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Discovering Paris’ architecture. Paris is a city with exciting architecture. From the great works all the city’s history is reflected in its architecture. But you can also find out more at places in Paris devoted to architecture, notably the Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine and the Pavillon de l’Arsenal.

For a discovery tour of great architects, there are special guides to download or thematic guided trails to follow.

Landmark venues for architecture in Paris
Its opening in 2007 was one of the greatest cultural events of recent years. The Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine,
housed in the Palais de Chaillot, opposite the Eiffel Tower, has in a few years become a landmark site for all
fans of urban planning, architecture and heritage. Firstly it includes the Museum of French monuments. Three
galleries retrace a complete panorama of architecture and heritage from the Middle Ages to the present. Lit by
daylight, these exhibition areas offer a didactic and exciting discovery tour enabling the public to get close to
plaster casts of the greatest French religious and civil architecture, then to discover the galleries of modern and
contemporary architecture. Finally, the visit finishes in the gallery of mural paintings and stained-glass windows,
which make it possible to discover copies of frescoes from the 11th to the 16th centuries, in an amazing scenography.
Models, technical drawings, prototypes and films enrich the presentation. In the heart of the museum, a specific
area is devoted to temporary exhibitions. These exhibitions, some monographic, look at the work of a major
architect, others thematic, appeal to both the general public and to professionals. Educational activities complete
the offering with guided tours, talks, workshops for children, etc. The cafe Carlu, with its glass bay window and
its terrace offering a wonderful view of the Seine and the Eiffel Tower, is an atypical place to enjoy something
to eat, and the bookshop means that you can buy something to read on the architecture of the past or present
to take home with you.

Located in a building with architecture characteristic of the 19th century, the Pavillon de l’Arsenal has since 1988
been the information, documentation and exhibition centre for town planning and architecture in Paris and the
Paris metropolitan region. Situated between the place de la Bastille, the Marais and the Seine, this unique place
presents the evolution of the layout of the city and its architectural creations. It asks the questions: “What will
Paris look like in a few more centuries? What will Paris look like tomorrow? The permanent exhibition “Paris, visite
guidée. La ville, histoires et actualités” (“A guided tour of Paris. The city, history and today’s topics”) answers
these questions and offers visitors an 800 m2 area that enables them to understand the changes in town planning
and architecture that the city has undergone over the centuries. At the heart of this exhibition, “Paris actualité”
takes a look at contemporary Paris via a monumental model of Paris that is constantly updated. The public will
discover the major projects that have changed the face of the capital since 2000, districts undergoing renovation
and reconstruction, and six territories undergoing transformation that presage Paris as a metropolis integrating
nearby towns in its development. All these projects — whether it be La Défense, which is an extension of the
historic axis of the Champs-Élysées, or the town of Boulogne-Billancourt, which is redeveloping the old Renault
land, or many others — make it easy to imagine the Paris of the future. The Pavillon de l’Arsenal also programmes
temporary exhibitions, three each year on the first floor, which address a variety of themes that take a deeper
look at such exciting subjects as concrete architecture, houses of Paris or Haussmann Paris. Finally, the two
mezzanines on the second floor are devoted to the Topical Galleries and look at French and international architecture:
results of major urban consultations and architecture competitions make it possible to follow the latest trends
and urban development projects of the Paris City Council and other important cities.

As a complement to these two places of reference, the Centre Pompidou organizes a programme of exhibitions
on architecture during thematic exhibitions. At the heart of this world famous building by architects Richard
Rogers and Renzo Piano, the institution offers an approach that is partly historic and partly a prospective reflection
on utopian architecture, the urban planning of tomorrow, sometimes bordering on the visual arts.

CENTRE POMPIDOU
Place Georges-Pompidou, Paris 4th
Tel +33 (0)1 44 78 12 33
www.centrepompidou.fr

CITÉ DE L’ARCHITECTURE ET DU PATRIMOINE
1 place du Trocadéro-et-du-11-Novembre, Paris 16th
Tel +33 (0)1 58 51 52 00
www.citechaillot.fr

PAVILLON DE L’ARSENAL
21 bd Morland, Paris 4th
Tel +33 (0)1 42 76 33 97
www.pavillon-arsenal.com

On the trail of great architects
Sometimes, a simple bus, tram or metro journey can turn out to be an ideal way to discover Paris, its districts,
its diversity and its architecture! The Régie autonome des transports parisiens (RATP), in charge of the capital’s
bus, tram and metro network, plays this up by publishing “Archi-bus” guides, in association with the Pavillon
de l’Arsenal. Each guide is linked to a bus, tram or metro line and outlines an itinerary to discover 20th and
21st century architecture while travelling around Paris. Today, bus numbers 52, 64, 88, 95 and 96 as well as the
Ney-Flandre shuttle, the T3 tram and line 6 of the metro have a leaflet, which presents a selection of around
15 buildings that feature along the route, with a general description of the year of construction of the building,
its history and characteristics. Travelling on the 95 bus line, you will discover not only the history of the Pyramide
du Louvre, a significant stop on this journey, but also more unexpected and less well-known stops such as the
Musée de la Poste designed by André Chatelin, the Théâtre Silvia-Monfort by Claude Parent and the futuristic
glass bubble at the Gare Saint-Lazare by the Arte Charpentier agency. Comfortably seated on line 6 of the metro,
the travellers become tourists as they discover the architectural treasures that can be seen from this partly overhead
famous metro line: the headquarters of the Le Monde newspaper designed by Christian de Portzamparc, the Paris
Left Bank and the future Cité de la mode et du design, already revealing its green exterior, by Jakob and MacFarlane,
as well as the glass facade of the Maison de la culture du Japon and the Ministère de l’Économie et des Finances
stretching out over the Seine, etc. These guides transform public transport into a fascinating architectural tour
and are distributed for free on the lines in question, at the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Pavillon
de l’Arsenal and are also available to download on the websites of the RATP and the Pavillon de l’Arsenal.
For fans who want to enjoy following the trail of great architects with specialist explanations, there is nothing
better than guided architectural visits offered by specialist guides. Eva de Certeau, an AimerParis guide, offers
architectural tours of the capital sharing her knowledge of urbanism issues, the latest architecture and design trends,
as well as meetings with important people in this field. Les Balades de Magalie, with guide Magalie Desurmont,
provides a discovery of the history of architecture in different districts of the capital. In the course of the tour,
featuring neoclassic and Haussmann facades, buildings from the 1930s and more contemporary buildings, she
provides anecdotes and refers to prominent figures that came from or lived here, etc. Promenades urbaines
offers a programme of architectural tours looking to offer a new interpretation of the city. Accompanied by art
historians, architecture critics, urban planners and architects, these tours explore the city and its urban scenery
every Saturday and Sunday. The expertise in urbanism and architecture of speaker-guides like Andrea Ackermann
or Peter Christophe can also be enjoyed during bespoke visits for individuals or groups.

ARCHI-BUS ROUTES
Available to download on the websites www.pavillon-arsenal.com and www.ratp.fr
Available at the Paris Convention and Vistors Bureau
25 rue des Pyramides, Paris 1st

AIMERPARIS
Tel +33 (0)1 42 51 44 26
www.aimerparistours.com

ANDREA ACKERMANN
Tel +33 (0)1 40 09 22 17
www.andrea-ackermann.com

LES BALADES DE MAGALIE
Tel +33 (0)6 14 66 49 27
www.lesbaladesdemagalie.fr

PETER CHRISTOPHE
Tel +33 (0)1 43 61 25 02

PROMENADES URBAINES
www.promenades-urbaines.com

Contemporary architecture in the capital’s districts
The City of Light has always been a playground for exceptional architects invited to develop and carry out grand
projects here. Taking a walk in certain districts is enough to appreciate the diversity and to discover the more
contemporary aspects that complement the historical and heritage face of the capital. At La Défense, the towers
vie with each other in modernity and reach heights of some of the tallest metropolitan sky scrapers in the world;
the Grande Arche proudly lives up to the reputation of its historical relative, the Arc de Triomphe. The district
of the Bibliothèque nationale de France in the 13th arrondissement is a place where ambitious contemporary
architecture projects have recently appeared, transforming these former industrial banks of the Seine into a hotspot
for 21st century urbanism. Under the aegis of Christian de Portzamparc, Rudy Ricciotti converted the Grands
Moulins and Jakob and MacFarlane transformed the Austerlitz warehouses. After crossing the new Simone-de-
Beauvoir footbridge, architecture fans will find themselves in the Bercy district, another great example. Here, old
wine warehouses have been renovated to create accommodation and shops, not forgetting, the Cinémathèque
Française a few steps away in the park, nicknamed La Danseuse by Franck Gehry, its creator.
Other names of great contemporary architects mark each of the capital’s districts: Jean Nouvel for the Musée
du Quai-Branly, the Fondation Cartier, the Institut du Monde Arabe and the future Philharmonic hall; American
Ieoh Ming Pei for the Pyramide du Louvre; Swiss Bernard Tschumi at La Villette; American-Canadian Franck Gehry
for the future Fondation Louis Vuitton … a list that continues to grow with the wealth of projects that design the
face of the Greater Paris of the future.

 

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