Fondation Louis Vuitton

Monuments in Paris Region

Do you fancy a trip through the history of the beautiful Paris Region? Île-de-France is well known for its cultural wealth and iconic sights. And it takes patience and strategic planning to explore its every facet.
  1. What to see and do
  2. Museums and monuments
  3. Monuments

Which monument will you see next?

Sightseeing in Paris Region

Follow the main avenues and lesser-known streets, venture into the remote corners of the Paris Region and unveil the mysteries of its monuments. Are you a fan of French history, an architecture enthusiast, or just an adventure seeker? A unique experience awaits you. The capital city and the neighbouring departments are packed with treasures. From the most impressive monuments to its more discreet attractions the fascinating City of Light and its entire region have plenty of legendary tales to tell.

A tour with views over Paris

Everything seems tiny from the Eiffel Tower

Visiting Paris? Head for the Eiffel Tower for a panoramic view of the entire city and beyond. Built for the occasion of the World Exhibition of 1889, it offers an amazing urban spectacle even from the second floor. Continue to the top for a panoramic view that will take your breath away. At night, its thousands of sparkling lights have children and adults staring in wonder.

Bonaparte thought big

If you don’t mind heights, another panoramic viewpoint, the Arc de Triomphe, invites you to admire Paris from above. This iconic monument built in homage to Napoleon Bonaparte’s Great Army makes an amazing lookout point. To reach it, walk up the grand Avenue des Champs-Élysées for a fabulous window-shopping experience. The least adventurous among you can admire the stone arch from below. At the foot of this monumental sculpture lies the tomb of the unknown soldier, in memory of all the soldiers who have died for France.

The highest district in Paris

Although the Paris Region is vast, certain districts, especially in the heart of Paris, have retained a very intimate atmosphere. Montmartre is one of them. This neighbourhood has a village feel and cobblestone streets full of secrets and hidden nooks and crannies. Your calves get a good workout when you visit this picturesque district oozing with charm that attracts tourists as well as residents of the local region. Gaze out over Paris from the steps of the Sacré-Coeur basilica. The view is sublime.

Sightseeing across Paris Region

The history of France through its palaces and castles

As the legacy of royal ambitions, the castles and palaces built throughout the Île-de-France region have in some cases become museums. One example is the Louvre museum, the former royal palace that Louix XIV neglected in favour of the palace of Versailles. The Orsay museum, which was built on the site of the former Orsay palace, was a train station before being converted into a venue for art enthusiasts.

All of these monuments have a story to tell, beyond the exhibitions and events that they host. During your visits, travel back through the centuries into the history of Paris and its region, to unveil all its secrets.

For families, opt for the amusing, interactive guided tours that transport visitors into the past. Your children will be delighted to play at knights between the walls of the castle of Blandy-les-Tours or in the towers of the Dourdan castle museum.

Fancy a break? Take refuge in a French-style garden. This type of formal garden is often found around palaces, with groves and fountains that invite you to enjoy a stroll. Le Nôtre had a lot to do with that. This creator of the gardens at the palaces of Maisons, Versailles and Vaux-le-Vicomte certainly knew how to enhance such monuments.

Besides the well-known palaces of Versailles and Fontainebleau, there are also more humble monuments that are just as impressive. The château de Breteuil, for example, with its red brickwork, contrasts with the usual architectural style seen in the monuments of Île-de-France. The château de Vincennes on the edge of the Vincennes woods also offers visitors a timeless experience just on the outskirts of Paris. It has the appearance of a fairytale castle. Is there a princess hidden at the top of its tallest tower?

Always take time to observe the details

Be they discreet or grandiose, sculptures are what make the Paris Region’s monuments so beautiful. As the silent witnesses of history, these works of art size up their visitors from the top of their pedestals. You’ll find them near the palaces, castles and châteaux, in the cemeteries or at the city’s fountains. For instance, the Fames watch over Alexandre III bridge while Charlemagne stands proudly at the foot of the towers of Notre-Dame cathedral.

Paris Region, home to the famous names of France

See the antique sculptures of the Paris Region on a visit to the Père-Lachaise cemetery. Writers, sailors, poets and other personalities have been laid to rest here. Art enthusiasts and history buffs can pay a silent tribute at the graves of Chopin, Edith Piaf, Molière and Jim Morrison.

Another remembrance site: the Panthéon. Step inside the world of the illustrious figures of Paris. Victor Hugo, Émile Zola, Marie Curie, Simone Veil and many other personalities have been laid to rest in this shrine. A free tour at the heart of French history. And here’s a little tip from the Panthéon: this popular site gets very busy, so try to visit on a weekday, preferably in the morning.

Walking along the banks of the Seine, you’re bound to spot the Invalides dome. Wondering what this gold-topped monument could be? It’s one of the Paris Region’s must-sees. This ancient royal chapel was visited by Louis XIV several centuries ago. Unusual by its very architecture as well as its amazing history, nowadays the monument is home to the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Also to be discovered

  • Copyright images: CRT IDF/A.G Photographe, CRT IDF/Buchet