Being the 3rd most visited city in the world, there are lots of things to do in Paris. In fact, Paris is renowned as the place that inspired Hemingway, impressionist paintings and love songs. But when you finally visit the city for yourself, its charm transcends cliché. With gilded history reflected across so many arrondissements, here are 7 monuments seen from the inside that are among the most beautiful in the city. See how beautiful these interiors are and find out what to do in Paris during your next visit to the city.
The Palace of Versailles, Château de Versailles, that we recognize today was largely completed by the death of Louis XIV in 1715. The eastern facing palace has a U-shaped layout. Encompassing 721,182 square feet (67,000.0 m2) the palace has 700 rooms, more than 2,000 windows, 1,250 fireplaces and 67 staircases. The façade of the original lodge is preserved on the entrance front. Built of red brick and cut stone embellishments, the U-shaped layout surrounds a black-and-white marble courtyard. The rest of the façade is completed with columns, painted and gilded wrough-iron balconies and dozens of stone tables decorated with consoles holding marble busts of Roman emperors. Atop the mansard slate roof are elaborate dormer windows and gilt lead roof dressings that were added by Hardouin-Mansart in 1679–1681.
The museum is housed in the Louvre Palace, originally built as a fortress in the late 12th century under Philip II. Remnants of the fortress are visible in the basement of the museum. After a $36 million renovation, the 35 galleries at the Louvre that house such treasures as Jean-Baptiste Oudry’s painted decorations and André-Charles Boulle’s furniture reopened in the museum’s Cour Carrée, with a new installation conceived by the French interior designer Jacques Garcia. On display are period rooms and masterpieces from the reigns of Louis XIV, XV, and XVI, like the inlaid rolltop desk that Jean-Henri Riesener designed for Marie Antoinette in 1784, and the sumptuously painted porcelain potpourri vase that Charles-Nicolas Dodin of Sèvres made for Madame de Pompadour in 1760.
Being one of the largest art museums in Europe, Musée d’Orsay has plenty of interiors to admire. Of course that’s not the (only) reason why you should visit it. The museum holds mainly French art dating from 1848 to 1914, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, and photography. It houses the largest collection of impressionist and post-Impressionist masterpieces in the world, by painters including Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, Sisley, Gauguin, and Van Gogh. But its beautiful ceilings and stone walls also make it gorgeous!
The Notre-Dame de Paris was among the first buildings in the world to use the flying buttress. The building was not originally designed to include the flying buttresses around the choir and nave but after the construction began, the thinner walls grew ever higher and stress fractures began to occur as the walls pushed outward. In response, the cathedral’s architects built supports around the outside walls, and later additions continued the pattern. The total surface area is 5,500 m² (interior surface 4,800 m²). Over the years, and with so many conflicts going on the city, several of the stained glass windows on the lower tier were hit by stray bullets. These were remade after the Second World War, but now sport a modern geometrical pattern, not the old scenes of the Bible.
The Palais Garnier is a 1,979-seat opera house, which was built from 1861 to 1875 for the Paris Opera. Beyond the Rotonde des Abonnés, the Bassin de la Pythia leads to the Grand Escalier with its magnificent thirty-meter-high vault. Built of marble of various colors, it is home to the double staircase leading to the foyers and the various floors of the theater.
The overall design of the Panthéon was that of a Greek cross with a massive portico of Corinthian columns. Its ambitious lines called for a vast building 110 meters long by 84 meters wide, and 83 meters high. No less vast was its crypt. Soufflot’s masterstroke is concealed from casual view: the triple dome, each shell fitted within the others, permits a view through the oculus of the coffered inner dome of the second dome, frescoed by Antoine Gros with The Apotheosis of Saint Genevieve. The outermost dome is built of stone bound together with iron cramps and covered with lead sheathing, rather than of carpentry construction, as was the common French practice of the period. Concealed flying buttresses pass the massive weight of the triple construction outwards to the portico columns.
The overall style of the structure of Sacré-Cœur shows a free interpretation of Romano-Byzantine features, an unusual architectural vocabulary at the time, which was a conscious reaction against the neo-Baroque excesses of the Palais Garnier, which was cited in the competition. Many design elements of the basilica symbolise nationalist themes: the portico, with its three arches, is adorned by two equestrian statues of French national saints Joan of Arc (1927) and King Saint Louis IX, both executed in bronze by Hippolyte Lefebvre; and the nineteen-ton Savoyarde bell (one of the world’s heaviest), cast in 1895 in Annecy, alludes to the annexation of Savoy in 1860. Sacré-Cœur is built of travertine stone quarried in Château-Landon (Seine-et-Marne), France. This stone constantly exudes calcite, which ensures that the basilica remains white even with weathering and pollution. A mosaic in the apse, entitled Christ in Majesty, created by Luc-Olivier Merson, is among the largest in the world.
And this is it for today. We invite you to explore our Pinterest boards for more inspirations about the City of Light and also about Paris events, arts, and design world.