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One street to the northeast of the Military Academy is theHôtel des Invalides, founded by KingLouis XIVto shelter 7,000 aged or invalid veterans. The enormous range of buildings was completed in five years (167176). The gold-plated dome (16751706) that rises above the hospital buildings belongs to the church ofSaint-Louis. The dome was designed byJules Hardouin-Mansart, who employed a style known in France asbecause it derives from theJesuits first church inRome, built in 1568. (The churches of theFrench Academy[Acadmie Française], the Val-de-Grâce Hospital, and the Sorbonne, as well as three others in Paris, all of the 17th century, also followed this style. By using the classical elements more freely than had been done in Rome, the French made it something recognizably Parisian.)

In the chapels of Saint-Louis are the tombs of Napoleon Is brothers Joseph and Jrôme, of his son (whose body was returned fromViennain 1940 byAdolf Hitler), and of the marshals of France. Immediately beneath the cupola is a red porphyry sarcophagus that covers the six coffins, one inside the other, enclosing the remains of Napoleon, which were returned from the island ofSt. Helenain 1840 through the efforts of KingLouis-Philippe. Napoleons uniforms, personal arms, and deathbed are displayed in theArmy Museum (Muse de lArme) at the front of the Invalides. A portion of the Invalides still serves as a military hospital.

The vast tree-lined Invalides Esplanade slopes gently to the Quai dOrsay and theAlexandre III Bridge. The first stone for the bridge, whichcommemoratesthe Russian tsarAlexander III, was laid in 1897 by Alexanders son, TsarNicholas II. The bridge was finished in time for the International Exposition of 1900, and it leads to two other souvenirs of that years fair, theGrand Palaisand thePetit Palais.

Les Invalides, Paris. Most of the complex was designed and built by Libral Bruant in 167176; the domed structure was added by Jules Hardouin-Mansart in 16751706.

Running along the river from theEiffel Towerto the Carrousel Bridge is an area of the Left Bank known as the ministry quarter. Most of the national ministries are located there, along with the headquarters of theÎle-de-Franceregion and theNational Assembly(Assemble Nationale). Thearrondissementis the old Faubourg Saint-Germain, animpeccableaddress since the early 18th century. As such, it was subject to heavy expropriation during the French Revolution, and ministries are lodged mostly in splendid old mansions and convents. Although imposing, these have been difficult to adapt to the needs of modern administration. When it has proved impractical to spread intoadjacentbuildings or to construct annexes in the garden, branches have been installed wherever space can be found. Some of the ministries occupy as many as 25 separate buildings.

Probably the best known of all ministries is the low-built, ornate Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministre des Affaires trangres), on the Quai dOrsay between the Invalides Esplanade and the National Assembly. The address Quai dOrsay has become a synonym for the ministry.

The National Assembly is housed in the Bourbon Palace (172228), which was seized during the Revolution. Succeeding regimes added bits and pieces onto the old palace, including the Greek peristyle facing the river as ordered in 1807 by Napoleon I.

The old, disused Orsay railway station near the river was renovated and in 1986 was reopened as theOrsay Museum(Muse dOrsay) of 19th-century art and civilization. It contains, among other collections, the Impressionist and Postimpressionist paintingsbyPaul Czannedouard ManetClaude MonetPierre-Auguste RenoirVincent van Gogh, and othersthat were formerly in theJeu de Paume.

East of the Orsay Museum, at the point where the Arts Bridge (Pont des Arts) meets the Left Bank, stands the Institute of France (Institut de France), which since 1806 has housed the five French academies. The site was originally occupied by the Nesle Tower (Tour de Nesle), a defense work for the Left Bank terminus of the city wall of 1220.Louis Le Vaudesigned the additional buildings in 1663 to house theCollege of the Four Nations(Collge des Quatre-Nations), paid for by alegacyfrom Louis XIVs ministerCardinal Mazarin, who had brought the four entities in questionPignerol (Pinerolo, in the Italian Piedmont), Alsace, Artois, and northern Catalonia (the Cerdagne [Cerdaña] and Roussillon regions)under the French crown. Le Vau based his designs on Italian models. The five contemporary academies are theFrench Academy, founded byCardinal de Richelieuin 1635, which edits the official French dictionary, awards literary prizes, and has a membership of 40 Immortals; theAcademy of Inscriptions and Belles Lettres, founded in 1663 by Louis XIVs finance minister,Jean-Baptiste Colbert; theAcademy of Sciences, founded in 1666, also by Colbert; theAcademy of Fine Arts, two sections formed at different times by Mazarin and Colbert and joined in 1795; and theAcademy of Ethics and Political Science, created by theNational Convention(a governing body during the French Revolution) in 1795 to ponder questions of philosophy, economics, politics, law, and history.

Almost next door is theMint (Hôtel des Monnaies). In this sober late 18th-century building, visitors may tour a museum of coins and medals.

TheArts Bridge leads from the Institute of France across the Seine to the Louvre. One of the most charming of all the Parisian bridges, it was the first (1803) to be made of iron, and it has always been reserved for pedestrians; it provides anintimateview of riverside Paris and of the Seine itself.

South of the city centre are the quintessential Left Bank neighbourhoods known as Saint-Germain-des-Prs and the Latin Quarter (Quartier Latin). The boulevardSaint-Germain itself begins at the National Assembly building, curving eastward to join the river again at the Sully Bridge. A little less than halfway along the boulevard is the pre-Gothic church of Saint-Germain-des-Prs. The old church, which belonged to a Benedictine abbey founded in the 8th century, was sacked four times by Vikings and was rebuilt between 990 and 1201. Parts of the present church date from that time.

This portion of the Left Bank has long been a gathering place for practitioners of the arts. The dramatistJean Racinedied there in 1699; the painterEugne Delacroixhad his studio in the Place Frstemberg; publishing houses moved in during the 19th century; and the principal cafs have been meeting places for artists, writers, and publishers ever since. From 1945 to about 1955 it was the hub of theExistentialistmovement and an associated revival of bohemianism. It is still a lively centre for literature, food, and conversation.

Straight north from the crossroads at the Saint-Germain-des-Prs church is the National School of Fine Arts (cole Nationale Suprieure des Beaux-Arts), the state school of painting and sculpture, on the Quai Malaquais. Two streets south of the crossroads is the church ofSaint-Sulpice(16461780), the work of six successive architects. The street alongside the church is sprinkled with shops specializing in devotional statuary, much of it on theaestheticlevel of tourist souvenirs and known in France as Saint Sulpicerie. Eastward to the boulevardSaint-Michel, the area toward the river from the boulevard Saint-Germain is a tangle of narrow, animated streets, which typify the tourists idea of avivaciousand noisy Paris.

East of the boulevard Saint-Michel is the university precinct, self-governing under the kings, where, in class and out, students and teachers spoke Latin until 1789 (hence the name Quartier Latin). At the junction of the boulevards Saint-Germain and Saint-Michel are the remains of one of the three baths of the Roman city. These are in the grounds of the National Museum of theMiddle Ages(Muse National du Moyen Âge), housed in the Hôtel deCluny, a Gothic mansion (14851500) that holds a collection ofmedievalworks of art, including the renowned six-paneltapestryLa Dame la licorne(The Lady and the Unicorn).

(The Lady and the Unicorn), one of the six pieces of the tapestry, Loire workshop, late 15th century; in the National Museum of the Middle Ages, Paris.

LaurosGiruadon/Art Resource, New York

The wide straight boulevard Saint-Michel is the main street of the student quarter. It is lined with bookshops, cafs, cafeterias, and movie houses. The buildings of the university are found on smaller streets. The university was built up of colleges, each founded and supported by a donor, often a prelate or a religious order. In about 1257Robert de Sorbon, chaplain toLouis IX, established a college, known as theSorbonne, that eventually became the centre of theological study in France. The oldest part of the Sorbonne is the chapel (163542), the gift ofCardinal de Richelieu, who is buried there. It was designed byJacques Lemercierand was one of a number of new domed Jesuit-style churches of the period.

The Sorbonne served for centuries as the administrative seat of theUniversity of Paris. Following mass student protests in 1968, the university was divided into a number of entirely separate universities, and the Sorbonne building proper continues to serve as thepremisesfor some of these. Other faculties, schools, and institutes have moved to more-spacious sites in the city and suburbs in an effort to ease the overcrowding of the Paris studentmilieu.

The independentCollege of France(Collge de France) was set up a few steps from the university by KingFrancis Iin 1529 to offer a more liberal, modern curriculum than the narrow theology and Latin of the Sorbonne. Bestowing no degrees, it always has had a superb faculty of well-known specialists, especially in philosophy, literature, and the sciences.

At the top of the hill rising from the river, the boulevard Saint-Michel skirts theLuxembourg Gardens, the remains of the park ofMarie de Mdicis Luxembourg Palace (161621), which now houses the French Senate. The gardens are planted with chestnuts and areenhancedwith a pond for toy sailboats, a marionette theatre, and statuary.

East of the gardens at the end of the rue Soufflot stands the 18th-centuryPanthonbuilding, designed byJacques-Germain Soufflot. It was commissioned by KingLouis XV, after his recovery from an illness, as a votive offering toSt. Geneviveand was to replace the mouldering 5th-century abbey in her name. Though intended as the principal church in Paris, it was renamed the Panthon by the Revolutionary authorities, who made it the last resting place for heroes of theFrench Revolution. The walling up of a number of its windows and the removal of muchinterior decorationreplaced the intended effect of a light interior space with a gloomy dignity. Among those buried under the inscription Aux grands hommes, la Patrie reconnaissante (To great men, [from] their grateful homeland) are the authorsVoltaireJean-Jacques RousseauVictor Hugo, andmile Zola, as well asJean Moulin, chief of the Resistance inWorld War II.

Northwest of the Panthon is a steep street named the rue de la Montagne Sainte-Genevive. It was the paved road toItalyin Roman times. The hill leads down to the lively market square of Place Maubert and a tangle of ancient, picturesque riverside streets. The best known of these is the medieval rue de la Huchette, from which the rue du Chat-qui-Pche (Street of the Fishing Cat) leads to the Quai Saint-Michel. Two churches in this areaSaint-Sverin (148994), Gothic and humble, andSaint-Julien-le-Pauvre (11651220), which belongs to the transitional period between the Romanesque and the Gothicare notable. The square in front of the latter church offers one of the finest views ofNotre-Dame de Paris.

North of the city centre, a few streets away from the Seine and running roughly parallel to the river, is the rue de Rivoli. At its eastern end the street fronts theHôtel de Villeand the Saint-Jacquesbell tower(Tour Saint-Jacques), all that remains of a church in theFlamboyant Gothic stylethat was torn down in 1797. Farther west, the Louvre and the Tuileries Gardens occupy a long stretch of land between the street and the river. On the north side of the street is an arcade more than 1 mile (1.6 km) long.

Opposite the middle of the Louvre, the Place duPalais-Royalleads to the palace ofCardinal de Richelieu, which he willed to the royal family.Louis XIVlived there as a child, and during the minority ofLouis XVthe kingdom was ruled from there by the debauched regentPhilippe II, duc dOrlans, from 1715 to 1723. Late in the 18th centuryLouis-Philippe-Joseph, duc dOrlans, who was popularly renamed Philippe-Egalit during the French Revolution for his radical opinions, undertook extensive building around the palace garden. It was a commercial operation, and the prince hoped to pay his debts from the property rents. Around the garden he built a beautiful oblong of colonnaded galleries and at each end of the gallery farthest from his residence a theatre. The larger playhouse has been the home of theComdie-Française, the state theatre company, since Napoleon Is reign. The princely apartments now shelter high state bodies such as theConseil dtat(Council of State).

Palais-Royal, home of Frances Conseil dtat and other government offices, Paris.

Comdie-Française, Paris, designed by Victor Louis, 178690.

The Parisian city plannerBaron Haussmanngreatly enlarged the Place du Palais-Royal in 1852, and he was careful to preserve the palace when he laid out the avenue de lOpra. At the top of this avenue, a grand opera house was built from 1825 to 1898. TheParis Opera HouselOpra, or Palais Garnier), a splendid monument to theSecond Empire, was designed in the neo-Baroque style byCharles Garnier. It is known especially for its decorative embellishments, chief among them the Grand Staircase. Just behind the Opera House are various large department stores.

The nextplacealong the rue de Rivoli is the Place des Pyramides. The gilded equestrian statue ofJoan of Arcstands not far from where she was wounded at the Saint-Honor Gate (Porte Saint-Honor) in her unsuccessful attack on Paris (at that time held by the English), on September 8, 1429.

Farther west, toward thePlace de la Concorde, the rue de Castiglione leads from the rue de Rivoli to thePlace Vendôme, an elegant octagonalplace, little changed from the 1698 designs ofJules Hardouin-Mansart. In the centre, the Vendôme Column bears a statue ofNapoleon I. It was pulled down during theCommune of 1871and put back up under theThird Republic(18711940). The Place Vendôme and the adjacent rue de la Paix, which enters theplaceopposite the rue de Castiglione, have lost none of their discreet distinction, nor have their shops.

The rue de Rivoli ends at the Place de la Concorde. Between the twin buildings on the northeastern side of theplace, the broad rue Royale mounts to theMadeleineconsecratedin 1842. This church is a stern oblong, fenced with columns approximately 65 feet (20 metres) high. Its design, supposedly that of a Greek temple, is actually closer to the Roman notion of Greek architecture. To the west off the rue Royale runs therue du Faubourg Saint-Honor. In addition to the British embassy and the lyse Palace (residence of the French president), it has on its shop windows some of the most prestigious names in the Paris fashion trade.

Front façade of La Madeleine (Church of St. Mary Magdalen), Paris.

Overview of the lyse Palace, Paris.

Contunico © ZDF Enterprises GmbH, Mainz

At the Place de la Madeleine begin the Grands Boulevards, which arch eastward through the Right Bank to the Place de la Rpublique. The glittering chic of thesecontiguousboulevardsMadeleine, Capucines, Italiens, Montmartre, Poissonnire, Bonne Nouvelle,Saint-Denis, and Saint-Martinflavoured Paris life from the 1750s to the 1880s. Many of this epochs theatres and other entertainments survive. The Opra Comique stands fast just off the boulevard des Italiens; the Grvin wax museum survives on the boulevard Montmartre; and, a few doors away, the Thâtre des Varits, founded under the Second Empire by the composerJacques Offenbach, still operates. TheThâtre de la Renaissance, where the actorBenoît-Constant Coquelincreated the role of Cyrano de Bergerac in 1897, remains on the boulevard Saint-Martin. The Thâtre de lAmbigu, whereFrdric Lemaître, the celebrated actor in boulevard melodrama, thrilled all Paris in the mid-19th century, was demolished in the 1960s.

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46 references found in Britannica articles

Inurban planning: The era of industrialization

Official Site of Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau

Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students.

Paris – Childrens Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11)

Paris – Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up)

Corrections? Updates? Help us improve this article!

Contact our editors with your feedback.

European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company

7 of the Worlds Most Dangerous Lizards and Turtles

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Saint-Germain-des-Prs and the Latin Quarter

The Rue de Rivoli and Right Bank environs

Medieval development and discord (12th century to 16th century)

From Renaissance architecture to beautification schemes (15th century to 18th century)

Paris during and after the French Revolution (1789 to mid-19th century)

Haussmanns Paris (mid-19th century to 1968)

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