The XXXI edition of the conference series

September 3-6 2017 > About Paris

About Paris

General introductionThe main sites in more detailsVisiting Paris main sites

General introduction

Paris (“La ville lumière” or “The city of Light”) is, without doubt, one of the world’s most fascinating cities. It is, by definition, the city of art, fashion and love. Paris is France’s capital and most populous city and is capable of attracting each year approximately 15 million tourists from all over the world.
With an incomparable heritage of historic sites, iconic monuments and attractions, Paris is a dream destination for visitors in search of places to discover. Classic, innovative and offbeat, the capital offers a unique cultural journey through 1,803 monuments, 173 museums and many other exceptional places.
The city is divided into two parts by the Seine River: the part above the river is called “Rive Droite” (Right Bank), that below it is called “Rive Gauche” (Left Bank). The city’s central area is classified as a UNESCO Heritage Site and contains many of the world’s most famous sites and monuments.
With the courtesy of
Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau


The top things to do on a first-time visit

Enjoy a panoramic view of the city from a 324-metre height at the top of the Eiffel Tower, admire Victor Hugo’s beloved gargoyles at Notre Dame Cathedral and stand at the top of the tallest hill in Paris at the "Basilique du Sacré Cœur de Montmartre". These are the three monuments most popular with visitors to Paris. Not far from Notre Dame Cathedral, the Sainte Chapelle with its beautiful stained glass windows is also well worth visiting.

A short distance from the Champs-Elysées, the Grand Palais, a huge stone, steel and glass structure, hosts prestigious exhibitions. Built by Napoleon, the Arc de Triomphe offers a breathtaking bird’s-eye view of the city.

In the heart of Paris, the Louvre is a former royal residence which was transformed into a museum after the Revolution and has since become the world’s most visited museum. The Musée d’Orsay houses the largest collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings in the world.

>Another must-see is the Palais Garnier with its ornately decorated façade and its ceiling painted by Marc Chagall. Finally, a trip out to the Père Lachaise cemetery offers the opportunity to pay homage at the tombs of many famous people.

Paris is one of the cities with the greatest diversity of museums in the world! One hundred or so Parisian museums showcase paintings, sculpture, photography, contemporary art, science and collections on a whole range of subjects. There is so much to see! To help you choose and not miss out on some of the best, offers you a quick overview of the 20 most visited museums in the French capital.

From the vast Musée du Louvre and its some 38,000 works of Western art and ancient civilizations to the greatest Impressionist masterpiecesWater Lilies by Claude Monet, Luncheon on the Grass by Edouard Manet, Portrait of the Artist by Vincent Van Gogh … – on show at the "Musée de l'Orangerie" and Orsay museums… The exceptional galleries of French Italian and Flemish paintings at the Musée Jacquemart-André, the rich collection of military history at the Musée de l’Armée, the 5 >millenia of Asian art at the Musée Guimet and the fine arts exhibited at the Petit Palais… An incredibly vast array of collections that is sure to impress all art enthusiasts!

As for the unusual Musée Grévin, this waxworks museum features the greatest French and international stars. The Cité des Sciences et de l'industrie and the Palais de la Découverte take visitors into the realm of science. And finally, the Musée Picasso Paris and Rodin museums highlight the lives of the works of major artists Pablo Picasso and >Auguste Rodin.

Place des Abbesses, at the foot of the Butte (hill) Montmartre is the starting point for this day: just the spot for a typically Parisian breakfast before heading for the Basilique du Sacré Cœur"> to admire the panorama.

Then take your time as you make your way down the rue des Martyrs packed with interesting boutiques, as far as the Saint-Georges district where you’ll find the Musée de la Vie Romantique… what else? The visit over, take the metro or bus down to the Jardin du Luxembourg where you can declare your undying love beneath the greenery of the splendid Médicis fountain.

Next, a visit to the Quartier du Marais, one of the oldest parts of the city, is just the thing: private mansion houses, the Picasso museum, the latest boutiques, hidden spots (like the Carreau du Temple) and the peace and quiet of the Place des Vosges are all here.

Should you fall under the spell of this >neighbourhood, you may choose to dine here unless you prefer the epitome of romantic Paris: dinner by candlelight on the Seine River.

Paris is particularly renowned for its monuments and gastronomy, but it also has some great parks and gardens. In total, the urban area boasts 2,300 hectares of greenery. With small public gardens, secret havens, big modern parks and the woods of Paris, the Parisian capital has no less than 500 parks and gardens in its 20 arrondissements. Each cultivates its own style and history: the very intimate Jardin du Palais-Royal, the vast Parc de la >Villette, the romanticism of the Parc de Bagatelle… every park and garden in Paris has an identity of its own!

Top page

The main sites in more details

The Eiffel Tower

Officially inaugurated on 31st March 1889, the Eiffel Tower is the symbol of Paris and France. Designed by Gustave Eiffel and fabricated entirely in wrought iron, this 324 metres high tower is the tallest structure in Paris. It is one of the world’s most famous and visited monuments.

Copyright signature: © Paris Tourist Office - Photographer : Stéphane Querbes


Arc de Triomphe

Located in the centre of Place Charles De Gaulle, this monument honours all the French people who died for France during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. Beneath this 50-metre tall arc is the tomb of the Unknown Soldier; its eternal flame burns in memory of those soldiers who died for their country but were never identified.

Copyright signature: © Paris Tourist Office - Photographer : Angélique Clément

The Louvre Museum

Originally a fortress built in 1190 by King Philippe Auguste, today the Louvre Palace is one of the world’s largest museums. Immediately recognisable by the famous Glass Pyramid located at its main entrance, the Louvre Museum hosts some of the world’s most important pieces of art such as Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, the Venus of Milo and Michelangelo’s Dying Slave.

Copyright signature: © Paris Tourist Office - Photographer: Marc Verhille - Architect : Ieoh Ming Peï

Copyright signature: © Paris Tourist Office - Photographer: Fabian Charaffi - Architect : Ieoh Ming Peï


Notre-Dame de Paris

This beautiful church dedicated to the Holy Virgin is located on Île de la Cité, at the very heart of the city of Paris. One of the first and finest examples of Gothic architecture, the building is well-known all over the world for its colourful rose windows and the numerous gargoyle and chimera statues serving as column supports.


Copyright signature: © Paris Tourist Office - Photographer : David Lefranc

The Champs-Élysées

Described by many as “the world’s most beautiful avenue”, this 2 km long avenue located on the 8th arrondissement bridges Place de la Concorde with Place Charles de Gaulle. Paris’ most famous luxury shops can be found here.

Copyright signature: © Paris Tourist Office - Photographer : Marc Bertrand


The basilica of the Sacré Cœur

This Roman Catholic church, built between the end of the XIX and the beginning of the XX century, is located on the summit of the Montmartre hill and represents therefore the highest point of Paris. Its apse hosts the world’s largest mosaic, entitled Christ in Majesty.

Copyright signature: © Paris Tourist Office - Photographer : Daniel Thierry


Much more information can be found on the Paris Official website of the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Top page

Visiting Paris main sites

  1. Paris Sightseeing (
    First bus leaves at 9:30 am from City Sightseeing Paris Office (9, Avenue de l’Opéra), last bus leaves at 5:00 pm. Duration of a complete tour is about 2 hours.
  2. Cruise and tours on the Seine River with the Bateaux Mouches (
    Cruises on the Seine River, in the historical heart of the city. Possibility to combine the cruise with brunch, lunch or dinner.
  3. The Louvre Museum Guided Tours (
    Discover the Louvre’s most iconic works with this introductive guided tour (available in English).
  4. Eiffel Tower Guided Tours (

Visit Paris’ most iconic monument and discover its history and anecdotes.




Media Partner


Contact | | 2024 © MINES Saint-Étienne
2024 | © MINES Saint-Étienne