17 Famous Buildings In Paris, France

famous buildings in paris
Demos
Demos 
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The capital of France, Paris, is an art, culture, and fashion powerhouse that has captured the imagination of millions of people. Without a doubt, it’s also home to a plethora of famous and iconic structures, one of which is the Eiffel Tower. While every traveler should visit the notoriously famous tower in Paris, especially if it’s their first time visiting the city, there are many others that shouldn’t go ignored. Travelers can view ancient artifacts at the Louvre Museum, tour the luxurious rooms of the Palace of Versailles, and admire the architecture of Saint-Chapelle. If you’re wondering about accommodation options, you’ll find many affordable Airbnbs and hotels with a view. To plan your touring activities accordingly, check out our list of famous buildings in Paris, France.

1. Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe - Champs-Élysées
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Cedric.chan used under CC BY-SA 3.0

One of the most famous French structures is none other than the Arc de Triomphe, which translates to the Triumphal Arch of the Star in English. It’s a fitting name since the building is at the center of the juncture where 12 avenues meet, forming a star from an overhead perspective. Its architectural design draws inspiration from the Arch of Titus found in Rome but also conveys a patriotic message that resonates with the French people. Furthermore, it’s in a good spot to take breathtaking photos of the hustle and bustle of Parisian life.

Arc de Triomphe

Address: Place Charles de Gaulle, 75008 Paris, France

Website: Arc de Triomphe

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Standing at the western end of the famous shopping street Champs Elysees, Arc de Triomphe was designed by the famous French architect Jean Chalgrin and built by order of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1806, shortly after his victory at Austerlitz. The purpose of the monument was to honor the glory of the French army and the French nation. 

The arch took almost thirty years to build and was completed under the reign of King Louis-Philippe in 1836. It also acts as an important memorial site. Under the arch is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which symbolises all the French soldiers who died during the First World War. A ceremony takes place here every night, lighting the tomb’s flame and paying tribute to those who gave their lives for France.

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2. Louvre Museum

Louvre Museum (27128035747)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Pedro Szekely used under CC BY-SA 2.0

If you love viewing art and historical artifacts, then there’s no better place than the Louvre, which is the largest museum of its kind. This iconic building in Paris is housed inside the historic Louvre Palace and it features the popular glass pyramidal structure by its entrance. Once you enter the museum, you’ll be able to view hundreds of thousands of artifacts from ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, the Middle East, and Medieval and Renaissance Europe.

Louvre Museum

Address: Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France

Website: Louvre Museum

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3. Hôtel National des Invalides

Hôtel des Invalides, North View, Paris 7e 140402 1
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user DXR used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Commissioned by King Louis XIV in 1670, Hôtel National des Invalides was originally intended to serve as a hospital and retirement home for war veterans, particularly those who had fought in his armies. The grand design by architect Libéral Bruant resulted in a majestic ensemble of buildings centered around a vast courtyard, with its most famous feature being the gilded dome church, which remains one of the tallest domes in Paris.

Over time, the complex evolved beyond its original purpose, becoming a symbol of France’s military prowess and heritage. Its renowned gold-domed roof shelters the tomb of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, making it a place of pilgrimage for history enthusiasts and a symbol of national pride. The Hôtel National des Invalides stands as a testament to both the grandeur of French architecture and the nation’s enduring appreciation for its military history.

Hôtel National des Invalides

Address: 75007 Paris, France

Website: Hôtel National des Invalides

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4. Palais Garnier

Paris Opera full frontal architecture, May 2009
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Peter Rivera used under CC BY 2.0

Designed by Charles Garnier and inaugurated in 1875, Palais Garnier was commissioned by Emperor Napoleon III as part of his grand vision for the reconstruction of Paris under the guidance of Baron Haussmann.

Palais Garnier’s opulent façade, characterized by intricate sculptures and lavish ornamentation, embodies the extravagance of the Second Empire. Its splendid interiors, including the grand marble staircase, the dazzling chandelier-adorned auditorium, and the sumptuous Marc Chagall-painted ceiling, create an unparalleled immersive experience for opera and ballet patrons.

Beyond its architectural and aesthetic significance, the Palais Garnier holds a rich cultural history, having hosted premieres of legendary works such as “The Phantom of the Opera.” This convergence of architectural grandeur, historical resonance, and artistic excellence has cemented the Palais Garnier’s reputation as an iconic Parisian landmark, drawing admirers from all corners of the globe to bask in its grandeur and artistic legacy.

Palais Garnier

Address: Pl. de l'Opéra, 75009 Paris, France

Website: Palais Garnier

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Video of the grand staircase at Palais Garnier shared by content creator from the United Kingdom, Lovie Han.

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Paris Tour Guide

Patricia Aveline

Patricia Aveline

My name is Patricia Bollinger and my family is French. I have always had a passion for art and history and I chose to study them when I went to university. I have been a licensed tour guide for the last 30 years and I work in French, English and Italian. My passion and also as part of my work I travel a lot. For this reason, I have a good idea of visitors expectations. Naturally I want to share... Read more

Tours by Patricia

5. Conciergerie

Conciergerie Paris
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Hugues Mitton used under CC BY-SA 2.5

The Conciergerie is one of the major historic structures you can find in Paris located on the west side of Île de la Cité on the river Seine. It was once a part of Palais de la Cité, which was the former residence of the country’s monarch. The structure was a former courthouse and prison which has seen some of the darkest times in the country’s history as it’s where tens of thousands were tried, sentenced, and imprisoned including Marie-Antoinette, the last queen of France, before the French Revolution.

Today, it’s a museum and one of the country’s top tourist attractions drawing in local and international visitors by the millions every year.

Conciergerie

Address: 2 Bd du Palais, 75001 Paris, France

Website: Conciergerie

Opening hours: 9:30am - 6pm (daily)

Price: 13 USD

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6. Fondation Louis Vuitton

Fondation Louis Vuitton - Paris (50569906682)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user piotr iłowiecki used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Fondation Louis Vuitton building is a museum and a cultural hub on Avenue Mahatma Gandhi and was inaugurated on October 24, 2014. It’s a true architectural wonder designed by the world-renowned American architect Frank Gehry. The two-story structure features postmodern Deconstructivist design elements with sail-like glass panels and beautifully landscaped grounds. The museum features works by several popular international artists including Jeff Koons, Gilbert & George, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Janet Cardiff, George Bures Miller, Sarah Morris, Ellsworth Kelly, and more.

Fondation Louis Vuitton

Address: 8 Av. du Mahatma Gandhi, 75016 Paris, France

Website: Fondation Louis Vuitton

Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 10am - 8pm; Fri: 10am - 11pm; Sat - Sun: 9am - 9pm

Price: 18 USD

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7. La Sorbonne

Paris 75005 Rue Saint-Jacques La Sorbonne facade 01a
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Pline used under CC BY-SA 3.0

La Sorbonne is a popular historic landmark that houses one of the oldest universities in the Western World, the College of Sorbonne or currently known as the University of Paris. The structure is named after Robert de Sorbon, chaplain and confessor of Louis IX and the college founder.

Although the college has been around for centuries, the familiar building with a mix of neo-Renaissance, antique, and classical architectural styles was actually constructed in 1901. It was designed by architect Henri-Paul Nénot at the request of the former Minister of Education, Jules Ferry. Today, this famous French building continues to attract tourists from around the world due to the structure’s architectural beauty.

La Sorbonne

Address: 1 Rue Victor Cousin, 75005 Paris, France

Website: La Sorbonne

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8. Centre Pompidou

The Centre Pompidou, Paris
Source: Photo by Flickr user Oh Paris used under CC BY 2.0

Just a 10-minute walk from the popular shopping district of Les Halles lies one of the most recognizable buildings in Paris: Centre Pompidou. The construction of this notable structure was completed in 1977, and the complex was built with the intention of housing art and literature. It’s home to Musée National d'Art Moderne and its vast collection of modern and contemporary art, as well as Bibliothèque publique d'information or BPI, the city’s main public library. Combining postmodern and high-tech architecture, it’s hard not to be arrested by the sight of this complex. Besides the building itself, its location on Place Georges-Pompidou makes it a worthy tourist destination, since you’ll likely find street performers, sketch artists, and various attractions parked in front.

Centre Pompidou

Address: Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004 Paris, France

Website: Centre Pompidou

Opening hours: Wed - Mon: 11am - 9pm (closed on Tue)

Price: 11 - 15 EUR (13 - 18 USD)

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9. Panthéon

Pantheon, Paris
Source: Photo by Flickr user Nick Loyless used under CC BY 2.0

The Panthéon is a famous Frenhc building located in the 5th arrondissement. It’s older than Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower as it was built between 1764 and 1790 at the bidding of Louis XV, who intended for it to be a church. By the time it was finally completed, the French Revolution had begun, and the year after it was decided that it would be used as a mausoleum.

Notable French figures and citizens are interred here, including Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo, Marie Curie, and, among others, the Panthéon’s architect, Jacques-Germain Soufflot. There are also paintings and sculptures inside, as well as a copy of Foucault’s original pendulum, making it one of the best places to visit.

Panthéon

Address: Place du Panthéon, 75005 Paris, France

Website: Panthéon

Opening hours: 10am - 6:30pm (daily)

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10. Palace of Versailles

Versailles Palace
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Eric Pouhier used under CC BY-SA 2.5

This exquisite palace will amaze travelers with its manicured gardens, canals, fountains, Hall of Mirrors, Royal Opera, and lavish salons named after the pantheon of ancient Greek and Roman deities. It was formerly the residence and hunting lodge of Louis XIV, the monarch of the House of Bourbon during the late 17th century. Today, it’s owned by the French state and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and museum.

Palace of Versailles

Address: Place d'Armes, 78000 Versailles, France

Website: Palace of Versailles

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11. Basilique du Sacré Cœur de Montmartre

The Basilica of the Sacré Cœur, 31 May 2018
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user besopha used under CC BY 2.0

Basilique du Sacré Cœur de Montmartre is one of the most important and visited landmarks in Paris. It’s a Roman Catholic church that’s built on top of Montmartre, which is the highest hill in the entire city.

Construction of the church began in 1875 and is a representation of a loving Christ while also playing an important role in the area’s cultural and political landscape over the past century. Travelers enjoy visiting the basilica to relax by its luscious grounds, follow a liturgy, and enjoy the sounds of its bells and pipe organ.

Basilique du Sacré Cœur de Montmartre

Address: 35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 75018 Paris, France

Website: Basilique du Sacré Cœur de Montmartre

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12. Grande Arche de la Défense

Grande Arche
Source: Pixabay

At Puteaux, which is a western Parisian suburb, one will come across a cool building in Paris. This giant cube structure that’s 110 meters (361 feet) high and known as the Grande Arche or Grande Arche de la Défense.

The building is a representation of a hypercube that’s projected into our three-dimensional reality, and it’s dedicated to humanitarian values. There’s a metro station, a busy motorway, and a business district in the immediate vicinity that lights up beautifully at night giving tourists plenty of photo opportunities.

Grande Arche de la Défense

Address: 1 Parvis de la Défense, 92800 Puteaux, France

Website: Grande Arche de la Défense

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13. Arènes de Lutèce

Arènes de Lutèce (Paris)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Gzen92 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The Arènes de Lutèce is an ancient Roman amphitheatre built during the 1st century AD. It features a circular arena, and most of its circumference consists of a terraced seating area. The ancient Romans, whether they were rich or poor, would congregate here to watch gladiators engage in gut-wrenching combat. Nowadays, it’s a far more tranquil environment that attracts locals and tourists who can relax for a while and take photos at this important landmark.

Arènes de Lutèce

Address: 49 Rue Monge, 75005 Paris, France

Website: Arènes de Lutèce

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14. Luxembourg Palace

Palais Luxembourg Sunset Edit
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Benh LIEU SONG used under CC BY-SA 3.0

There’s no denying that the French Baroque architectural style is both beautiful and iconic. So head off to Luxembourg Palace, which was originally the residence of Queen Marie de’ Medici, where you can take in the magnificent facade of the building and its plush garden area.

During the early 19th century, the palace was transformed into a legislative building with a senate chamber, that’s why one of its key attractions are the seven statues of notable French politicians. Make sure to get to the palace early to spend time some quality time by its garden basin and then take a tour through its many lavish rooms.

Luxembourg Palace

Address: 15 Rue de Vaugirard, 75291 Paris, France

Website: Luxembourg Palace

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15. Musée d'Orsay

Musee D'Orsay (34409261023)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Nan Palmero used under CC BY 2.0

During your trip to Paris, you’ll likely want to spend some time by the picturesque Seine River. You could even take a riverside tour along the Seine. One of the most iconic buildings next to the left bank of the river is the Musée d'Orsay. It’s worth your while to pop in and admire the amazing impressionist and post-impressionist artworks from various world-famous painters. You’ll also notice the gorgeous clock and ceiling, which were the original fixtures of the train terminal before it was transformed into an art museum.

Musée d'Orsay

Address: 1 Rue de la Légion d'Honneur, 75007 Paris, France

Website: Musée d'Orsay

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16. Notre-Dame de Paris

Notre-Dame de Paris
Source: Photo by Flickr user Drew de F Fawkes used under CC BY 2.0

One of Paris’s many stunning architectural masterpieces is none other than the Notre-Dame de Paris, which was partially popularized by the famous novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. This medieval cathedral boasts a French Gothic style, an imposing rib vault, awe-inspiring flying buttresses, and eye-catching stained glass rose windows. Furthermore, there’s a massive organ with 8,000 pipes below one of the rose windows that impresses many visitors.

Notre-Dame de Paris

Address: 6 Parvis Notre-Dame - Pl. Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris, France

Website: Notre-Dame de Paris

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17. Sainte-Chapelle

Sainte chapelle - Upper level
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Sam67fr used under CC BY-SA 2.5

King Louis IX, also known as Saint Louis, owned several items related to Christ such as the Image of Edessa and the Crown of Thorns. He decided to build Sainte-Chapelle, a famously beautiful structure in Paris, in the courtyard of Palais de la Citéto to store these Passion relics. This Catholic church features a French Gothic architectural style, intricately detailed stained glass windows, and impressive stonework and sculptures throughout the building. Travelers interested in architectural gems will have a blast exploring this important historical landmark.

Sainte-Chapelle

Address: 8 Boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris, France

Website: Sainte-Chapelle

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Never a dull moment

Paris is quite special, and that’s apparent when one comes across one of its famous buildings that have captured the imaginations of artists, writers, filmmakers, and travelers. Gorgeous museums, Gothic cathedrals, lavish palaces, and even the incredible street art define the aesthetics of this fascinating city. Moreover, there are so many of these magnificent buildings that you’ll never get bored exploring them during your trip.

Frequently asked questions about the famous buildings in Paris, France


Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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Demos, a freelance writer, boasts an entrepreneurial background that informs his diverse writing portfolio. His articles span across various topics, encompassing travel, business, technology,...Read more

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