Perhaps the most culturally compelling country in all of Europe, France brings together natural beauty, culture, and some of the most notable museums and art attractions in the world. Louis XIV wished to create a “place (Paris) dedicated to leisure” and we believe his dreams have been fulfilled! We feel Paris is the most romantic and aesthetically pleasing city on the planet. Its overall cultural-artistic environment is magical. The quality of Paris museums is unmatched: The Louvre, The Palace of Versailles, Orsay, the Basilica Cathedral of Saint-Denis, and more.
We think Owen Wilson’s character in the Woody Allen film, Midnight in Paris, gives a perfect summation of Paris:
“How’s anyone ever going to come up with a book or a painting or a symphony or a sculpture that can compete with a great city [Paris]? You can’t. When you look around, every street, every boulevard is its own special art form.”
Pont Neuf Bridge
Conceived in 1576 by then King Henry III and finally constructed in 1607, the Pont Neuf became the first celebrity monument in history, with Paris being the first modern city. The new bridge was strikingly different from all earlier bridges. It was built not from wood, but of stone, meaning it was fireproof and meant to endure — it is now, in fact, the oldest bridge in Paris. The Pont Neuf was the first bridge to cross the Seine in a single span. It was, moreover, most unusually long at 160 toises or nearly 1,000 fee, and most unusually wide at 12 toises or nearly 75 feet, making it far wider than any other bridge known in the city. The Pont Neuf also became the new, great social leveler of Paris. Men, women, individuals from all ranks (including leading aristocrats), and even paupers were in close contact on an everyday basis crossing the bridge. Finally, the sidewalks of the bridge were the first the modern world had ever seen!
Palais Royal Garden
Originally called the Palais Cardinal and completed in 1639 , Jardin du Palais Royal is an idyllic and well maintained garden and perfect oasis for those seeking refuge from major tourists spots.
The Louvre is the world’s largest palace and greatest museum. Today it is even more beautiful, since its facade has been recently cleaned. We recommend discussing with your guide which works you wish to see beforehand, because you won’t have the time or stamina to see everything, as its treasure-laden corridors cover 12 miles! Of course, you should not miss the Mona Lisa or Venus de Milo. Though it’s not as famous, we feel the Winged Victory of Samothrace (circa 190 BC) is among the most impressive sculptures we have ever seen. Sculpted from Parian marble and standing over 10 feet tall, this tribute from the people of Rhodes is extraordinary. According to Zen, the “most awesome” part of The Louvre is the Greek Mythology section.
Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré
Running from the 1st to the 8th Arrondissement, this relatively narrow and seemingly non-descript street is considered to be the city’s most luxurious and fashionable area. Many of the most famous global fashion houses are located here, including Hermes, Chanel, Cartier, Prada, and Gucci. You will also see an assortment of attractive embassy buildings, notable Paris landmarks, and eateries (from bistro to Michelin-starred)
The 2014 re-opened Musée Picasso is quite impressive in its larger location. The rejuvenated museum includes 5,000 works of the legendary Pablo Picasso, dating back to 1895 when Picasso was a mere 14 years old. One of our Le Bristol Paris concierge friends was most impressed with the museum’s new sculpture display, featuring virtually every sculpture that Picasso ever made.
Le Pavillon de la Reine
Set back from what is considered to be the most beautiful square in the world, the Place des Vosges, the decadent Le Pavillion de la Reine (Pavilhão da Rainha), is housed in a 17th-century building, erected by King Henry IV of France in 1612. Once host to Queen Anne of Austria, the building’s name is a nod to that. This hotel provides for a luxurious stay or simply a great place to have tea and view its grandeur.