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#About the City of Paris

The beauty of Paris is exciting from the first second. In Paris, it is not picturesque like Amsterdam, or restraint like London. If those are quiet city capitals, Paris is the one that stops your heart from beating and takes your breath away. Admirers of Paris have said that even 77 years will not be enough time to soak in its beauty.

The big cathedrals, the fantastic squares, the spectacular streets and the magical gardens, the impressive palaces, the elegant houses, the shopping displays and the warm cafes - everything here lets you know that you have arrived to Paris, the most beautiful and seductive cities in the world.

#Must See
Want to see the most popular destinations? - Click on the tag "Must see in Paris".

#With Children
Family Vacation? - Click on the tag "Attractions for Children in Paris".

Unforgettable meal? - Click on the tag "Must eat in Paris".

In most European countries service fees are already included in the check, so it is customary to give a 2 euro tip, regardless of the price of the check itself.

#Paris Country Code

For public transportation - Buy an free pass for the duration of your trip. The weekly pass Navigo is excellent for a week in the city, and there are longer times available as well. Traveling for less days? -Check the RATP card.
Supermarket - the Monoprix chain is cheap and reliable, it is economical, and the French do a lot of their grocery shopping there.
Museums – many museums have free entrances on the first Sunday of every month. Include the Luvre, d'Orsay, Versailles, Cluny, Orangerie, Rodan, and more. Children under the age of 18 enter museum for free. Students and seniors also have discounts.
Picnics - a wonderful way to save money and eat. Buy fresh are the local markets and eat in the surrounding parks.
Renting an apartment - in Paris staying an apartments saves a considerate amount of money.
Free Wi-fi - Not all over the city, but there are a lot of hotspots spread around. Map: www.paris.fr/wifi

You will be able to find a lot of good things at Primark. If you are looking for really cheap, then the chain TATI is the place, and if offers a big variety of clothing from the East and from third world countries. You need a lot of patience to find good things here and for the long lines, to be like the French, bring your own bags, so when you talk around people won't know you shopped at TATI's.
See below a link for shopping recommendations in Paris.

#Clubs and entertainment
A good club is the Point Ephemere. Another is a techno club, the Rex Club, the underground Social Club, and the electronic music club Le Nouveau Casina.
Tickets for sporting events and concerts can be found at www.fnac.fr

#Electric Outlets
The required type are Type C or Type E. Type F will only work here if there is a third hole in the outlet.

#A Taste of the Upcoming Trip? - Here's a video That Will Show you the City in All its Beauty:


#A Bit From the Local Kitchen:

Antiq-Photo Gallery
#About the Gallery

To the lovers of art in general and specifically photography the Antiq-Photo is a must. This is a store which is also a museum for the history of photography. Here you can see vintage objects from old photographs, such as stills from old models, movie cameras used for films in the 1930's, and more.

Photography lovers can not resist the unique and aesthetic atmosphere of the place. Aside of the vintage photography equipment, the Antiq Photo Gallery has a collection of antique photographs, taken with various types of technologies. Furthermore, stereoscopic images are shown here, double images that present whatever is being pictured at the same angle as the two human eyes, and provide three-dimensional vision.

There are also Autochrome Lumière photos, a technology of color photography that uses natural colors developed by the Lumiere brothers in 1903.

Daguerreotypes from the 19th century are also displayed in the store. Daguerreotypes are ancient photos, from the beginning of photography. The daguerreotypes that you will see here are rare and special items. These are polished silver plates laid behind the "Camera Obscura", an antique photo box. They were the film and the picture. The photographed image was directly embedded in them by rays of light, which passed through the camera obscura, for many minutes, until they were stamped in the daguerreotype and became a picture.

The atmosphere here is romantic and historic. Even if you do not purchase anything you will not leave the gallery-store empty handed, you will leave with an experience that will stay with you for many years.
Grande Arche de la Defense
Grande Arche de la Defense
#About the Triumph Gate at the Business District, La Defense

The victory gate built in modern Paris, is in the La Defense district, the modern business district rich in glass and metal buildings. It looks similar to the large arch of the Grande Arche de la Defense, or according to its French name, the Grande Arche.

"The Grande Arche" is actually an office building that is the highlight of the La Defense project. The whole project was started by the French President François Mitterrand in the early 1980's. The impressive building was designed by the Danish architect Johann Otto von Spreckelsen after winning the bid, and the building was built between 1982- 1989.

From the rooftop view there is a breathtaking view of Paris. You can clearly see here the connection between the Louvre Museum and the Arche de Triomphe.

The arche contains straight lines. It was designed as a 20th century version of the victory gate designed by Napoleon Bonaparte. But, unlike the Arche de Triomphe, the Grande Arche represents the victory of peace and humanity before the war.

The arche creates a 3-D cube 110 meters in all directions. At the center of the cube is an empty space located on 4 sides of the arc. This space is the base for the office building.

A Closer Look at the Projections:


Photos of the Impressive Building:


The Impressive Gate:


The Grande Arche and the La Defense District:

Le Bon March
Le Bon Marché
#About the Department Store

The luxurious department store, Le Bon Marché, is located in the sixth district of Paris, and is proud of selling the best French products. It was designed by Gustave Eiffel (name sounds familiar?).

Le Bon Marché was built in 1852, by the couple Aristide and Margarite Boucicaut, who came to work in Paris in their youth from the suburbs. The business methods at the department store was considered revolutionary at the time, especially in the way products were offered to costumers. The innovation began when the couple understood that the Parisian market is looking for a new type of shopping experience. Therefore, the store offered a wide variety of items, all by self-service, with no vendor to find every item you request. Today every store operates this way - back then it was life changing!

Later, Le Bon Marché offered delivery services, exchanges, sales, free concerts and even an artist gallery to attract a high quality crowd. This business model was then imitated by stores all over Paris.

The department store is spread across two buildings next to one another. You can find designer labels such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Christian Dior, and more. There are watches and jewelry, cosmetics, baby and children clothes, and a whole floor dedicated to the fashion world. The space is elegant and decorated all over the walls, mostly with modern art.

A Closer Look at the Department Store:



March Mouffetard
Mouffetard Market
#About the Market

Paris is a real heaven for market lovers, no matter which kinds. At the Mouffetard Market (Marché Mouffetard), one of the oldest markets in Paris, you will be able to get your first impression of the Latin district. It's not too large, and you can easily walk around the entire market.

The market survived the rebuilding of Paris during the days of the Baron Haussman, which is why the beautiful atmosphere has remained from the "Hunchback of Notre Dame" days. Thanks to the old building and tiles walkways, the market has retained the memory of Paris from the Middle Ages.

Overall, this market has a picturesque feeling, because beyond that stalls for fruit, cheese, meats, bread, and wine, you can see groups of elderly people handing out song lyrics, musicians selling albums and more.

The Mouffetard Market is a very neat place, and the prices are decent. There are book stores, fashion boutiques, souvenirs, jewelry and more. If you come here on Saturdays or Sundays you will find the market completely alive. On Sundays, you can enjoy public singing of chansons and dancing. If you have not found where to eat while walking around, there are many cafes and bakeries in the area, with delicious baguettes and quiches.

A Closer Look at the Market:

le de la Cit
Île de la Cité
#About Île de la Cité

Île de la Cité is an island, one of two natural islands located on the Seine River. These islands are the original core of Paris. People have been living on the island for more than 200 years and this one of the oldest residential parts of Paris. It has an ancient and modern history. In the past the island was mainly used for residential and industrial purposed, however today the police headquarters is here, the Paris Hall of Justice, the hospital Hotel de Ville, and more. Only the western and northern parts were cleared of their inhabitants, and you can also find remains of houses from the 16th century.

In front of the Paris Hall of Justice used to stand here a palace where the kings of France lived. When the monarchy cleared this island and moved to live in different palaces, a vast area was opened and many wide square and streets were built, filled with alleyways and bunches of houses. This area then turned into a dense quarter. Île de la Cité is the most western of the two islands and houses big public buildings like the Notre Dame Cathedral, Sainte-Chapelle Church, the magnificent Police headquarters, the Hall of Justice, and more.

#The Island's History

In the year 52 BC a Celtic tribe lived on the island in the name of Parisii, and around it Roman construction slowly began. If we take for example the place where today the Notre Dame is located, in the past this used to be a worship site for the Roman God Jupiter. For the remains, you can do some minimal detective work and visit the old crypt in the Notre Dame.

At a later period, Christians who were fleeing their homes from barbaric tribes settled here. During the Middle Ages this island became an important political and military spot.

The oldest residential area to survive to this day is "Old Monastery."

Within the construction work that went on here in the 19th century by the Baron Haussmann, the face of the island was changed completely. Haussmann cleared 25,000 residents and placed them elsewhere. He destroyed homes, streets and any building that disrupted the view from the Notre Dame. The square in front of the church was destroyed as well. Haussmann's work was stopped in 1869, before he got a change to destroy ancient remains on the island.

Downstream at the edge of the island, you will find the Wille Glenn (The Green Knight) Park, named after King Henry IV.

A Closer Look at the Island:

le Saint-Louis
Saint-Louis Island
#About the Island

The two natural islands on the Seine River in Paris - The Île de la Cité and the Île Saint-Louis, belong to the fourth district of the city. The smaller of the two is Ile Saint-Louis, a small jewel in the Parisian landscape, is where you are now.

It is connect to Paris via the Saint-Louis Bridge. You can walk around the island using the street Quai de Bourbon on the Seine banks and enjoy the views on the old homes. Pay attention to the special gardens as well. You should be sure to visit Louis Aragon Square, at the house of the famous sculptor Camille Claudel (The sculptors Rodin's lover) and at the house of the chemist Marie Curie.

Today you will find here mainly residential buildings, but in the past the island was divided into two, with the agricultural section being used as grazing fields for cattle and a wood storage area. Many of the buildings you see here were built in the 17th century (between 1613 -1664) by the architectural brothers of the Le Vau family. The island became a quiet and serene place in the heart of the lively city.

A Closer Look at the Island:

Shakespeare and Company
Shakespeare and Company
#About the Store

On the banks of the Seine River is the "Shakespeare and Company," the most famous bookstore in Paris. A labyrinth of rooms, stalls, desks, ancient wooden steps and endless shelves. It has a huge selection of used and new books, a collection of people and daily and nightly happenings. For years the store was a magnet for all English speaking guests who came or lived in the French capital. There is a dizzying abundance here that takes time and patience. Many biographies, art, books about Paris, photo books and more. From the abundance, even the piano in the back room became a shelf in the store.

In the store you will find not only commercial activities but also various literary events - small reading evenings and festivals visited by thousands of tourists.

The recommended time to visit the store is during the evening hours, because it offers a spectacular view of the river and Notre Dame Cathedral.

#The First Store

Throughout history, before the store you are currently standing in, there was another, older shop. The store was opened by Sylvia Beach, who financed it with funds borrowed from her mother in 1919. The importance of the name was to emphasize the purpose of the bookstore in English. This was no doubt a success, because Beach succeeded in turning the store into a cultural meeting place for artists and writers.

In 1922, the store moved to a new address on Odeon Street. The writers continued to gather around the shop's cozy heater. They loved Sylvia and her kindness to them attracted them to stay around.

In the 1930's, Beach's businesses ran into financial losses and she considered closing the store. The customers, who loved the place, helped her survive a few more years, but during the Nazi occupation of Paris in late 1941 she had to close the store. She hid the books in a hiding place. The books were well hidden, but she was less hidden, because not long after that, Beach was arrested by the Nazis and spent six months in detention. After the liberation of Paris in 1944, she did not reopen the store.

#The Second Store

An American named George Whitman, who was a good friend of Sylvia Beach, the founder of the first store, decided to open a bookstore in Paris in 1951. When she died, in 1962 she left him her private library, which she managed to hide and preserve for years, even from the Nazis during their occupation. In 1964, Whitman decided to make a tribute to Beach and changed the name of his bookshop to Shakespeare & Company.

The store is active to this day and is also used as a store for new books, used books and a library specializing in English literature. The design of the store is nostalgic and even has room for writers who need to spend the night, for short or long periods of time.

#George Whitman

In 2011 George Whitman, founder of Shakespeare & Company, died. Over the years, he has housed in his store many visitors, young and old, novice writers and penniless students, nomads and eccentrics. Not only did Sylvia Beach, the founder of the original store, recognize him as her successor - she recognized his affection for literature and people. Whitman's literary temple made sure to convey the moving motto: "Do not be uninviting to foreigners, they may be angels in disguise." The absurd thing is that the less the store earns, the more successful it becomes. Whitman was careful to say: "Books are a reflection of imagination, so a bookshop should reflect this resemblance."

Whitman would ask visitors to stay at the store for free and offered them a rickety kitchen where they could cook, as long as they kept clean. It was precisely the limited conditions that made the guests eagerly engage in the success of the store. Instead of paying, they would help Whitman manage the store: arranging the books, closing the shop, pasting the carpets, carrying merchandise and the like.

On Sundays Whitman would host tea parties that included pancakes made with his own hands.

After Whitman's funeral, all the guests came for a special toast at a shop he loved so much. It filled up very quickly with many guests through which, at some point in their life, intersected with the small shop. In the days following Whitman's death, the shop's display window was flooded with exciting nostalgic scenes: books, pictures and tools devoted to old customers and friends in memory of the visionary man.

A Closer Look at the Store:


Promenade plantee
Promenade Plantee
#About the Promenade

If you are familiar with Manhattan's walkway, the "High Line," you will find a great resemblance to this charming promenade located in Paris.

The length of the "green corridor," the promenade of Paris, is 4.5 kilometers. Like that of New York, it was also built on the bridge of an abandoned 19th century railroad. The original railway line connected the Bastille to the suburbs. It ceased operating in 1969.

The promenade was designed by two architects: Jacques Wrzelli and Philip Matthew.

Pedestrians will enjoy the tall garden, surrounded by modern buildings. Along the way you will find benches, small lawns, green trees and stunning views. Those who choose to go on the bike route will find special ways to get around at ground level.

A Closer Look at the Promenade:

#About the Place - The Ancient Prison of Paris

On the banks of the Seine, as part of the justice complex, on the Ile de la Cité, you will find the Conciergerie, the oldest remnant of the Sitta Palace, the first palace built in Paris in the 10th century.

At various other times a chilling prison stood here, where some of the greatest criminals in French history were imprisoned.

The word concierge means the place where the doorman lives, in the broader context - the prison where the prisoners are held. This is also the reason why the place is called like this. The doorman was in charge of the royal palace and its candles. Even today, many apartment buildings have a concierge who is responsible for maintaining the place.

The place is now used as a museum and a historic tourist site. Although you can visit only some of the areas within the historical building, you can touch and feel the history of the city of Paris. The building is maintained and preserved by the National Center for Monuments.

#About its History

In the past, where the Conciergerie stands, stood the Palais de la Cité. The palace was the seat of the French throne from the 10th century to the 14th century.

During the French Revolution, part of the palace became a prison on the ground floor of the building. During the reign of terror, the Conciergerie prison was considered a waiting place until the expected execution. Only a few managed to get released. Queen Marie Antoinette (known to you for her famous "If there is no bread - eat cake") was arrested in 1793 before being executed. Remember the guillotine we mentioned in the Place de la Concorde? To this day you can see tens of thousands of French people coming to honor the Queen's memory.

After the palace was destroyed, the Paris Hall of Justice was built in its place

#What to See During Your Visit

There are two fascinating places to visit:

The first one is the view of the remains of the ancient Cité Palace. The entrance hall to this day remains one of Europe's largest surviving medieval halls. Its area is about 70 by 27.5 meters. Pay particular attention to the Gothic style and stone arches supporting the ceiling. Some of the great stories about the knights, kings and courtiers of those years took place in this hall. The entrance is via a small gate on the northern side of the Hall of Justice.

The second place is the prison of the sentenced to death, which also allows you to touch Paris after the French Revolution. At that time, when terror was in control and the famous decapitation guillotine was established at the Place de la Concorde, this was a place where you wait for the execution that is yet to come. Take note of the women's courtyard, Marie Antoinette's cell and the other death row cells.

A Closer Look at the Concierge:

Le Palais-Royal
#About the Palace

The Palais-Royal Palace is an important historic palace, just as it is interesting - because of its fascinating story. The palace is located in the first district of Paris, north of the Louvre Museum. The palace was built by the architect Jacques Lemercier between the years 1633 and 1639 at the request of Cardinal Richelieu, a statesman and a French Catholic priest who was appointed as head of the French government.

At first it was called "Palais Cardinal," but before the death of the cardinal it was given as a gift to the King of France and its name changed to "Le Palais-Royal" (Royal Palace).

Following a fire that broke out in the palace in 1773, it was rebuilt and restored to its current shape by Louis Philippe 4th of Orleans. He turned the place into a well-known Parisian site with boutiques, theaters, cafes, a small park and more. For this reason, the palace was called the "Palace of Commerce" and King Louis Philippe was called "the head of the merchants." The reason for turning the place into a place of commerce was the great debts the king had, because of the many lands and palaces in his possession. The palace reopened in its present form in 1784 and became a huge financial success.

The palace returned to the Orleans family in 1814 and remained their place of residence until 1848. During these years, Pierre Francois Leonard Fontaine became the architect of the family and made useful and stylish changes to the palace during the restoration period and the July Monarchy.

The palace was looted by the revolutionaries who overthrew the July Monarchy on February 22, 1848.

The Palais Royal also houses the Comedie Française, one of the six national theaters of France.

#The Palais-Royal's Courtyard

In the main courtyard of the palace you will find the "Columns" art installation by artist Daniel Buren, an area made of 260 columns of different heights with stripes on them. Although the work was carried out with the encouragement of the Fre nch President of the time, President Mitterrand, it received harsh reviews from art critics. As time passed, the audience learned to connect with the interesting creation.

In the garden you will also find Paul Buri's balls statue, rows of strawberry and chestnut trees, fountains in the shape of fans on grass, bordered by flower beds alongside marble statues and 180 arches surrounding the garden.

#From a Palace to a Shopping Center

Although he had many lands and palaces that he inherited and was one of the richest people in France, in 1781 Louis Philippe found himself in debt. As a result, he decides to take capitalistic measures and build an indoor compound in the palace that houses shops and pleasure houses. This addition turned the palace into the first French shopping mall and when it opened in 1784, it achieved a tremendous economic success. With more than 200 shops established in the compound, the average Frank could find everything there.

The most successful stores were beauty-care stores that promised men and women wonders, such as new teeth, glass eyes, wigs to hide baldness and even artificial muscles. The typical woman could have new eyelids, shoulders, and cleavage.

But the Royal Palais was famous not only because of its shops, but also because of the brothels. Young Napoleon, who was exposed to the provocative place, arrived in Paris to deal with legal matters relating to his family and found himself documenting the loss of his virginity with one of the girls who worked there.

By the way, nowadays, you can not find brothels and gambling in the compound, but the complete opposite. Today it is one of the most peaceful and quiet places in Paris with cafes and small boutique shops.

A Closer Look at the Royal Palais:

Champ de Mars
#About the Park

Champ de Mars is one of the city's most green and beautiful places. The Champ de Mars, the bigger park in the 7th district of Paris, has a very special use - it's a field for parades and training of the École Militaire (military school), named after the Mars Field in Rome. In the past popular holidays and some exhibitions were held here. The park is located between the Seine River and the Ecole Militaire Complex. At the western end of the park is the Eiffel Tower. The park is 780 meters long and 200 meters wide.

Many of the most important and significant events in French history took place there. On July 14, 1790, the "Pieter de la Pedersion" events took place there during the French Revolution, and on July 17, 1791 a massacre was carried out there against French monarchs who called for the overthrow of the King, King Louis 16th.

The park hosted many renowned exhibits, such as: the Paris World Exposition in 1867, the Paris World Exposition in 1889, the Paris World Exposition in 1937 and the colonial exhibitions designed to present the colonies of the French colonial empire.

It's quite amazing that under the nose of one of the world's most famous places, the Eiffel Tower, there are 780 meters of quiet green gardens that allow you to stretch out on their lawns in total peace. The place is used by the Parisians to rest on sunny days and allows tourists to see the tower's strength in the background. Buy yourselves baguettes and croissants, doesn't matter from where, then just lie back on the grass and enjoy the moment.

#The Paris World Exposition

The "Champ de Mars" park you are standing in at this moment has hosted several important expositions in Paris. One of the largest and most important exposition is the Paris World Exposition which took place in 1889. This exposition still servers as a turning point in Parisian history, because the Eiffel Tower was built in its honor.

The exhibition was held in honour of the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution and was visited by more than 6.3 million visitors. Half of them were French.

The exhibit featured a number of fields to a large audience for the first time: plastic art, music from South America and the Far East. It has revealed modern trends in art such as symbolism and post-impressionism. This exhibition also presented African natives imprisoned in a human zoo, an artistic performance whose purpose is to raise awareness of the differences between people. In addition, the "Machinery Gallery" building was established, which presents inventions and innovations in the field of technology.

The Eiffel Tower served as the exhibitions gate, but since its construction was not over, the visitors were only allowed to climb up to the second floor.

The exhibitions area was about 1 square kilometer and spread across the Champs de Mars, the Trocadéro, the banks of the Seine and the Invalides. In order to travel around the exhibition, the visitors used a small train on a 3 km track, which was set up for transportation.

#Art in the Form of a Human Zoo

In one the most important exhibitions held in this place, the Paris World Exposition in 1889, an interesting, perhaps even slightly disturbing, artistic performance was presented.

African kids imprisoned in a human zoo were presented to a wide audience. The human zoos displayed human children (ethnic groups defined as natural and primal populations in a particular place). Most of the children were African, Native American, Inuit and Asian. The purpose of the displays was to emphasize the "inferior" nature of the natives and the difference between them and the Europeans from Western culture. Ethnographic zoos were generally based on scientific racism and social Darwinism.

One of the main attractions of the Paris World Exposition was the "Negro Village," which was the human zoo that displayed 400 children in a grand show, presenting their authentic lives to the public. The attraction was visited by 28 million people.

A Closer Look at the Champ de Mars:

Canal Saint-Martin
#About the Canal

When the canal was inaugurated, it was an important transport route for delivering goods to this part of the city. It connects between the Seine River from the south of the Bastille to the Saint Denis Canal that spills back to the Seine in its northern curve outside the city. The canal shortens the route along the Seine by 12 kilometers. There are height differences of up to 25 meters along the canal, therefore nine dams were set that allow the water level to be balanced.

The canal is located in the tenth district of Paris and is also used as a dock. It begins at the end of Leon Jouhaux street and reaches Stalingrad Square, where it connects to other canals and flows into the Seine. The canal passes by the "Grisat Sad" statue, which has a wide range of cafes, restaurants, shops and galleries.

The Saint-Martin Canal now serves mostly tourists on tours and is hardly used for transporting goods. It is open about 363 days a year, and many Parisians enjoy strolling along its banks, which are now a popular entertainment area.

The walk along the canal is calm and pleasant, the houses are not luxurious and crowded, the atmosphere is calm and ordinary. It is a completely different atmosphere than what we used to call "bustling Paris." On Sundays traffic is blocked along the canal and the streets become leisure and pastime routes for cyclists, skaters and roller skaters.

In the 19th century the canal was the subject in the paintings of the artist Alfred Sisley, among the paintings "Mirror of the Saint-Martin Canal in Paris."

#The Canal's History

The canal was established in the 18th century and was first opened in the year 1825 in order to add clean water to the city water system.

In the past, the Parisians had a weak and poor quality water supply, despite the many water wells spread all over the city. In 1802 Napoleon decided to fix the situation in order to help prevent epidemics caused by the hard hygiene conditions. Schapetel, the governor of the city of Paris, suggested returning to an idea already raised in the 16th century, to connect to another canal. The excavations began immediately and were financed by new taxes imposed on wine.

The canals most successful era was in the 19th century until the 20th century, during these years the traffic was intense: the canal not only brought water, but also grain and building materials.

The competition over trade routes and the development of railways weakened transportation by rivers and led to the disappearance of factories, warehouses and workshops. In the 1960's, Pompidou, the French president at the time, planned to build a road on the canal route, but was forced to abandon the plan in the face of opposition from the residents of Paris.

A Closer Look at the Canal:

Bastille Square
#About the Square Where the Bastille Stood

The Bastille Square (Place de la Bastille), is a major square in Paris, and was built on the spot where, before the French Revolution, stood the Bastille Fortress. This prison, whose exact name is Bastille Saint-Antoine, became a symbol after being destroyed in the Revolutionary war. An outline is drawn today on the sidewalks where the building once stood.

The Bastille Square in Paris, is located exactly where the Bastille Fortress stood, symbolizing France's freedom as a people, after the monarchy was overthrown. It is located at a meeting point of three of the city's districts - the 4th, 11th and 12th. Locals refer to all the surrounding areas "Besti," for Bastille.

At the center of the Bastille Square is the July Column (Colonne de Juillet), a monument for remembrance of the July day during the Revolutionary War in 1830. From the square you can also see the Bastille Opera House, located where in the past the Bastille train station was located, the metro station "Bastille," and where the Canal Saint-Martin passes.

The North-Western part of the square is a big area for nightlife and there are often concerts, parades, and performances. The symbolic square often also hosts political demonstrations by trade unions and socialist movements, all praising the historical and symbolic significance of the Bastille.

Each Sunday a twenty kilometer roller skating tour departs from the Bastille. Only in extreme weather conditions this trip is canceled.

At this spot, on July 14, 1790, France's independence celebrations traditions began. It all started when someone erected a dancing tented area at the center of the Bastille ruins. This is how the 14th of July celebrations began.

Four years later, on 1794, a guillotine was placed in the center of the Antoine Square, the original name of the square. As per the resident's requests, the guillotine was removed pretty quickly, however this tradition continued - 73 people were beheaded here, during the revolution and afterwards as well.

#About the Bastille Fortress that Was Destroyed in the Revolution

This happened on July 14, 1789, when the Bastille Fortress was rundown by the masses, who demanded ammunition from the officer in charge of the prison. When the officer refused the masses storming the Bastille, he was killed, along with other officers working at the prison at the time.

After the ruins were cleared up, they were spread across France, as a symbol of the destruction of the Bastille and the monarchy it symbolized, that oppressed its people.

Years before that the Bastille Fortress was built in order to defend Paris. In the days of Louis the 14th it became a prison, where prisoners were held in rooms built around the 8 towers of the fortress. The prisoners were criminals, and also political opponents. For the people of France, this fortress became the symbol of cruelty and fear and oppression by the monarchy of France.

A Closer Look at the Square:

Île aux Cygnes
#About Swan Island

Swan Island, which is usually less known to tourists, is an artificial island built in 1827. Its original purpose was to protect the Port of Grenelle. Today it is a cute corner that attracts a lot of people. The length of the island is 850 meters. The name, "Swan Island" is a little deceiving since there are no swans here!

One side of the island connects with the Pont de Bir-Hakeim Bridge (the one near the metro station by the Eiffel Tower). The other side of the island connects with a bridge where the Statue of Liberty is located.

Yes, we were not mistaken. Though the original Statue of Liberty is located in New York City, smaller replicas of the statue are located all around France. The most famous one is erected here, on Swan Island. The statue faces towards the Atlantic Ocean, looking at the original statue in New York City.

The island itself has green trees, and during summer and fall these will be a beautiful background for photos of the Seine River, as well as Eiffel Tower photos. To relax and enjoy the peace and quiet, you can sit on one of the benches on the island and stare at the Seine River and the boats sailing on it.

One of the island's advantages, is that its less visited and most people who come here are locals. It is a place to taste the authentic Parisian experience, the less touristy and less busy side.

A Closer Look at the Island of Swans

#About the Church

Saint-Chapelle is a Gothic church located in the Ile de la Cité in Paris. Small and intimate, beautiful and exciting, you will find the most beautiful glass windows in Paris. Note the floor of the lower hall, which is made of tombstones that are located below it.

Go from the lower hall to the upper hall there will be a few steps. In the upper hall you will discover the oldest and most beautiful stained glass windows in Paris, dating back to the 13th century. These windows, made of glass, display more than 1,000 scenes from the Old and New Testaments, covering a total area of ​​618 square meters.

During the Middle Ages, the believers imagined the place to be the Gate of Heaven, and not by accident - the narrow Gothic columns, 15 meters high, the vaulted ceilings, the stars, the colors and the game with the sun's rays that bring in the light of day, make the place enchanting and exciting.

In the upper chapel you will find the glass windows and impressive wooden sculptures. Look for the Round Rose Window. It is called "Rosetta" and describes the vision of the End of Days. The church's organ, incidentally, is the largest in France and has 6,100 pipes.

This church is especially busy during the afternoons and weekends, but this is not excuse to miss a visiting here. Masses are no longer held here, but you will notice that there are frequent concerts.


The church was built by Louis IX, the king of France, after acquiring the crown of thorns of Jesus and decided to build a royal chapel in order to store it. This was at a time when nobles used to steal holy remain and the king feared for the safety of the item. The church was built between 1242-1248 and cost 40,000 pounds.

The construction of the chapel presents Louis IX's ambition to make France an important Christian kingdom. Just as the emperor could pass privately from his palace to the Basilica of the Hagia Sophia, Louis was able to move directly between his palace and Saint Chapelle. In 1297 the church granted Louis IX the status of a Christian saint.

Originally, the lower chapel was built for the residents of the royal palace - servants and ordinary peasants, while the royal chapel above it was used by the royal family.

During the French Revolution, the chapel was used as an administrative office. The windows were hidden in cupboards full of folders. Because of this, the windows were not damaged, unlike the other elements - benches and wooden screens completely destroyed. The turret was then destroyed, and the remains of the holy items disappeared.

In the 19th century Saint Chapelle was restored and the turret was rebuilt, beginning in 1862, the church is now considered a national historical monument.

#Saint-Chapelle Architecture

Although the Church is considered small and intimate, it has always been particularly prominent. It is 33 meters long, 17 meters wide and 76 meters high.

One of the most prominent and most beautiful objects are the stained-glass windows made of the finest materials. The windows are installed inside very delicate stone work.

Most of the church is built in the Gothic style, a style that began to develop in Paris during its construction, but during the 15th century a rose window was added, which is a large round window. It is decorated in the style of flames to the western front.

Above the church you will see a cone-shaped turret, rebuilt in 1853 at a height of 75 meters.

A Closer Look at the Church:

Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés
#About the Abbey

The Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the oldest Abbey in Paris, in the past was a burial ground for the kings of Merovingian. The Merovingian dynasty was a Frankish Syriac dynasty, which came from the coastal region above the Rhine, today in the northern Netherlands.

The Abbey itself was built in the 6th century by Childebert I, and become one of the riches Abbeys in France.

Until the revolution the Abbey was the center of intellectual life for the French Catholic Church, until a fire erupted inside, and destroyed the Abbeys and its columns. The Abbey church survived the fire and is the same one you see in front of you today.

In 542, Childebert I returned to Paris, and with him holy remains: the cloak of Saint Vincent and golden crucifixes, which according to tradition belonged to King Solomon. He wanted to store the prize possessions, so he ordered a tall church so he could see it from the fields too. In 558 the construction of the church was completed and it was dedicated to Saint Germain on December 23 - the day that Childebert I passed away. Although the kings of the Merovingian dynasty were buried in the church in the 6th and 7th centuries, their graves were opened and destroyed during the French Revolution.

Throughout history the Abbey was looted many times. It was burned again in the 9th century by the Normans, and rebuilt in 1014. The church underwent many changes, but since the year 1000 the bell tower has almost not been changed at all.

During the 17th century this was a very popular area, and the Queen Marquerite de Valois pushed the father of the church to donate some of its land to her. She built a palace on this land, which added to the area's value and prestige.

#Fun Detective Activity

Inside of one of the side chapels of the church you can find, if you look, the grave of the philosopher Rene Descartes. Get going!

Found it? - You can learn online who he was...

Church of Saint-Sulpice
#About the Church

The impressive Church of Saint-Sulpice (Église Saint-Sulpice), tall and beautiful, attracts attention almost immediately. It began being built in 1646 under the direction of various architects, and was built for more than 100 years. Each of them added a small addition in the spirit of their style. The church is slightly smaller than the Notre Dame Cathedral: its length is 113 meters, its width is 58 meters and its height is 34 meters, making it the second largest church in Paris. At the foot of the church is a square where you can see the "Four Ghost Fountain," built of figures of four bishops who sit beside their pets and maintain order.

Inside the space of the church you can see its walls decorated with works by the artist Delacroix, whose must see piece is "Jacob Wrestling with the Angel." The windows of the church are also filled with magnificent stained glass.

In addition, the church is known for its impressive organ, which contains 6,588 keys and was built in 1862. The organ of Saint-Sulpice is one of the three "hundred stations" that exist throughout Europe. Besides necessary improvements and changes in the electronic and mechanical mechanisms, the organ is almost completely preserved.

In 1724 excavations were conducted in the vicinity of the church, revealing a tenth-century tomb. This proved that there was already a prayer house and a cemetery there.

Victor Hugo's wedding was inside the walls of the church.


In 1727 a sundial was added in the church. It is a clock that uses the movement of the shadow falling from a thin object positioned in the sun to show the estimated time. The clock was set there to help the church priest set the equinoxes (the day on which the day and night are equal) and set the date for Easter, which is always celebrated on the first Sunday after a full moon, immediately after the spring equinox.

The sundial is actually a line stretched across the floor that climbs an 11 meters high white marble pillar. At the top of the pillar is a ball with a cross. In the southern window, a lens system is installed so that the sun beam shines across the line. On the autumn equinox, the ray of the sun touches a copper elliptical plate that sits on the floor next to the altar. One of the reasons why Saint-Sulpice church was preserved during the French Revolution, while other churches were damaged and destroyed, was that the sundial was used for a variety of scientific experiments.


The western façade of the church is two floors high, with rows of decorated columns. A large arched window fills the interior with natural light, and on either side of the front door are seashells, on a rock-like base given to King Francois I as a gift by the Venetian Republic. In the 18th century the church added the sundial.

Shortly before the French Revolution broke out, the architect Jean-François Chalgrin, who also designed the Arc de Triomphe, planned the two towers that rose over the church. Some critics claim that the harmonious appearance of the church was damaged due to the mismatch between the pair of towers.

In the 19th century, following the damage of the revolution, the interior of the church, which now became the "temple of victory", was redesigned. Frescoes painted by renowned painter Eugene Delacroix were added. These adorn the walls of the side chapel. The most famous paintings are "Jacob Wrestling with the Angel" and "The Expulsion of Heliodorus."

A Closer Look at the Church:

Paris Beach
#About Paris's Artificial Beach

Paris's Beach (Paris Plage), or the Paris Beach, is one of the joyous places in Paris. It is an artificial beach, that opens up every summer, along the banks of the Seine River that divides the city. The beach starts near the Louvre Museum and ends near the Île Saint-Louis.

This is how Paris, a city far around from the ocean, was able to create its own beach.

The idea came from the city municipality, in 2002 the mayor Bertrand Delanoë thought of the idea. The city cleared around along the river banks and filled them up with sand, added sun bathing chairs and sun umbrella for people to use, as well as showers, and a few trees and greenery. The Parisians enjoy their beach, especially the ones who did not go on a summer vacation.

The beach opens up each summer, starting from July 20th for about a month. This beach, which even has seashells, is without a doubt a genius idea and has had the honor of being imitated in similar towns around France.

The Artificial Beach on the Banks of the Seine River:

Montreuil Flea Market
#About Paris's Flea Market

The Montreuil Flea Market (Marche aux Puces de Montreuil) is a flea market in Montreuil and contains endless amounts of junk and second hand items. It is only one among three big flea markets in Paris, and here you can find cheaper products than are sold at the other two.

There are shoes, bags, books, videos, lamps, and furniture from all time periods. However this market is not for tourists, but for Paris's low-income residents. The prices are low here, and usually the product quality is low as well. It is sometimes hard to believe that someone will buy the majority of the products that are for sale here.


The market is open from Saturday to Monday between 7 am and 7 pm.

The best finds are found in the morning on Saturdays, on the market's first open day of the week. The cheapest prices however, you will find on Mondays, when the market is near closing.

As in every flea market, if you arrive at an early hour, you will be able to find real rare finds. Bonne chance!
Fondation Cartier pour l'art Contemporain
#About the Cartier Foundation Gallery

The Cartier Foundation is located in a unique building designed by French architect Jean Nouvel. The architecture of the building is characterized mainly by transparencies. The facade of the transparent structure, surrounded by Lebanon cedar, surrounds a huge glass fence. In its gallery, the foundation presents more or less familiar contemporary artists, from all fields of art and design.

The building consists of six floors of offices, the first two floors make up a space of 1,200 square meters dedicated for displays.

It is recommended to go outside in the direction of the botanical garden and sit on the grass behind the building. From here you can see the gallery as if it was a spectacular glass showcase.

To know which exhibition is displayed on the days you visit the gallery, you may want to visit the foundation's website.
Pont des Arts
Place de la Concorde
Madeleine Church
Maison Européenne de la Photographie

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