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Blog · Paris · For the Love of Architecture: Here Are 5 Architectural Must-Sees in Paris
May 19, 2020

For the Love of Architecture: Here Are 5 Architectural Must-Sees in Paris

By Madeleine Munford

If you’re obsessed with architecture and find yourself in the beautiful city of Paris, France, you are in the right place for some of the world’s most influential innovations in construction. Every day, I am shocked at the outwardly beautiful architectural feats that are surprisingly modern, but classically historic and say so much about the different parts of the city.

It’s always so exciting to get to explore and take in the architecture when even just taking a stroll along the Parisian streets. Here is a list of 5 of the most perfect places to take in architecture designed by some of the most famous, inventive architects:

1. Quai Branly Museum

Next to the Eiffel Tower, and a great visit after your guided tour to the summit, the Quai Branly art museum is an architectural sight for the books. Here, you can take in art from various cultural roots from countries in Africa, Asia, Oceania, and more. Designed by Jean Nouvel, this beautifully constructed building resembles a bridge, held up by stilts, encrusted with boxes of multiple colors.

I personally love the Quai Branly museum because of the diversity of the various artifacts and art that you can just get lost in using your imagination of how those cultures once lived and get so much insider insight into their histories from the educational plaques in the exhibits.

Centre Pompidou
View of the roof of Centre Pompidou from the sixth floor.

2. Centre Pompidou

The most recognizable landmark of all, the Centre Pompidou, with its bizarre piping, external escalators, and windows, won’t disappoint you in your search for intriguing architecture and bizarre contemporary and modern art. On the inside, you can visit the library and the modern and contemporary art museum for beautiful and thought-provoking exhibits on the top floors of the building. On the sixth floor, you can go out on the balcony, where there is a sculpture pond, and take in a beautiful view of Paris over the residential apartment buildings with beautiful balconies.

Every visit to the Centre Pompidou is a memorable one for me because the bizarre artistic visions that are so uniquely executed always inspire and deeply affect me in different ways. The exhibits are highly interactive so one moment you could be questioning the composition of a painting and the next you could be exploring a room that looks like the inside of a cloud.

3. Basilica de Sacré-Coeur

In addition to the Notre-Dame, which is under construction and currently not open to the public until further notice, you have the option to visit inside the Sacré-Coeur Basilica at the highest point of Paris, in Montmartre. Not only is it exquisite from the outside, but you can enter with free entry to view the unique glass windows, take in the artful religious scenes, and observe the portrayals of figures in history. There is an unforgettable centerpiece inside the building that is absolutely spiritually invoking to anyone who sits below it.

This is my favorite area in Paris because there’s never an end to the amount of activities to do and when you believe there is, you can always stumble upon some hidden treasure that feels like authentic Paris.

Louvre Pyramids
The Louvre pyramids from inside the side entrance from Rue de Rivoli.

4. The Louvre

The famous pyramids of the Louvre museum are architecturally genius enough to come visit, along with the maze of exhibits on the inside. The building that hosts this museum, with influence world-wide, also boasts a beautiful, lasting history complete with fascinating facts about the development of Paris as France’s influential hub during its struggles through the French Revolution and more. You can come here to experience the living history with Experience First. After your visit, you can take in the beautiful sculptures in the Tuileries garden right outside the historic museum.

I love the Louvre because you could get lost in the artwork for months and still never see all of the exhibits and unforgettable pieces. It helps to have a guided itinerary or tour here because the work is not only artistically and creatively gorgeous and inspiring, but it’s extremely historically relevant to cultures that lived centuries ago.

Fondation Louis Vuitton
Fountain in view at the Foundation Louis Vuitton.

5. Fondation Louis Vuitton

In Bois de Boulogne, a forest that lies on the outskirts of the Parisian city limits, you can find a ship-like structure, erected in the middle of these gorgeous woods. The building is a sight in itself, in addition to the cultural events often held here that you can participate in annually. While here, you will witness the lightness and transparency of the foundation’s architecture, along with their giant fountain installation that is in constant motion underneath the overlaying terrace. It is worth a visit, just for the opportunity to see the outside of the magnificent building. From the upper terraces, you can even see a great view of the city of Paris, itself.

I visited here once, but the museum was unfortunately closed. However, getting to see the building itself was enough for me after my long stroll through the woods.