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World Heritage # 18: Paris and its monuments on the banks of the Seine

As part of a specially dedicated series French sites recognized as World Heritage by UNESCO, writing Welcome Camping invites you to discover one by one the exceptional French destinations, preserved as heritage of humanity. We continue this series with a site recognized in 1991, Paris, banks of the Seine.

It is the most emblematic of French postcards. Paris, its river and its extraordinary monuments are known around the world. However, it will be necessary to wait 12 years after the recognition of the basilica of Vézelay, then of 17 French sites, so that Paris, banks of the Seine, or finally recognized as a world heritage site. It is, however, obvious. Because this site is a real open-air museum.

From Île Saint-Louis to Pont-Neuf, from the Louvre to the Eiffel Tower, from the Place de la Concorde to the Grand-Palais, wonder is everywhere. Many Parisian monuments have indeed been built along the most famous meander of the Seine. United by the Seine, architectural masterpieces emerge from the landscape. They follow one another on the banks, beautifully illustrating each of the eras. Navigating the Seine thus offers a journey through the history of France, from the Middle Ages to contemporary times.

Aerial view of Paris

Masterpieces of the Middle Ages

In Paris, Notre-Dame cathedral is the icon of the banks of the Seine. It took almost 2 centuries to build the most emblematic religious building in the capital. It is recognizable by its two towers, its flying buttresses and its impressive rose windows. The Sainte-Chapelle is also a marvel of Gothic architecture. It was built inside the royal palace of the City at the request of Saint-Louis. The stained glass windows and sculptures of the upper chapel are wonderfully preserved.

Notre-Dame de Paris
Notre-Dame de Paris seen from the Seine

The Renaissance

Built at the end of the XNUMXth and the beginning of the XNUMXth century, the Pont-Neuf is the oldest bridge in Paris. It crosses the Seine at the western tip of Île de la Cité and alone illustrates the spirit of the Renaissance in France. Henri IV decided that this bridge would not accommodate dwellings or stalls. He had sidewalks placed there to protect pedestrians from mud and horses. Even today, the 238 meters of this stone bridge made up of 12 arches, fascinates visitors.

Pont-Neuf, the oldest bridge in Paris
The new bridge

Parisian town planning

The districts of the Marais and Île Saint-Louis as well as the Quai Malaquais and the Quai Voltaire bear witness to XNUMXth and XNUMXth century Parisian town planning. They constitute magnificent and representative urban groups. The wide squares and avenues built by Haussmann under Napoleon III to the west of the city, have influenced the town planning of large cities around the world.

Buildings on Île Saint-Louis
Buildings on Île Saint-Louis

The influence of world exhibitions

In the nineteenth and early twentieth century, the universal exhibitions are of great importance. Five of them were held in Paris. And it turns out that several monuments built for these exhibitions still remain their major witnesses today. First of all, Eiffel Tower of course… It was the jewel of the 1889 exhibition, and enchants every visitor to the capital. But also the Grand Palais, the Petit Palais and the Pont Alexandre III, all three built for the 1900 exhibition. The Palais de Chaillot replaced the Old Trocadero Palace during the 1937 exhibition.

The Grand-Palais and the Pont Alexandre III
The Grand-Palais and the Pont Alexandre III

If you are going to Paris for the first time, sailing on the Seine is a must. Your trip will reveal the most beautiful monuments to you. You will walk slowly, far from the hustle and bustle of the quays, and then appreciate the best that the capital has to offer to its visitors.