Insiders Guide to
Monuments in Paris

So many monuments, so few days — we have you covered with the guide. You know, when you think about it, it's not surprising there are so many monuments in Paris. There are 2,000 years of history, kings, emperors and building. That's got to leave some significant traces behind.

In fact, it seems to have been a tradition among French kings to glorify both themselves and the city by erecting monuments in Paris. Once the kings of France committed themselves to Paris as the capital, it's natural they'd want to glorify it.

To this end they built streets, city walls, palaces, columns and other monuments — many of them are still standing. And even the ones that have been destroyed have still left traces, with pieces of their construction materials used in later city walls and other buildings.

Then there was Napoleon.

Never one to undervalue his accomplishment,s he built not only the Rue de Rivoli along the north side of the Louvre, but two monuments in Paris to celebrate his military victories. Hint: they are both arches and one can be found at either end of the line between the Louvre and Place Charles de Gaulle.

Paris Insiders Tip

Many of the monuments in Paris can be visited for free using the Paris Museum & Metro Pass. This also allows you to bypass the ticket lines at many of the monuments.

Arc de Triomphe Paris

L'Arc de Triomphe Paris

One of two triumphal arches Napoleon built to celebrate his victories, this dazzling Paris monument has one of the best panoramic views of the City of Light.

These days, to distinguish it from its smaller brother, it's referred to as L'Arc de Triomphe Paris de L'Etoile, the etoile being the 11-road traffic circle that surrounds the monument.

We'll tell you the story and history of the Arc as well as how to get to the top of this memorial arch for free using your Paris Pass.

Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel

A Paris Insiders Guide Favourite

Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel

One of the secret treasures among monuments in Paris is the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, in the Tuileries Gardens by the Louvre.

You may have walked right past it in the Tuileries, not giving it a second thought. But in our complete review you'll learn all about this monument, its history and the hidden stairways nearby that lead to the Paris Insiders entrance to the Louvre itself.

The Panthéon

The Panthéon

One of the most recognizable of the monuments in Paris, the Panthéon has a fascinating history, alternating between the religious and the humanist.

It began as a church in 1790 then became a monument to famous French men during the French Revolution. Then a church, then a monument. Once again a church, and finally the monument we know today.

Its architecture is as fascinating as its history: laid out in the form of a Greek cross, featuring Corinthian columns, and the massive domes held up by hidden flying buttresses.

Interred in the crypt of the Panthéon are 76 great men (and two women) from French history, including authors Emile Zola, Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas; scientists Pierre and Marie Curie; and WWII resistance leader Jean Moulin.

Tomb of Napoleon & Museum of the Army

Tomb of Napoleon

The magnificent building, Les Invalides, was built in 1676 by one of the King Louis for aging and disabled French soldiers.

It sill is a retirement home for war veterans, but it also houses the Museum of the Army as well at the Tomb of Napoleon.

At the museum you can explore the vast collection of 500,000 military artifacts including armor, artillery, uniforms, weapons and emblems.

Napoleon's remains were transferred here in 1840 and now you'll find the Tomb of Napoleon under the dome of the chapel.

Montparnasse Tower

Tour Montparnasse

La Tour Montparnasse could be considered a monument to Paris modernity.

The only skyscraper ever allowed to be built in central Paris, it towers 689 feet over the Montparnasse Metro and train stations.

Tour Montparnasse was widely criticized after the completion of its construction in 1972 for being an eyesore and out of place among the more traditional style of Paris architecture, not to mention the height of all other buildings in the city. It created such an uproar that the construction of further skyscrapers in central Paris was banned.

But the top of the Tower provides a breathtaking view of the city, and it's open to the public. Take Europe's fastest elevator (38 seconds) to the top where, on a clear day, you can see for more than 25 miles and spot all the landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower.

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