When it comes to immersing yourself in the rich tapestry of French architecture and heritage, there is no better place to visit than the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine in Paris, first established by Viollet–le–Duc in the late 19th century. Discover 10 reasons why you should plan your visit.
1. A tour of France in just 1h30 of the most beautiful monuments
Imagine exploring the most beautiful monuments of France in just one and a half hours. Through its impressive collections and chronological amplitude, the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine takes visitors on a tour of French heritage from the Middle Ages to today. Three galleries comprise the exhibition space:
- Galerie des moulages: casts of monumental French architecture from the 12th to the 18th centuries, such as portals of cathedrals.
- Galerie des peintures murales et des vitraux: copies of murals and stained glasses from French Romanesque and Gothic churches.
- Galerie moderne et contemporaine: models of French and international architecture from 1850 to the present day.
2. A unique concept with life-size casts and reproductions
The collection is presented as either life-size casts or detailed miniature reproductions, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the history of French architecture. Visitors can also appreciate the intricate details of famous structures up close, providing a different perspective on their architectural brilliance. In the space of just a few metres, take in an unfinished design of the Arc de Triomphe, gaze into the eyes of the Smiling Angel and admire the brush strokes on the dome of the Cahors Cathedral.
3. The most beautiful murals in France
The Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine also houses an awe-inspiring collection of murals, showcasing a history of mural painting in France. This collection, of great historical and archaeological value, showcases the faithful reproduction of major works of French mural art from the 11th to the 16th century.
4. Privileged access behind the scenes of the Notre-Dame de Paris construction site
After the fire that destroyed part of France’s most famous cathedral in 2019, an impressive renovation effort gathered support from the world over. Today, in collaboration with the body in charge of the restoration, the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine allows visitors to gain an exclusive insight into the renovation works through its newest exhibition “Notre-Dame de Paris. Des bâtisseurs aux restaurateurs”, held until June 2024. Witness the dedication of preserving this iconic monument for generations to come.
5. A breathtaking view of the Eiffel Tower…
As if the wonders within the museum weren’t enough, the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine also offers a breathtaking view of the Eiffel Tower from its location on the iconic place du Trocadéro. Capture postcard-perfect moments from a unique vantage point.
6. …and one of the most beautiful views of Paris
Once you’ve feasted your eyes on the iconic Iron Lady of Paris, let your eyes wander to the Seine and the bâteaux mouches cruising lazily by, the Champ de Mars sprawled in front of the Eiffel Tower, the Golden dome of the Invalides… and the whole City of Light unfolding in front of your very eyes
7. An Art Deco museum in the heart of the Palais de Chaillot
Recognized by some as the major monument of the 1930s in Paris, the Palais de Chaillot is more than a simple testimony of an era. With its monumental imprint, it marks the great urban story of Paris.
8. Easy access by public transport and close to emblematic monuments of Paris
The museum is located in the 16th arrondissement of Paris is is very well serviced by the capital’s public transport. Take the metro lines 6 and 9 and step of at the stops Iéna or Trocadéro. Buses 22, 30, 32 and 63 stop at Trocadéro, while bus 82 stops at Iéna. You can even take the boat! The Batobus stops at the Tour Eiffel: Port de la Bourdonnais in the 7th. Moreover, the museum’s location near emblematic Parisian monuments, including the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe, makes it a perfect addition to your itinerary.
9. A gourmet restaurant in the heart of the city
After immersing yourself in the grandeur of French architecture, treat yourself to a culinary delight at the museum’s gourmet restaurant. Located on the 9th floor of the museum, La Suite Girafe is the former apartment of the curator from the 1930s. Welcoming today 100 covers, it is accessible for lunch and dinner and, best of all, boasts panoramic terrace overlooking all of Paris. A real Parisian setting in the codes of Art Deco architecture by Joseph Dirand.
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10. Within the museum district, a cultural landmark in the city
Known as La Colline des Arts (lit. the Hill of the Arts), the district around the Chaillot Palace hosts no fewer than 11 cultural institutions, including the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine. Unique in France, it offers an exceptional concentration of museums and reminds us that Paris is truly one of the world capitals of culture.
For more information and bookings, visit www.citedelarchitecture.fr
Lead photo credit : © jim prunier
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