Crown of Thorns. Due to its brilliant design, it is one of the longest lasting buildings along with the Conciergerie. One of its key features is its expensive and beautiful stained glass windows. Today, most local funding has kept the church in one piece although it has lost most of its touch due to pollution and tourists.

Catacombs of Paris

Alas, the Catacombs of Paris. Spooky yet a key monument of Paris, the catacombs hold over 6 million deceased bodies. The tombs are also known as, “The World’s Largest Grave” due to its surprising number of inhabitants. The catacomb walls and ceilings are lined with the bones of decades only Parisians, complete with separate rooms dedicated to warning visitors for what lies beneath. At first, this monument was only available to more privileged citizens, but as it grew more popular in interest, it eventually allowed the general public to view as well as tourists. Some of the most popular events that happened in the catacombs:

  • Deceased members from the riots in the Place de Greve were put in the catacombs
  • In 1871, a radical socialist group killed monarchs in the catacombs
  • A fully equipped movie theater and restaurant was found in one of the caverns with no known information on who was behind it
  • Ghost Adventures offered a special episode exploring the catacombs, making sure the dead stayed dead
  • In 2015, Airbnb offered customers a night to stay overnight.

Parc de la Villette

The Parc de la Villette is the third largest park in Paris located along the northeast edge of the city. This park is the home to the largest number of cultural venues in the city. This park contains everything from the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, the largest science museum in Europe, to Philharmonie de Paris, a newly opened symphony hall, to the famous Conservatoire de Paris. This park even has attractions that the kids will enjoy, such as the Espace Chapiteaux, a permanent circus tent. Nothing catching your eye yet? Take a stroll through one of the ten themed gardens. There truly is something for everyone in the Parc de la Villette.

Grand Palais

Located right along the Champs-Élysées is the Grand Palais. This is large complex holds historic sites, exhibition halls, museums, and shops. Perhaps most famously, it is home to the Palais de la Découverte, a world-famous science museum. The real reason to visit the Grand Palais, though, is the building itself. It was built in the style of Beaux-Arts architecture, which was taught and popularized in Paris. The building features ornate stone facades, a formal floor plan, and an iron and steel structure, which was innovative at the time. The building was built as a monument to the glory of French art. It is truly something to behold.

Disneyland Paris

You may have been to Disney World before, but you have never experienced Disney like this before. Located just east of Paris, Disneyland Park is the most popular theme park in all of Europe. Once you are finished having fun at Disneyland Park, head over to their new theme park, the Walt Disney Studios Park. This theme park celebrates the show business and movies with all the thrills and chills of an amusement park. Experience the magic of Disney in a whole new and exciting way. In addition to the two theme parks, this resort also holds several hotels, a shopping and dining complex, a golf course, and several entertainment venues. There is no way you could ever be bored at Disneyland Paris.

Shakespeare and Company

The Shakespeare and Company bookstore is a must visit destination for any literature buff. The first of these English-language bookstores was opened in 1919 by Sylvia Beach. Located on the Left Bank of the Seine, this bookstore and lending library was a favorite spot of many of the time’s up and coming authors. This included Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, T. S. Eliot, and more. The original Shakespeare and Company is now closed, but you can still visit its second location. Still located on the Left Bank, the current bookstore was opened in the 1950s and named in homage to the original store. It continues to sell new, used, and antique books, as well as operate as a free public reading library.

Champ de Mars

Champ de Mars

This large public park is centered between the Eiffel Tower and the École Militaire. This green space is often the location of many national events. It is always open free to the public to be explored and enjoyed by all. This park also offers the best views of the Eiffel Tower of anywhere in the city. Citizens of Paris and tourists alike enjoy gathering on the lawns to eat, play music, and enjoy the scenery. Take a stroll through the gardens by day or enjoy the twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower by night.


The Pantheon is a large building in the Latin Quarter. Though it was originally built as a church to honor St. Genevieve and house her relics, it is now famously a mausoleum. It houses the remains of a number of notable French citizens. The crypt holds the remains of well-known French scientists, writers, and artists such as: Voltaire, Marie Curie, Emile Zola, Victor Hugo, Louis Braille.

The building itself is also quite famous and beautiful. Modeled after the Pantheon in Rome, this mausoleum is an early example of neoclassical architecture. Its most notable feature is the dome, which is as beautiful on the outside as it is on the in. Go inside and take a look around, you will not be disappointed.

Petit Palais

Located in Paris’ 8th Arrondissement, the Petit Palais is one of the city’s many fine art museums. Originally, it was built across from the Grand Palais as the home of the 1900 Exposition Universelle. It is the current home of the City of Paris Museum of Fine Arts. You can find the works of artists like: Rembrandt, Rubens, Monet, Cezanne, Modigliani.

The building itself is a work of art. It was designed in the Beaux-Arts style, similar to the Grand Palais. The building was built to last, made of stone, steel, and concrete. The Petit Palais was built around an octi-circular courtyard and garden. It also features ionic columns, a grand porch, and three rooftop domes.



A large building west of the Île de la Cité, the Conciergerie is an old structure with a storied past. In the middle ages, this building functioned as a part of a royal palace named the Palais de la Cité. It was the main home of the medieval kings of France during the 10th to 14th centuries. Later, the building was converted into a prison. During the French Revolution, hundreds of prisoners were housed there and later taken to be executed by guillotine. Perhaps the most famous prisoner held at the Conciergerie was Marie Antoinette. Today, it is a mainly a tourist destination, though a portion of the building is still used as courts of law.

Musee Nissim de Camondo

The Musee Nissim de Camondo is a house museum dedicated to the French decorative arts. This elegant museum is located in the Hôtel Camondo along the edge of the Parc Monceau. This mansion was built in 1911 to hold a collection of 18th-century French furniture and art objects owned by the Comte Moïse de Camondo. The house contained modern conveniences and was designed after the Petit Trianon at Versailles. Today, the building is maintained as if it were still a private home. If you visit, you will see the work of artisans like: Jean-François Oeben, Jean Henri Riesener, Élisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun, Jean-Baptiste Oudry, Jacques-Nicolas Roettiers.

Musee Rodin

This museum, which opened in 1919, is dedicated solely to the works of French sculptor Auguste Rodin. The Musee Rodin has two sites, the Hôtel Biron in central Paris and Rodin’s old home, the Villa des Brillants at Meudon, just outside of Paris. This collection contains 8,000 drawings, 8,000 old photos, 7,000 objets d’art, and 6,600 sculptures. The gardens surrounding the museum are home to many of his large sculptures and, most famously, The Thinker. The museum also contains pieces of Rodin’s personal art collection which include the works of Camille Claudel, Monet, Renoir and Van Gogh. For any art-love, the Musee Rodin is a must see destination.

Palace of Fontainebleau

Palace of Fontainebleau

The palace of Fontainebleau – according to the opinion of many people, one of the most beautiful palaces in France. We have already told you about the village of Barbizon located near the place, but now it’s time to stop on Fontainebleau, revered by many French monarchs.

The Palace of Fontainebleau is located just fifty miles south of Paris and its history goes back almost a thousand years. Therefore, we can say confidently that it had seen many remarkable events connected with the history of France. Over the years from its foundation the palace has undergone many changes – extensions and rebuilding. Special influence on the present view of the object had the Renaissance, and today only one tower remained from the Middle Ages.

But, let’s return to the history. Popular among the thousands of tourists palace was founded by the King Francis the First and became the first residence of monarchs in the northern Europe, which had not have any defensive properties. Thus it was a beginning of the era of transition from strict royal castles to luxurious palaces. Order for construction and decoration of new apartments was made to known at that time Italian masters Benvenuto Cellini and Primaticcio.

After Francis went to the forefathers, the mission of building the palace had passed to Henry II Galois and Catherine de Medicis. At this time construction works were in the hands of the famous French architect Philippe Delorme.

The King Henry IV also showed sympathy for Fontainebleau. Exactly he ordered to make the channel of 1200 meters near the palace and put fish into it.

Naturally not all the French kings favored the palace. After Louis XIV moved his residence in Versailles, Fontainebleau was abandoned, decayed and lost its former appeal. The former grandeur of the palace came back during the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte, who loved to spend vacation here rather often. That time the palace’s interiors were updated in a popular Empire style.

Speaking on Fontainebleau, it is impossible not to mention its beautiful forest, which occupies an area of 25 thousand hectares. At all times it was a favorite hunting ground of French monarchs. And today it is popular among many Parisians who come here to relax on weekends.

At presence the park and the palace of Fontainebleau are the parts of World Heritage Site, compiled by UNESCO. In the town of Fontainebleau there are prestigious educational centers on the arts and business.

If you have desire and free time for a tour to Fontainebleau, so you should take a train at Gare de Lyon (departure – every hour) and reach the station Fontainebleau-Avon – the trip takes only about 45 minutes. Here just sit on the bus, which runs from the railway station to the palace (on weekdays the interval between buses – 10-15 minutes, on weekends – 30).

Fontainebleau palace is open for visitors all the year. The museum is closed on Tuesdays. Adult ticket is 6.3 Euro, for children and young people under 18 years the entrance is free. You can also purchase a single ticket (train-bus-palace) in the railway ticket offices SNCF.

We wish you a pleasant time in the palace of Fontainebleau and its wonderful park!

Palace of Malmaison – the last home of Josephine

If during your stay in Paris you have visited all the sights you were interested in, and just missing in a rented apartment, so set out to explore suburbs of the city, since there is a lot of them.

Take a rental car and drive, for example, to the Palace of Malmaison, which is only in a few kilometers from the French capital in a very picturesque place – forest Préaux. The palace itself is relatively small, but very pleasant, and, what the most importantly, has an interesting history.

We know practically everything about the life of the great Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and almost nothing about his life partner – Madame Josephine. But exactly here this legendary woman, who inspired the most famous Corsican in the history to his various exploits, had lived.

Bonaparte has also often held weekends at Malmaison with his sweetheart at the time of the consulate from 1800 to 1804 years. And if to believe the memoirs of the Emperor’s private secretary, only here Napoleon was himself.

After her divorce with Bonaparte and until the death Josephine continued to live in the palace, giving herself fully for care for a wonderful rose garden and occasionally taking in the apartment the emperor.

Today the palace of Malmaison is a museum, embodying a striking example of architectural style of the First Empire, as well as showing visitors glass, chinaware, clothes and personal belongings of Josephine.

To get to the palace you can not only by car but also using a public transport. Reach the metro station La Defense (line 1) and there transfer a bus number 258 and move to the stop Malmaison.

The Malmaison Palace is open to the public from April to September during daylight hours.

Palais Bourbon

Paris has a thousand-year history and has managed to collect a really huge collection of masterpieces of open-air architecture. And among numerous monuments medieval (and not only) architecture numerous palace complexes are allocated; once they belonged to the monarchical family or rich representatives of the nobility. And if to speak directly about the Parisian palaces it is necessary to mention Palais Bourbon.

Palais Bourbon… The mentioning of this name obviously follows one of the well-known royal families of the Bourbons that it has a direct bearing; the history of their reign of its representatives was seriously reflected on development of France. And the unique historical paradox of the palace lies in the fact that it was the residence of kings of France, and after Revolution it became the place where Democracy was born – the Parliament which is called here the French National Assembly.

But we will return to history. According to historical documents in 1722 marquise de Montespan – Louise-Françoise de Bourbon (in addition the illegitimate daughter of King Louis XIV) has ordered to begin building luxurious apartments and magnificent gardens near to them. As a result, the palace has been constructed in 1728 in remarkable Parisian suburb Saint-Germain near to other palace known nowadays as Matignon, and from the very beginning of the existence became an ornament of the capital city and a place of strolls for inquisitive city visitors. The gardens surrounding the magnificent palace went down to the coast of the main river of Paris the Seine. The palace has received the name of its first proprietress.

In building of the nowadays monument of architecture such well-known architects of that time as L’Assurance, Jacques Gabriel and Lorenzo Giardini took active part. Initially facade of the building executed on similarity of Versailles Grand Trianon, was facing the University street (today –the Seine quay).

The follower who has entered the property rights was a grandson of the duchess who has decided to give even more luxury and glamour to the palace. The works on reconstruction were conducted throughout many years; however, as it often happens in human life, it was not fated to take pleasure in beauty of the palace for him. There was a Revolution, and Louis Joseph, Prince of Condé had to leave his native land very quickly simply to save his life.

This is how the Palais Bourbon happened to become the residence of the elected representatives of the people forming National Assembly of the French Republic.

Today the palace causes a great interest in thousand of tourists annually coming to Paris.

Auvers-sur-Oise – the last home of Van Gogh

You have already watch all sights of Paris and visited all fashionable boutiques, but vacations are still going on? In this case we recommend you to visit the interesting town of Auvers-sur-Oise, which is only thirty-five kilometers from the capital city. The town was founded in the Middle Ages, but had become known thanks to the names of such famous painters as Cezanne, Monet, Pissarro, Daubigny, who loved to come here to admire the local beauty.

But we have to say that in art circles Auvers-sur-Oise is associated primarily with the name of legendary Van Gogh, or rather, with his delightful paintings. The great Dutch artist had spent the last months of his life here and left dozens of paintings for progeny. Walking through the streets of the town, landscapes of the painter come up in memory involuntarily.

Today the places, depicted on the paintings of Van Gogh, have special panels of his paintings. In addition, you can visit the room that the artist rented (an old coaching inn), where a museum dedicated to this famous man is. Van Gogh’s grave is located in the local cemetery near the church of Notre Dame.

We can also mention the other interesting museum in Auvers-sur-Oise. This is Museum of absinthe, where you can find many interesting stories about this cult drink, popular in France in the nineteenth – early twentieth centuries.

However, the most interesting place for tourists is the Castle of Auvers-sur-Oise (Chateaux Auvers-sur-Oise), built in 1635 for one banker, who arrived from Italy with Maria de Medici. The locals call this place the Castle of Lery, by the name of the royal advisor, who has upgraded the castle and gave it a modern look in the seventeenth century.

In our days a part of the castle is a museum dedicated to artists-impressionists, who made the valley of Oise river worldwide famous. Since 1994 the museum offers a tour with an original theatrical presentation “Journey to the times of the Impressionists”; halls of the museum sends visitors into atmosphere of the nineteenth century with all its colors. The excursion is accompanied by music, visual and other special effects. At the end of the tour visitors of the museum can watch 3-D movie “View of Vincent” about the last days of Van Gogh’s life. In the castle park there is a monument to the great artist, set in the midst of flower beds.

Town of Auvers-sur-Oise is extraordinarily beautiful, and you can see that, walking through its steep streets and admiring the beautiful houses. And paintings of the great artists only confirm the magnificence of this place.


We have often repeated that France is not just Paris and its environs. It is very great and beautiful country, full of interesting provinces, cities, towns, villages, thousands of sights. This time we would like to tell you about one old French town, whose role in terms of influence on European history is no less than Paris. So, its name is Avignon.

Avignon is located to the south of Paris in Marseilles direction and you can get there by express train from Gare de Lyon in a little over two hours. Today it is the capital of Vaucluse department in the province of Provence.

This beautiful town was founded in the the beginning of the second millennium by Gali tribe of Covares, and surprisingly, even today there are some distinctive features of that time (particularly, it concerns the Roman era).

However, the most significant milestone in the history of Avignon is related to the Middle Ages and the Catholic Church. For many centuries the city and its environs were the property of the popes, and almost all fourteenth century Avignon was the residence of the Pope. Thanks to this the city’s population was about 100 thousand people, making it one of the biggest cities in France at that time. True, many years later after the revolution Avignon became an ordinary provincial French town.

Despite the fact that the French Revolution brought a lot of troubles to Avignon (many old churches and other buildings were destroyed), even today visitors can enjoy the ancient church architecture – cathedrals, chapels and monasteries. Once it was called “ringing town” because of the frequent bell ringing.

There are lots of sights in Avignon, but the most notable is the rock Roc-des-Domes, which towers above the Rhone River on 58 meters, with its famous Papal Palace, built in the mid-fourteenth century. Today the palace is an important part of UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Papal Palace in Avignon consists of the Old and New palaces. The author of the first building was the architect Pierre Poisson Mirepo, and the decision to build the palace was belonged to Pope Benedict XII. During the papal split the residence of the antipope Clement VII and Benedict XII was exactly here.

At the time of the reign of the Emperor Napoleon almost all the rooms of the palace were the usual barracks and prison cells.

In the beginning of the 20th century the Papal Palace got the patronage of the authorities, the restoration works were carried out, and tourists from around the world were able to see this masterpiece of the medieval architecture by their own eyes. Every year the palace takes under its vaults the popular theatrical festival.

Also, speaking on Avignon, we should mention such interesting places for visit, as the cathedral of Notre Dame des Doms, the tomb of Crillon, a botanical garden.


Village of Barbizon

France – a large and interesting country with different provinces, traditions and its own unique colour.

Of course, everybody chooses a place for the holiday and you decide where to spend it. In our turn we advise you to pay a close attention to the small French village called Barbizon, located in the north of the country of Louis and Napoleon. If to be a pedant, a complete village location should be marked as: region Ile de France, department Seine-et-Marne, district Melen, canton Perth. It’s easy to get lost … 😉 Just do not panic, this is only one and a half hour from Paris.

So what is so remarkable in Barbizon?

First, the village is located near Fontainebleau – one of the favorite residences of French kings.

But, if you are interested in the art, so you just have to know what Barbizon gave the name a unique school of painting. It’s called the Barbizon school of art, the brightest representatives of which are painters Monet and Bazille.

In principle, this is not surprising, because in due time Barbizon was very popular among many artists and other assorted personalities involved in the arts. The village attracted creative people, primarily for its beautiful views of the forest Fontainebleau, which has successfully found itself on the paintings of many painters. Fortunately, they organized field sallies with hundreds and created their landscapes in cheerful company. From the perspective of history, the Barbizon painters had an enormous influence on European landscape painting and became the forerunner of Impressionism.

Today Barbizon takes a lot of visitors, but in the nineteenth century the village had only one street – Rue de Barbizon with a few dozen houses. And railroad tracks were close. Though already at that time there was the hotel «Auberge Ganne» – a haven of painters. Today this building is a quite interesting museum. In the village there is and a private museum of painter Millais, where along with his works you can see paintings of Rousseau, Troyon, Corot and other artists.

But the past is the past… Let’s find out what a life in Barbizon today.

Mass of French and tourists from other countries comes to Barbizon for a specific purpose – to buy a refined and original element of the interior in one of many art galleries. The paintings and sculptures of contemporary artists are especially popular.

Barbizon also has beautiful streets with interesting buildings of original architecture. So many tourists come here on weekends just to walk on this wonderful street.

The village currently has four comfortable hotels; the room rates start from 55 euros. In Barbizon there is and plenty of cozy restaurants, offering the excellent dishes of French cuisine.

Summarizing, we can say that Barbizon is the place to be a pleasure to visit. Everyone will find something attractive here. And what about connoisseurs of the art, they are simply obliged to come to this cradle of Pre-Impressionism.


Many years ago people could find a village Belleville on a hill planted with vineyards. This place was famous for its wonderful taverns. According to historical material, it was a serious competitor to the famous Montmartre, not only in this matter but and in the height of a hill with magnificent species.

At the beginning of the second half of the nineteenth century this place has become a working part of Paris with all the ensuing consequences. Those years not only productions thrived in Belleville but also the many local bands of Apaches, whose representatives liked to perform apache dances in different pubs of the district in the evenings.

The beginning of the twentieth century brought a change of priorities in Belleville. The place of numerous criminals was occupied by all sorts of immigrants from around the world. This working Parisian quarter was the residence of immigrants from China, Turkey, Algeria, Greece… On boulevard de Belleville and rue du Faubourg du Temple many national restaurants had appeared. On rue Ramponeau local Jews founded their favorite kosher shops. On weekends, between two metro stations a large Arab-Chinese market with an inherent flavor of these nations actively operated.

Decades passed. But Belleville and today remains the workers’ districts with a large number of emigrant population, possibly thanks to them the streets of the area do not look sad and do not represent a depressing spectacle. Modern streets of Belleville are well-groomed and scenic places, where you can always have a nice walk or visit the original restaurants owned by locals. Of course, every year number of descendants of the old immigrants becomes smaller, because the district became extremely popular. Various “Nouveau riche” massively bought up local Paris real estate. There is a demand for absolutely everything: the abandoned Chinese factories, old shops and garages. We have to admit that the purchase of the houses by these young saves the quarter, because if they do not, the city authorities would be happy to conclude a treaty with large companies for the construction in the area of high-rise offices and other buildings. Actually, despite the serious changes in live of Belleville, its character still remained. We can meet this in its cafes and bars, shops, in the relationship between people who know each other since their births.

Uniqueness and originality of this old quarter attracted the Parisians at all times, including the representatives of the cultural bohemia of France. For example, Edith Piaf liked to spent free evenings with her friends at the club La Java on rue du Faubourg du Temple.

Belleville is not so promoted by Parisians as Montmartre, but, believe, that visiting it you’ll get the great pleasure from the hours spent walking through the wonderful streets and talking to interesting local audience. In this place you’ll see Paris from a completely new side!

Bois de Boulogne

French capital is not famous only for the constructions. In Paris there are remarkable parks and woods, and we would like to tell you about one of them. This magnificent place is called the Bois de Boulogne – “Boulogne Woods”.

Le Bois de Boulogne is tenderly called by many Parisians one of city lungs. The second lung of Paris is the Bois de Vincennes which is situated in east part of the city. Bois de Boulogne is in the west (in 16th district) of Paris. Its area occupies eight hundred fifty hectare that really impresses and allows the wood to be wider than the London Hyde-park and the New York Central Park together taken.

Modern Bois de Boulogne has settled down where in olden time an ancient oak forest of Rouvray was situated, and its “pearl” is Château de Bagatelle, cozy hidden in the woods.

This Parisian wood has rich history. In the beginning of the fourteenth century the king of France Philippe IV le Bel, has made pilgrim visit to Boulogne-sur-Mer that has induced him to order building the Church of Boulogne Divine Mother in our wood. And since those medieval years there came the modern name of Bois de Boulogne.

In hundred years France took part in so-called centenary war in which the described wood has suffered. Soldiers under leadership of the duke of Burgundy have burnt a considerable part of wood. However, during Louis XI reign it has been restored thanks to new plantings. At that time two roads have appeared there.

After King Francis I of France built the Château de Madrid in the Bois de Boulogne, the wood became a site of festivities. In the eighteenth century Bois de Boulogne is one of the most favorite places for the pedestrian walks of representatives of the Parisian aristocracy. And only after Louis XIV order it became open for any public.

Emperor Napoleon has also decided to bring the powerful mite in wood history, during this monarch numerous avenues have been laid, water channels and lakes are created, and about four hundred thousand trees planted.

Modern Bois de Boulogne is the most beautiful place involving thousand of local residents and tourists in warm seasons. In its territory thematic gardens, children Entertainment Park and a zoo are placed.

It is impossible to describe all delights of Bois de Boulogne so if you will ever appear in Paris, use possibility to visit this beauty.

Bois de Vincennes

Even taking into account that some of Parisians do not include Bois de Vincennes (as well as Bois de Boulogne) to the territory of the city we could not go by this wonderful place in the French capital. Maybe Parisians are right, because Bois de Vincennes is located in close proximity to the town of Vincennes (east of Paris), due to it the forest got its name, but according to the official administrative division of the city this beautiful landscape park belongs to the twelfth district of Paris.

The area of the Bois de Vincennes by official data is a little less than a thousand hectares. Of course, it’s not much for forests, but this is compensated with other advantages, which attract crowds of locals and motley army of foreign tourists.

Many years ago, the forest was the property of the royal family of France, and the King Philip Augustus, a lover of hunting in this place, had ordered to build a hunting lodge in the forest. Another regal person the King Louis The Saint moved further in the matter of building the forest and became “the culprit” a small chapel’s creation. According to the French legend, he had lived a big part of his life here under the century-old oaks.

The fourteenth century was marked in the history of Bois de Vincennes by the fact that the first monarchs of the dynasty of Valois founded the castle at the site of the ancient chapel of Louis. Today this castle is the main tourist attraction and value of the park.

Three centuries later the royal castle in the Bois de Vincennes got new luxury pavilions, built in the classic style of the medieval architecture, surrounding a central courtyard of the castle.

In the history of Bois de Vincennes there is the remarkable fact what was important for history not only of France but of Europe. One of the most famous French kings Louis XIV (he had ruled during 72 (!!!) years) spent in the woods a honeymoon after marrying a Spanish princess Maria Theresa. The regent of the king – no less famous person in the history of the country cardinal Mazarrini – went into another world here.

In the middle of the nineteenth century the Emperor Napoleon III gave Vincennes and Bois de Boulogne to Paris authorities. And since that time they became open for all residents and visitors of Paris. Further the city prefect Osman has worked with the park, he was a noble transformer of appearance of the capital. Due to his desire the park was turned into an exemplary English park with landscape delights.

Now there is a popular among the Parisians horse race track in Bois de Vincennes, a cycle track, as well as the National Sports Institute. For the guests with children the park offers an own zoo, covering an area of about fifteen hectares, and its main “residents” are mouflons and Asian elephants. The lovers of trees can visit an arboretum. After its reconstructions Bois de Vincennes has four lakes: Saint-Mande, Minim, Domesnim and Gravel.

As we think, the trip to Paris would not be complete without visiting of Bois de Vincennes. Enjoy your holiday in this beautiful place!

Castle of Breteuil

The Castle of Breteuil (Chateau de Breteuil) was built in the early seventeenth century, 35 kilometers from Paris. Since its appearance it still belongs to one noble family, which gave France three ministers.

The palace of Breteuil is notable because the famous French writer Charles Perrault lived there. He gave the world such remarkable tales as “Little Red Riding Hood”, “Cinderella”, “Puss in Boots”, “Sleeping Beauty”, “Bluebeard” and many others. Nowadays, a part of the mansion is reserved for an interesting museum of Charles Perrault.

The halls of the palace are decorated with wood paneling with numerous portraits of family members, antique Gobelin tapestries, wax figures. All this emphasizes the rich history of the castle of Breteuil.

At one time the future British king Edward the Seventh often spent time in this place, because he had been a great friend of the Marquis de Breteuil.

The castle and its park are distinguished by the French elegance and very interesting to visit. We especially recommend you to arrive at the castle during Easter celebrations, when the owners traditionally hide Easter eggs in the garden.

Castle of Chantilly

Situated in a proud solitude in the middle of forest and surrounded with moats with water, Chantilly is considered one of the most beautiful castles in the province of Ile-de-France. This castle is a separate world with its own gardens and parks, wonderful works of art and, what the most important, with rich history. When you get to this place, you plunge into the atmosphere of an aristocratic France of the eighteenth century immediately. The halls of the palace were restored and furnished as at those times, the library is full of books. Coming in the apartments it seems that the owners just went out and will be back soon.

Castle of Chantilly has two separate buildings: Grand and Petit castles. The first one was built in a popular architectural style of Renaissance and belonged to the famous Prince of Conde. During the French Revolution this part of the castle was used as a prison and later it was destroyed. Today’s Grand Chantilly we can see only thanks to the Duke l’Omal, who had reconstructed it from the ruins. Entered into possession, the Duke regained the estate and created here a rich collection of works of art. According to his will the castle passed into the ownership of Institute of France after his death.

The museum of the castle represents paintings of French, Italian, German, Dutch, Flemish, English artists of the sixteenth-nineteenth centuries. There are more than two thousand works of graphic art, manuscripts, literary works. Among the authors we can mark out such names as Raphael, Watteau, Van Dyck, Poussin.

Today the park of Chantilly maintains its former shape, which it received from the creator – the famous master André Le Nôtre, – with beautiful fountains and artificial ponds.

From the old times the castle of Chantilly attracts lovers of riding, who come here for the horse races or to visit the Museum of horses and ponies, housed in beautiful castle stables. These stables, built by the order of Henri-Louis of Bourbon for more than 200 horses, are the hallmark of the castle that distinguishes it from others.

Visiting the castle of Chantilly – it is an opportunity to get acquainted with the lifestyle of French nobility in the period of luxury, art, fashion, which took place of permanent war and feats of arms of French aristocracy.

From Paris you can take a train from Gare du Nord to the station Chantilly-Gouvieux.

Castle of Monte Cristo

Monte Cristo… This name is familiar to almost everyone who faced the works of famous French writer – creator of legendary “Musketeers” – Alexandre Dumas. But only few of us have the information that there is the castle of Monte Cristo not far from Paris open to all.

The history of the castle of Monte Cristo began in the middle of the nineteenth century after the great success of Dumas’ novel “Three Musketeers”. This work has brought the author international fame and, most importantly, wealth. Of course, Alexandre did not stop his writing activities, but money has changed his life in many ways.

During writing a novel about the adventures of Count of Monte Cristo Dumas decided to build a castle near Paris, dedicated to his hero. And since the writer was a resolute person, he had realized his ideas.

First of all, Alexandre Dumas purchased land (2 hectares) of one of the local people and gradually prepared for construction. Purchased land was not the most suitable for construction of the castle because it was quite marshy. However, he was not going to retreat. Builders significantly deepened foundation of the castle, so the owner got uninvited cellars for storing wine. In addition, Dumas continued to actively buy nearby lands to expand his domain.

In the summer of 1847 the castle opened its doors to many friends of the writer during a specially arranged ceremony. It should be mentioned that the castle with the lands cost five hundred thousand francs, today – more than a dozen million euros.

The three-story castle had five small rooms decorated in different styles. Also Dumas built another small castle Château d’If near the castle of Monte Cristo, anв it became his private office.

Despite the fact that the writer continued to work actively on his novels, maintenance of the domain was very expensive. As a result, in 1848 officers of justice have described the property and put the castle up for auction. The castle was sold for just 31,000 francs.

After years lands and the castle of Monte Cristo passed from hand to hand, and in 1960 one company wanted to build residential settlement here. However, the community of friends of Alexander Dumas in defended this part of history. Today the castle belongs to the state, it has been restored.

The castle of Monte Cristo is open for tourists throughout the year. It’s address: 1 Chemin des Montferrants, Port-Marly, France. From Paris you can get to the domain of Dumas by train from Gare Saint Lazare to the station Marly-le-Roi.

Catacombes de Paris (Paris catacombs)

Let’s look at such a significant phenomenon for inhabitants of the French capital, as Paris catacombs to which a lot of local residents’ attention is paid in the folklore.

The word “the catacomb” itself is capable to make an impressionable person tremble; especially if it is accompanied by a colorful story here such a person can allow his or her imagination run high.

So, if your visit to France contains an excursion across Paris make sure underground Paris is part of it; these catacombs and tunnels are plenty in this city. According to the Parisians many underground ways have been dug long time ago by numerous smugglers with the purpose to deliver every possible goods to the city without fee, so to say, “duty free”. Having wandered on these underground lanes and streets, you will understand that visiting vaults of Paris is not less fascinating, than excursions to Louvre or Tour Eiffel.

Speaking about underground corridors – their extent under Paris makes some hundreds of kilometers; they create some kind of an underground labyrinth with set of entries and exits. These tunnels are settled under a considerable part of the left bank of the Seine, as much space under the right bank is also occupied by them. In many places the depth of the tunnels reaches over twenty meters.

So, tunnels of Paris … it’s high time to put a question: What is the main cause of their occurrence? It is banal enough. Paris – already in the Middle Ages – was a rather big city which constantly grew at the expense of increase in local residents’ well-being and immigrants arriving. To erect new private and public objects builders needed stone, and there was nothing easier, than to dig it from the underground. This is the way how many Parisian catacombs and tunnels appeared.

Already in the eighteenth century there was a special department established by the municipal government which was engaged in registering and protecting of the underground tunnels. Thanks to its efforts each underground street has been plotted on the map of the city under unique names already in those days.

When in the nineteenth century Paris got an underground, the tourists’ interest to the underground city had considerably increased, and the authorities had to limit the number of the tunnels opened for visiting. The Parisian authorities nowadays allow visiting exclusively famous catacombs which are under the Place Denfert-Rochereau particularly, and some other places. However, with the best will you can always find many institutions located underground in Paris, it can be various bars, showrooms, original museums.

Someone can tell, of course, that there are actually no Parisian legends in this article. We have made it on purpose. After all according to an old Russian proverb “it is better to see once, than to hear hundred times”, we urgently recommend you to visit Paris and hear Parisian legends from the mouth of its remarkable inhabitants. And, by the way don’t forget to visit the well-known tunnels of Paris.



Champagne. In this French province people are occupied with growing of during more than two thousand years. Landscapes of the province are simply delicious – hills covered with vineyards, small villages with the domes of ancient churches, admiring of those gives the real pleasure.

In Champagne almost every local resident considers himself a winemaker. And surprisingly, it is true, as the art of winemaking is passed down from generation to generation, and women of Champagne are not inferior to the stronger sex in the production of this noble drink. It is enough to give examples of such legendary figures as Veuve Clicquot or Madame Pommery, who had won fame only after the death of their husbands.

According to the history, during long lime the Benedictine monk Pierre Perignon (nothing says family name? 🙂 ) has been acknowledged as the inventor of champagne. However, in recent decades this opinion is disputed by historians as well as producers of wine. As it turned out, the wines made in Champagne were sparkling originally, in a manner of speaking, of nature. And the author of the elite type of “Brut” was already mentioned Madame Pommery – this fact is not even discussed.

Well, go ahead. The city of Reims – the capital of the Champagne winemakers. But this place is known also by the fact that the coronation of French kings were here. In 498 the first king and founder of the Frankish state Clovis was anointed in Reims. According to an ancient legend, during that memorable ceremony the dove flew in the church, carrying a vessel with holy oil in its beak, which was used to anoint the king.

Later, the main temple of Raines was rebuilt repeatedly after rapid fires. And each of the next French monarchs was crowned right here. Say that one will, tradition is tradition. The last of them – Charles X – was crowned in 1825. That legendary vessel of oil is preserved to this day, despite of the representatives of the French Revolution had tried to destroy it. The cathedral was damaged during the Second World War with German bombing, most of the stained glass were broken. However, there is no evil without good, the author of new stained glass windows in the church became a legendary native of Belarus Marc Chagall.

But, let’s back to our days. The mandatory element of any travel program in Champagne – the Pommery house of Champagne. Frankly speaking, novels can be wrote on this place. It is located in a magnificent castle, which in its appearance has little resemblance to a usual winery, and was founded by Madame Pommery in 1868. This legendary woman was left with two children after the death of her husband and to secure her family for many years, had decided to become a winemaker. She bought the old abandoned limestone mines (total length – 19 km) and several vineyards. In the issue, the idea of Madame Pommery was very successful, thanks to the mine temperature characteristics, what were ideal for wine aging. The business woman (not devoid of love for the beautiful) decorated vaults of mines with original bás-relief. What about the main issue, the bins now contain more than twenty million bottles of champagne, which eventually will fall into shops around the world. Tour of Madame’s Pommery heritage is very interesting, because you’ll be told a lot of details from the life of winemakers of Champagne, secrets of their skills; guide will teach how to open a bottle properly, as it should make a real man – with a saber :-). And, of course, the main thing! You will taste several sorts of excellent sparkling wine, and the cherry on this cake is the best Pommery Brut Royal – the first one that glorified its creator.

If the wine in Champagne of the highest level, it’s local cuisine is simple and democratic. Natives prefer to mix champagne with red meat, poultry, meat of rabbit, smoked salmon, Flamiche (scrambled eggs on leek and cream) or Sarbonnade de boeuf (beef stew).

In a case if being in Champagne you’ll save energy after the tasting of local wines, so be sure to visit the beautiful Basilica in Reims, the cathedral in Troyes with stunning stained glass windows, buy some souvenirs and, of course, champagne.

Champ de Mars

Champ de Mars

Which landmarks do we remember in the first place when speaking about the French capital? Most likely that the vast majority of people in different corners of the Earth would say that this is the Eiffel Tower, because the city is associated so much with this majestic building at the present time. Many words has been said and written (even we have noted the material on our website) about this architectural wonder, but it’s unfair that people know a lot less about the place where the tower is located. This is the Field of Mars (Champ de Mars) and it is worthy of special record.

Places with the same name there are in Russian St. Petersburg city (a park in the memory of fallen soldiers) and in the capital of Italy – Rome.

But, because of our site is directly connected with Paris, so we’ll say some words about the French Field of Mars – one of the largest urban parks in Paris. The diameter of this beautiful garden in the center of the city is near eight hundred meters and its length – about one kilometer. We can say that the field is “trapped” in the space between the Seine and the constructions of the Paris Military Academy (Ecole Militaire). Exactly in this park the Eiffel Tower, which was destined to become one of the main world famous characters of Paris, had been installed. Today, this landmark is the main goal for millions of tourists visiting the French capital.

Looking at history, we should say that in the sixteenth century the place was used in agricultural purposes to grow vegetables as well as the vineyards were located. However, its name (as you known Mars is the Roman god of war) the territory received because the French army used the field for training exercises in preparation for actual warfare in the eighteenth century.

Besides Champ de Mars was the venue for various celebrations, the first in 1790 – the Feast of the Federation. Then more than three hundred thousand people came to this place to welcome King Louis XVI who had previously signed a new constitution of the country. But already next year the same crowd demanded here the dethronement of the king.

Also the garden in Champ de Mars was the place where the weddings of famous people took place. For example in 1837 it was the wedding of the Duke of Orleans. In the same century the park received several horse races that were popular among the Parisian elite.

However that may be, but none of these events would not play a big role in the history of the Field of Mars until 1889. That year the World Exhibition was in Paris, and our garden had been chosen for the opening presentation of the “Wonder of the World”. It was destined to enter to the history as the Eiffel tower.

Now the Field of Mars is a magnificent park in central Paris with beautiful lawns, artificial paths, bushes, trees and flower beds. It takes celebrations with fireworks dedicated to the national holiday of Bastille Day every July 14.

In 2000 the Monument of Peace was established in the park near the Military Academy, on which the word “peace” can be read in thirty-two languages. And for each variant of the writing a separate architectural column is given. Strolling along the paths of the Field of Mars you can go to the monument and marvel at the tower, and one of the exits leads to the famous Invalides.

Champs Elysee, Place de l’Etoile and Arch Triomphe – majestic monuments

Champs Elysee, Place de l’Etoile and Arch Triomphe – majestic monuments

We would like to tell in more details about the central and most significant places of Paris, among which are Champs Elysée, Arch Triomphe and Place Charles de Gaulle.

So, we will begin with the Champs Elysée which, if to speak official language, settles down between Place de la Concorde known to many tourists and the well-known Parisian Arch Triomphe. If to speak about the Champs Elysée in context of the city history this street represents a young component. Long time ago in this place was the dried up arm of the Seine (which is one of the symbols of Paris itself). And only in the beginning of the seventeenth century the first three avenues has been laid here, set with elms. It was done by the order of Queen Maria Medici. After half a century these avenues have been added by walking territory which was some kind of continuation of le jardin des Tuileries.

The first buildings have started to appear on the Champs Elysée much later when erection of a new palace for royal family has begun in Versailles. And the great number of rich private residences here has appeared already during blossoming of the Second Empire.

For today the Champs Elysée is one of the most visited places in Paris. Some hundreds of people pass or drive here daily. It is worth seeing it. The Most cult local places of interest – legendary cabaret Lido, restaurants “Le Fouquet’s” and “Rasputin”, Arch Triomphe, Place Charles de Gaulle.

That, here we have come close to other heroes of our narration – Place Charles de Gaulle (initially it was called as Place de l’Étoile (Star square) and Arch Triomphe which finish Champs Elysée.

The square. Its first name – “Star” was given to it in the eighteenth century because five most beautiful avenues found their beginning and went different in five directions from it. During the present moment the number of such streets makes whole twelve.

The main place of interest of the square is well-known for the whole world Arch Triomphe which has been erected by the order of emperor Napoleon in the first decade of the nineteenth century, as a symbol of victories of his army.

The architect of the project was Jean-François Chalgrin, thanks to his imagination and work in the centre of square the majestic Arch Triomphe (by the way, its height makes fifty meters, and width – forty five) towers.

What is remarkable is that Napoleon has not seen the arch ready, but in 1840 year the emperor nevertheless has visited it. His ashes accompanied by a special escort, have proceeded under the arch. Thus Napoleon’s supporters honored his memory.

However, there is one more untold moment, concerning this square. As we already told, its primary name was Place de l’Étoile. And only in 1970 the government of the country has decided to change it in honor of the legendary president of France general Charles de Gaulle. Certainly, the French citizens respect the memory of this great person and his merits before the native land, however till this day the name of the area in use sounds more often as l’Étoile (star). And in guidebooks to Paris you can find two names – Place de l’Étoile and Place Charles de Gaulle.

In the conclusion of this narration we would like to tell one thing: being in Paris necessarily visit these places where you will get many positive emotions.

Chateau de Chambord

Chateau de Chambord (Castle of Chambord). Gorgeous pompous residence of the kings, a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture. These and many other descriptions suit ideally for the luxury Chambord on the Loire. This ancient residence of French monarchs is located to the east of Blois and considered the main attraction of this area.

Some art lovers believe that the castle of Chambord is inferior in its splendor only to the legendary Versailles, while others people insist that its scope and architectural originality excel Parisian apartments of the Bourbon dynasty.

According to the plans of King Francis I the Castle of Chambord had to become a symbol of might of the monarchs of France. Construction of a new palace lasted long fifteen years, thousands of builders and a lot of money were used. The king paid the most attention to the construction of defense wall of a circle 32 kilometers and a height of 2.5 meters.

Firstly the Chambord Castle was used as a hunting estate, but already in 1519 the year Francis had decided to demolish the original structure and build a palace in the Renaissance style. According to some historical documents, the author of this project was the genius Leonardo da Vinci – the brightest representative of Italian Renaissance. And after a decade and a half a beautiful royal castle had appeared instead of a sombre medieval palace.

King Francis was concerned not only about the castle, at an early stage of construction he even wanted to change the course of the river Loire to wash the lands of Chambord. True, technology of that time could not meet the requirements of the monarch, and the Loire preserved its form.

At the end of construction works (it happened only in 1685 in the time of the King Louis IV) the castle had more than four hundred rooms, three and a half hundred fireplaces, fourteen large and seventy small stairs. The “Sun King” was a great lover of hunting, so his court was a frequent visitor to the castle of Chambord. In addition, these visits of the monarch spoke on his great desire to return to the residence its initial status. Sumptuous balls and theatrical performances were regularly arranged here.

Later the owners of Chambord were many rich and famous people, among them such outstanding historical personalities like the Polish King Stanislaw Leszczynski and successful French general Maurice of Saxony. And each of them brought something personal to the castle, what corresponded the time. So, today architecture of the castle is a unique mix of styles from different eras. For example, decorations of the palace date from the Renaissance, while the silhouette of its walls has Gothic features.

Chateau de Sceaux

Few people, who come to Paris, know about the wonderful place called Chateau de Sceaux, preferring to visit famous sights of French capital. In fact, there are many interesting things worthy of attention from tourists in the suburbs of Paris. Some places we mentioned in our previous articles, and today some words on the castle of Sceaux, located just five kilometers from the city.

The ensemble consists of a castle, a magnificent great park, wonderful lakes, which some experts compare to similar from Versailles. And, believe, it’s really true!

The Castle of Sceaux was built in the early seventeenth century, but got a greater fame when famous Jean-Baptiste Colbert – Finance Minister of King Louis XIV had become its owner. Influential minister has expanded the castle considerably, and invited the royal gardener André Le Notre for decorating gardens, who was one of the best masters in this business at that time.

As expected, Mr. Le Notre has done his job superbly and created one of the most beautiful parks in France. Because the castle is located on a hill, he defeated the gardens so that they fell down as original parterres. As in the royal Versailles the landscaper paid special attention to water components and created long canals, fountains and cascade of waterfalls, forming an octagonal pool.

Later the area of the park has acquired several pavilions and the Orangery, which has been preserved to this day. The castle was not so lucky.

The French Revolution brought to life of the country big changes that affected the castle of Sceaux. Its new owner was a wealthy wine merchant. Being an ordinary villager, he had little love for the beautiful. He decided to dismantle the castle walls and sell them as building materials. Only due to his daughter, who became the wife of Comte de Travis, the castle was restored. But, the new castle was more modest than the original version.

The park also has been in great disrepair for a long time, despite the fact that the canals, built by Le Notre, preserved. Restoration works began in 1928 only, directed by a famous architect Leon Azem, who worked on creation of the modern concept of Trocadero Square. Complete reconstruction of the park of the Castle of Sceaux was ended in the seventies of the last century.

Currently, Museum of Ile-de-France is under the roof of the castle. Its exposition contains information about many castles, towns, located in Paris region, about famous people. Certainly, few people know that the town of Sceaux is the birthplace of famous French actor Alain Delon.

Most people come to Sceaux to walk in magnificent gardens of the castle, admire beautiful fountains and canals. For active rest there are playgrounds for favorite French game petanque, basketball, tennis, rugby and soccer fields, a swimming pool. But, more importantly, Chateau de Sceaux gives its guests the unique atmosphere of the past centuries.

Chateau de Valencay

As history tells us, the first French real feudal castle was built by seignior Gautier de Valencay in the 13th century. After that it belonged to the family of Chalon-Tonnerre, what was connected with the marriage contract, had been rebuilt and expanded with new facilities. Such families as d’Etamp, Chaumont de la Miller and Legendre were also owners of this old castle and all of them had tried to bring something of themselves into the architecture of the chateau.

We can not say that all these French families didn’t go down in history of the country someway, but the greatest glory the Castle of Valencay (Chateau de Valencay) got thanks to the legendary French Foreign Minister of the three regimes (including the era of Emperor Napoleon) Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord – a man who became one of the best European diplomats of all times. Until now the name of Tayleran is often associated with such important concepts of politics as agility, cunning and unscrupulousness.

So, the Chateau de Valencay was bought (and a part of the cost was paid personally by Napoleon Bonaparte) and became the property of Charles Talleyrand in 1802. According to plans of the Emperor, the castle had to become the residence of his head minister, where he could receive diplomats and noble representatives of other states at the highest level. How important the decision was from the state’s point of view you can imagine, considering the price of the castle. Napoleon and Talleyrand paid for the estate more than one and a half million francs.

In those days the castle already had more than one hundred separate rooms, twenty-five manorial apartments, a lot of service rooms and buildings. Moreover, the estate included a park, covering an area of a hundred and fifty acres; vineyards, forests, meadows and farms. And all this rich French manor was located at 19 thousand hectares. After completing of the castle’s beautification, Talleyrand made it his residence for a quarter of the century; the good and the great achieved the honor to be invited here.

It is true that Talleyrand was not always a full owner of the Castle of Valencay. Thus, during the war against Spain Napoleon made captive Pyrenean princes (with their retinues) the “co-habitants” of the Minister for long six years. Also the Emperor was concerned about the comfort of his royal captives. So, many entertainments were created in the castle, including a theater, which was placed in the rooms next to the conservatory and could accommodate up to 150 spectators. And the best French theatre companies of the time performed on its stage.

When the Congress of Vienna finished existence of the Empire the princes went home and Talleyrand had returned to his castle together with Dorothea – his nephew’s wife – he became very attached to her.

Being on the go, Talleyrand spent a lot of time at his estate, receiving friends from different countries. After death of the minister his body was buried in Valencay – it was the will of Charles Talleyrand. Later the castle belonged to his heirs – relatives on the brother’s side; the minister did not have own children.

Since 1979 Chateau de Valencay is in the hands of the Association of Historic Castles of France. Today the castle has become a popular tourist attraction. A museum of vintage cars was found here to attract tourists. Also it got lots of exotic birds and animals. Believe it or not, but Valencay is one of the most beautiful French castles in the Loire Valley.

Saint-Severin Church

If you love European Gothic architecture, so be sure that Paris church of the Saint Severin (Eglise Saint-Severin) will impress you greatly. This temple had appeared as far back as the XI century and is in the list of the oldest churches as in Paris as in France.

Its name the church has got in the honor of the famous preacher Severin (he was beatified later) who had effected a lot to the development of Christianity in the early Middle Ages.

It is very remarkable that the first church was built at this place in the VI century, but it had been destroyed during the invasion of Northmen.

In the XIII century the neighborhood (nowadays we know it as Latin Quarter) had begun to develop very actively due to the University (present Sorbonne). And there was a need of a large church for numerous believers, lived in this territory. In that way, small Roman chapel turned into vast temple with huge stained-glass windows. Since that time, some serious reconstructions were held in the church.

The main zests of the Saint-Severin church are its high pillars, rising up to the roof; the windows of some ages; a fine organ of the XVIII century; the statue of the Saint Antoine (he helps to find lost things).

Of course, it could be said a lot about history of the church and its architectural features, but it’s the best of all to see this beautiful building and one of the brightest representatives of the medieval Gothic by your own eyes.

The temple is located in the Latin Quarter at Rue des Pretres Saint-Severin close to the Cite Island.

Church of the Saint Vincent de Paul

It is rather difficult to choose the next sight in Paris for a description because there are lots ones in the city. Still we decided to say some words about the Church of the Saint Vincent de Paul (Eglise Saint Vincent de Paul) which is located in the 10th district of the French capital. It doesn’t have the greatness (architectural, literary and historical) like Notre Dame de Paris, but the church is a very interesting and important place for many Catholics.

As its name implies the church was built in the honor of the famous representative of the Christianity St. Vincent who had written his name in the history of the Catholic Church and had earned the respect of the thousands of believers.

Construction of this cathedral was begun in 1824 and extended for the long twenty years. The reasons for this were lots of factors including the revolution in 1830. Initially Jean-Baptiste Lepere was selected as an architect of a new church but a different architect had ended up a massive construction project. His name was Jacques Hittorff (it happened that he was a Leper’s son-in-law). Hittorff has made the significant changes to the original draft of his relative’s during his work. For example, in the first draft a central tower was provided, but in the process of building a new architect decided to build two lateral towers instead of one. The wide stone staircase leading to the main entrance to the church was also added. Opening and consecration of the Church of the Saint Vincent de Paul dated on the 25th of October, 1844.

In general the 19th century was marked in France with numerous riots and the revolutions that could not passed the object of our story. During the days of the Paris Commune the building was damaged with cannon-balls, what was removed later during the renovation.

Stylistically the Church of the Saint Vincent de Paul is a late classicism with elements of the Greco-Roman architecture, what we can see clearly in a triangular pediment with columns above the main entrance. The pediment is decorated with a sculptural composition called “The Apotheosis of St. Vincent”. The intention of the sculptor was to shape to figures surrounding the great Christian the symbolism to underline his earthly deeds.

The interior of the cathedral is also impressive. In 1853 painter Hippolyte Flandre created a picturesque border between different levels of the internal columns, which represented 160 of the saint people. It is interesting to look at the bronze composition “Calvary” which is made by the sculptor Francois Ryud. We should also mention the chapel of the Blessed Virgin located in the apse of the church and painted in the eighties of the nineteenth century.

We hope that thanks to our little material you are interested in the Church of the Saint Vincent de Paul and will visit it during the stay in Paris.

Cite Fleurie – Flower village of Paris

Maybe, you have had an occasion to hear about “flower villages of Paris”, so Cite Fleurie is one of them. This is a small beautiful area which consists of three tens of charming cottages with huge glassed verandas. You may ask: why glassed? It’s simple enough. Cite Fleurie is a historic community of painters who always loved Paris, and these houses are their studios, where sunlight is very important thing.

The author of the Cite Fleurie project was French architect Montmorin-Jentel, and materials from one of exhibition halls of the World Exhibition in Paris were used for its construction.

Cite Fleurie

This Flower village is an amazing place with already mentioned houses, plenty of plants, and sandy paths (what is very unusual for present Paris).

Among inhabitants of Cite Fleurie there were many painters, even such the “mastodons” like Modigliani and Gauguin; frequent visitors were Bourdelle, Maillol and Rodin. Nevertheless, many admirers of art associate this area with Henri Cadiou who made a lot for saving it from demolition and inclusion into the list of the monuments under the state protection.

Cite Fleurie is located in the 13th arrondissement of Paris. Address: 61-67 Boulevard Arago.



Now the object of our attention is the magnificent building located on Ile de la Cité and known as Conciergerie Palais.

Its history dates back to the sixth century when the leader of united tribes of Franks King Clovis moved his main residence in a place that today known as Paris. To be more accurate, for this purpose he chose Cité island. As Clovis was a king so according to this status, he had decided to found the residence (palace) on the island. However, the king did not live here long, because he had died very quickly.

The next time the castle on Cité was a residence of the royal family in the tenth century when Paris had become the capital of France again.

Today, it is impossible to recreate the original appearance of Conciergerie, because since the construction it was constantly reinforced and restored by reason of regular fires.

The fourteenth century is important in the history of the palace, Conciergerie ceased to be the residence of French kings. After another peasant uprising it has been moved to famous now Louvre.

After a loss of such a high status the palace became a part of the architectural complex of the House of Justice. Even today the office of Paris prosecutor, as well as some city departments, is here. In principle, thanks to the move of the royal residence, the palace got its present name. Leaving the island, the monarch had left a part of his chancellery in the castle, and the chief concierge was ordered to manage remaining clerks. So, this is the reason for its name.

However, this was not the most notable event in the history of the castle. The most significant fact – Conciergerie palace was turned into a prison… This happened due to overcrowding of a jail situated nearby, and authorities decided to put criminals in a former royal residence. In 1391 the palace became a prison officially. Its most prisoners were sentenced to death, and the executions had been carried out right here.

There is and such a case in the history of the place. During the French Revolution in Conciergerie prison about three thousand persons (out of favour with new authorities) were executed after sentences by a famous judge of that time Fouquet-Tinville.

At various times “Guests” of the prison were as people of usual professions as representatives of scientific and art intelligentsia, noble aristocrats.

French queen Marie Antoinette was executed exactly here. She took a violent death only ten months later after the death of her husband. However, not only deposed monarchs had a chance to experience such a fate. Conciergerie became the last home for one of the main opponents of the monarchy, famous creator of the power of terror – Robespierre.

It only in 1914 official associations Conciergerie and a prison were severed after awarding the palace a status of architectural monument.

Despite such a dark history Conciergerie in Paris has a lot on what you can draw your attention, especially in architecture. For this reason we can always see many groups of tourists from different countries here. Last years the palace became the venue for numerous concerts and exhibitions.


Corsica. What do you know about this amazing place? From school days we know that Corsica – a birthplace of the great French Emperor Napoleon, but it’s not the only dignity of the island. This is a place with a delightful nature and rich history. And if you were not here, be sure to visit Corsica which the ancient Greeks called “most beautiful”, and they were the true connoisseurs of beauty. The centuries have passed and the island is still satisfying its proud description.

So, what’s the surprise of Corsica? First, mountains… Corsican mountains surprisingly combine unique vineyards, forests, swift rivers, magnificent beaches with azure waters and golden sands. The mountains are the home of beautiful villages and hunting grounds whose history has more than one century. Foots of the mountains are surrounded with numerous modern hotels, getting travellers from around the world.

Notable that all this landscape diversity of Corsica fits on a relatively small area – size of the island is only 85 by 183 kilometers. Almost any trip here does not take more than an hour, all the “amenities” are very close.

The administrative center of this French region (yes, Corsica – a part of France) and at the same time the most populated town is Ajaccio, the island’s second largest town – Bastia. Every Corsican town, regardless of its size, continues to maintain the atmosphere of those distant days when they were founded, what only adds a charm. Distinctive features of Corsican towns – narrow winding streets and small yards, “bathing” in the light of the bright sun.

As for the town of Ajaccio, there are so many reminders that the great Napoleon Bonaparte was born exactly here. Local residents get a great pleasure from this fact and are proud of their famous countryman. Monuments of the emperor, all kinds of souvenirs with his portrayals, the names of local streets and squares – all these and other remind residents and visitors about the legendary French sovereign.

Connoisseurs of art will find the Fesch’s museum of Italian painting which has the second richest collection in the country after Parisian Louvre. This museum was founded by Napoleon’s uncle (and this was not made without the Bonapartes) Cardinal Fesch.

For the travelers Corsica offers a variety of cafes and restaurants, small private inns and luxury expensive hotels. Those people who wish to spend their holidays in solitude on a seashore with beautiful beaches can rent a villa.

The inhabitants of Corsica are known for their love of all kinds of entertainments. “Guitar Nights” – one of the most popular pastimes of local residents, there is a traditional colorful Carnival in May. In principle, Corsica – not just a resort, this is a place giving wonders, the festive island!

Cultural and “flea” Paris

Paris without its flea markets (Marchais aux puces) is not Paris! In capital of the country of King Louis there are some tens of such “lush” places, and the most known, cult and remarkable are the markets located in Port de Montreuil and Port Sent-Ouen area. But don’t think the named flea markets are settled near any ports, it is not so.

The word «Porte» is translated from French, as “gate”. For the Parisian natives (however, the same as for Muscovites) the flea market is not so much of a trading place, but the cultural phenomenon. In all local circulation of purchase and sale the major component is in numerous stories and the myths transferred “by word of mouth”. In general, in similar places people are engaged in trade, eat and drink, arrange musical performances, or simply stare on associates, fall in love, steal and do whatever they want.

The largest, probably, is the Saint-Ouen Flea Market. It is situated in the north of Paris and represents a certain similarity of a small town the small streets of which have well-known shops and stores.

Thus each street has its own distinctive features. It is possible to tell that some kind of rigid specialization is presented here. So, for example, on one street people are engaged in trade of exclusively leather goods, and on another – porcelain and ware, and the third – antiques subjects. As for antiques – France is a well of antiques. It was never really robbed in the course of two World Wars, therefore nowadays it is possible to come across many interesting things in the similar markets (and not only there).

Certainly, you won’t have a chance to buy a Leonardo da Vinci’s creation for ten euros here, but the searching process of something worthwhile will bring great pleasure to any expert of the kind. Along with the antiques a brisk trade of such strange at first sight subjects, as old rusty cranes, broken toys, old dummies, irons, refrigerators and many other things is going on flea markets.

The Montreuil flea market in the east of Paris looks like the younger brother Saint-Ouen Flea Market with poorer combination of the offered goods. To some extent it reminds of similar domestic spontaneous markets which existed at the time of Gorbachev’s perestroika. Basically it offers stolen home appliances, Arabian brocade, and false Swiss watches.

Some people might question themselves: “What would such an anachronism, in general, be kept in Paris for?” Only here in a grief of old footwear it is possible to find Mireille Mathieu shoes, for example. Or assorting piles of old rags, come across a unique dress haute Coco Chanel or a pair of classical American Levi’s jeans produced while Elvis Presley was on stage. Believe it or not, it is even possible to find our bayans and accordions which god knows how found their way to this city…



You spent a lot of time in Paris, had been many times there, local sights lost their attractiveness for, or you just want something new… In this case we advise you to pack things into a suitcase for trip and go to the town of Deauville, located in Normandy near the famous English Channel. Especially as because, the road from Paris, believe, will not take too much time, and there is a lot to look at!

Deauville is a “young” French city relatively, founded only in 1859 on-site of a small village. The town was created as a resort for rich people initially, where they could get posh service, not being afraid to show their wealth and to cause envy in others. The founder of this “paradise” for wealthy citizens was the Duke Charles de Morny, who, as it is said, had been a distant relative of Napoleon Bonaparte. And, as it often happened in history, the author of this grandiose ideas was a woman – in this case, the wife of the Duke.

In a very short time Deauville has become very popular holiday destination of French and European nobility, a large number of political, business and cultural elite had a vacation here.

Today the town has an undercover name of the 21st arrondissement of Paris and is still a very popular tourist resort. Of course, not everyone can afford a vacation at such a luxurious and expensive resort, to stay in such hotels like Normandy Deauville Barriere, Hotel Du Golf Barriere or Royal Deauville Barriere. But, why don’t you come here for one day and to admire local splendor by your own eyes, to meet famous people, who had been seen only on television previously? 🙂

And you can see here a lot. Respectable villas, made in Modern, Gothic, Renaissance styles, gorgeous beaches, wonderful parks… Maybe you will not spare a little money and try your luck at the casino or just enjoy the famous French cheeses with a glass of apple cider in a restaurant. Lovers of shopping will also find much of interest, because the number of fashion boutiques in Deauville is not less than in Paris.

Every year Deauville offers its guests the festivals of American cinema, jazz, classical music, modern art, horse racing. If you want to improve your health or to undergo health promotion treatments, so visit the famous institute of thalassotherapy Algotherm.

In any case, irrespective of the goals of your trip to Deauville you will remember this visit for a long time and definitely want to return here.

Discover a different Paris

Discover a different Paris

It is obvious that any city (especially such an ancient one as Paris) has a set of widely recognized and known sights, and also it is a lot of places which are not known to general public outside of local “ring road”. We already told on pages of our site about the most well-known Parisian sights, we stopped on some other places in hope to draw your attention to them. In this material we also wish to describe some less “PRed” places of the French capital which, nevertheless, can seem interesting enough to someone.

For certain, many of you are familiar with François Vidocq nice Parisian detective (or at least with the film with the same name with Gérard Depardieu in a leading role). In gallery Vivienne (Rue des Petits-Champs 4, rue Vivienne 6) it is possible to see a beautiful old ladder with metal handrail, on affinity with which the hero of investigation rented his apartment in Paris. And not only for the sake of this exhibit item is it necessary to visit this gallery, believe in this neoclassical place you will discover a lot of interesting for yourselves.

Nearly everyone in our country heard about the Bastille (in many respects thanks to remarkable films on motives of Alexandre Dumas’ products), but some believe that the ancient Parisian prison exists till now. To discredit this myth, we recommend to go to Paris and to visit Bastille Square where on the place where this grandiose construction once was there is a remaining circuit of the building which has been laid out from its stones, and a memorial tablet from the category “There was Bastille here”.

Many travelers (no matter where they are going to) like to get souvenirs from their trips and something more than memory can be found in Paris. In church on Rue du Bac, 140 travelers buy sacred medallions which are said to help the wandering people not to lose faith and hope during disasters.

Booking a tour in Paris, we advise you, strangely enough, to pay your attention to rather original toilets which are in the eighth district close to church of Madeleine. These designs are older than a hundred years, and there is nothing like this in Paris. Magnificent toilet bowls and washstands from porcelain are established there, and doors are made in a stylistic direction of art nouveau with magnificent flower stained-glass windows.And if we have mentioned a place where there was the most well-known prison of France we have decided to advise you to visit the place where guillotines once settled down. Till the beginning of the 20th century At Rue de la Croix-Faubin 16 there was a special prison for condemned men where sentences were carried out. Nowadays only the memorable tablet and strange “patches” in an architectural ensemble are here.

Domaine of Villarceaux

A new touristic destination is discovered in France – the Domaine of Villarceaux (Le Domaine de Villarceaux)! That’s a really beautiful palace & park complex, located 65 kilometers to the north-west from Paris in the commune of Chaussy (Val d’Oise Department).

The Domaine of Villarceaux was added to the list of French historic monuments in 1941.

Nowadays, this territory is a property of the Foundation Charles Leopold Mayer but according to the agreement it’s run by the Regional Counsil of Ille-de-France.

Although Villarceaux is not the very talked-up attraction near Paris, we advise you to visit this lovely place. We have done it, and the pleasure is ours!

Jardin des Plantes

Many parks bloom and delights giving a good mood. Jardin des Plantes (or Botanical Garden) – one of such places, and being in Paris visit it in your free time. Parisian Botanical Garden is a true French pride with a rich history.

You can believe or not, but Jardin des Plantes had appeared on the city’s map in the first half of the 17th (!!!) century. And the park became public very quickly.

Its history began from the decision of a personal doctor of the King Louis XIII to cultivate medicinal herbs necessary for him on a small plot. New plants appeared here constantly and the garden had increased its area – especially in the middle of the 18th century, when Count De Buffon (probably an ancestor of the famous Italian football goalkeeper :-)) was the manager of Jardin des Plantes. In the garden, new plants from different parts of the world (Asia, Africa, America) had being appeared with an enviable regularity.

And already in 1794, in Parisian Botanical Garden the zoo was established, whose first “guests” became animals from the royal menagerie in Versailles. Unfortunately, their fate was unenviable – they were eaten by hungry Parisians during the war with Prussia. Later, by the way, the zoo was restored.

Today, Jardin des Plantes is a part of the National Museum of Natural History, and it consists of museums of entomology, paleontology and mineralogy, as well as a big gallery of evolution. In addition, you can not go by the aquarium and the zoo.

Mission of the Museum of Natural History is preserving and expanding collection of plants, conducting educational activities – the school of Botany works, there are special sites with new species of plants and an exchange fund.

A separate place in the Jardin des Plantes is occupied by its famous greenhouses, which appeared in the 19th century and at that time were considered the largest in the world. Due to the maintenance of the right temperature, here we can find rare plants from different corners of the Earth.

You’re in Botanical Garden of Paris, so take a stroll through the Grand Labyrinth – original spiral path stretching to the top of the hill through beautiful green thickets.

Alpine garden with two thousand plants collected in Asia, America and Europe also deserves your attention.

You can ask: where is all this miracle located?

Official address of Parisian Botanical Garden: 57 Rue Cuvier, Paris 75005. You can go to it as from Saint-Germain area as from the Gare d’Austerlitz. Metro: Place Monge, Gare d’Austerlitz

Jardins Albert Kahn

Forgetting for a while about the architectural masterpieces and many museums of Paris, in this article we would like to mention a beautiful place of the city – ideal for a pleasant spiritual relaxation. This is a private Paris garden of Albert Kahn (Les Jardins Albert Kahn) which is located in the south-west of the French capital and includes a unique set of themed gardens of different time periods and styles.

The founder of the park – a successful banker Albert Kahn – visited often the country of the rising sun, taking a great interest in its nature and culture, what left its mark on his outlook. And it is not surprising that the most beautiful garden here is the Japanese garden with an original house. This is a wonderful creation by nature and human hands where every element is filled with its own meaning and philosophy. Everything at this place disposes to a good rest, contemplation and concentration.

The second Japanese garden, designed by the famous Japanese master Fumiaki Takano, is located next to the traditional one. This garden is very unique, here together with beautiful greenery and mountain streams there is even its own Mount Fuji – neither more nor less than a symbol of Japan.

At the heart of the park you will find a large greenhouse Palmarium where hundreds of tropical plants brought here from Oceania and other equally exotic edge are represented.

Vegetation of America and Africa is at “blue forest” whose basis is the Atlas cedars and gray-blue spruces.

Rural landscapes of childhood memories of Mr. Kahn – “Vosges forest” with wild ivy and huge boulders. Also there are English and “Gold” forests in the park.

In 1999 a great storm caused enormous damage to the park of Albert Kahn, but now it is fully restored and you can enjoy its splendor while staying in Paris.

Rue des Rosiers – the Jewish quarter of Paris

Not even the most knowledgeable in the history person knows that the Jewish people was persecuted during many centuries, and there is nothing surprising that representatives of this nation were scattered around the world. Jewish quarters can be found in many cities of many countries, there is such area and in Paris.

If records of Wikipedia are to be trusted, since the 13th century Le Marais is the Jewish quarter of Paris. Though, it should be said that this statement is too exaggerated, because historically it mainly refers to the only one Rue des Rosiers and bordering alleys. And the street itself is not the biggest in Paris and in the Marais.

Many centuries ago in this area of the city the city wall was located, and on its inner side beautiful gardens with bushes of roses (rosier – in French) were laid out. Due to them the street got its name.

The first Jews came to Paris in the 12th century and lived quietly during two hundred years until they were driven out of the kingdom by the then monarch. The second coming of the descendants of Moses to the French capital took place on the eve of the French Revolution. The second half of the 19th century was marked by the mass immigration of Jews from Eastern Europe, in particular, from tsarist Russia, who escape from the terrible massacres and miserable life. After the Second World War Sephardic Jews – immigrants from the North African colonies of France – settled in the quarter.

And what is the Jewish quarter of Paris today? Naturally, this is a mass of different kosher shops — probably, there is not such number of them anywhere in Europe. At Rue de Temple you’ll find a very interesting Museum of Art and History of Judaism.

Enjoy your walks through the Jewish Quarter and the Marais!



You were in Paris and had not visited Versailles? This is an unacceptable omission, especially because of it is located in twenty kilometers from the city.

And what is Versailles? First of all, the world-famous palace was built by French King Louis XIV. And today Versailles is one of the most visited tourist attraction in France.

The representatives of royal blood strived for surrounding himself with luxury at all times, and Louis was not an exception. It is not surprising that the king built a new palace solely because of envy. However, he did not envy some European monarch, and that person had been his own finance minister. He built a palace at Vaux-le-Vicomte.

Crave for a new residence, the king naturally wanted it to be much more luxurious than the residence of the homager. But, significantly, the creators of the new palace was chosen architect Louis Lebo, landscape designer André Lenotre and painter Charles Lebrun – the authors of the object of the royal jealousy. According to the monarch’s order, new royal residence had to be a hundred times greater than the palace of Vaux-le-Vicomte.

The result of those works we can see even today. Versailles was the culmination of desire of French kings to luxury. Sometimes we hear that stylistically Versailles has ambiguous feedback from visitors. However, it should be remembered that Louis (aka Sun King) was an extravagant person, so his tastes were more than special.

All said words are applied directly to the palace. But surrounding park is not less attractive to visitors, and there are extremely positive reviews of all tourists visiting this legendary place.

We will not paint all the charm of Versailles because it can take more than one day and Internet is full of all sorts of information about the famous sight. We just want to remind you about this wonderful place what you can visit during your stay in Paris.

French authorities have always cared about the history. The president of French Republic Jacques Chirac, as Francois Mitterrand once organized a reconstruction of Louvre, had started a twenty-year program for the restoration of Versailles with a budget estimated at 400 million euros in 2003.

You can get from Paris to Versailles by RER train to station Versalles – Rive Gauche (Line 5). Tourists can visit the palace during the whole year, excepting holidays and the state events.

Basilique Sainte-Clotilde

Modern Paris is not only the world richest city on museums, here besides other sights; there are many ancient churches with the unique history and architectural directions. We have decided to devote our today’s material to one of such churches; it is called The Basilica of Saint Clotilde (La Basilique Sainte-Clotilde).

In 1827 the Parisian city council has made the decision on building this temple. By the author of the project architect Jean-Nicolas Huyot has been chosen, however with the beginning of works it wasn’t successful initially. Hardly had they proceeded till 1830 in which they have stopped. After three years new prefect has renewed building and appointed a new architect who was responsible for erection of the future church F. C. Gau of Cologn, Germany. Thanks to tastes of the Parisian prefect of that time it has been decided to erect a new temple in Gothic architectural style that has made a construction unique in its own way among the Parisian churches. However, this time a lot of time has passed on preliminary preparation, and the work has begun only in 1846. Gau preferred to use stone from the Burgundian stone quarries of Châtillon-sur-Seine as the basic building material.

The German architect initially planned to erect very high spikes in a new cathedral, however the Parisian city authorities considered that bearing designs of a temple won’t sustain prospective loading and have opposed it. Thus, La Basilique Sainte-Clotilde as a result has turned out not absolutely such as it was conceived by the author in the project.

Probably, such misunderstanding and mistrust from city council has compelled F.C. Gau to resign from his position and has undermined the health of the old man. In some months the German master has died, having left descendants the architectural inheritance in an incomplete state.

As works should have been finished, the city council has appointed Gau’s young assistant Théodore Ballu to finish the work of his teacher. And this young, yet not having independent experience, architect did his job excellently.

Solemn opening of La Basilique Sainte-Clotilde has taken place in November 1857. There were such important visitors, as Cardinal Morlot, apostolic titular archbishop of the Sacred Throne monsignor Sacconi and the well-known prefect of Paris Baron Haussmann.

In 1896 for an anniversary of a christening of Hlodvig the head of the Roman Catholic church of that time Pope Lion XIII granted the church distinctions and privileges.

Today La Basilique Sainte-Clotilde concedes in popularity to Notre Dame de Paris, but here it is always possible to meet travelers who visit Paris to come to this church as in the French capital there are not many Gothic temples.

La Defense

La Defense

Business district of Paris is striking in its daily activity, which differs little from the similar on Wall Street in New York with brightness and liveliness. And it’s the same look of this part of Paris in a night-silence.

La Defense (it is the name of this Parisian district) is not just a concentration of skyscrapers and many offices placed here. You can always find here a lot of other interesting things. Concerts, theatrical performances and art exhibitions are hold in this area. To see this, you should just spend some hours in Exhibition Centre or on the roof of Big Arch.

At any time you can visit numerous bars, cafes and restaurants, shops. Walking through the streets of this “area of the future” you will be able to look at local mimes, musicians, jugglers or magicians at almost every corner. If you’re lucky and will find yourself in Paris on June 21, so we recommend to visit the annual music festival «Fute de la Musique», passing in the business district of Paris.

What about architectural features of La Defense, here you can see groups of tower structures in height over thirty floors with facades of very original design. Modern trends in architecture and old mosaics, sculptures, original fountains are interwoven ideally.

The most significant and attractive for thousands of tourists construction is mentioned above Big Arch – a huge cube. This structure weighs three hundred thousand tons; its width is seventy meters, and height – one hundred and ten meters. The author of this truly grandiose monument of modern architecture is Johan Otto von Sprekelson, who won the competition organized by former French President Francois Mitterrand. According to ideas of the architect, this massive construction was supposed to be a kind of triumphal arch of modern times, embodies the humanistic ideas. In this building there are some Ministries and government departments, and headquarters of major international companies.

The rooftop terrace offers magnificent views of many Parisian sights, including Louvre, Champs Elysée, Arc de Triomphe, Jardin des Tuileries, and others.

Laon – Gothic gem of Picardie

This time we would like to say some words about the town of Laon which is located 130 kilometers to the north-east from Paris in the region of Picardie. This town is situated on the place of an ancient Gallic settlement and nowadays is famous, first and foremost, for its unique beautiful medieval architecture. It’s notable that the old town of Laon is on the hill of 188 meters height.

The main attraction in Laon is Notre-Dame Cathedral – the brightest example of Gothic architectural style of the northern France and a peer of its namesake Notre-Dame de Paris (both were built in the 12th century).

The same time period is displayed by the Church of Saint Martin.

Visit the Bishops’ Palace situated in the northern side of Notre-Dame de Laon,

The town museum of Laon is also worth visiting, here you’ll see rare medieval items and canvases of Louis brothers, Mathieu and Antoine Le Nain, who were born there. In the courtyard of the museum there is Templar’s chapel which also dates back to the 12th century.

Besides, Laon is a true French town with beautiful streets and squares, unique atmosphere of the past times.

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We wish you a pleasant tour and unforgettable impressions!

La Rochelle

La Rochelle

Paris… You came here on vacation and spent a week, watched hundreds of sights. And now just relaxing in a cafe near your rented apartment, although you have few days in reserve? In this case we recommend you not waste time and go to the wonderful French town of La Rochelle, located just five hundred kilometers from the capital.

Once La Rochelle was a small fishing village, which there were more thousands in France. However, the village has turned into a developed and quite wealthy town in the course of time. Many of us know its name from the literary works of the great writer Alexandre Dumas. What about the name of La Rochelle, it translates from French as “little rock”.

Some centuries ago La Rochelle was an important defence bastion, situated on the shore of the Bay of Biscay, with a reliable fortress and other fortifications. Many of these military installations are preserved in the town today. For example, these are the old gun slots guarding the Chain Tower and the St. Nicholas Tower. Today the first of them is an interesting exhibition about the history of the local Protestant community, and its observation deck offers the opportunity to admire environments.

The Old Port makes the most vivid impression in La Rochelle, here numerous yachts, sailing catamarans and luxury cruise ships are “parked” on the sea waves. And if you’re a fan of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, you can also see his legendary “Calypso” and even to come on its board.

Beautiful streets of La Rochelle are paved with cobble-stones, which got to the town as ballast of many ships coming to the port from distant Canada. In the holiday season these streets are filled with crowds of tourists from around the world. Someone visits souvenir shops, someone sits at a table in restaurant terrace, and someone just walks along the promenade and admire the evening waters of the Gulf.

Visit a local Museum of mechanical dolls without fail and receive unforgettable impressions. Here revived dolls play musical instruments, dance, ride. Trains on the miniature railway are so realistic that small engines make a real smoke.

When you excite your appetite, visit the wonderful restaurant “Andre” with fantastic dishes of oysters. Restaurant’s interior is decorated with anchors, control sticks and numerous photographs of sailing vessels.

You can also have a good time in La Roshelskom aquarium, gathered more than twenty thousand representatives of fauna and flora.

Speaking on moving through the town, then there are municipal boats departing from the Chain Tower.

La Rochelle offers its guests beautiful sandy beaches, where you can sunbathe and swim in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. In addition, the local air is the cleanest in France.

We wish you a pleasant time in this beautiful town, where the past and the present miraculously interweave.

La Villette

La Villette – is a grandiose project consisting of such elements, as city of music, a science and industry city, a market, a concert platform “Zenith”.

Located on a place of ancient Parisian slaughterhouses the modern park is one of the most “vivid” places in all city where the movement is created by thousand of Parisians and visitors of capital. Here business meetings are held, people walk, go shopping. In park La Villette exhibitions, international seminars and conferences are constantly held collecting visitors from various corners of the world. Each visitor of park can familiarize with all achievements of technological progress presented on these actions. It is accessible thanks to numerous audio- and video units, and you involuntarily become the inhabitant of the world of the future.

As well as in any similar place, in park La Villette there is something each visitor should see.

Exposition Explora. The original exposition divided into three components: water, flora and light.

The science city in park is interactive that allows to observe live every possible natural phenomena or research experiments. In park halls all adjoins to various sciences (mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy and others). Visiting of scientific expositions will necessarily help everyone to open for him or herself something new and interesting.

Do not pass by the most interesting Planetarium, the legendary Louis Lumière cinema where to your attention will offer unique three-dimensional films.

Watch movies on the one thousand square meters hemispherical screen at cinema La Géode.

It is possible to continue the description of everything that is in park La Villette, but it is better to see it with your own eyes. We sincerely wish you to receive maximum of positive emotions from visiting “the corner of the future” in Paris.

Les Invalides

There are many places in Paris which have no bright tourist coloring, though their appeal and the historical importance do not become less. Among constructions of that kind it is necessary to mention Les Invalides.

This place is obliged by its occurrence to the French king Louis XIV, who in the seventeenth centuries has made decision to base a special centre for veterans of wars (and at that time there were plenty of them going on in Europe), who received serious wounds and mutilations on the field of fight. Thus, it is possible to tell that Les Invalides became the display of monarch care of this category of French citizens.

Originally Louis’ decree about building of this establishment has been signed in 1660; however the construction actually started in eleven years, and lasted for more than three decades.

Architectural bases of a construction has been made by architect Libéral Bruant who has taken part in creating the whole ensemble of Les Invalides – from barracks and a shelter to the construction of Saint Patrick’s church, and the area of all architectural ensemble made more than 175 thousand square meters.

On the territory there is also a big esplanade which has appeared a bit later –in the eighteenth century so far. At the entrance of Les Invalides territory so-called “triumphal” guns are installed, shots from which are made exclusively on the occasion of significant events. In the courtyard of the complex numerous military long-range guns from battlefields are settled down, they are the proof underlining glorious history of soldiers of France. It is remarkable that you can find the guns from the Second World War on which names of the soldiers participating in the capture of Berlin in 1945 are engraved. Thanks to such a big collection Les Invalides is one of the most interesting military museums not only in Paris, but also in all French republic.

But, let’s come back to the history of construction of the complex. In spite of the fact that Libéral Bruant was the first architect, the construction had been finished by the legendary French architect of the seventeenth century Jules Hardouin Mansart who created Versailles and Place Vendôme. The architectural phenomenon of penthouse (or mansard) is obliged by the occurrence to Mansart. Sounds conformably with the surname, doesn’t it? And here in Les Invalides Church of the Hôtel des Invalides is his creation. It is a significant place of worshiping the glory of the French troops.

Outwardly Les Invalides Cathedral is completely sustained in strict style of the whole complex, even the building lay-out has been executed in the form of the Greek cross. The roof of the central hall from which four big corridors (they terminate in chapels of an angular kind) depart, is crowned with an original dome. In these chapels many great soldiers of France, among them Joseph Bonaparte (Napoleon’s elder brother), marshals of France Vauban, Foch, Lyautey, Turenne, and also Rouget de Lisle, composer of La Marseillaise, are buried.

However, in any case the basis of the Cathedral is its central hall, after all the ashes of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte which have been transported from Saint Helena’s island in 1840 lay here. Being in Paris – visit this place; it is unique from the historical point of view. Believe us, it’s worth it.

Loire – the land of magnificent castles

Without exaggeration one of the most valuable pearls of France is the valley of the river Loire. This French region attracts thousands travelers from many countries of the world every year.

As the basic sights of Loire are numerous castles it is abundantly clear that staying here cannot be limited to one or two days. According to tourist guidebooks there are forty two ancient Château (so Frenchmen name castles) on river banks, however separate sources testify that there are about three hundreds of them.

Having visited at least some castles the history of France will open the doors before you to the surprising world of real and described numerous novelists events.

However not only castles have value for numerous tourists, the valley is full of other interesting components. So, Frenchmen declare that exactly in this valley of the river Loire they speak the purest French language, and it is possible to consider the local dialect some kind of the standard.

Many years ago in this place great writer Honoré de Balzac, the author of such immortal books as “Gobseck” and “La Comédie humaine”, was born. In search of inspiration here frequently came significant art workers among who were George Sand, Oscar Wild and Victor Hugo. And Charles Perrault was so amazed and admired by Château d’Ussé that he could not be kept from writing his ingenious “Sleeping beauty”.

The large quantity of castles which are located on both sides of the most extended French river, tells us that for a long time noblemen and representatives of royal family were the basic judges of beauty of this district. They have built up the river with magnificent private residences in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

As the Italian artists and architects were the most active at that time of the Renaissance the French aristocracy invited them to build their Château. Even great Leonardo da Vinci was noted here.

Thanks to influence of the Italian masters, the French castles became more comfortable and magnificent while earlier the priority was given to advantage of erection of protective constructions. So, it is especially possible to allocate Château d’Amboise in which king Charles the Eighth has ordered to build two big towers with gates for the royal couple could approach directly at the front entrance of the castle.

It is necessary to tell some words about Château de Chambord – one of the most significant French castles of the Renaissance times. Great Leonardo has built it with his ingenious hands; his style is most distinctly visible in the design of the bilateral ladders which distinctive feature was the impossibility of meeting the going down and the rising people.

And this is only a small drop of everything interesting that waits for you on coast of Loire. We recommend you to admire beauty of Château de Chenonceau and Château de Blois.

Their close finding from Paris (only three hours by train) and the developed tourist infrastructure promotes visiting these places; everyone can rent apartments of suitable level here.

Luxembourg Gardens

Born in Toscana, beautiful woman and imperious Queen of France… Usually, we know this testimonial of Marie de Medici – the brightest representative of her epoch in Europe. Though, now we recall this name by another reason. Our today’s story is about a very beautiful Paris park, enclosing the Luxembourg Palace (posh Royal Paris apartments, built in the beginning of the 17th century).

You ask: what has this to do with Marie de’ Medici?

And the history says that a wish of this dignitary was the reason why the Luxembourg Gardens had appeared at the map of Paris. Being the wife of the French King Henry IV, she missed her native Italian landscapes and that’s why had ordered to lay out the park here in 1612.

The first “version” of the garden had two thousand elm trees, transplanted at the territory with a special aqueduct up to a monastery. The Queen had a desire to increase the area of the park, but monks had not wanted even to hear on that. So, extension of the Luxembourg Gardens took place just after the French Revolution when the monastery had been destroyed.

The author of the first serious changes is an architect Jean-Francois Chalgrin who worked hard to create such a wonderful landscape. Since that time, territory of the park was increased, neglected lots were beautified, nice balustrades and admirable flowerbeds, grounds for games and lonely rest, fountains, sculptures had appeared.

Undoubtedly, the present Luxembourg Gardens had a lot of changes since that long time. Exotic plants and beautiful greenhouses… But what the most important – the park has always remained favourite place for Parisians and guests of the city as well.

We strongly advise you to visit this magnificent garden and to feel the unique atmosphere of reach history of this fantastic city.

Palais Royal

Among numerous Paris sights the special place occupies a unique palace which has begun its history as the Cardinal’s possession, has continued as the Royal, eventually has reincarnated in a brothel, has taken direct part in Great French revolution… the First French passage of Palais Royal – the child of well-known “awful” Cardinal Richelieu.

First of all, let’s specify what “passage” means. In one of historical documents a name passage in Paris used to be exclusively given to walking path which connected two streets. These are such places where numerous shops and restaurants settle down; here enamored gentlemen appoint secret meetings to ladies. For today Paris has six thousand streets, and three tens from them are proudly called passages, however only their tenth part corresponds to the old name.

So, we will return to the object of our narration. Palais Royal along with many things in France has got interesting history. We all know that Cardinal Richelieu was an extremely influential person in the politics of France (and all Europe) in the seventeenth century. And this person constantly changed places, however he could not find really comfortable place for a life for a long time. In the countryside residences he could not show his active nature completely, and to live under the same roof with “the weak” monarch was below his honor, after all the Cardinal, whatever one may say, considered himself the main person in the country.

As a result in 1624 Richelieu has bought an estate of Angennes near the Louvre which at that time already had several buildings, a garden and defensive towers. It could not satisfy him, and he decided to erect a magnificent palace corresponding to the greatness of the Cardinal. The author of the project of this palace was a close friend of Richelieu architect Jacques Lemercier. He has constructed a majestic building fast enough; it has received the first name – Palais Cardinal.

The palace has turned out truly magnificent, it had everything possible to wish, including huge library, own theatre, a real Guards hall. The collection of picturesque paintings of the Cardinal consisted of hundreds of works of such well-known masters as Tiziano, Rafael, Rubens, Leonardo da Vinci, Dürer and others. Besides that, lots of unique sculptures pleasing a look of the owner have been installed in palace forcing to envy its visitors, including King Louis. As the Cardinal was the cleverest and most perspicacious person he understood that “impudence” of such kind can lead to serious problems with the monarch. And to exclude it, he bequeathed his palace to the Royal family after his death.

Louis XIII could not take full pleasure in all delights of the palace as he has lived a year longer than his minister and has left this world in 1643. However, the palace was not empty for long as his widow– Queen Anne d’Autriche has moved in there with the children (future king Louis XIV Le Roi Soleil among them) and her favorite Cardinal Mazarini. So, the palace got a new name of Palais Royal.

Having ascended to the throne, the young monarch has left magnificent apartments which apparently did not cause warm feelings in him, and has presented it to his brother Philippe d’Orléans. The palace was in possession of this clan up to the Great French revolution.

For centuries Palais Royal (or Cardinal) has undergone many changes; however it always remained one of the most magnificent palaces in Europe. Today it is a gorgeous place which is visited by many thousand tourists from various corners of the world every year. We wish you, visiting Paris, come there personally to see all its magnificence.

Maison de Balzac

One of the brightest representatives of the French literature familiar to us from school is Honoré de Balzac. In this article we would like to describe the house in which this great author has been creating.

Maison de Balzac is located in the 16th arrondissement at 47, rue Raynouard, Paris. The choice of this place for a museum was not casual as the great writer lived in this house throughout eight years.

There is an opinion that any house can tell a lot about its owner’s character, and it is possible to consider the house of the well-known Frenchman a bright example of this opinion. There is no luxury in this private residence, all premises are extremely simple and modest, and the basic emphasis here has been made by Balzac on quiet and productive work on its literary works.

A special feature of the house of Balzac is the presence of two entrance doors one of which is not visible to every visitor. Along with a street door there is also the rear entrance which has settled down below construction on a slope of a hill that has been established. Some biographers of Honoré de Balzac consider the equipment of apartments with a confidential exit as a frequent necessity to disappear from numerous creditors, which visited the house of eternally impecunious writer. Though only the good acquaintances knowing the confidential password could get to the house, the rear entrance could be quite useful in case of persevering creditor insisting to come.

But, we will return to Balzac’s modern museum which we recommend to visit to all admirers of creativity of the writer staying in Paris. The exposition of the historical subjects devoted to creativity of the classic of the French literature of the nineteenth century, includes his manuscripts, caricatures and engraving. By the way, if you don’t know, Honoré de Balzac had lived at this address under a pseudonym and named himself citizen Brenol.

Here the writer prepared final edition of his masterpiece La Comédie humaine which became part of the golden heritage of the world literature. Here he worked at Une Ténébreuse Affaire and Splendeurs et misères des courtisanes – the well-known novels of the Frenchman.

Maison de Balzac isn’t a classical museum; therefore you shouldn’t expect anything supernatural from the excursion. As a rule those who come to this museum are people loving and appreciating literary creations of this person, who had been struggling with defects of the society and despising false morals of many mighty of this world during his whole life.

Close to the house there is small but very beautiful garden where Balzac liked to spend time.

Excursion in Maison de Balzac is free. We wish you estimate atmosphere of that place where over one and a half centuries ago lived one of the greatest writers in the history of mankind.

Mont Saint-Michel

Mont Saint-Michel

Mont Saint-Michel – the well-known Norman fortress, high walls of which have rich history and amaze of tourists from various corners of the world with its greatness.

To reach the island on which the fortress is located, you should do a considerable way among various landscapes, sea and rocks. Having appeared on seacoast, the magnificent picture consisting of numerous elements collected in one correct and majestic pyramid of a fortress will open before your sight. To get on island it is necessary to pass about two kilometers on the artificial dam connecting the island fortress with the seacoast.

In general this place has many legends composing the history of Mont Saint-Michel. So, according to one of them, in the beginning of the eighteenth century St. Aubert, bishop of Avranches has beheld of Archangel Michael (Michel in French) in his dream. At first the church attendant has mistrustfully concerned this sign, for what according to the legend he has been punished by sacred Michel (he has strongly pointed a finger on the head of the bishop). And, to immortalize this case in history, there had been the first architectural object – sacred Michael’s basil – constructed on the island. Believe it or not, however the skull of canonized in a consequence bishop Aubert has a big dent.

Two centuries has passed and the island has been transferred to the possession of Order of Saint Benedict. Here the new abbey has been based and the grandiose building which fruits we have possibility to enjoy has begun. The times of Benedictines presence are reminded be an ancient crypt which has a loud name of “Notre Dame underground”.

As to directly sacred Michael in the history of the Christian world he is a special character as this sacred is not an ordinary archangel, he is the archangel-defender. And it is Michael, according to an ancient prophecy who will be the leading warrior of heavenly army during the last battle between light and darkness.

Besides this the Lord has charged to Michael to be some kind of “a conductor of souls”, accompanying righteous persons in paradise, protecting those from attacks of demons.

It is quite probable that the temples devoted to Michael were often erected in a high hilly terrain exactly because of the role of this archangel. As well Mont Saint-Michel: the spike of its temple towers on more than 150 meters and comes to the end with Michael-defender’s figure with a sword in his hand.

The monastery has been built throughout a time interval from the eleventh till the sixteenth century. Generations of people changed, one architectural style replaced the other, and Mont Saint-Michel continued being built, becoming bigger and bigger.

For today it is a place for numerous pilgrims coming here to touch numerous sacred relics.

Musee des Egouts de Paris (Paris sewers)

Throughout our stories about Paris it would be desirable to stop on one more interesting place interesting for visiting while in this city. We dedicate this article to one of the most original museums of the French capital – to the museum of the Parisian water drain. However, before talking of the museum, we will address directly to the history of water supply of the city.

So, in the first millennium of our era Parisians used to take drinking water undertook from the Seine, and sewage was distributed on street channels which went back to the river. In the thirteenth century king Phillip August has decided to build streets with special drainage channels for sewage in Paris.

The seventieth of the fourteenth century were marked by building of drainage channels from stone which were led to Montmartre. However this system remained imperfect as sewage still evaporated in city air that led to a constant stench and unsanitary conditions.

During King Louis XIV, and later Napoleon, there was a building of the big sewer collector systems the extent of which has reached more than thirty kilometers.

And only in the second half of the nineteenth century there appeared a good-working system of water supply and the water drain in Paris, by Baron Haussmann and engineer Eugène Belgrand. Thus, the city has received a separate system of water pipe with non-drinking and drinking water; the extent of the collector has made about six hundred kilometers. Certainly, the given system was not perfect, but thanks to it the city has received sewer system which corresponded to sanitary code much more and had modernization possibility.

But, we will return to the museum of the Parisian water drain. The starting point of excursions, that is the entrance to the museum premises, is on Seine left-hand side nearby with the Alma Bridge (Pont de l’Alma). This place is a fragment of the nowadays water drain system. Visiting the museum, you have a possibility to make excursion on the real sewer tunnels, equipped with both modern and used at various times equipment. The visitors will see numerous mechanisms showing the way the water drain had worked long time ago and works nowadays.

Besides, during excursion alongside with units it is possible to see numerous, stands with information, construction equipment, modern systems of computer monitoring. Each tunnel is equipped by a plate with the street name under which it passes. The water drain tunnels repeat the relief of the city streets located over them to the full extent, which is also very remarkable.

For today the museum of the Paris water drain is very popular among the tourists coming to capital of France. The first excursion has been organized in 1867, and since then they became regular.

Notre Dame Cathedral in Chartres

The French town of Chartres had long been known for its bazaars, but the main adornment and its hallmark is the majestic Notre Dame Cathedral. Where are no mistake, this is the name of the main church in Chartres. Do not be surprised, because many churches in France have this name, not just the famous temple in Paris.

Notre Dame of Chartres, built in the twelfth century, still continues to gladden local residents and thousands of travelers from all over the world by its magnificent architecture. It is truly amazing, because after eight hundred years, the cathedral continues to astonish us by its massive stone walls and beautiful stained glass. And the secret of this long-living architectural monument remains unsolved even today.

Construction of the temple was started in 1194 at the place which had been considered sacred many centuries before. This is confirmed that people, trying to use the earth energy, in prehistoric times created on the territory of modern Chartres the dolmen – a specific stone structure with a roof of a large flat boulder. The ancient inhabitants of the area believed that the incoming under the vaults of the dolmen person gets a new life from natural power of the Earth.

At the time of druids this place was occupied by a school where people had got knowledge and experience of the elders. The symbol of that era – a wooden statue of a young woman with a baby, called the Virgin under the Earth, was found by archaeologists here. Exactly this holy land became a place where the first church of the Virgin Mary was built.

According to the ancient legend, the architectural skills, used in the construction of a new church, had come from the East with the Knights Templar, participated in the Crusades. And the construction of the cathedral took stone masons, sculptors, glassmakers and other masters thirty years. The first sanctuary of the church was located between the second and third pillars, 37 meters below – the sacred well of the Druids, and on the same feet up – the highest point of the dome of this masterpiece of Gothic architecture.

Despite the fact that Notre Dame has amazing symmetry, nobody of the researchers cannot say with certainty how the symmetry of the temple was originally conceived, or maybe the builders got it accidentally. But, nevertheless cathedral gives indescribable experience. There is an opinion that the church at Chartres is able to provide a very strong effect on people, elevating his (her) spirit, using energy of the Earth.

So, is it real or not, you can see only if you will visit this place by yourself. Maybe Notre Dame in Chartres is not the most refined French cathedral in terms of architecture, but that it has an unforgettable charm – it is the fact.

Palais de l’Elysee

Every resident of France and many foreigners know that today Palais de l’Elysée is perhaps the most important buildings of this country, because this is the head residence of the President of the French Republic. Obviously, because of the object has a state status and the head of the state works here, the palace is closed to ordinary people of the country and tourists. But nevertheless, Parisians and visitors of the city have the opportunity to make excursions to some rooms of the Presidential apartments on one week-end of September. This is a present reality, but let’s stay on some historical moments associated with this magnificent architectural structure.

Construction of the palace was completed in the early eighteenth century and the Earl of Evreux had become its first owner. The heads of the state have occupied the palace much later. The next owner of Palais de l’Elysee was Madame de Pompadour (as many know, a very interesting historical figure for France), and it had happened in 1753. According to the will, this lady gave the building to King Louis XV. At his time performance of magicians and spiritists had being organized here for a selected audience of Paris. The next owners of the palace were a banker Bozhon and Duchess of Burgundy, and exactly at that time the building got its present name.

Palais de l’Elysee became the residence of French presidents in the late nineteenth century, in 1873. Since then, thirteen presidents of the Third Republic, two heads of the Fourth Republic and six presidents of the Fifth (de Gaulle, Pompidou, D’Estaing, Mitterrand, Chirac and Sarkozy) had lived and worked in apartments and offices of the building.

Personal office of the French President is located in Gold Saloon of the palace. It is interior design has remained almost unchanged since 1861. The legendary President Charles de Gaulle placed a terrestrial globe here, Georges Pompidou hung the work of the painter Nicolas de Stael on the wall.

Naturally, the residence of such an important person has specific characteristics. The underground part of Palais de l’Elysee has a room where the president of France may push for so-called “red” button to give the order to launch strategic nuclear ballistic missiles (if someone does not know, France is a nuclear country). In this room there are large screens and technics for direct communication between the commander in chief (the president), the Minister of Defense and the leadership of the strategic air forces.

Silver Salon of Palais de l’Elysee went into history thanks to the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte who had signed his second abdication here in 1815.

The French Government holds its meetings also in the palace, in former music salon of Madame de Pompadour.

Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to get into Palais de l’Elysee for the ordinary person, but it’s nice even just to see the palace from the outside. So if you will come to Paris make sure to take a walk near this place.

Parc Andre Citroen

Reasoning from the name, someone can possibly think that this place is an exhibition of vehicles of the famous French car company Citroen. But, in reality it is a beautiful green park in the French capital – Paris, and besides one of the youngest in the city. Parc Andre Citroen was founded at the end of the last century and today it is a part of the modern architectural ensemble.

Once upon a time the fishing port Zhavel was in this part of Paris, but in the first quarter of the 20th century this place was chosen for his business by the famous businessman Andre Citroen, who organized a factory for the production of military armament on the place of the old port. However, the time is always changing, and especially in business, throwing down new challenges to people. And it happened in the case of our hero, who refocused the activities of its plant to produce motor transport. Production of cars in this venture continued until 1972, after the assembly lines were moved to other cities.

Twenty years after, in 1992 on the site where the plant of one of the flagships of the French auto industry was located, a new modern city park, named after the legendary industrialist, had been founded. Parc Andre Citroen. Such famous architects as Patrick Berger, Gilles Clement and Alain Provost worked on the creation of the park which occupies an area of fourteen hectares.

Entering the park, we see two huge greenhouses (the height of each of them is fifteen meters), harboring a beautiful palm trees, orange trees and the splendid Mediterranean garden. Big esplanade with natural herbs is cut with artificial streams flowing into the famous River Seine. On the sides there are improvised squares. Between the greenhouses we can observe a peristyle of the original fountains whose jets, spurting from the earth, change the height to the accompaniment of music. This show looks very impressive and does not leave guests of the Parc Andre Citroen indifferent.

But do not think that the beauties of the park were ended. In fact, Andre Citroen park includes a number of thematic parts, based on a common basic idea. The straight diagonal path which divides it into two parts goes through the park. On one side there are thematic gardens, and on the other – the channel with the grottoes. Moving through this channel, you’ll rotate the cool grottoes with open spaces. Along the whole way the very remarkable sculptures are set.

Returning to the thematic gardens, we have to say that in the Park of Andre Citroen there are six. They all have the same territorial boundaries, but inside have their own uniqueness. The names of these gardens are the colors: gold, silver, red, orange, green and blue. To admire the beauty of theme gardens you can as from the lower level as rising to a special gallery.

Six gardens… Sorry, it’s not the whole truth, because there are other gardens in the park, such as the “Garden of metamorphoses” (everything here is dedicated to the ancient human desire to turn lead into gold), “Garden of movement” (it is represented with a peculiar mix of cultivated plants with weeds, but believe me it looks just great), “Moss Garden” (here you will plunge into the world of coolness).

Being in the Park of Andre Citroen, visit the “Black Garden”, located at the bottom of the park terrain with coniferous vegetation, originally combined with a white stone. If you get here in the spring, you will be able to see the flowering of the black tulips.

There is and “White Garden”, located in the lower part. Here, basing on the right of the name, the white flowers grow where there are many benches, popular among loving couples.

Designers of park landscape have decided not to demolish the building of the old factory and today it is an interesting composition of glass, reflections and geometry.

In addition to walking, in the Park of Andre Citroen you can take a fascinating flight on the balloon and see the park from a height.

Regardless of the season the Parc Andre Citroen is always full of visitors, and it is especially noticeable at the weekend, when Parisians come here with their families after working days.

Parc Andre Citroen is located near the subway stations Balard and Javel.

Parc Floral de Paris – adornment of Bois de Vincennes

Floral de Paris (Parc Floral de Paris) – the part of Bois de Vincennes. Moreover, Floral de Paris is one of the most attractive parts of the forest as for Parisians as for the thousands of tourists coming to town.

The history of park Floral de Paris is relatively small, it was founded only in 1969 (as we know Bois de Vincennes has a long history), but nevertheless this Parisian place had become very popular in short time.

The experts from several botanical gardens of Paris, already existed at that time, have been actively involved in the creation of Parc Floral de Paris. Due to various scientists who worked at the foundation of the park, the present-day visitors could admire the thematic gardens. So, the park has the eastern “bonsai” garden, a garden with Mediterranean plants, a garden of medicinal plants garden and a garden of various kinds of ivy…

Being in the Park Floral de Paris you should visit the garden of “four seasons”, where more than a thousand species of flowers grow. In a separate “garden of butterflies” the lovers of these winged creatures will be able to see the representatives of several dozen species. This garden is open all the year round.

Besides the thematic gardens there are many opportunities for active recreation (ping-pong tables, children’s playgrounds, places for a popular in France petanque, volleyball, boat station, climbing wall, etc.) in the Parc Floral de Paris.

Almost regularly you can see such events as concerts, theatrical performances, flower shows, traditional Parisian Jazz Festival, Festival Classique Au Vert in the park.

For lovers of flora and fauna a special library, offering more than six thousand interesting books, is opened in the Parc Floral de Paris.

The doors of the park are opened to all residents of Paris and the guests of the city all the year round.

Parc Monceau

Like in many cases associated with Paris the history of this park is rooted in the distant past. Thus, the Duke of Chartres lived there in at one time. Later this man became the Duke of Orleans (it was a very serious title in France). In 1769 he decided to buy a morsel of land in Paris (a little over one hectare) in the area where street Courcelles is today. The Duke bought the land not just as a specific intent; he had a goal to build a magnificent Pavilion and to found the French Garden in this place. This process became the first step in a long history of Parc Monceau. Louis-Miry Kolnon was appointed as the main architect.

As long as the Duke was wealthy and influential person, so he had been able to enlarge his land ownership on eleven acres rather quickly (1773-1778). And as the land enlarged as the desire of the owner were changed. The Duke already wanted to see this beautiful garden and an open theater for organizing events for his many guests. The artist Carmontelle was hired for this. Dutch windmill, Egyptian pyramid, artificial oval-shaped pond, ruins of Gothic castle and other things in the park (some of which we can see here now) belong to his arms. Due to these object the name of the master went to the history of Parc Monceau.

The following reconstruction of the park was awarded in 1793, when a landscape gardener from the British Isles Thomas Blake had created here a new English-style park (in those days it was fashionable among the Parisian elite). However, the owner could not enjoy this for a long time because of a revolution. The Duke failed or did not wish to immigrate, so his head successfully met the mistress of the new authorities – the guillotine. The next time a decision to improve the park was only half a century later.

At the time of the revolutionary government Parc Monceau was mostly used for theatrical performances. It is noteworthy that the first in the world parachute jump (more precisely, the point of landing) was performed here in 1797 by Andre-Jacques Garnerin.

After this the park changed owners many times, it went even back to the family property of the Duke of Orleans, but eventually became a state and got the public status. Modern Monceau park is a beautiful place for relax and enjoy spending free time among many Parisians. And the main attractions of Parc Monceau are two old woods: the maple (it is already one hundred and thirty years) and the Platanus (ten years older the maple).

Park Asterix

When we talk about France, which persons do you remember? Surely, someone remember Napoleon, Count of Monte Cristo, famous musketeers of Dumas… But we also often associate the country with such characters as Asterix and Obelix, who has got their worldwide fame due to famous comics, cartoons and movies, where such famous actors as Christian Clavier, Gerard Depardieu, Alain Delon, Monica Bellucci had participated. Obelix and Asterix are very popular not only in France and have millions of fans around the world.

Since these legendary characters are loved by people, the interesting Park Asterix with lots of exciting rides and other pleasures for children and adults was built near Paris. In comparison to Parisian Disneyland, the Park Asterix, of course, is inferior in size and number of entertainments, but at the same time it is more emotional. Everything here is filled with real French colour. The Park is not so well-known, that’s why the majority of its visitors are residents of Paris and its suburbs, tourists are relatively few. But this is an additional advantage, since, coming here, you do not see large queues.

So, what attractive is in the park Asterix? Visiting this great place, you will be able to touch the amazing history of the Gauls (a part of the French – the direct descendants of this ancient people), make a fascinating journey through time, taste favorite Gallic dishes, fly up to the clouds.

The park has five separate parts: the village of ancient Gauls, Roman Empire, ancient Greece, medieval France and the land of Vikings.

In the village of Gauls nearly all is associated with a movie, dedicated to Asterix and Obelix. Everywhere there are little shops with all sorts of symbols and accessories, fairy-tale snack bars with unique Paris delicacies, where all the dishes are decorated with the comics heroes. Shops with candy floss, roasted chestnuts, candy and ice cream are open for children. Adults can learn about the ancient Gallic cuisine (delicious sausages, traditional cheeses, wines and other dainties) in a restaurant in this part of the park.

All major holidays are also in Gallic village, there is a cinema and a big circus. The park offers you boating on the river with the decorations on ancient boats, slides, cars and carousels. But even a usual walk will bring you a great pleasure.

Ancient Greece attracts visitors who are interested in more extreme rest. Here you can ride on the magnificent roller-coaster “Journey to Zeus” with sharp turns and almost vertical slopes. Do not miss the Theatre of Poseidon with a wonderful Dolphinarium and taste delicious hot sandwich with feta cheese, tomatoes and olives at the tavern of Dionysus.

In the Roman section of the park Asterix there is an amazing attraction Caesar, where large screens show the guests funny scenes with the visitors, welcoming speech is said from the podium by Gaius Julius Caesar. And all the action is completed with a colorful journey through the lands of the Roman Empire in 3D quality.

On the territory of Vikings a big galley will ride you on waves and a park amusement Goudurix arrange the journey to the clouds. Vikings territory has several attractive carousels, many beautiful statues and pictures.

Crazy original carousels, swings, an old fortress, a large fountain and numerous shops wait for you in the medieval France. In the central square you will see a public execution, and during it guests can play the roles of prisoners or hangmen. At the end of the execution – barbecue, circus performances. In this part there is the dragon’s cave and the castle’s dungeons, where monsters and ghosts live.

Eventually, we should say that the park Asterix is just a great place for interesting family vacation with original park amusements, colorful shows, fantastic food. So, if you will have free time, be sure to visit this beautiful, “crazy” and unusual park. It is located only thirty kilometers from Paris.

Park France in miniature

Park France in miniature (France en Miniature). Its creators offer you the thumbnails of the most notable architectural masterpieces of the country in scale of 1:30, and a motto of the complex sounds as “Walk on France by giant’s strides”.

Visiting this park, you will get a possibility to be in different parts of France, look at the famous temples, castles and palaces. And all of this is in one place without spending large sums of money.

So what can we see there? For example, you can see the hill of San Michele, a Roman amphitheater in Provence, famous Notre Dame Cathedral in Lourdes, Fort Bayard (known to many by TV show). Legendary stadium Stade de France, where the French football team became the world champion for the first time, Chenonceau and Chambord castles, Eiffel Tower (of course). Meanwhile all the exhibits are located in an area of five hectares in line with their location on the map of France. For a pleasure of young visitors there are park amusements.

It’s easy to get to the park France in miniature, just get the train to the station La Verrière (departure from Parisian railroad stations Paris Montparnasse and La Defense). After that take a bus number 411, going to the park. Or you can get by taxi from Versailles very quickly.

The park is open from March, 31 to November, 11 (10.00 – 19.00).

Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays in September; on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays in October and November.

In October it is open from 10:00 to 18:00.

The park is open every day during the autumn school holidays.

Fireworks every Saturday in July and August (open 10.00 – 23.00).

Place de Greve

Place de Greve is the oldest square in Paris and along with Place de la Bastille the most famous. Its present name – the Place de l’Hotel-de-Ville.

With a view of architecture, the Place de Greve is an impressive and stylistically unusual object where the city hall is very notable. The Paris City Hall was built in the fourteenth century and during long years it was the center of city life. However, as we know, history is an evil thing often. At the time of the Paris Commune the city hall was destroyed almost completely, what could lead to the loss of this historic monument for the future generations. Fortunately, due to the state it was renovated and pleases many Parisians and visitors to the capital with its appearance. Today, the Paris City Hall appears before us in its medieval a bit gloomy colour.

The French Revolution is related to the Place de Greve very closely, and that’s why many people associate it with such a famous French historical phenomenon as the guillotine. This is not surprising, because it was a place of punishment of all kinds criminals (and enemies of the nation) for a long time. Fortunately, these days you will not see executions, being at this place.

Returning to the city hall, we should say that it is one of the most beautiful municipal buildings all over the Europe. For example, the external design of the city hall alone contains more than a hundred unique statues of the great French persons.

The Place de l’Hotel-de-Ville (Place de Greve) is often the venue for various cultural events, exhibitions and fairs.

Place de Greve and Hotel de Ville

Lutetia was born on the island, but Paris spread over the bounds of the Cite Island for more than two thousand years. The history of the modern French capital consists of many great moments, legendary persons, splendid architectural constructions, – and we are going to tell about one of them (or rather two inseparable objects). Dear readers, our story is on Hotel de Ville and Place de Greve, playing important role in the life of Paris today.

As we know from the history, Paris (or Lutetia) was founded on the Ille de la Cite by a Celtic tribe in the 3rd century B.C. and had not being gone out of its bounds for a long time. However, sooner or later a growing and developing town has to widen its territory on both banks of the Seine, and, of course, it happened.

From the beginning of the second millennium A.D. Parisians of those times began to open up nearest lands and to raise up different constructions, many of those are cult in these days. And in the 13th century, Place de Greve had appeared.

We will not assert that the square was a masterpiece of the medieval architecture in those far years, because even the old name (Sandy bank) says that there were not any extravagance here. Nevertheless, the square was a very important place for public life of Paris, so long as meetings and strikes of people dissatisfied by policy of the city’s authorities had been held here. You can ask: why? It’s simple enough. The building of the City Hall was located at the square.

So, we know the Greve Square was the center of settlement’s life, what means that all significant events like fairs, street festivities, grand sermons and, naturally, executions had being held here. During more than five hundred years (until 1830) the executioners cut off noblemen’s heads, quartered and hanged criminals, burned the church’s enemies. It’s remarkable that the first guillotine in France was installed just at this place.

The time changes everything, and the square did not become an exception. Nowadays it’s known under one more name – Hotel de Ville, which was received due to the City Hall of Paris.

This magnificent architectural construction has a long history and is favourite place of the Parisians and visitors of the city.

The first serious building of Paris municipality was built in the 16th century in the style of the Italian Renaissance by Dominique de Cortone. Though at that time there was a maniacal love to Gothic in France, and very soon the architect Pierre Chambiges had started a rebuilding of the City Hall. The main elements of those construction we can see today.

At one moment Hotel de Ville was neglected and dilapidated, but thanks to talented restorers the building had been restored, wonderfully copying a unique mix of the French Gothic and the Italian Renaissance, supplemented with statues of the great French artists and politicians.

Nowadays Place de Greve may be called as one of the most popular Paris places along with the Louvre, Notre Dame and Eiffel Tower. Many touristic routes pass through the square, interesting events are being held, and it’s very prestigious to own an apartment in this area.

If you have not been in Paris, visiting Place de Greve and admiring Hotel de Ville, we advise you to do this and add some bright colors into your touristic journal.

Place des Vosges

One of the most beautiful places in Paris what was called Place des Vosges by the legendary Emperor Napoleon.

Formerly these lands belonged to famous religious Order of Knights Templars, they were presented monks by the King Louis the Ninth, had the name “Marais” (“marsh”), because there was nothing more except marshes.

The thirteenth century was a time when the Templars had made reclamation works and drained the local marshes to begin construction of their facilities at these territories. But the name “Marais” remains in our time.

Monastic order in those days had reached an enormous power and its political and military influence had been stronger than French monarchy. Of course, the king could not like this. Envying the Templar Knights, the King decided to make his residence here and transported the court to this place in the fourteenth century. Later many members of the royal family became the owners of a large number of luxury apartments at the area.

One of the most famous palaces in the present Place des Vosges was Tournelle Palace, which had been the first one occupied by conquerors from the British Isles during the Hundred Years’ War. After the end of the war inhabitants of the palace became Henry II and Maria de Medici. Though, they were the last. In the mid-sixteenth century, Henry II was killed during a tournament and the Queen had decided to destroy the palace and move to Louvre. However, the place was not empty; a large horse market had been organized here very quickly.

During the time of power of King Henry IV Royal Square was founded. And its name has being retained until 1799. But, the Square could not be suitable for such great status without proper buildings. That’s why the architects were ordered to construct magnificent palaces for court aristocracy. Unfortunately, the king was not able to contemplate all this beauty himself, he had died from the hands of a Catholic fanatic François Ravaillac. An already his successor Louis XIII took the main celebrations to mark the opening of the Square in 1610, connected with his engagement with the princess Anne of Austria.

Parisians liked Place des Vosges from the beginning, and many wealthy people wanted to have Paris real estate in this place, what was considered very prestigious. For example, one of the most famous inhabitants of this area was the legendary Cardinal Richelieu. He lived in a mansion number 21. It is noteworthy that under the regency of Richelieu, French daredevils preferred to organize their duels on this area.

Later at different times such famous people as Victor Hugo, Alphonse Daudet and Theophile Gautier lived here.

From an architectural perspective Place des Vosges is also very interesting, because all buildings had new color for Paris of those times. The mansions were performed in the same style, what had created a whole architectural ensemble. And only Palace of King and Queen has the uniqueness.

Place des Vosges is very popular tourist destination for a long time. Here you can always find numerous excursions at any time of year.

Pont Notre-Dame

The Parisian bridge Pont Notre-Dame has been constructed in the beginning of the fifteenth century as an inhabited street (in general, it was peculiar to bridges of Paris) and connected aforementioned island with the right coast of the Seine a little above on the current from the well-known Pont au Change. So it has staid about a hundred years before it has been replaced by other construction, but the old bridge still remained.

That is remarkable that both bridges have continued to remain important for many Parisians who for business affairs moved from “the big” earth to the island, some had lived there.

The first of Notre-Dame bridges represented a grandiose extended construction which was quite often used for original parades during holidays. Local residents even named it Triumphal. However after one of celebratory actions during which the construction collapsed and killed lots of inhabitants of the capital, the main Parisian architect was ordered to design and erect the second bridge. This expert Fra Giovanni Giocondo constructed the new bridge from stone, it had in twenty four meters’ width and hundred twenty four meter’s length.

As we already marked, the French bridges of that time were high-grade inhabited and business streets. The same corresponded to the new bridge with numerous little shops owners of which lived on the top floors of the same buildings where they had shops. Besides, under the decision of the architects, all show-windows of shops on the new bridge had identical size.

In shops of local dealers there was a brisk trade in the goods for all tastes. Here it was always possible to find food, clothes, weapons, works of painting, products of jewelers and perfumers, medicine, in general, everything that could be necessary for local residents. Parisians with pleasure visited the bridge in hope to buy the necessary goods. For example, here was located the tiny boutique of the marchand-mercier Edme-François Gersaint – an art gallery which was so popular that in its memory it was decided to immortalise the special memorable tablet which said “The Signboard of Gersaint”.

As well as the old, the new Pont Notre-Dame was the place for celebratory walks and processions. So, in 1531 the future wife of the king of France François I has driven through it to Paris.

The following repair of the new Pont Notre-Dame has been carried out in 1660 before the wedding celebrations of the queen Maria Theresa of Spain and the well-known king Louis XIV.

Exactly after hundred years all inhabited and trading constructions have been taken down from the bridge, and it began to carry out its direct duties: transport moving and pedestrians walking easy.

Pont Notre-Dame remains this way up to this day, and being in the city on the Seine visit this beautiful historical place.


Provins is a cultural heritage of the global significance by UNESCO. And if you – a lover of the Middle Ages and everything connected with it, so Provins must be on the map of your French route.

If someone thinks that you can see the medieval France in Paris, it is a very big mistake, because almost all in the capital has been ruthlessly removed by the legendary Parisian prefect Baron Haussmann in the second half of the nineteenth century. There are only individual churches and buildings. So, the lovers of the history of the Middle Ages have to go far inland, where the hands of the charismatic city planner (Haussmann) did not reach.

The old part of the town of Provins with ancient stone houses and narrow streets are on a low hill. Perhaps, the only reminders of the presence are the cars standing on the roadside.

Generally, in Provins the tourists can see quite a lot of architectural objects relating to the 11 – 12 centuries, which makes it very attractive for the fans of the medieval culture. Exactly here one of the oldest types of architectural designs of buildings, distinguished with vaulted ceilings, is represented.

Today Provins has nearly sixty historic monuments, among them are numerous fortifications belonging to different ages and styles, the tower of Caesar, underground galleries, vaults, the ancient church of St. Ayul (11th century), the Museum of Provins.

Also the annual festivals of the medieval culture with falconry, tournaments, theatrical performances.

Castle of Rambouillet

We would recommend a visit of a park and castle complex of Rambouillet. This beautiful place is 50 kilometers to the south-west from Paris.

What notable does this attraction have? Rambouillet is an old French Royal estate with theme gardens, water canals, a river, romantic pavilions and grottos, and, of course, with a beautiful palace. And all this splendour is surrounded with the forest of Yveline, where in the Middle Ages Saint-Denis Abbey was.

Also the Rambouillet complex has a farm specializing in fine breeds of sheep (built by order of Louis VI) and a milk farm with Tuscan columns (built for Marie-Antoinette). On the territory of the park you’ll find many original open-air pools and fountains.

Not so long ago the castle of Rambouillet was one of residences of the President of the French Republic, but from 2009 this is a museum.

Excursions across the historic complex of Rambouillet starts at 10:00 a.m. You can get here by train from Montparnasse station. Though, it’s better to go there by car because there are some other castles worth visiting, and the famous Versailles is on the same way.

Basilique du Sacre Cœur

Basilique du Sacre Cœur

To see the whole magnitude of Paris, we advise to visit the ornament of Montmartre – Basilique du Sacre Cœur – “sacred heart” from French.

In brief, about this remarkable place. For this purpose we should return to the past (more precisely to the end of the nineteenth century) when the country suffered not the best moment: constant defeats in wars, the most serious political and economic crises, explosive condition of the society. Many Frenchmen prayed God with only one question “what are we suffering for?” and prayers for salvation.

And in this difficult situation a businessman Alexandre Legentil has vowed to the Lord about building of a grandiose cathedral which in its opinion should help to rescue France from ill fate. It was only necessary to be defined with a place of the future building.

And the choice has fallen on the Grand Opéra which was recently a symbol of the French success and prosperity, and at that time – an indicator of awful decline. The given decision has not been apprehended unequivocally in the society, and after long polemic this place has been rejected. However the patron of art did not surrender and has achieved the right to erect church on Montmartre (at its most top) – a place well-known and popular among Parisians.

Among seventy eight projects the offer of architect Paul Abadie has been chosen. He has suggested building a cathedral in quite unusual for Paris Roman-Byzantine architectural style. The building has been constructed of strong calcareous breed, and has risen up on eighty three meters.

Singularity of new church was characterized by the extended domes, repeating a silhouette of a well-known Basilica of the twelfth century Saint-Front, located in Périgueux.

Behind the cathedral a bell tower has settled down. It has become famous for one of the hugest bells in the Christian world which weight makes twenty tons. It has been presented by inhabitants of the province of Savoie, for as has received the name of la Savoyarde.

A huge staircase runs to the main façade which is decorated by a portico along the edges of which statues of national heroine Jeanne d’Arc and king Saint Louis are installed.

From within the cathedral has been magnificently decorated with mosaic, stained-glass windows which, unfortunately, have been destroyed during the Second World War. The building work was extremely uneasy, so the cathedral erection lasted long enough, the first divine services have taken place in 1891 year only (the beginning of works is dated 1875 year). The cult of Sacre Cœur has been entered into France by queen Catherine de Médicis in the seventeenth century. From the church point of view it represents a symbol of heart Dominical, stroked with a spear at crucifixion of the Savior and at all times bleeding for the blessing of men.

At consecration the cathedral has received the rank of a Basilica which on Christian terminology speaks about pilgrim mission. And since then thousand of believing pilgrims aspire to Montmartre.

Since the construction, the relation of Parisians to Basilique du Sacre Cœur varied causing irony, genuine admiration. But, nevertheless, at present it is one of cards of Montmartre and Paris, a place from which the unique view on this great city opens.

Sainte Chapelle

Now it’s some words about a beautiful chapel of Gothic architectural style – Sainte Chapelle, which was built by the imperial order of King Louis IX in 1242. According to a biblical legend, the crown of thorns is one of the most famous relics of the Christian world during thousands years. The Bible says that the crown was on the head of Jesus Christ when he had died on the cross. It’s not difficult to believe, because all sculpted crucifixes in churches have this element.

Sainte Chapelle became a kind of tribute which the mighty king of France gave the Son of God, and the crown of thorns was the main component. Everyone decides for himself, to believe in authenticity of the artifact or not, but the legend says thus.

Unique Gothic style of Sainte Chapelle is a wonderful example of architecture of those days. Style of the building clearly is single and complete, due to the fact that construction at all times was conducted under the guidance of one architect. Unfortunately, his name was lost for many centuries.

Since the opening, this sacred building was open for all stratums of the population of the city. The ground floor was intended for Parisian bourgeois (if we may say this about the thirteenth century), the top floor was a preserve of the royal family, they preferred to communicate with God here.

We can describe the beauty and uniqueness of an upper (royal) part with its magnificent stained glass windows for a long time, but no words are able to convey all, what you must see to understand the genius of the author of the chapel. It should be noted that all windows of Sainte Chapelle occupy six and a half thousand square feet. Just imagine these beautiful stained glasses those age is about 800 years. But despite such advanced age, Sainte Chapelle is open for local parishioners and visitors of Paris these days. Moreover, it’s not just open for tourist visits, concerts of classical music are arranged under the arches of the chapel, and they collect the real connoisseurs of organ music.

The only thing what is currently absent in this unique Parisian chapel – the legendary crown of thorns of Jesus Christ. Nowadays it is in possession of the main city church treasury in Notre Dame.

This masterpiece of the medieval church architecture is located at: 4 bd. du Palais, Palais de Justice, Ile de la Cite (the 1st district of Paris), and is open for tourists round the year. Cost of tickets: from five to eight Euros for adults, children and young people under eighteen can visit the chapel for free.


The castle of Saint-Germain-en-Laye is a very interesting sight on the map of France. Even if it is not such attractive and luxurious as some of the palaces in Paris, nevertheless deserves a special mention.

Saint-Germain-en-Laye is located twenty kilometers from Paris and was a stop of the royal court on the way to Versailles in the past. This castle was built earlier than the famous residence of French kings. Today under the roof of newly renovated architectural monument is National Museum of archaeological finds.

The museum’s exposition is very interesting for lovers of history, so visiting this palace is more than a pleasant event.

For example, the section, devoted to the Stone Age, offers visitors a collection of ancient rock paintings and carvings, numerous tools and ornaments of our ancestors. The collected artifacts allow visitors to see all phases of ancient and modern history of the French state. A part of the exhibition is devoted to Franks, Celts and Romans.

There is an exposition on the legendary battle of Alesia in 52 BC between troops of the Gallic tribal leader Vercingetorix and the army of Roman Empire, led by Julius Caesar. The victory of the Romans in the battle marked the complete conquest of Gaul and ending of the Gallic War.

In Saint-Germain-en-Leye palace there is a hall of comparative archaeology with exhibits, relating to different cultures and civilizations.

But, this place attracts tourists not only for its interesting museum. Saint-Germain-en-Laye is a wonderful town for nice walks. Thus, the original terrace stretches from the museum at a distance of two miles. It was created by Mr. Le Notre – the legendary master of landscape, who had also worked on decoration of Versailles. You can always take a walk through the forest of Saint-Germain.

To get here from Paris you can by train RER (line 1) to the end station St-German-en-Laye.

Church of Saint Germain l’Auxerrois

Now the next in turn is magnificent church of Saint Germain l’Auxerrois (L’église Saint Germain l’Auxerrois) – admirable monument of the late, or as it is sometimes called, “flame” Gothic.

The temple is located in the heart of the French capital in the 1st district of the city at Louvre square to the east from the most visited museum in the world. The church was built in honor of Saint Germain, who was a Gallo-Roman bishop in the first half of the 5th century AD in Auxerre. During more than one and a half thousand years this historic person has being considered one of the most hallowed Saints of France.

The modern church of Saint Germain l’Auxerrois is located on the site of an ancient pagan sanctuary which was built at the times when the country was ruled by the Merovingians.

Like many other churches throughout Europe the church of Saint Germain of Auxerre was a real medieval protracted construction and saw many reconstructions. The oldest part of this architectural structure is a Romanesque bell tower, built in the 12th century, and the main entrance to the church and its choir belong to the 13th century. The magnificent stained-glass windows were added in the 15th century, the side portal of the temple – in the 17th.

At the time when the Louvre was the residence of the kings of France the Saint Germain l’Auxerrois church had been the ecclesiastical benefice of Valois.

The history of this temple has not only pleasant moments. So, one of its bell tower signaled the beginning of the Massacre of St. Bartholomew.

As it happens with many temples in Europe, L’église Saint Germain l’Auxerrois became the last refuge for famous figures – many representatives of French art intellectuals are buried here. The temple is very popular among the thousands of tourists visiting Paris, it attracts them with its unique architecture.

Saint-Jacques Tower

Walking down Rue Saint-Jacques or the bridge on the Cite Island, you can see a sufficiently gloomy building rising above a small public garden. It’s difficult to believe, but this is one the most legendary constructions in Paris, and its name is Saint-Jacques tower (Tour Saint-Jacques).

The tower, built in the beginning of the 16th century in a late Gothic style, is not just a monument of architecture, the Saint-Jacques is the history itself. It contains the famous French art, music, science, poetry and prose, blood of the Revolution…

Today this is a lonely belfry which was a part of Paris Eglise Saint Jacques-de-la-Boucherie (Church of Saint Jacob). In olden days the temple covered almost all territory of the present public garden.

Historical name of the church has a word “Boucherie” (Fr. “butcher’s shop”), what is not strange, because the apartments and shops of Paris tanners and butchers were in this area of the city. And exactly those people gave their money for building of this temple. Though, an ancient legend says that its founder was Charles the Great (Carolus Magnus).

The Eglise Saint Jacques-de-la-Boucherie was destroyed during the French Revolution in 1793, and the tower alone had being reminded about its existence.

It’s notable that the park, laid out near the bell tower, is the first public garden in the history of Paris.

The belfry is one of 70 points of pilgrimage to a Christian sacred place Santiago de Compostela and a part of the list of the World Heritage by UNESCO.

Saint-Jacques tower is in the very center of Paris just in 150 meters from the City Hall (Hotel de Ville). This area is a beautiful historic quarter of the French capital with many sights.

Address: 39 Rue Rivoli, Paris.

Great Mosque of Paris

Paris, as well as the present France, is a cosmopolitan city where representatives of many confessions live. Therefore, if you come here to visit the temples of Paris, be sure that the city has not only the old Catholic churches, but also synagogues, Orthodox churches, mosques and others.

One of the brightest representatives of Islamic religious architecture in the country is the Great Mosque of Paris (Grande Mosquee de Paris), located in the famous Latin Quarter near the Garden of Plants. This is not the central part of Paris, but the distance from the mosque to the Louvre is just two and a half kilometers.

The Great Mosque of Paris is the largest in France and covers an area of one hectare. The unveiling of the mosque took place in 1926, despite the fact that its first draft (considered unsuccessful) had dated to 1895. The final decision on the construction of the temple was taken by the authorities of Paris after the First World War in memory of 100 thousands of Muslims who fought for France and died on the battlefields.

The project was fully financed by the state, and the territory that once belonged to Mercy Hospital had been chosen as the place for the construction of mosque. The works was started in 1922, and three years later the French President Gaston Doumergue and the Moroccan Sultan Moulay Yusuf had opened the mosque. At the heart of the medieval mosque are the Spanish-Moorish architectural traditions, and apparently it has a great resemblance to one of the oldest mosques in the world Al-Karauin in the Moroccan town of Fez. In the building works many masters from the North African countries participated, some materials were also brought from those places. The height of the mosque’s minaret is thirty-three meters, a big patio looks very beautiful.

During the Second World War Islamic active members of the Resistance hold their meetings in the mosque regularly, Jewish families had being hidden here from the persecution of the German occupation forces.

Nowadays, the Great Mosque of Paris remains to be active. It is open for tourists, excepting some sacred rooms of the temple.

If you have a desire to visit this place, you can easily get to the mosque by metro. Nearest stations are Place Monge and Censier-Daubenton.

Matignon garden

Since January, 2013 everyone may stroll through one of the most beautiful Paris garden, planted near the official residence of the French Prime Minister, – Matignon Palace.

This large (2,4 hectare) park will be opened for visitors every first Saturday of the month. From November to March – 01:00-05:00 p.m., April – October – 01:00-06:30 p.m.

History of the park around the palace, known also under the name of Hôtel Matignon, had begun in 1902. Its creator Achille Duchêne combined in his brainchild classic French style, going to make natural objects symmetrical, and aesthetics of “chaotic” English parks. Incompatible? The Matignon garden proves the contrary!

One of the most amazing parks in Paris is also interesting for the fact that all French Prime Ministers, starting from Raymond Barre, and excepting Jacques Chirac only, had planted a tree here.

So, Matignon park got many “personalized” maples, oaks, elms… Nowadays we can see more than a hundred different trees and bushes in the park.

Undoubtedly, the palace itself is also very interesting for Parisians and guest of the city, because the Hôtel Matignon has a rich history. Its construction began in 1722. Since that time the palace had lots of owner, including such famous Frenchmen as Talleyrand and Napoleon.

Musee du Parfum

In Paris even a small child who has arrived here with parents, will find how to occupy himself; and a lonely young man, thirsting adventures, and a beautiful woman searching for new flash of emotions. In this article we would like to stop on a place any modern woman (no matter what her way of life or social status is) would like to visit. It is in the city of love and fashion – Paris, and is called also known as the Fragonard Musee du Parfum.

In this place the representatives of a fine half of mankind can take pleasure in fragrant notes of vigorous Freesia, mysterious violets, royal rose, romantic musk and other flowers. Perhaps, only here it is possible to “feel” the unique compositions made by the best masters-perfumers, – refined, light, serene whiffs of a spring breeze, or tart, frank-expressive and devilishly attracting. Under its arches Museum Fragonard (Musee du Parfum) has collected perfumery aromas, and masterpieces among aromas, the smells created by the best representatives of the trade. Having visited Paris and having come here, you have an opportunity to plunge into the world of aromas which is created in the well-known Alpine Grasse.

This oasis of perfumery has received its name in honor of the well-known French painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard whose name is immortalized as well by the name of one of the smartest parkways of the capital. Actually, in this particular street the Fragonard center was founded by Mister Jean-François Costa who has continued his grandfather’s Eugène Fuch business (earlier he has founded similar museum in Grasse). Since then the unique collection of the perfumery aromas with no analog present in the world has been collected.

Visitors of the museum are amazed by the possibility to get acquainted with the novel world of the best aromas ever created, by originality of the premises design: Fragonard’s art creations, unique stucco molding on the walls, perfectly well picked up chandeliers of crystal.

The special impression is made by the selection of ancient furniture in halls of museum Fragonard, the coppers used once at perfumery factories. The exposition is supplemented with various ornaments, design elements, silk and cotton attires brought from different places.

The main thing in this museum is that you can receive unforgettable impressions and also get the pleasant perfumery which will remind of this place after returning home for reasonable price.

Our story has turned out short, but after all it should be, as no words will replace these magic aromas at Le Musee du Parfum on 9 rue Scribe, Paris.

The Seine

The Seine

In spite of the fact that we tell much about the Parisian sights, we haven’t devoted any article, perhaps, to one of the main things in this wonderful city. The Seine – the River without which it is simply impossible to imagine Paris, and so was always.

The well-known French river the Seine starts in Burgundy province and has extent a little less than eight hundred kilometers, mostly proceeding on the Parisian pool which is also called the North French lowland. The Seine has some inflows most known of which are Oise, Aube, Marne – on the left side, Yonne – on the right.

Throughout many centuries since the first tribes of Celts have lodged here, the Seine is not just a river, but a heart and soul of each Parisian. Besides that the river is the serious navigable highway connecting Rouen, Havre and Paris. Thanks to numerous channels, the Seine has a direct exit into other French rivers. The importance of the Seine for Paris proves to be true: it divides the city in two parts and is privately considered the twenty first Parisian district (there are officially 20 of them).

If to consider the Seine from the point of view of its banks it is natural that there are two of them – right and left. The right bank is considered business and trading part of Paris while the left is famous for educational and cultural activity.

As for the Parisian sights on the right bank of the Seine there are Louvre museums, le jardin des Tuileries, Arch Triomphe and Place de la Concorde, the well-known theater Opéra Garnier, Montmartre with its magnificent Moulin Rouge, a nice Catholic church Basilique du Sacré Cœur well-known for the whole world.

The left bank of the Seine is one of modern Paris symbols – Tour Eiffel, the Luxembourg garden with Medici’s majestic palace, most of educational institutions under the aegis of Sorbonne, D’Orse Museum and many others. For each Parisian the left bank of the Seine is not a geographical concept, it is a unique indicator of an original way of life that is historically connected to many representatives of art and bohemia who lived, worked and had a good time here. Such people are called “Bo-Bo” (shortening from “bohemia” and “bourgeois”) in the French capital.

Speaking about the Seine, it is necessary to stop on its bridges, being binding arteries between its banks and Île de la Cité on which Paris has arisen. The Pont Neuf, bridges of Normandy, Pont Saint-Louis, Pont Notre-Dame, Pont Saint-Michel, Pont au Change, Petit Pont connect different banks of the river and can tell travelers many Parisian stories.

Today the Seine has many admirers gathering on its quays. Here there are various actions, concerts, theatrical performances, discos, festivals are constantly organized. On landing stages you can always see tens of beautiful boats, barges and yachts, in which people live (!!!). Tourist vessels offering unique river excursions ply on the Seine.

But, the main this river can brag is its unique spirit. Believe, a usual walk on quay of the Seine or an excursion by a tourist boat will bring magnificent impressions to you.

The square and Madeleine Church

This time La Madeleine becomes object of our story. It has appeared on the map of the city during emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. The majestic church became one more monument glorifying victories of the army on the battlefields.

The given construction has uneasy history of building, but nevertheless, for today it is possible to tell that Le Madeleine church is the majestic temple shined through the big arch of a dome, decorated with magnificent Corinthian columns and Greek facades, executed in classical architectural style.

The church history has begun in 1764. After thirteen years the main architect of the project that has led to serious revision of ground plans has died, and as a result the decision to construct a crosswise Greek classical Christian temple was accepted. After Great revolution the authorities of that time, used this construction under their own discretion far from the religious. But all has changed with Bonaparte’s coming to power who has wanted to transform a cathedral into a temple to the glory of Napoleon’s army, subdued half of European continent. For this reason in 1806 for an idea embodiment a known architect Pierre-Alexandre Vignon has been employed. The work has begun. But, at that time France was a restless country, and in 1814 coming back on throne the king Louis XVIII has ordered to return the building the church status.

Concerning Le Madeleine it is necessary to tell that if outwardly the construction looks a little conservatively, the internal part differs with the big scope thanks to the magnificent frescoes.

Visiting Le Madeleine you take pleasure not only in viewing of the construction, but also can visit the magnificent flower market located in immediate proximity. The most popular place among tourists after the temple on Madeleine square is considered the well-known shop “Fauchon” which is famous for the delicacies attracting thousands of gourmets. And having roamed round the cathedral, well-founded gourmets will open for themselves one more excellent place where it is possible to simply admire the most beautiful show-windows or to buy the tastiest truffles or products from red and black caviar.

In general, the area of the Madeleine square has a reputation among tourists as one of the most attractive places for visiting thanks to the big number of interesting things to see. Many of travelers prefer to rent apartment in Paris in this area. We wish you pleasant excursions!

The wall of love

The wall of love

Paris has many notable sights, but as it is called the City of Love, so be sure to visit the Wall of Love, appeared in the French capital at the beginning of this millennium. And for this short term it became very popular tourist object which attracts thousands of Parisians and visitors of the city.

So, no wonder that Paris is called the City of Love. Right here on Montmartre at the Wall of Love (Le mur des je t’aime) you can wish an object of your passion to return affection.

Find here a confession written in your native language. Hold your hand to it – and wish that someone you love to say in return. And you will find the love for all life, if it has not happened before. The desire will necessarily come true — you may not to believe but there are matters of record :-).

By the way, it’s an mistaken opinion that Paris should be visited by a couple? Certainly not! The city of love is full of lonely hearts. And if you have not found your soulmate – try to make it here in the romantic capital of the world! Directly near the wall of love or at any other point of the city.

According to recent statistics, nearly a third of Parisians lives in loneliness. More than a half of them are women. At the same time a significant proportion — students.

Do not be afraid to come to Paris alone. This majestic city is not limited with sights. Seeing those of them that can not be missed in any case, pay your attention to quiet streets remote from the tourist center, cafes where the number of your countrymen does not exceed the number of Parisians.

Do not feel shy to meet new people, learn the most romantic language in the world, communicating with native speakers ! And who knows, maybe you’ll start a new story of love.

Thoiry Park

Can you imagine what there is a safari in Paris? But it is! Not in Paris, but very close, near the forest Rambouillet. This is Thoiry Safari Park, where animals from around the world live in free conditions, without cells and special cages. Welcome to Thoiry park!

According to many people, this park, situated around a beautiful old palace, is one of the best zoos on the planet, because there are hundreds of species of wild animals, and they all are kept in conditions close to their natural habitats.

Here you can see different animals what you’ll never see together in the same area. Bears peacefully coexist with giraffes, elephants with wild boars, tigers with lions…

As Thoiry park is rather large, you need to plan 4-6 hours to see the maximum.

Thoiry’s gardens are also very interesting, hundreds of unique species of trees, shrubs and other vegetation grow here.

To appreciate the merits of Thoiry park you should arrive there by car. Just remember that you will be surrounded by wild animals, so please do not open the windows of your car to avoid unpleasant consequences.

Castle Vaux le Vicomte

This beautiful architectural structure, surrounded by forests, is located at a distance of forty-six kilometers from the French capital.

The Vaux le Vicomte Castle was built in the middle of the seventeenth century especially for Mr. Nicolas Fouquet, who was the minister of finance at the court of the French monarch Louis XIV.

The authors of the palace became the famous in those days architect Louis Le Vau, designer of landscapes – Andre Le Notre, and decorator Charles Le Brun. Joined efforts these talented people have created a magnificent palace, which appearance and interior like a royal apartments. It is noteworthy that after seeing this palace, the king ordered to build one more luxury for himself – Versailles.

Over the years the castle changed many owners, among them were such famous persons like Marshal Villars and Duke of Choiseul-Praslin. There was a time when the palace was in total disrepair, and its famous gardens had completely lost its shape. However, the wealthy industrialist Alfred Sommier bought the manor and made a lot to restore this magnificent heritage. He fully restored gardens and put in order interior of the castle, almost entirely repeating its original look.

Today the Castle of Vaux le Vicomte is a very popular place among foreign tourists as well as among French residents, who come here to admire the delightful gardens and interior decoration of the palace.

Get to the castle you can by train from Gare de Lyon in Paris in direction of Melun. From the station to the castle (distance 7 km) you can get a regular bus.

Village Saint-Paul

Of course, this is not an ordinary village in “classical” sense of it – with wooden houses, vegetable gardens, cow and sheep at the meadows… The village of St. Paul is located in the famous Parisian area of Le Marais and is a surprisingly beautiful mix of a modern tourist city and a medieval French capital. Walking along the village’s streets, you will get acquainted with the centuries-old history of Paris through colorful gothic architecture, art galleries, antique shops; enjoy your time in cozy and hearty cafes.

If you look at history of Saint-Paul village, it appeared on the map thanks to the King Charles V Wise. Being still quite a young man, the monarch ascended the throne at the very beginning of the Hundred Years War. France was devastated and life of the country’s population had been more than difficult, what inevitably led to all sorts of conflicts in society. And very soon the revolt took place in the capital. Since the king’s residence was located in the heart of Paris – on the island of Cité, fearing for his life, the 19-year-old Charles left the city and moved to the Vincennes Castle. And after the suppression of the revolt, the young ruler did not want to return to the old palace (today we know it as Conciergerie) and ordered to built a new one. That’s how Saint-Paul appeared – a new royal residence near Bastille (there was no Louvre yet, by the way).

Today, Village Saint-Paul is a cozy quiet nook of medieval Paris with original old facades, legendary flea markets (on weekends). It is also a favorite place of creative bohemia.

Take time and stroll around Le Marais and you will not regret, Village Saint-Paul will bring you very pleasant experiences!


Castles of the Loire valley (Châteaux de la Loire) are correctly considered one of the brightest symbols of France. And talking about these places, we can’t but visit the castle of Villandry located 15 kilometers to the west from the town of Tours.

You obviously might ask what so remarkable about this castle is. Well, firstly, Villandry is the brightest example of the Renaissance architecture. Besides, appearance of the buildings has much in common with Italian medieval castles, even more than with its French brothers. And the reason is that Jean de Breton – one of the owners of the estate – who visited Italy many times on diplomatic affairs, had been impressed by Apennines architecture.

However, this offspring of Scotsmen loved gardens of those places most of all, which got recognition on paintings of many artists of the Renaissance.

The gardens of Villandry are true masterpieces of the French landscape art, whereby the castle became very popular and attended landmark out of Paris borders.

Nowadays the gardens have three levels (terraces). The middle one is on the same level as ground-floor rooms of the castle. It is a theme “garden of love” with beautiful and original allegories on this eternal topic. The lower garden is a distinctive vegetable garden. The top garden – a garden with fruit trees and lots of paths running through all its territory.

The third argument of the castle of Villandry exceptionality is the inside fittings of the rooms which amaze by splendour. Wonderful interiors; great furniture of rare wood and chic silks manufactured at the famous weaving factory of Tours; posh blinds – all that makes an inexpressible colour and gives perfect emotions when you walk along the rooms of the mansion.

Generally speaking, the Castles of the Loire valley must be part of a tourist programme of everyone who wants to trip through France without limiting yourself to Paris only. And the castle and gardens of Villandry – the real zest of this region!

Want to have an unforgettable vacation? Head on to Villandry – a gem of the Renaissance under the 21th century sky!

Cognac – the town and the drink

We can say with confidence that the word “cognac” is known to almost every adult person on our planet, and millions of people are passionate fans of the drink of the same name, which brought fame to France and, of course, the town of Cognac. And we would like to say a few words about this town exactly in our material.

Cognac – a small town in the department of Charente on the banks of the river Charente with a population of about twenty thousand people. But local cognac manufacturers give the job more than forty thousand – from the grape pickers to coopers and tasters.

During the Great Roman Empire the town was called Conniacum, which only centuries later it got its present name Cognac.

Today Cognac attracts thousands of tourists as from France as from around the world. And this applies not only to fans of the famous drink, but also to people who just come here to enjoy the local attractions. But in any case, whatever we say, the town is associated with the popular alcoholic drink, what had won the world many centuries ago.

Finding yourself in this pleasant town with old houses made of stone, covered with a black patina, which is called “angel’s share”, you will feel the presence of cognac virtually everywhere. There is a feeling that the smell of the drink is just hanging in the air.

It is logical that the town has a lot of cognac shops and museums. Here you can buy drinks of such famous brands as Martell, Remy Martin, Hennessy, Chateau de Montifaud and others. Cognac Houses offer guests unforgettable cellars and vineyards excursions.

Cognac has a large number of souvenir shops where you can buy gifts for your friends and relatives. Walk along Charente on river buses will give an excellent impression.

The local restaurants have the unique flavour. Visiting any of them, be sure to order a delicious local dish – cheese plateau, which will offer a great variety of cheese from cow’s and goat’s milk (naturally, with the addition of cognac). This is not surprising, because cognac is one of the main ingredients of the local cuisine. Despite the fact that Cognac is not on the coast, seafood is very popular here.

However, not only cognac can attract travelers to the town. Cognac is known for its attractive architecture – ancient buildings, palaces. The Central square of the town was even mentioned in the novels of the great French writer Alexandre Dumas. The town has beautiful, very original and well-groomed parks.

Like many small French towns Cognac has its own cultural life. You can become a participant of the International Festival of Police Films in every April.

In any case, if you decide to visit it, remember that the town is the birthplace of cognac in the first place and a great museum of the legendary drink.

French Riviera (Côte d’Azur)

France was always attractive to millions tourists from all over the world for the numerous sights and resorts. Not only Paris, but also many other cities are visited by many tourists in a warm season.

For the today, French Riviera is one of the most popular and known resorts. Such cities as Nice, Cannes, Saint-Tropez and Monaco, became an integral part of a route for many compatriots travelling across France. And magnificent yachts of some millionaires have a constant residence permit in bays of these cities which is a serious indicator of their social status.

In general, French Riviera is a synonym of luxury and glamour, a place where it is more probable to meet Bruce Willis or Angelina Jolie in the street or in a small restaurant than in Hollywood. And it is natural that the prices here are the highest which makes this place available for having rest in the south of France for men of means only.

So, for example, a week of stay in a hotel with four stars in Cannes can cost about two thousand American dollars. The same is for Nice where the prices are approximately comparable to Cannes.

Any of the resort centers of French Riviera can be compared to the colorful prospectuses focused on attraction of rich buyers. No argue, everything here is counted on rich visitors, starting with a small cafe, finishing with magnificent hotels and casinos.

Visiting this part of France, it is necessary to walk on the well-known quay of Nice – Promenade des Anglais (“Promenade of the English”) which makes about five kilometers. In this place it is possible to admire the view of the azure sea, walking along the street or sitting on one of numerous benches. Many creative people came here in search of muse and inspiration. Friedrich Nietzsche, Niccolò Paganini, Henri Matisse, Giuseppe Verdi, Marc Chagall and many others were frequent visitors of Nice.

One more card of French Riviera is magnificent Hotel Negresco in smart apartments of which many international financial, cultural and political elite representatives spent their time.

One of the most beautiful orthodox temples located outside of the former USSR will be interesting to our tourists. In its architectural basis lie samples of five-domed cathedrals of Moscow. A rare Russian-speaking tourist does not come into this temple, being in Nice.

It is necessary to note the magnificent palace of Valrose located in northern part of Nice. The construction is situated in the centre of the most beautiful park. Russian baron von Dervis was its first owner; nowadays it is the venue of audiences for local university.

The most magnificent and bright holiday in Nice is the carnival which has been thought up specially for numerous rich travelers resting at this time here or in the nearby resort cities.

Basically, Nice is one of the most beautiful tourist centers of Europe. And together with as beautiful Monaco, Cannes, Saint-Tropez it makes a resort known to the world as French Riviera. It is possible to tell about it for hours, describing all delights of local architecture, culture, show business, but nevertheless it is better to go there personally and to see it all with your own eyes.



A beautiful picturesque village of Giverny is located between Rouen and Paris. It is a very popular holiday place among the French and numerous foreign tourists. First of all, people come here to visit the famous museum-estate of the great painter Claude Monet with lush gardens. The artist painted many of his legendary paintings exactly here.

The first meeting Monet with Giverny was in 1883 when he was just driving past it on the train. Local beauty impressed the impressionist very much, so he returned here after a short time and rented a big house. At the same time, he settled down in Giverny with all his large family.

Claude Monet loved these places, his home and had lived here during almost forty-three years, until his death in 1926. The grave of the great Frenchman is located in Giverny near the Church of Saint Radegonde.

The painter spent a lot of time developing own garden with many flowers, whose true fan he was. Later Monet bought the house and surrounding lands, where worked a lot on their decoration. Friends of the master Cezanne, Renoir, Manet, Matisse, Pissarro visited the estate often and helped their friend in his work. Due to their joint efforts the estate turned into a work of art. And it makes glad its guests today.

The son of the painter Michel Monet gave the estate to the state. Nowadays the house is a museum of Claude Monet with almost all elements of furniture, jewelry, gifts from around the world, photos. An important part of the modern exposition – prints of Japanese painters (Hiroshige, Hokusai…).

The museum’s administration pays a particular attention to keep the gardens of the artist, retaining everything what was done by the creator. Walking through the garden, you’ll see landscapes that inspired the painter to paint pictures.

However, not only Monet was a connoisseur of beauty of Giverny. In the late nineteenth century this place was discovered by many European and American artists. The village even has Museum of Impressionism, whose exhibition, for example, includes paintings of Metkolf and Sergeant.

The Norman village itself is also very attractive; there are many interesting things that can be seen only at this point. So, be sure, that a trip to Giverny will give you many pleasant impressions, even if you’re not a fan of the painting.

Honfleur – Norman oasis of France

The present world of skyscrapers and high-speed trains tires us from time to time with its pace and constant tension. And sometimes we want to plunge into the pool of carelessness and tranquillity, to return to the past and enjoy the beauty of the Middle Ages, to meet people who are not seeking for modern trends…

Honfleur! This is exactly what you need to abstract away from haste of a megalopolis and to make an unforgettable trip to the past.

The French town of Honfleur, located in Normandy, can be called a peculiar time machine, which sends you to an amazing world without stress of modern civilization.

It is a very old settlement where the inhabitants speak their own dialect which is not much alike the classic French language, because forefathers of Honfleur’s populace were vikings from Norway. Stern northerners came to the mouth of the Seine in a distant 10th century and became a real terror for many merchant ships of those times.

But a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, and nowadays Honfleur is a charming small town with a measured way of life, with people who are notable for self-confidence (thanks to their forefathers), slowness and a surprising peace of mind.

Beauty of the town is emphasized by indescribable architecture and amplified by an admirable harbour full of yachts, cutters and fishing boats. Generally, the sea for Honfleur is not just a word. It is its life.

Occasionally the unique charm of this Norman sea settlement was glorified in the works of many famous artists: Baudelaire, Monet, Corot, Satie, Seurat…

Being in Honfleur, have a walk through its narrow breeze-blowed streets, taste excellent dishes of fresh seafood in taverns. In the local art galleries and antiques shops you can find authentic masterpieces. In this town there is the oldest French wooden church of Saint Catherine and the Gothic cathedral of Saint Stephan, a town museum presently.

As oposed to a neighbouring Deauville, you will not find posh hotels and casinos in Honfleur, however there are lots of pleasant and comfortable boarding houses in old buildings.

This is a calm Norman oasis just two hours drive from Paris, so if you are in the capital, use the opportunity and visit Honfleur. We are sure, you will be delighted…

Memorial of Shoah

Paris attracts many tourists not only its wonderful shops, restaurants and historical architecture sights, the French people revere history and give the tribute to their ancestors. So, being in Paris, you can visit some of these places.

As we know, the Second World War has not passed France and left a scar in human memory. One of the reminders of that terrible time for humanity is the Holocaust Memorial (Mémorial de la Shoah), known before as the Tomb of the unknown Jewish martyr. The new memorial was opened by the President of France Jacques Chirac in 2005 on the place of the old one, which was built by the famous architects Alexandre Perzitz, Georges Goldberg and Léon Arretche in 1956.

Holocaust Memorial of Shoah was founded in memory of six million of the Jewish people killed by the Nazis during the World War II, as well as 76 thousand people who were sent to the concentration camps during the occupation of Paris by German troops. Here there is also a center where information about the affected people is stored.

Entering the memorial, visitors must pass through a double fence and a massive door, what by the plan of creators will give a possibility to feel that terrible emotions of people affected by the genocide.

In the courtyard of the memorial there is a large bronze cylinder with engraved names of the victims of the Warsaw ghetto and the names of the major «death camps» founded by Hitler’s henchmen.

On one side of the yard is a sculptural relief of seven memorial plaques to symbolize the Holocaust, it’s author is an artist Arbit Blatas. They have been established here in 1982.

On one wall the names of 76 thousand Jewish men and women, including 11,000 children, who were victims of German concentration camps, are engraved.

Today, the Holocaust Memorial in Paris – it is not only an architectural monument of the terrible genocide of the Jewish people. Nowadays, there are open reading rooms, conference halls, educational center, permanent and temporary exhibitions, there is a bookstore, a cafe.

Of course, visiting the Holocaust Memorial is a serious emotional experience, even for adults, but to visit this place – it means to learn and remember the terrible history, and never repeat those mistakes.

Memorial is opened for the visitors daily.


A picturesque suburb of Meudon, nestled on slopes of a high hill, is just ten kilometers from the capital of France. This place was chosen by the French as long ago as in the fourteenth century, when the first local medieval castle was built here. It’s difficult to say how it looked in those days, but it had a certain popularity and until the mid-sixteenth century had changed many owners.

Exactly at that time the French king Louis XIV bought the estate for his successor – the Grand Dauphin. But, history has not favored the son of the monarch. He did not become a king, and the castle with a magnificent park had come to a complete neglect.

However, the castle of Meudon did not remain without attention of the good and the great. As the beautiful estate of Meudon is only six kilometers from the royal residence Versailles, the favourite of King Louis XV Madame de Pompadour had decided to settle here. By her request a Royal architect Gabriel built a splendid palace, called Bellevue (what means “beautiful view”) thanks to the magnificent panoramic views. Louis himself has often rested in the palace, recognizing the exquisite taste of his sweetheart.

But, as with many architectural sights of the country, the French Revolution did not spare Medon. So, the old royal castle became a military laboratory where engineers had created new types of artillery shells. Its towering columns were removed for use in the construction of a triumphal arch near Louvre. Moreover, creators of weapons were guilty of serious fire which destroyed a large part of the palace.

Concerning Bellevue Palace, its fate was even more terrible. The chic mansion was simply dismantled for building materials.

As often happened in the history of France, artists had helped in the revival of various places. The same situation was and with Meudon. In the middle of the nineteenth century, many artists, musicians, sculptors and writers were attracted by local beauty of nature. Such well-known personalities as Rodin, Renoir, Manet, Wagner, Maupassant created their legendary works here.

Today Meudon continues to retain its artistic traditions. Many representatives of the art world live here. For example, the family of Vanessa Paradis and Johnny Depp had settled in this peaceful and beautiful place. Museum of Rodin is located in the town of Meudon, and the grave of the great master is near the museum.

Many walkers come to Meudon throughout the year. Walking along the paths of local forests and parks, you can see the old royal pavilions, be on the terrace of Observatory, where Paris is viewed as on the palm. If you have free time, we strongly recommend you to visit Meudon and get evidence the beauty with own eyes.

Chinatown in the city on the Seine

It is not a secret that one of the biggest and organized national diasporas around the world is Chinese. There are entire housing estates, populated by immigrants (and their descendants) from China, in almost all major cities in Europe, Asia, Australia and America. And Paris is not an exception in this question.

Perhaps, someone might say: the Chinese in Paris? It can not be true! However, in reality, the French capital is a home for many immigrants from China.

All began in the early last century when the French authorities had invited about a hundred and forty thousand Chinese workers to restore the country’s economy with a shortage of own workforce. More than three thousand people from them decided to stay and live in France and created the first Chinese diaspora. Most of these immigrants lived in Parisian quarter near the old Gare de Lyon, which is nothing more than a monument of architecture today.

With time the number of the diaspora has increased and the Chinese began to look for new places to live. So the second Chinatown in Paris was founded rather quickly. It is in the area of streets au Maire, des Gravilliers, du Temple. Intensive settlement of the quarter began in the thirties of the twentieth century due to one Chinese merchant who had came from Italy and decided to organize a production of leather goods with his fellows. So when you buy, for example, a purse with such inscription as “made in Paris”, there is a chance that it was produced in one of the many workshops, where people from this Asian country work.

One more Chinatown in Paris appeared in 1950. It happened after the establishment of diplomatic relations between France and Vietnam, and the leadership of the last state decided to naturalize all Chinese people who had live in Vietnam at that time. A big part of them went to Paris searching a new life. Thousands of refugees began to settle on rue Monsieur le Prince (the 6th District) and near Square Maubert. In general, according to some data a quarter million of ethnic Chinese came to Paris from Vietnam, who also settled working-class areas in the 13th district of Paris. Also we must admit that these people made a serious contribution in the development of this part of the French capital. The main activity place of the Parisian Chinese is quarter Belleville, located at the intersection of the 20th, 19th, 11th and 10th district of Paris.

Gradually, the Chinese began to assimilate and other cities and towns of France, spreading their culture on a large area of the country. Today, almost every major city in French provinces its own Chinatown with unique colors.

If you are traveling over France or just visiting Paris, we recommend you to spend some time and visit Chinatowns, where you will see unique colors of this oriental culture.



Long ago Paris has a reputation of one of the most elegant, beautiful and visited cities of the world. And there is nothing surprising that millions people from different countries dream to come to this amazing city and to admire its beauty, becoming only better with age, by own eyes.

In this small article we would like to focus on not the most famous place in the world, but one of the most visited in Paris, because it is located next to the famous Eiffel Tower. This is Trocadero!

Directly opposite the engineering masterpiece of Eiffel tourists can see the Palais de Chaillot – large pavilions with observation points, designed for many travelers who want to admire the Tower.

Also this is location of the green park complex Trocadero, whose main “zest” is the largest Parisian fountain.

And on top of the hill you will find the Place du Trocadero, which got its name from this hill. The hill was named in honor of the victory of the French army at the siege of the Spanish fort Trocadero in 1823.

At the Palais de Chaillot you can visit the museums of cinema, human and the Maritime Museum. In the eastern part of the Trocadero there is a large underground “Trocadero Aquarium” with representatives of the various fishes from French rivers. Passy Cemetery is located to the south-west of the square, where the remains of many prominent persons of the world of art are, such as an actor of silent films Pearl White, painters Edouard Manet and Berthe Morisot, a composer Claude Debussy.

The Trocadero is also a place where wide avenues start and go to different directions. There is a long pool with gilded statues. In cafes with outdoor terraces you can always have a tasty lunch.

Going down the hill and passing over the bridge of Jena you’ll come to the Champ de Mars with its “pearl” the Eiffel Tower and the Military Academy (by the way, Napoleon Bonaparte was its student).

Modern Trocadéro area is a prestigious part of Paris with elite expensive restaurants, hotels and cars, the most well-kept streets. Such popular sights like the Champs Elysees and Arc de Triomphe are within walking distance from the square.

We will not write one more time about the beauty of this place, just visit it and you’ll see it yourself!

Unknown Paris is an interesting Paris

Unknown Paris is an interesting Paris

Even if you’re an experienced traveller, love France and have been to Paris a lot of times looking for its interesting and not very famous sights, it can be said with confidence that there are such of them which will be unknown to you. 🙂

Even, living in Paris, people permanently find out something new, hidden from strangers eyes. But in fact, all you need is just to look for – and you’ll surely find astonishing spots in the French capital city which bewitch by their beauty and uniqueness.

Here we offer you to watch a short video with the ten not the very famous but very interesting places in Paris.

And we must admit, some of them became discoveries to us.