Ile De France Attractions

Places to visit, points of interest and top things to see in Ile De France

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Palace of Versailles
The "City of light" is undoubtedly one of the world's most beautiful and fascinating cities - you could spend a lifetime here and not see everything that Paris has to offer. An easy day trip from Paris is to the Palace of Versailles, one of Europe's most spectacular and largest royal homes. Versailles is about a 30 minute train ride from the center of the city.

King Louis XIV – the "Sun King" - commissioned the palace in 1668 as well as the spacious and beautiful gardens. At one time, almost 2200 men were employed on its construction, which took almost fifty years. The small town of Versailles became the unofficial capital city of the Kingdom of France in 1682, when Louis XIV decided to transfer his court to Versailles. All subsequent French monarchs lived there until the revolution.

At the height of its power, the Palace at Versailles was well known for its lavish banquets, parties and entertainment. It's estimated that around 3000 people lived at Versailles, which was perhaps necessary as one of the many duties of the servants was to hold the ermine robe of the king!

Versailles remained a royal residence until 1789 when a mob marched on the palace and forced the king and queen - Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette - to return to Paris... read more arrow
7.9 /10
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Musee d'Orsay
Musee d'Orsay in Paris, France, is a museum located in what used to be a railway station, the Gare d'Orsay. This museum boasts of a huge collection of paintings by Renoir, Monet, Delacroix, Degas, Gaugin, Van Gogh and other impressionist artists. It also focuses on the art scene between 1848 and 1915, which is said to be the early modern era for art in France. The collection also includes not just paintings but furniture, photographs and sculptures.

The setting itself is an interesting tidbit that adds to the fascination of Musee d'Orsay. The railway station dates back to the 1900s, when it was built for the 1900 Exposition Universelle. This was the creation of three architects, namely Victor Laloux, Emile Benard and Lucien Magne. The Gare d'Orsay was where the railways that entered from southwest of France terminated until the late 1930s. As longer trains were being built, however, the terminal became less and less suitable because it only had short platforms that could not accommodate the trains... read more arrow
7.8 /10
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La Sainte Chapelle
A jewelry box. A light show. A diamond reflecting the light with its many facets.

This is La Sainte Chapelle in Paris and more. It is best to visit this gem of a chapel during the day, when there is plenty of sunlight. La Sainte Chapelle may be small, but oh, the wonder and excitement when you see how natural light plays with it!

La Sainte Chapelle (or Holy Chapel) harks back to 1246, when it was built as a home to the relics of the True Cross. This includes the purported Crown of Thorns that Jesus wore during his crucifixion. This was acquired by the Crusader King (King Louis IX), along with a portion of the True Cross. The chapel is small, when compared to the buildings that surround it. It is 36 meters long, 17 meters wide and 42.5 meters high, with a 33-meter high spire made of cedar... read more arrow
7.8 /10
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Centre Pompidou
The Centre Georges Pompidou is to be found at the Beaubourg area of Paris, France. It is near Marais and Les Halles at the IVe arrondissement. This controversial building was constructed in the 1970s and now houses a variety of institutions. These include the National Museum of Modern Art, a library (Bibliothèque publique d'information) and others.

Ever since it opened its doors in 1977, it has been the subject of many an argument, because of its bold "exo-skeletal" design made of glass and metal and the use of brightly colored pipes that are visible to all. It is one of the most visited sights in France, attracting around 6 million people annually and around 5,000 people daily.

The centre, as the name suggests, was named after the then president of France, Georges Pompidou. It was his idea to build a modern testament of the creativity and ingenuity of the people and have it standing right in the center of Paris... read more arrow
7.8 /10
Undoubtedly the most famous avenue in the world, Champs-Elysees in Paris, France, is blessed with a unique elegance and charm. That is also why it is considered the world's most beautiful avenue. Even with traffic surging along it, there really is something special in the experience of ambling along Champs-Elysees. The streetlamps at dusk provide an exceptional atmosphere to the length that spans from the Place Charles de Gaulle (where you can find the Arc de Triomphe) to Place de la Concorde.

"Champs-Elysees" translates to "Elysian Fields" in English. What is interesting is that it was named after Elusia, which in Greek mythology is the place where conquerors and heroes came to relax. Indeed, when you visit Avenue des Champs-Elysees, you will discover that it was aptly named.

The entire avenue is about 2 kilometers long. It was laid out in the mid1600s by André Le Nôtre, a landscape artist, upon the behest of Marie de Medicis... read more arrow
7.7 /10
The Conciergerie is a fortress in Paris, France that used to house kings and subsequently prisoners. It served as the Royal Apartments prior to the completion of the Louvre, which became the new Royal Residence. La Conciergerie was constructed during the early part of the 14th century. It came with a guardroom, a kitchen and a men-at-arms room. This was built by the architects Jean de Saint-Germer and Nicolas des Chaumes. It was originally an extension of the royal Palais de la Cite, it stands beside the twin towers (the Tour de Cesar and the Tour d'Argent).

It gained its notoriety during the French Revolution, when thousands were imprisoned here before they were brought to Concorde Square where they were guillotined before an angry mob. There is a room that holds a record of all 2,780 men and women who were executed here. Among the illustrious personages that made it their "home", Charlotte Corday (who is said to have stabbed Marat while he was bathing) and Danton... read more arrow
7.6 /10
Basilique Sacre Coeur is a revered landmark in Paris, France. The Basilica of the Sacred Heart marks the city's highest point, on top of the hill of Montmartre. And from that lofty mount, it serves as a very visible reminder of Christian traditions.

The basilica is an immense example of the Roman-Byzantine style, it has soaring dome towers - 83 meters tall! It is built with Château-Landon stones that naturally maintains its white color as it bleaches with age.

Mind you, the Basilica has been met with mixed reviews. With the basilica, it's either you love it or you hate it. But, its ability to elicit strong emotions means that it is an architectural landmark. It has been called the "Basilica of the ridiculous", but it is also well-loved by others.

The gallery around the inner dome is also something to behold... read more arrow
7.5 /10
The monument stands for triumph – the triumph of the human spirit against the odds. The Arc de Triomphe in Paris, stands proudly, a fitting memorial to homage the brave ones who fought during the Napoleonic Wars, for the honor and freedom of their beloved country, France.

You can see this monument displayed in the middle of the Place Charles de Gaulle, right at the end of the magnificent Champs-Elysees. It is part of a series of monuments that begins from the courtyard of the Louvre Palace all the way to the outskirts of Paris. The Arc de Triomphe stands as the focal point from where other major avenues (such as the Avenue de la Grande Armée and Avenue Foch) radiate.

The Arc de Triomphe was designed by Jean Chalgrin and features images of young people battling Germanic warriors. It was inspired by the Arch of Titus... read more arrow
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The Musee Rodin in Paris is, as the name suggests, a showcase of the works of the renowned French sculptor, Auguste Rodin. In addition, you will find here many aspects of Rodin's life – Rodin the art collector, Rodin the painter, Rodin the person and of course, there is a collection of sketches he made prior to transforming these into sculptural masterpieces.

The place used to be the Hotel Biron, which was Rodin's residence since the early 1900s. The chic 18th century hotel, along with its surrounding grounds, was converted into a museum upon the sculptor's behest. Rodin donated his works, along with his art collection to the state, on the condition that the hotel be turned into a museum. The recipient, which was the French State, gladly complied. Auguste Rodin is known and considered to be the father of modern sculpture, so much so because his works were, during his time, considered controversial... read more arrow
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No other cemetery is so good at name dropping than Cimetiere du Pere-Lachaise in Paris, France. It is the final resting place of many famous personalities. The list of the persons buried there looks like the Who's Who of over two centuries' worth.

It is expansive and beautiful, with 44 hectares and over 5,000 trees. This makes it the largest park in the city. And the fact that many of the famous are buried here has made it into a pantheon garden and open air museum.

The cemetery is located on top of the hill of Camp 'Eveque. It is named after the confessor of Louis XIV – Father Francois de La Chaise d'Aix, or La Pere La Chaise. It was opened as a cemetery in the early 1800s and was designed by Alexandre-Theodore Brongniart, who is also buried here.

The cemetery came about as a response to the banning of cemeteries within the city's vicinity, as this was believed to cause disease... read more arrow
7 /10
Another landmark in Paris, a city filled with great landmarks, is the Palais Garnier, also called the Opera Garnier, Opera de Paris or the Grand Opera House. Designed by the renowned Charles Garnier, this splendid structure is of the tradition of the Neo-Baroque style and is a grand masterpiece in architecture.

Completed in 1875, it is a tour de force for rococo, especially when you bear in mind that this was built during the glory days of the French Empire. Napoleon III ordered it built as part of the reconstruction project for Paris. Today, it is making a comeback as the premier place for ballet dances.

Opera Garnier is lavishly decorated with marble. You can see the fabulous sculpture of Carpeaux entitled the Dance. The façade includes rose-colored marble columns, winged figures and friezes as part of its embellishments.

Inside, take in the wonder of rainbow-colored marble pillars, gilded statues and vibrant mosaics... read more arrow
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The Louvre, in Paris, France, is one of the world's greatest museums – you could easily spend a month there and still not see all of its treasures. It's also one of the largest and most visited museums in the world, attracting around 8 million visitors every year.

The building's statistics are staggering – the Louvre contains an estimated 380,000 works of art, sculptures and paintings, of which only around 30,000 are on display at any one time. There are almost 60,000 square meters of exhibition space and the exhibits on display encompass eleven centuries of art and design.

The history of the Louvre dates back to the 12th century, when King Philippe-Auguste constructed a fortress to protect Paris from Viking raids. The site was chosen partly due to its strategic position by the Seine. Parts of the medieval wall and moats are still visible today in the courtyard known as the Cour Carree... read more arrow
6.2 /10
Paris, France, is known for iconic structures. The Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the dome of Sacre Coeur on Montmartre are practically clichés when thinking of the City of Light.

Perhaps no one building more perfectly encapsulates the soul of the city as the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, located on Ile-de-la-Cite in the River Seine. This splendid example of Gothic architecture occupies a site that's long been the center of the city, and captures in its soaring arches and stained glass windows much that is emblematic of the French soul.

The site of Notre Dame has long been a center for worship, long before the advent of Christianity in France. Celtic tribes had sacred groves of trees on the island. When the area was part of the Roman Empire, a temple to Jupiter graced the site; after the triumph of Christianity, two separate churches in the Romanesque style were built over the centuries, with the most recent being the Cathedral de Saint-Etienne (St... read more arrow

* Regular pre-pandemic touristic activity level.

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