The Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, Montmartre, Notre Dame, Musée d'Orsay, Luxembourg Gardens, Canal St. Martin, Palais Garnier, Père Lachaise, the whole Top 20 kit and caboodle.......
You're back in Paris and looking for a new experience.
What's left for a veteran Paris traveler like you?
How about a walk through France?
And you won't even need your hiking boots or compass.
As a matter of fact, in order to launch your crusade, it's as easy as a
Metro ride to a time-worn landmark smack dab in the middle of Tourist Central.
It's the same place you stood, awed by your first look at the Eiffel Tower.
In fact, this architectural gem is most well known
for its perfect perspective on Monsieur Eiffel's masterpiece.
Palais de Chaillot, located just steps away from the Trocadéro Metro, is
most appreciated for its stunning vistas of France's most famous landmark.
Centerpiece of Trocadéro Plaza, Palais de Chaillot
is not just window-dressing for the mythical Tower.
Sure, everyone admires its graceful lines, gigantic fountain and beautiful gardens.
The tourist circus here is always lively and crowded, admittedly a bit
annoying as you weave your way past the peddlers,
around the skate boarders and photo-snapping tourists.
But most people just see P.C.'s outer skeleton.
They never consider what's inside this rich piece of real estate.
So today, let's banish the conventional and take a peek inside this marvelous palace,
where you'll find a time capsule filled to the brim with the riches of France.
was created in 1937 for the Paris International Exhibition.
Two wings, separated by a wide esplanade, are shown in countless photos of Paris --
yet few travelers wander into the actual structure, the artistic achievement of
architects Louis-Hippolyte Boileau, Jacques Carlu and Léon Azéma.
P.C. played a huge role in the early days of both the United Nations and NATO.
Headquartered here, in 1948 the U.N. adopted its signature affirmation,
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
recognizing the rights of the individual as first influenced by the Code Napoleon.
NATO, too, was headquartered in these same halls during its inaugural days.
Soon after both organizations de-camped the premises,
the city of Paris realized a good opportunity when they saw it.
They established several good museums and a theater in the Palace,
including the magical corner where we'll start our walking tour through France.
including the amazing City of Architecture & Heritage
(Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine).
The museum first opened in 2007 with the aid of a strong infrastructure,
the previously established stockpile from the Museum of French Monuments.
The collection of French Monuments was already famously respected for its role in saving
the renowned smiling angel from Reims cathedral, blown to pieces in WWI.
The noteworthy angel is again in her rightful place, cast from one of the
perfect reproductions that was the hallmark of that museum.
Thanks to the brilliant thinking of Viollet le Duc, who, in the late 1800's,
thought it made sense to showcase France's greatest
monuments (cathedrals & chateaux in particular) in one place.
His brainchild, established to inspire the artistic community of Paris,
ended up saving priceless art that may have been lost forever, ravaged by war .
The new museum offers three glorious galleries of these plaster molds, casts dating
from the 12th to the 18th centuries as well as additional collections
made up of murals, stained glass windows and more.
Over 350 plaster-cut reproductions of medieval, Gothic, and Renaissance architecture
will bowl you over -- including life-size reproductions of gargoyles, crypts, and columns.
Doll-house sized models offer 360-degree views of details you might miss
even if you have the opportunity to visit the real monument in person.
A stunning reproduction of the doorway of Chartres Cathedral is
reason enough to enter the museum.
And you didn't even have to buy a train ticket to Chartres.
If you've longed to see the majestic glories of Vézelay, Bourges, Autun,
Conques and too many more to count -- but don't have the time or money
to do so, you'll at least get a taste of their magnificence right here.
One thousand years of architecture in one place.
Count me in!
Where else can you size up the cathedrals of Notre Dame, Strasbourg,
Chartres and Sainte-Chapelle --- and see them all before lunch?
lays claim as the largest museum of architecture in the world.
Not only do you have the riches of the past, you have the glories of
a more contemporary world of architecture upstairs.
The Cité Radieuse, Le Corbusier's famous housing project from Marseilles,
is on display for budding architects -- and for architecture wonks like me.
New challenges in an ever-changing urban landscape is the recurring theme.
You'll marvel over the complicated blueprints and models of the contemporary galleries.
Diverse exhibits, including mock-ups and videos, will challenge
most non-professionals but a quick look is both interesting and rewarding.
The Ecole de Chaillot, a school offering post-graduate degrees in architecture,
urban design and historical restoration, is housed here, offering non-professional
admirers of engineering and construction the chance to see budding masters at work.
Architecture buffs will flip over the bookstore, a great spot to beef up your collection.
Top it all off with (GASP!) the most stunning view ever of the Eiffel Tower --
from an upstairs window of all things --
a photo op perspective you won't get on the plaza outside!
Your walk through France is complete -- and you don't even have blisters.
contemplates it with the idea of a cathedral in mind."
Why is France the #1 tourist destination in the world?
Surely, architecture needs to be near the top of that list.
So doesn't it seem impossible to ignore this museum one day longer?
Enjoy the view!