Architectural Masterpieces of Paris
If your taste is for the Gothic, head to the Ile de La Cite, a popular area for bars, and restaurants and where the window of your Paris hotel will be in the shadow of the great Notre Dame, the first of Paris’s great built in the 1100s to ensure that Paris remained the most important Christian city in the vicinity. Pointed arches, cross vaults, and flying buttresses, are the hallmarks of Gothic engineering.
The buildings which form the main parts of the Louvre museum owe a debt to the Renaissance, and King Francis I, who invited Leonardo da Vinci to Paris and hired Italian architects to renovate it. The carefully-proportioned ideas of the time initiated the concept of Classical architecture in Paris. After the French dramatical change, which devastated the city, Emperor Napoleon rebuilt the Louvre, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that President Mitterand commissioned the remarkable glass pyramid entrance building, which combines beauty with bravery, in the middle of its classical courtyard.
The famous dome of Les Invalides was directly inspired by St. Peter’s in Rome, and the overall design of the complicate is Classical. But standing at the front entrance you can also see how the later Baroque style combines with the Classical. Symmetrical wings, and strong window treatments, can be seen in many of the hôtels, which are now embassy buildings lining the esplanade.
If you’ve ever wondered about the iconic Metro signs which show the entrances to Paris’s underground, remember the name of Hector Guimard, a pioneer of the Art Nouveau movement. Guimard and a few other inventive young architects took a fresh look at the new steel, iron, and concrete obtainable and realised that they could free the interior space of a building, opening the way to Modernism. Using the Metro not only makes your great cheap Paris hotel deal already better value, but marks you out as a native.
The post-war years are often seen as a disaster for French architecture, but one phoenix rose from the ruins. Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers produced the superb Centre Georges Pompidou, a brightly-hued building which uses a design concept called Beauborg, pushing all the utilities and sets to the outside of the building in order to free up enormous exhibition spaces within. Whether you love it or hate it, the building has a delightful feeling of fun.
From the Opera to the Eiffel tower, all styles and influences are here, book your Paris hotel in any Quarter and you’ll find a masterpiece round every corner.