Top Ten Essential Architecture top ten Paris Monuments  
     
  For a more complete list, see Paris Main List  
1 Arc de Triomph  

architect

Jean Chalgrin (1739-1811)

location

stands in the centre of the Place de l'Étoile, at the western end of the Champs-Élysées. metro station: Charles de Gaulle - Étoile. 

date

1806

style

NeoClassical version of ancient Roman architecture

construction

stone

type

Monument

The Arc de Triomphe is a monument in Paris that stands in the centre of the Place de l'Étoile, at the western end of the Champs-Élysées. It is the linchpin of the historic axis (L'Axe historique) leading from the courtyard of the Louvre Palace, a sequence of monuments and grand thoroughfares on a route leading out of Paris. The monument's iconographic program pitted heroically nude French youths against bearded Germanic warriors in chain mail and set the tone for public monuments with triumphant nationalistic messages until World War I.
 
     
2 Paris Meridian    
A French astronomer, Abbé Jean Picard, measured the length of a degree of longitude and computed from it the size of the Earth, in 1655. In 1666, Louis XIV of France authorized the building of a Paris observatory to measure longitude. On Midsummer's Day 1667, members of the Academy of Sciences traced the future building's outline on a plot outside town near the Port Royal abbey, with Picard's meridian exactly bisecting the site north-south. French cartographers would use it as their prime meridian for more than 200 years.

In the early 1800s, the Paris Meridian was recalculated with greater precision by the astronomer Francois Arago, whose name now appears on the plaques or medallions tracing the route of the meridian though Paris (see below).

In 1884, at the International Meridian Conference in Washington DC, the Greenwich Meridian was adopted as the prime meridian of the world. France abstained. The French clung to the Paris Meridian as a rival to Greenwich until 1911 for timekeeping purposes and 1914 for navigation. To this day, French cartographers continue to indicate the Paris Meridian on some maps.
 
     
3 Eiffel Tower  
The Tower at sunrise.

architect

Gustave Eiffel

location

Avenue Gustave Eiffel, by the river Seine. Telephone 01-44-11-23-23 metro stations: (Trocadéro or Bir-Hakeim. RER: Champs-de-Mars - Tour-Eiffel (C) )

date

1887 to 1889

style

structural expressionist Victorian Industrial

construction

steel 300 m (985 ft) tall.

type

tower built for 1889 World Exposition Monument

The Eiffel Tower (French: Tour Eiffel) is an iron tower built on the Champ de Mars beside the River Seine in Paris. It is the tallest structure in Paris and among the most recognized symbols in the world. Named after its designer, engineer Gustave Eiffel, it is a premier tourist destination.
The tower stands 300 m (986 ft) high, which is about 75 stories. Including the 24-m (72-ft) antenna, the structure is 324 m (1058 ft) high which is about 81 stories. At the time of its construction in 1889, the tower was the tallest structure in the world, a title it retained until 1930, when New York City's Chrysler Building (319 m/1046 ft tall) was completed (although the tower was still taller if the respective spires of the two structures were excluded). The tower is the second-highest structure in France, after the 350-m Allouis longwave transmitter, built in 1939. The Eiffel tower is the highest structure in Paris. The second-highest structure in Paris, and the fourth-highest in France, is the Tour Montparnasse (Montparnasse Tower), at 209 m. The Montparnasse Tower is also famous among architects for being one of the few tall structures in the world that is perfectly vertical.