History of the city - anecdotal and official history - art and modern architecture - ancient buildings - gardens and villas - workshops and industry - museums and pleasure spots of the First Arrondissement

Royal places of the 17th Century : Dauphine, Vendôme, place des Victoires

Ile de la cité
The royal, judicial and religious powers were situated on this island since the 3rd - 5th century. The medieval city was torn down by Haussmann at the end of the 19th Century.

1- La Sainte Chapelle, Saint-Chapel, 4 bd du Palais
(métro Cité) (April 1st to September 30th, open from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm every day, October 1st to March 31st open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm every day. Enter through the Palais de Justice (as such, you must go through an I.D. control.) The Saint-Chapel holds wonderful concerts in the summertime. Tel.: 01 43 26 02 28)

This jewel of 13th century Gothic architecture is today attached to the austere walls of the Palais de Justice. The Saint Chapel was built by Saint Louis in 1248 in order to house the Crown of Thorns of Christ and a piece of his cross, which is today in Notre Dame. In order to buy these relics from his cousin, the Emperor of Constantinople, and to build their reliquary (a trunk set in precious stones, later melted down during the Revolution), the King of France spent two and a half times the cost of the construction of the Saint Chapel. The Saint-Chapel was completed in 1348. It burned in 1630 and was rebuilt very slowly. During the Revolution its demolition was contemplated. It was then used as a storehouse for archives until 1837. Thanks to the renewed interest in the Middle Ages in the 19th Century, the Saint-Chapel was restored from 1841 to 1867. In a little over 2 years of construction, the architect Pierre de Montreuil brought the Gothic style to its highest summit : the arc thrusts are supported on the outside by pointed buttresses (balanced by pinnacles, but deliberately without flying buttresses) which allowed the walls to be eliminated in favor of very large stained-glass windows. The stone is particularly solid as it was cut with the grain of the quarry. Despite the frail appearance of the framework’s pillars, the balance is such that there has not been a single crack in seven centuries. The decoration on the facade of the entry dates from the 19th century. Particularly interesting are the two superimposed porches. Up above, the great rose is topped by a balustrade carved with fleurs-de-lis, the symbols of royal power.

The chapel has two stories : the ground floor is for the servants and the populace, and the upper floor for the sovereigns. The lower chapel was redecorated in the 19th century. The tiles of the floor cover tombs of 14th and 15th century canons. The upper chapel contains an immense stained-glass window. The windows, the oldest in Paris, have 1134 scenes from the Old and New Testaments, 720 of which date from the 13th century, created by the same artists who made the windows in the Cathedral at Chartres. The windows should be read from left to right and from bottom to top (entering on the left, you can see Genesis, Exodus, the 10 commandments, at the end, after the apse, the life of St. John, of the Virgin, the childhood and passion of Christ are represented, the great rose shows the Apocalypse.) The rest of the architecture has disappeared under the gildings redone in the 19th century in the style of fragments of the original. In the middle of the apse is the reliquary housed by the wood canopy. It is a replica of the one destroyed during the Revolution. Saint Louis often went up the left staircase to show off the reliquary. At each pillar, a statue of an apostle holds one of the 12 crosses of the consecration of the church. Two compartments were reserved for the king and his family. A small grilled opening allowed them to follow the services from the oratorical without being seen. Last of all, a small gallery linked the porch to Saint Louis' apartments.

Palais de Justice, Palace of Justice, 4 bd du Palais
(métro Cité) (tel : 01 44 32 50 00 or 01 44 32 67 19, open 8.00am – 6 :00pm except Sundays)
In the Parisian trilogy set in the Middle Ages, the Cité was the headquarters of the Royal power, the right bank housed the commercial power and the academic power was on the left bank. After the King moved in the 14th century, the parliamentary power headquarters were located here, at the Palais de Justice. Today, it is the center of the judiciary in France. Well defended, the Ile de la Cité housed the Roman governors from the Gallo-Roman period and later the Merovingien and Capetien kings. At the end of the 14th century, Charles V wanted to leave the fortress. It's here that Etienne Marcel, prevost of the merchants in revolt, assassinated the councilors in 1357. The palace then became the Parliament of Paris and the king moved to the Saint-Pol mansion and the Louvre.
The fires of 1618 and 1776 provoked major re-engineering and reconstruction. All the commercial animation of the shops, book stores and the haberdasheries disappeared in 1840. Extensions continued to be built under the Second Empire up until 1914.

The building today includes elements of very mixed periods. On the corner of quai de l'Horloge and boulevard du Palais, the horologe tower(tour de l'Horloge) dates from the 14th century. It is decorated with the first public horologe of Paris, which has often been restored but is no longer operational. The north facade of the palace was bathed by the Seine until the building of the quays in 1611. The three round towers date from 1300. Today the entrance to the Conciergerie is here. The second is the "tour d'Argent" (silver tower) so called because it was here that the Royal treasure was deposited. The third tower is called the "tour Bonbec" (slang for talkative in French). Here prisoners were made to talk by means of torture. The towers and the bottom sections of the Palais are remnants of the Royal fortress of the Capétiens. The upper parts were rebuilt in the 1860's by Le Duc in a Gothic revival style. It was also Le Duc who built the imposing facade of the Cour de cassation (reversed litigation court) to the west. To open up the perspective on the new neoclassical building, he destroyed one side of the Place Dauphine.
On the boulevard du Palais is the main entrance to the Palais de Justice, built in a classical style in 1786 and enclosed by a lovely open-work gate. The cour du Mai owes its name to the fact that a tree is planted here every May. The civil and correctional hearings are open to the pubic, you can come to watch the French justice system at work.

Farther along towards boulevard Saint-Michel is the entrance to the Police Correctional facility. The vaulted walkway also gives access to Sainte-Chapelle. A plaque on the left recalls that a chapel where Philippe Auguste was baptized was built on this spot. In 1210, the king installed the headquarters of the Fraternity of Pilgrims of Mont-Saint-Michel that gave its name to the boulevard Saint-Michel.
In the interior of the Palais de Justice you can visit the Salle des Pas Perdus (room of lost footsteps) and the Chambre Dorée (golden bedroom) where the revolutionary court headquarters were located beginning in 1793. Many important figures of the French Revolution, such as Marie-Antoinette, were condemned in this room.

La Conciergerie
, 1 quai de l'Horloge
(www of historics Monuments)
(métro Cité) (tel. 01 43 54 30 06, open 9.30 am-6.00 pm from April to September, 10.00am-4.30pm from October to March.)
In the ancient Royal Palace of the Capétiens, the "Conciergerie" were places controlled by the governor of the King's House. Grand seignior, the concierge, received a large income from renting the shops located on the ground floor. In 1596, 224 hair dressers, book stores, metal work shops, wine merchants were housed in the Conciergerie. When, beginning in the 14th century, the tower of the palace served as a prison, the concierge profited immensely from the renting the cells - along with the furniture to put in the cells. Today's entrance dates from 1864. You can visit the lovely rooms with Gothic vaults from the Middle Ages: the Guards' room, the Gendarmes' room and the ancient kitchens. During the French Revolution, the building was fitted out to receive many detained and condemned prisoners. The prisoners gallery was the anteroom to the neighboring Revolutionary court.

During the "Terror" from January 1793 to July 1794, nearly 2,800 prisoners left from the Conciergerie to go to the guillotines which were set up in several sites around Paris: Places du Carrousel, de la Concorde, de la Bastille, de la Nation. Watch for the list of people who were guillotined. The Conciergerie witnessed the last days of Marie-Antoinette, Philippe-Egalité, as well as Danton, Desmoulins, the Girondins, Saint-Just, Madame Roland, Charlotte Corday, Lavoisier, General Hoche. Three cells have been reconstructed : the "pailleux" where the needy prisoners who were piled in heaps on the "rue de Paris", the "pistolés" were able to sleep on beds, and finally the privileged had the luxury of a private cell. The exhibition in the museum recounts the daily life in the Conciergerie. You can also visit the women's quarters, the reconstructed cell of Marie-Antoinette and the expiatory chapel built in 1817 in the queen’s ancient cell.

2- La place Dauphine
(métro Pont neuf, Châtelet)
Place Dauphine.jpg (14683 octets)
Until the 17th century, Paris had only three small islands, separated by a marshy arm of the Seine. At the end of the 16th century, the king decided to fill in this branch of the river and join the islands. It was at the Place Dauphine that Jacques de Molay, Great Master of the Templars, was burnt in 1314. In 1607, the land was sold by Henri IV to the President of the parliament of Paris, de Harlay, to build a triangular square. Created in honor of the future Louis XIII, the dauphin Louis, it was the second geometric royal square built in the 17th century after the Place des Vosges. But unlike the Place Des Vosges, the property owners have not had to respect the uniformity of the construction of the 32 houses.
Today only a few houses (for example No. 14) have preserved their original aspect: facade in brick and white stone, slate tile roof, arcade ground floor, and two stories. In the 17th century the square was completely closed and it could only be accessed through two passages. Only one of these passages still exists, it is on the side of the Pont Neuf.
In 1874 the architect Le Duc demolished the houses that closed the square on the east side so that the facade of the Palais de Justice, which he had just built, could be admired

Pont Neuf

(métro Pont Neuf) (1607)
Pont Neuf.jpg (7841 octets)
Contrary to its name - Pont Neuf means new bridge in French - this is one of the first bridges in stone and the oldest bridge in Paris. Construction was commenced on the bridge in 1578 to facilitate communications between the Louvre and the Saint-Germain des Prés Abbey. Not until 1607 however was the bridge inaugurated by Henri IV. The two parts of the bridge were joined by an artificial landing created for joining two of the small islands in the Seine.The Pont-Neuf was an immediate success amongst strollers who appreciated its architectural innovations: the absence of houses permitted a view of the river and the Louvre, its width was accentuated by the addition of half moons on top of each pier, the sidewalks were protected from the mud and the horsemen.The bridge was soon continuously animated: it was overtaken by peddlers, book sellers and onlookers who congregated near the Samaritaine water pump, the city’s water source. The bridge has hardly been modified: the 385 grotesque masks which once decorated the arches have disappeared (some of them are at Cluny and Carnavalet). The lamp posts of the 19th century were designed by Victor Baltard. In 1985, the artist Christo gift wrapped this symbol of the old Paris.

River Boats on the Seine
Vedettes du Pont-Neuf, square du Vert-Galant (tel. 01 46 33 98 38), boats with a capacity for 150 people

3- Magasins de la Samaritaine, Samaritaine Department Store, rue de la Monnaie
(métro Pont-Neuf) (Open Every day except Sundays and holidays 9:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Closes at 11:00 p.m. on Thursdays)
(Henri Sauvage and Frantz Jourdain, Architects,1910, 1928)
Samaritaine.jpg (12096 octets)
The four stores of the Samaritaine, built from 1900 to 1930, are a lovely anthology of commercial architecture from the beginning of the century. Ernest Cognacq and his wife Louise Jay, both art collectors, founded this19th Century department store. Their main innovations (fixed and displayed prices, and the opportunity to try on the clothes) proved very popular to the growing clientele. The 1869 store on the rue du Pont-Neuf had to be replaced thirty years later by a new building. Completed in 1910 by Frantz Jourdain, the new metallic structure with its large bay windows was rather revolutionary: the metallic rivets, not considered esthetically pleasing at the time, are visible everywhere. When the second store was constructed in 1928, the Esthetic Commission of the City of Paris did not want metallic elements close to the Louvre. The management of the Samaritaine wanted a facade in stone. For this reason the architects Henri Sauvage and Frantz Jourdain fabricated a metallic structure covered with cut stone and Art Deco sculptures. The interior has been preserved: the remarkable Art nouveau ironwork staircase, the colored fresco and the stain glass from the same period. On the ninth floor, the terrace (open from Easter to October) provides a beautiful view of the center of Paris. The orientation map dates from the 1930's. Finally, the building located at the corner of rue Rivoli and rue Boucher was built in 1930 by the same architects. The name of the four stores comes from the water pump, "La Samaritaine", installed at the time under one of the arches of the Pont-Neuf (bridge) to supply water to the center of Paris.

View from the Samaritaine terrace

(open 9.30 am -7.00pm, Thursday until 10 :00pm, from Easter until October)

At the top of Store #2 (46 meters high), on la rue de la Monnaie. The view of Paris from the ninth floor is gorgeous. The Restaurant is open from 7:30 – 11:00pm..

Eglise Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois, St-Germain-l'Auxerrois Church, 2 place du Louvre
(métro Pont-Neuf) (tel : 01 42 60 13 96, open 8.00 am -12.30pm and 3 :00 – 7:00 pm)

The history of the church is like that of many in Paris. One thing special about St. Germain however, is that it was the church of the Louvre where the kings of France came in the 16th and 17th centuries. Originally a Merovegian sanctuary, the church was enlarged or reconstructed many times: the Romanesque tower remains from the 12th century, the door and the choir date from the 13th century. The enlargements of the church continued until the 16th century, when the Valois kings were in the Louvre. The church was the Royal parish and the kings came here for mass. Painters, gold and silver smiths, engravers, poets as wells as the architects Le Vau, Gabriel and Soufflot, artists who lived at the Louvre, are buried here. The 18th century was not very kind to Saint-German and many other churches. The entrance was enlarged to allow for the passage of processions, the colored stained glass was replaced by clear glass, the choir-wall was torn down because it was thought to be too Gothic for an age that was passionately interested in Antic revival. The church was closed during the French Revolution and became a store for animal fodder and later a printer's shop. It was restored in the 1840's and 1850's under the direction of Lassus and Baltard.

Le Louvre (www, www)
(métro Palais-Royal-Musée du Louvre)
Louvre1.jpg (10851 octets)
Fortified medieval castle, residence to the kings of France, royal art gallery then an immense museum, the Palace of the Louvre has carefully been enriched throughout each era and under every political regime. The current ‘République’ is of no exception and has dedicated a great deal to the Grand Louvre over the past 15 years. In 1190, Philippe Auguste built a fortress to reinforce the walls along the Seine. Recent excavations at the Louvre have revealed the old moats and dungeon from the ‘Medieval Louvre’. Just before the Denon wing, 16 magnificent models tell the history of the quarter. Beginning in 1515, Francis I began transforming the old, fortified castle into a Renaissance palace. Henry IV started a major project in 1594 to unite the Louvre and the Castle of the Tuileries by two long galleries dedicated to the king’s art collection. In the 17th century, the king’s evolution in taste was reflected in the Louvre. To build the large, classic colonnade at the entrance, Louis XIV chose Claude Perrault ‘s baroque design over Bernin’s project. The colonnade did away with the scaffolding at the entrance, after years of restoration. The square Courtyard just behind the colonnade is open to the city and is illuminated in the evenings. In 1793 the Louvre became a museum, and underwent its final transformations during the Second Empire when the galleries located at each side of the Napoleon courtyard were finished. But when the original plan to unite the Louvre to the Tuileries Castle was finished, the Tuileries castle was burned down by the "Commune" in 1871.

The Pyramid of the Louvre
(Ieoh Ming Pei architect, www,1989)
In 1981, the Grand Louvre was one of the main projects on President Mitterand’s list. It was decided that the Richelieu wing - the side along Rivoli street where the Minister of Finance was housed - would be turned over to the museum. The minister’s move to Bercy, increased the museum’s surface area from 30,000 to 55,000 meters squared. The architect Ieoh Ming Pei proposed a central entrance in the Napoleon courtyard for pedestrians. Servicing the three wings of the museum, the new pyramid entrance has avoided the 800 m long hallway ever since 1993. The transparent silhouettes have sparked many debates. The designer says the pyramid does not try ‘to blend in with classic architecture or fight against it’. The project of the Great Louvre foresaw renovations to create spaces for the museum of decorative art, as well as the restructuring of the Tuileries gardens and cleaning the facades. The vast underground shopping galleries were created at Carrousel du Louvre by Michel Macary. These boutiques of art, luxury and leisure are always full of customers.

Musée du Louvre
(Automated phones: 01 40 20 51 51, Operators: 01 40 20 53 17, open 9.00am -6 :00pm except Tuesdays. Open partial evenings on Mondays, and until 9 :45 on Wednesdays. To avoid lines in front of the Pyramide, it is best to enter by the doors located close to the Arch of Triumph or the Metro entrance)
The original fortress became a museum in 1793. The museum contains art from all eras up to the 19th century. The major sections are : Antiquity, Oriental, Egyptian (recently renovated), Greek and Roman, sculpture, French Painting from the 14th through 19th centuries, Italian painting and northern schools... he history of the quarter has been magnificently reconstructed through 16 models visible at the entrance to the Denon wing.

Musée des arts décoratifs
, Museum of Decorative Arts, 107 rue de Rivoli (www)
(métro Palais Royal, Tuileries) (tel. 01 44 55 57 50, open 11.00 am -6.00 pm except Mondays. Weekends from 10:00 am to 6 :00 pm)
The museum is undergoing extensive renovations as part of the work of the Grand Louvre: a new exhibition space will be created to house the 20th century collections, the reception area will be modernized. At present, the most recent collections of furniture and art objects are closed to the public. Only the displays on the Middles Ages and the Renaissance, of tapestries, paintings, and furniture from the 14th to 16th centuries, is open. We will all have to wait until 1999 or 2000 to see the furniture of the 17th, 18th and 19th century, the Art Deco and Art Nouveau pieces, the Debuffet donations and the ancient toys

Musée de la mode et du textile
, Museum of Fashion, 107 rue de Rivoli
(métro Palais Royal, Tuileries)
(tel. 01 44 55 57 50, open 11.00 am - 6.00 pm except Monday. Wednesdays 11.00 am -10.00 pm, Weekends 10.00 am -6.00 pm)
enovated in 1986, the museum now houses two collections: the collection from the department of textiles in the Decorative Arts Museum with its many fabrics,1,500 pieces of clothing from the 16th to the 20th century, as well as the collections of the French Union of Costume Arts that include 9,000 complete outfits and more than 30,000 pieces and accessories. The clothes are too fragile to remain exposed to light for a long time so thematic exhibitions rotate every four months. The two level museum displays the lovely materials of the bourgeois style and ravishing models of high fashion from the 18th century to modern times. Textile and their techniques are briefly evoked by some professions and a chronology. Organized as a trip through time, the visit begins in the 1960's and 1970's (mini-skirts, geometric patterns), followed by the New-look of Christian Dior from after the Second World War (prominent bust and narrow waist). Next you can see the dresses - fur trimmings of the 1930's, the boy-like look of the 1920's and the sultan style of 1910. The 19th century is represented by the bustle dresses of the 1870's, the 18th century by flounced skirts. The book store offers accessories and jewelry made by Artcodif as well as publications in the field of fashion.

Musée de la public
, Publicity Museum, 107 rue de Rivoli (www)
(métro Palais Royal, Tuileries) (tel. 01 44 55 57 50)
ccupying the fifth floor of the Decorative Arts Museum, the Publicity Museum is currently closed. Its collection includes 50,000 posters dating from the 18th Century to the present, as well as many filmed commercials. It is scheduled to reopen in the year 2000.

Jardin des Tuileries et du Carrousel, Tuileries Garden
Tuileriesmieux.jpg (10444 octets)In 1666, André Le Nôtre transformed the small ancient garden of the Tuileries into a park in the French style, by creating a large alley that echoes the Champs-Elysées. Integrated into the transformations of the Grand Louvre, the restoration of the garden is complete. There are around a hundred statues in the garden, 18 of which are by Maillol. Entrance to a church and its sculpture is possible on the right.
(On the right, you can see a church with its sculptures...)

Eglise Saint-Roch, St-Roch Church, 296 rue Saint-Honoré
(métro Pyramides) (tél. 01 42 60 81 69,
open 8.30-19.15)
Located at the end of the Tuileries garden on the right, this large church is a kind of museum of 18th and 19th century religious art. It house many paintings and sculptures from convents destroyed during the French Revolution (see the brochure published by the City of Paris). Begun on a classical plan in 1653, the church was followed in 1701 by a Chapel to the Virgin (Jules Hardouin-Mansart) and completed only in 1719 thanks to a gift from the banker Law, then at the height of his career. The elegant facade on Saint-Honoré Street designed by Robert de Cotte was added in the 18th Century. There were other enlargements such as the Calvary Chapel, which is at the end of a row of chapels. Many concerts take place here on weekday evenings and on Sunday afternoons.
(At the end of the Tuileries garden, on the right...)

4- Galerie du Jeu de Paume
Jeu de Paume Gallery
(métro Concorde)
(open 12.00 -7.00 pm, Mondays and Tuesdays 12.00-9.30 pm)
uilt by Napoleon III, the Jeu de Paume replaced an orangery (early greenhouse) which had been built by Henri IV at the beginning of the 17th century. It was constructed as a place for his son to play 'jeu de paume', a forerunner of tennis. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Jeu de Paume game gave way to tennis and the building was consecrated to art exhibitions. From 1947 to 1986, it housed the collection of impressionist works which are now exhibited at the Orsay Museum. The "National Gallery" now exhibits contemporary art.

5- Musée de l'Orangerie

(métro Concorde)
(tel. 01 42 97 48 16, open 9.45 am -5.15 pm except Tuesdays)
n exhibition gallery for many years, the ancient orangerie of the Tuileries Garden has displayed the Water Lilies by Monet and the famous collection of Walter-Guillaume since 1977. Domenica Walter and her two successive husbands, the art dealer Paul Guillaume and the architect and art patron Jean Walter, put together the collection. The first floor includes impressionist masterpieces and works up to the 1930's, Soutine, Cézanne, Renoir, Derain, Picasso, Le Douanier Rousseau and Utrillo. The ground floor has been reserved since 1927 for the Water Lilies of Claude Monet. Painted during the First World War in his house at Giverny, the water lily pattern ripples in the changing reflections of light. The eight large paintings were given by Monet to the State and installed according to his indications on the site.

(Continue towards the 8th Arrondissement and the Concorde...)

6- Place Vendôme
(métro Madeleine, Opéra)
(François Mansart architect, 1687)
uring the Classical period of the 16th, 17th and 18th Centuries, city "embellishment" was achieved by the arrangement of geometric squares intended to display statues of the king on horseback. Contemporary to the place des Victoires, la place Vendôme was built to display the statue of Louis XIV dressed as a Roman emperor. Called place Louis-le-Grand until the French Revolution, today it is named after the private mansion that it replaced in 1687. After a plan for a square shape, Mansart designed a new octagonal plan cut by a single road giving the square the atmosphere of a salon. Built at the beginning of the 18th century in a majestic classical style (columns, arcades, pediments), the lavish mansions of the square were sold to big financiers and "farmer-generals" (tax collectors). The new fashionable quarter links the place des Vosges and the Marais. The royal statue was knocked over and melted down during the French Revolution. Napoleon had a column to the glory of the conquering soldiers of Austerlitz placed on the ancient pedestal in 1806: he chose the Trojan column at Rome as a model and used the melted down metal from the canons at Austerlitz. The bas relief in spiral recounts the campaign of 1805. Above, the statue of Napoleon was installed but it did not last through the changes of regimes in 1815. Today, the statute is the copy put in place by Napoleon III. At the end of the 19th century the lamp posts of Hittorff were added. Finally, paved with flagstones and granite, the square became "semi-pedestrian" in 1992. The place Vendôme remains a symbol of luxury: its name recalls the jewelers on the rue de la Paix (only Boucheron is still there at No.26). The Ritz Hotel at No.17 was founded in 1898. At No.13, the Ministry of Justice was bought in 1717 to install the chancellery of the kingdom on the site (www). A meter in marble was placed on the facade in 1795 to accustom Parisians to the new unit of measurement.
(www "Autour de la place Vendôme")

(To the north begins the rue de la Paix. To the right, take la rue Danièle Casanova...)

7- St-Honoré Market Square, place du marché Saint-Honoré
(métro Pyramides, Opéra)
(closes at 22.00)
(architecte Ricardo Bofill
, architect, 1997)
ome of the Jacobin Convent for two hundred years. In 1789, it became a Club for revolutionaries. In the 19th Century, four "Baltard" style pavilions were built here to house the market. In 1955, the pavilions were replaced by a massive, ugly parking structure. When the parking garage's lease ran out, the mayor of Paris gave Ricardo Bofill a new project. The Catalonian architect completed the construction of offices for the Paribas Bank in 1997. Echoing the 19th century tradition of covered passageways lined with shops, Bofill built a large glass enclosed hall, "fluid and transparent" in homage to Baltard. It is finished with triangular pediments and is covered with a transparent roof, similar to the original market. The classical columns, the architect’s mark, are discrete. They are present only to recall his signature. In the underground parking however, the columns are monumental.

Restaurant Brunch

(Continue along the rue des Petits-Champs...)

8- Passage Choiseul, Choiseul Arcade, 44 rue des Petits Champs, rue Saint-Augustin, 2nd Arrondissement
(métro Quatre-Septembre)
ypical of the first half of the 19th century, the covered arcades lined with shops offered protection from the rain and from horses at a time when sidewalks did not exist. The entry to the gallery by Saint Augustin Street was cut out of a fine 1655 building. The arcade is remarkable for its neo-antique interior decoration and for the Percepied book-store at no.23, that keeps alive the memories of Parnassien poets from the 1870s. Louis-Ferdinand Celine spent his childhood in this house that he described in "Death to Credit."

At #45 rue des Petits-Champs, the interior of the 1673 hôtel Lully was redone by Silvio Petracone and Michel Vodar, for the Société Unibail.

On the right, just before the National Library, the Bibliothèque Nationale, la rue de Richelieu leads to a fountain (9) dedicated to Molière, at the start of rue Molière.

Bibliothèque Nationale de France, site Richelieu
, National Library, 58 rue de Richelieu, 2nd Arrondissement (www)
(métro Bourse, Quatre-septembre)
(tél : 01 47 03 81 26, for researchers 9.00 am -8.00 pm. Only the Mazarine and Mansart galleries are open for temporary exhibitions. The medal collection is shown every day from 1:00 to 5:00pm, tel. 01 47 03 83 34. For tours, call 01 44 61 21 69)
he first royal library was assembled at the Louvre by Charles V, the 973 volumes it contained in 1373, though, were sold and dispersed. The real origins of this library date to the Valois; when Louis XII and Francis I created libraries in their castles at Blois and Fontainebleau. In the 16th century, the library followed the king when he moved from place to place. In 1537 the legal registration was implemented; each editor had to deposit in the library a copy of each book published. Under Louis XIV, the library, once more installed at the Louvre, continued to be enriched thanks to the donations of great noble families. In 1692, the library was opened to the public, under certain conditions. For lack of space, Colbert had some of the books transported to two houses he owned in Vivienne Street, and in two hotels belonging to Mazzarin, where Mansart built two galleries parallel to Richelieu Street (the present day Mansart and Manzarine Galleries.) Opened to scientists in 1720, the library continued to expand and catalogs were established. In 1724, the books were all transferred to the present site, and the architect, Robert de Cotte expanded the two Mansart Galleries. Only the central façade in the courtyard of honor remains.

At the end of the 18th century, the financial difficulties of the Old Regime prevented any expansion of the library. The Revolution produced a great number of books; the libraries of nobles and of convents were confiscated and the legal registration procedure reinforced. 40,000 works enter the National Library in this manner, each year. New printing technologies also allow a much greater production of books today. It was not before the 1860's that the architect Labrouste was to radically transform the premises; he built the entryway facade on Louvois Square, the great reading hall and the central reserve section, originally illuminate by great stained-glass windows. The new buildings are supported by an innovative system of metallic carpentry. The 12 million books, the periodicals, the sound library and the audiovisual are all being moved to the Tolbiac location in the 13th district. The traditional National Library will keep the specialized collections, the manuscripts, the engravings, the ancient maps, the musical scores, the photographs, the theatrical costumes, the medals and the coins.

10- Le Palais Royal
(métro Palais-Royal-Musée du Louvre)
(open 7.00 am – 11 :.00 pm in the summer, and from 7.30 am to - 8.30 pm in winter)
he "Palais-Cardinal" was built between 1624 and 1639 for the Cardinal of Richelieu. He chose this location in order to be close to the king who was living at the Louvre. La Galerie des Proues is the only part of this building that still exists. Its maritime military symbols are visible on the east wall of the courtyard where the columns by Buren are located. For speculative reasons, Richelieu had Charles V give him a portion of the rampart which was in back of the palace estate. He also bought neighboring lands to build connected houses that had a view on the park. At his death, the cardinal bequeathed his palace to the king, and it became "Royal" in 1643 when the regent Anne of Austria came to live here with the young King Louis XIV. The Sun-King gave it to his brother and the palace stayed in the family of his descendants, the dukes of Orleans. The fire of 1763 was the occasion of a complete reconstruction of the palace.

In 1780, due to a lack of money, the future Philippe Egalité had 60 pavilions built around the garden isolating the houses of Richelieu. The new galleries were lined with arcades on the ground floor that contained shops. These galleries and their parallel streets are named after the three sons of the Duke of Orleans: Valois, Beaujolais and Montpensier. The Duke of Orleans did not allow the police to enter his estate, the gardens of the Palais-Royal became a lively place: a place for libertines, for trade and a space of liberty thanks to the 113 cafes that were under the arcades. On July 13, 1789, the crowd came here to listen to the speech of Camille Desmoulins who called the people to arms. The palace was built in 1817 for Louis-Philippe, duke of Orleans, future king of France. The first gas lights in the city were installed here. From 1938 to 1954, the writer Colette lived above the passage du Perron at 9, rue de Beaujolais. Today, the Palais-Royal is occupied by the Ministry of Culture (www), the Constitutional Council (www) and the State Council. The black and white columns by Buren in the courtyard were very contested during the 1980's. You enter the garden from rue de Beaujolais or through the place Colette. Richelieu Hall of the Comédie Française is located next door, place André Malraux.

11- Galerie Colbert / Colbert Gallery, 6 rue des Petits-Champs ou 2 rue Vivienne, 2nd Arrondissement
(métro Bourse, Pyramides) (tel. 01 47 03 81 10,
open 10.00 am -6.00 pm, except Sundays)

Gallerie Colbert.jpg (11113 octets)
Typical of the first half of the 19th century, the covered arcades lined with boutiques offered protection from the rain and horses in a time period when sidewalks did not exist. Built in 1826 by a company of speculators excited by the success of the Vivienne Gallery, the Colbert Gallery was destroyed and rebuilt in an identical manner for the National Library in the 1980s. The Colbert Boutique sells postcards, posters and books edited by the National Library. The Performing Arts Department has model and costume exhibitions. Around the elegant rotundas temporary exhibitions display photographs or engravings from the neighboring library. The Grand Colbert Café was also renovated in the original spirit of 1900. Just beside is rue Vivienne.
(Just near (rue Vivienne), you find the...)



Galerie Vivienne / Vivienne Gallery, 4 rue des petits champs, 6 rue Vivienne, 5 rue de la Banque, 2nd Arrondissement(métro Bourse, Pyramides)
Gallerie Vivienne.jpg (11237 octets)
uilt in 1823, this is an elegant covered arcades typical of the first half of the 19th century. It offered protection from the rain and horses at a time when sidewalks had yet to be invented. It is still lined with fashionable boutiques today.
At no. 13, the monumental staircase is from the old Vidocq residence, a convict who then became chief of a police brigade made up of former convicts

Basilique Notre-Dame des Victoires / Basilica of Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, Place des Petits-Pères, 2nd Arrondissement(métro Bourse, Sentier) (tél. 01 42 60 96 71)
uilt between 1629 and 1740, its name comes from Richelieu's victory over the Protestants at the time of the capture of La Rochelle in 1628. The basilica is the only remains of a monastery of Augustin monks, that were nicknamed the "Little Fathers." After their expulsion by the Revolution, the buildings were demolished in 1859.

12- Place des Victoires / Victory Square
(métro Bourse, Sentier)
(Jules Hardouin-Mansart architect, 1685)
Place des Victoires.jpg (10936 octets)
n the 16th and 17th centuries, the kings of France left their mark on the city by building geometrical squares which served as a showcase for statues of themselves on horses. The one in Victory Square was done by a clever courtier for the victory of Louis XIV in Nimegues in 1678. Francois d'Aubesson, duke of the Feuillade, ordered a statue of the king wearing the royal cape, crowned by Victory and crushing a three-headed monster symbolizing the vanquished powers of the Triple Alliance. In order to build a new square, he bought a hotel. Equally eager to court the king, the City of Paris expropriated several neighboring houses.

Jules Hardouin-Mansart built the square in 1685 like a jewel box; the houses were homogenous, the streets that faced onto the square were not to continue into one another, in order to magnify the statue against the background of the facades. 4 vigil lights burn continuously, increasing the sacred character of the triumphal square.
The statue was sent to the melting pot by the Revolution. On the remaining pedestal, Napoleon had a statue erected to the glory of one of his generals, sculpted in the nude like the ancients. A fence was put up to hide the immodest statue which went to the melting pot in 1816. The present statue dates from 1822. The harmony and homogeneity of the facades were lost in the 19th century as buildings were rebuilt and the streets were widened. Major gutting was caused by the opening of Etienne Marcel street in 1884, which destroyed the closed-in aspect of the square.
The square today reserves its triumphal decor for its many fashionable boutiques

Les Halles
You can follow the rest of the itinerary from the 2nd arrondissement (Bourse, Sentier, Montorgueil)

Les Halles was the "belly of Paris" since the Middles Ages. Its function as the marketplace for eight centuries made it part of the city’s trilogy. Les Halles housed the commercial power, the political power was located on the Ile de la Cité and in the Latin Quarter was the intellectual authority. In 1851, Napoleon III ordered the architect Baltard to design the pavilions of iron in the shape of "umbrellas" to shelter the capital’s wholesale market. From 1962 to 1969, the obsolete and encumbering market was transferred to Rungis,15 km south of Paris, and the 10 pavilions were destroyed, in spite of public protest. This destruction, regretted by many, marked the beginning of a new interest in the industrial heritage of the 19th century. Orsay Station, now the Musee d’Orsay, owes its preservation to these events. One of Baltard's pavilions can be seen at Nogent-sur-Marne. For ten years, there was a gapping hole where the market had been. The site was the object of many projects, often futuristic. The immense Châtelet-les-Halles Station and a "mole run" for cars allowing the quarter to be crossed underground were eventually built. In 1979, today's Forum des Halles keeps with the commercial traditions of the quarter

Ancient Cemetery of the Innocents, place Jean du Bellay
(métro Châtelet-Les Halles)
Fontaine des Innocents.jpg (11263 octets)
amed after a neighboring church, the cemetery of Saint Innocents was located here from the Gallo-Roman Age. To separate the cemetery from the market at Les Halles, Philippe Auguste had a wall built around it in 1186. It was later doubled in size by an enclosed gallery with arcades and a vaulted ogive. From the 12th to the 18th century, this was the main cemetery of Paris for the parishes that did not have their own cemetery. It also served the Hôtel-Dieu Hospital. Rich families had burial plots while the bones from the common burial pit were piled up in the top of the galleries. When the cemetery stopped being used in1786, the remains of 2 million bodies were transferred to the ancient quarries which had become the Denfert-Rochereau catacombs (14th district). Occupied first by a market; the space was transformed into a square in 1858.

13- Fontaine de Innocents / The fountain of the Innocents
Created in 1549, it is the only Renaissance fountain in Paris. Sculpted with nymphs by Jean Goujon, it formerly had its back to the cemetery of the Innocents. In 1788, after the transfer of the cemetery, it was moved to the center of the new square and Pajou gave it a fourth side.

The Assassination of Henri IV
At the same level as No. 11 rue de la Ferronnerie, the sun drawn on the pavement indicates the position of the coach of Henri IV when he was assassinated on May 14, 1610. The density of the crowd and the carts of the merchants of Les Halles Market enabled Ravaillac to get near to the King and carry out his plan.

14- Le Forum des Halles
(métro Châtelet-Les Halles)
(Claude Vasconi and Georges Pencréac'h, Architects, 1979)
The quarter of Les Halles was the principle market of Paris from the Middle Ages. In 1851, the architect Baltard built his famous covered markets of iron in the form of umbrellas that sheltered the wholesale markets of the capital until the 1960's. In 1969, the obsolete and encumbering market was transferred to Rungis, 15 km south of Paris, and the 10 pavilions were destroyed in spite of the public protest. For ten years, there was a gapping hole where the market had been. The site was the object of many projects, often futuristic, during the construction of the immense Châtelet-les Halles Station. Today the network of three lines of the RER (Regional Express Train) has made the Forum an entrance to Paris. This vast shopping mall built in 1979 on four levels is a continuously animated setting for strollers, loafers and consumers. The architects wanted to "to let the sunlight in everywhere with cascading windows". At the same time the windows are visible because of their casings which are painted in white.

The lower square, decorated by the
Pygmalion of Julio Silva, was at first going to be opened to the garden at Les Halles, but a fourth side was built due to commercial necessities. Above the Forum, jutting out of small glass and steel pavilions are "folies" with parasols "continuing the garden and letting it merge into the city." (engineers Jean Willerval and Jean Prouvé).

Musée de l'holographie / Museum of Holography, Forum level -1, n° 15-21
(métro Châtelet-Les Halles) (tel. 01 40 39 96 83, open 10.00 am –7.00 pm, Sunday 1.00 pm- 7.00 pm)
Developed in the 1960's thanks to the laser, holograms produce images in three dimensions. Its not the image of the object that is photographed, but the light that it sends back when lit up by a laser. The museum displays the simple reproductions of objects, stereograms that give the impression of movement when the viewer moves, holograms of large dimensions (the cosmos, space flights, computers, architecture, Earth, women) and holograms of works from the Russian Museum.

Musée Grévin du Forum, Forum des Halles, -1 level
(métro Châtelet-Les Halles) (tel. 01 40 26 28 50, open 10.30 am -6.45 pm, Sunday 1.00 -7.00 pm)
This is the annex of the Grévin Museum located on Boulevard Montmartre in the 9th district. This museum at the Forum offers a sound and light show visit of the end of the 19th century. You will meet Victor Hugo, Verlaine, the world of Jules Verne, the Opera, and the World's Fair.

La place carrée et les équipements sous le jardin des Halles
(Paul Chemetov, Architect,1985)
Place carrée.jpg (10762 octets)The place Carrée and the facilities located under Les Halles garden were built by Paul Chemetov in 1985. The architect of the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Bercy wanted to create a "powerful and visible frame that secures and supports the enormous weight of the garden." To accomplish this, he used blocks of exposed concrete, and the flying buttresses and the Gothic revival ogives are "like an echo" of the neighboring Saint-Eustache Church.

This large underground street contains the Forum des Images (video library) (www), the Auditorium des Halles, a large swimming pool under a tropical greenhouse (open evenings) and the Cité-ciné (www) cinema complex

Le jardin des Halles / Les Halles Garden, rue Rambuteau, rue Berger
he garden is on top of the vast underground facilities. The lanes lined with linden trees (in flower at the end of June) mark the axis of the quarter. An illusionist labyrinth is created by the pattern of the flagstones. To the south, the arcades and porticos covered with vegetation are the work of the sculpture François-Xavier Lalanne. Near to the Bourse du commerce (Stock Exchange), four glass pyramids cover a tropical greenhouse, the setting for the swimming pool. All around, the flowers on graded levels are accessible only to the eyes. On the other hand, the garden at Les Halles was one of the first parks where visitors can lounge on the grass.

The jardin des Enfants (Children's Garden) is located along the rue Rambuteau between the Forum and Saint-Eustache. Completed in 1986 by Claude Lalanne, this offers children the chance to dive into a space that is made to their dimensions: the soft world and its pool of blue balls, the volcanic world, the world of geometry, sound and the tropical forest.

Musée de l'Avocat / Lawyer's Museum, 25 rue du Jour
(métro Louvre-Rivoli) (tel : 01 47 83 50 03, open by reservation, closed weekends.)
The elegant mansion of Antoine de la Porte. The cellars display the collection of the Ordre des Avocats (Bar Association) The documents record the major trials: the trial of Marie-Antoinette, Dreyfus, Stavisky and Henriette Caillaux who assassinated the director of the Figaro newspaper among others.

Eglise Saint-Eustache / St. Eustache Church, place René Cassin
(métro Châtelet-Les Halles)
uilt from 1532 to 1667, the thrusting structure has remained Gothic, but the interior is Renaissance and the facades are classical. Built in honor of Saint Eustache, the building replaced an ancient 12th century chapel. Saint Eustache was martyred in the 2nd century at Rome, his conversion was the result of an encounter with a miraculous deer. Today he is the patron saint of hunters. The plan, the architectural principles and the system of balanced vaults are Gothic. The most visible traces are the butting arches, the doorway and the staircase turrets visible from the small street (impasse Saint-Eustache) to the North. The facade was redone in the 18th century in the classical style. The first span of the church was cut back. In the interior, the Gothic structure gives way to a Renaissance expression of pillars and columns. It became the Temple of Agriculture during the French Revolution, the church was reopened in 1803, burnt down in 1840 and restored by Victor Baltard, the architect of the neighboring pavilions

Tête du jardin des Halles.jpg (8610 octets)Crypte Sainte-Agnès./ Saint-Agnes Crypt
he Saint-Agnes Crypt was located in the apse of the Saint-Eustache Church. An emblem containing the figure of a fish over one of the doors is all that remains today. The Crypt recalls the fortune made by a merchant in the 13th century through the sale of fish in the central market of Paris (Les Halles). King Philippe Auguste owed money to the merchant, Jean Allais. When the king went away on a crusade, the merchant obtained the authorization to collect a penny tax on every basket of fish sold. He became rich but, overcome with guilt, he had the Chapel to Saint Agnes built. It was torn down in the 16th century for the construction of the Saint-Eustache Church. Cleaned out after 20 years, the basement revealed ancient decorations that have been used on the walls of the church

The view from the front of the Saint-Eustache Church opens on to a shell-shaped square (by Louis Arretche) decorated by the stone bust of Henri de Miller (also the designer of the sundial in the garden).
(The Commodities Exchange is at the end of the garden)

Bourse du commerce / Commodities Exchange, rue de Viarmes (www)
(métro Châtelet-Les Halles) (tel. 01 45 08 39 44, open 9.00 am -6.00 pm except weekends)
Bourse du Commerce.jpg (7397 octets)This was the site of two lovely dwellings. Blanche de Castille died in the Nesles Mansion in 1252. Jean de Luxembourg lived there as did Louis, the Duke of Orleans, who was killed by Jean Sans Peur (Fearless Jean). In 1572, Catherine de Médicis had a magnificent mansion built. All that remains today is a column that the queen had built for her astrologer. The upper office, whose angles marked each of the cardinal points, was covered with stained glass that has since been destroyed. In 1750, when the mansion was torn down, the column was sold to the City of Paris which then installed a fountain and a sundial. In 1768, the Prevost of the merchants of Viarmes had a wooden wheat market built here. When it burnt down, the dome was reconstructed by Bélanger in forged iron. In 1811, this was one of the first uses of iron, a more resistant and noncombustible material. Redone at the end of the 19th century, today the Commodities Exchange has a facade of columns which give a rather solemn appearance on the side facing the circular street called rue circulaire de Viarmes. The interior is remarkable with its huge dome and double forged iron staircase from the 18th century

15- Galerie Véro-Dodat / Véro-Dodat Gallery, 19 rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 2 rue du Bouloi.
Characteristic of the first half of the 19th century, the covered walkways lined with shops protected the pedestrians from rain and horses at a time when sidewalks did not exist. Opened in 1826 by two pork butchers, the gallery of Véro and Dodat was very successful because of its proximity to Messageries, the departure point for coaches traveling all over Europe. These coach "stations" progressively disappeared when the railroads were developed. The luxurious decor of the gallery is still intact.

Associations of the First Arrondissement

Mayor and Town Hall of the First Arrondissement
Michel Caldaguès, 4 place du Louvre, 75 042 Paris cedex 01, Métro Louvre, tel : 01 44 50 75 01

Statistical Table of the
First Arrondissement

Statistiques du recensement de 1990
Sondage de l'INSEE au 1/4
Chiffres du 1er Chiffres de Paris Chiffres de l'agglomération parisienne
Population totale 18 368 2 151 245 9 316 656
Population par âge (en %)
0-19 ans
20-39 ans
40-59 ans
60-74 ans
+ de 75 ans



Familles  (couples et enfants)
dont enfants
Personnes habitant seules (en % des ménages)
Nombre de personnes par ménage
10 616
3 444
1 423 932
491 292
7 486 068
2 920 272
Taux d'activité (en %)
dont chomeurs
Catégories socio-professionnelles des
(selon personne de référence) (en %)
Agriculteurs exploitants
Artisans, commerçants, chefs d'entreprises
Cadres professions intellectuelles sup.
Professions intermédiaires
Autres (élèves, étudiants, "au foyer")



Statut d'occupation du logement
par les ménages
(en %)
Logés gratuitement
Logements sans confort
=  (sans salle de bain ni WC intérieurs)




Ménages ne disposant pas de voitures (en %)
Actifs travaillant à Paris
=  (même commune pour l'agglomération)

Internet sites of the 1st
Paris visite
: du Petit Palais au Grand Louvre, le chemin des Pharaons
Le Paris de Philippe Auguste : remarquable site sur la vie de la ville, les métiers, la muraille etc.

[Back to Paris map]
© 1999 Dessillages
Translation K. Boon