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Paris Key Attractions

Tour Eiffel
The Eiffel Tower literally towers over the Champ de Mars in the smart seventh arrondissement. The top (third) floor offers a sweeping panorama of Paris. From directly underneath there is a fascinating view of the delicate ironwork of Gustave Eiffel, commissioned to build the tower for the Exposition Universelle in 1889, the Revolution's centenary.

Champ de Mars, 7th
Tel: (01) 4411 2345 or (01) 4411 2323 (recorded information). Fax: (01) 4411 2322.
Website: www.tour-eiffel.fr
Transport: Metro Bir-Hakeim/RER Champ de Mars-Tour Eiffel
Opening hours: Daily Sep-Jun 0930-2300; July-Aug 0900-0000.
Admission: By lift - 1st storey FFr22; 2nd storey FFr42; 3rd storey FFr62. By stairs - 1st and 2nd storeys only FFr20. Concessions available.

Cathedrale de Notre-Dame
The stocky Notre-Dame Cathedral, on the Ile-de-la-Cite, could not be more different from the filigree Eiffel Tower. Bishop Maurice de Sully began construction in 1163 to outshine the new abbey at St-Denis; work was completed in 1345. The result is a Gothic masterpiece, with three stunning rose windows.

place du Parvis-Notre-Dame, 4th
Tel: (01) 4234 5610 or 4432 1670 (towers).
Transport: Metro Cite; RER St-Michel-Notre-Dame.
Opening hours: Cathedral daily 0800-1900 (Sat closed 1230-1400). Towers (entrance at north tower) summer daily 0930-1930, winter daily 1000-1700.
Admission: Cathedral free; towers FFr32 (concessions available).

Sacre-Coeur
A long, wide series of steps lead to the snowy-white domed Sacre-Coeur that dominates Montmartre. A mishmash of styles, the Catholic church was built between 1870-1919 to atone for the 'sins' of the Commune. The interior is bright with neo-Byzantine mosaics and the domed tower offers a spectacular Paris view.

Parvis du Sacre-Coeur, 18th
Tel: (01) 5341 8900.
Transport: Metro Abbesses or Anvers.
Opening hours: Basilica daily 0645-2230; crypt and dome daily Oct-Mar 0900-1800; Apr-Sep 0900-1900.
Admission: FFr15 dome, FFr15 crypt (concessions available).

Musee National du Louvre
The Louvre first opened to the public in 1793 following the Revolution, a showcase of the art treasures of the kings of France. The museum is organised into three wings on four floors: Richelieu (along rue Rivoli), Sully (around cour Carree) and Denon (along the Seine). The vast permanent collection includes Greek, Etruscan, Roman, Egyptian and oriental antiquities, French and Italian and northern European sculpture and nineteenth-century objets d'art. The painting collection is the strongest, with French, Italian, Dutch, German, Flemish and Spanish chefs d'oeuvres right up to the mid-nineteenth century. Most famed French works include David's Coronation of Napoleon, Ingres' The Turkish Bath, Gericault's depiction of disaster Raft of the Medusa and Delacroix's ode to revolution Liberty Leading the People. The Mona Lisa, in a bulletproof case, will be given its own room by 2001/2. Excavations have exposed traces of the medieval Louvre, now on display along with the history of the Louvre under the cour Carree in the entresol level in the Sully wing.

Pyramide-Cour Napoleon, 1st
Tel: (01) 4020 5050 or (01) 4020 5151 (recorded information). Fax: (01) 4020 5442.
E-mail: info@louvre.fr
Website: www.louvre.fr
Transport: Metro Palais Royal-Musee du Louvre.
Opening hours: Wed-Mon 0900-1800 (closed Tuesdays and some public holidays). Evening openings until 2145 on Mondays.
Temporary exhibitions, medieval Louvre and bookshop 1000-2145 Mon and Wed-Sun.
Admission: Permanent exhibitions FFr45 (until 1500); FFr26 (after 1500 and Sun); free under 18s and first Sun of month. Admission to temporary exhibitions varies. Advance tickets can be bought by telephone (tel: (01) 4987 5454), from branches of FNAC and on the Internet. Tickets allow same-day re-admission.

Musee Rodin
Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) lived and worked in this eighteenth-century hotel particulier. Now the Rodin Museum, his sculptures populate the interior and the gardens. Indoors, The Kiss portrays eternal passion frozen in white marble while The Hand of God gives life to creamy white, half-formed figures. Works of Rodin's mistress and pupil Camille Claudel, and paintings by Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir and Rodin himself, are also on display. The gardens are graced by the monumental bronze The Thinker, whose godly physique contrasts sharply with the decrepitude of the writhing figures of The Gates of Hell and the controversial final portrait of Balzac, once described as 'a block that disgraces its author and French Art'.

77 rue de Varenne, 7th
Tel: (01) 4418 6110. Fax: (01) 4551 1752.
Website: www.musee-rodin.fr
Transport: Metro Varenne.
Opening hours: Tue-Sun summer F0930-1745; winter 0930-1645
Admission: FFr28; FFr18 for 18s-25s and all on Sun; FFr5 garden only.

Musee d'Orsay
The strength of this large museum, housed in a former train station by the Seine, lies in its collection of Impressionist and Post Impressionist art. The collection, covering the decisive 1848-1914 period, is arranged chronologically, beginning on the ground floor, jumping to the third, then descending to the middle level. Among the most famous works are Manet's Dejeuner sur l'Herbe, rejected from the Salon of 1863, five of Monet's paintings of Rouen cathedral, and the recently acquired realist work, L'Origine du Monde by Gustave Courbet, whose graphic depiction of the female sex continues to shock.

1 rue de la Legion d'Honneur, 7th
Tel: (01) 4049 4814 or (01) 4549 1111 (recorded information).
Website: www.musee-orsay.fr
Transport: Metro Solferino; RER Musee d'Orsay.
Opening hours: Tues-Sat 1000-1800 (Thurs until 2145); Sun and Jun-Sep 0900-1800
Admission: FFr40; FFr30 18-25s and for all on Sun; free under 18s

Musee National Picasso
Paris-based Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) owned most of this collection, the largest worldwide, housed in a seventeenth-century mansion in the Marais. All phases of his art are represented, with preparatory sketches and paintings covering the blue period, rose period, Cubism, Classicism, Surrealism and sculptures ranging from a huge plaster head to a small cat. Memorable works include the blue period self-portrait Paolo as Harlequin, the surreal Nude in an Armchair and poignant paintings of Marie-Therèse. Photographs are displayed alongside the works they inspired and African masks with Picasso's 'primitive' wood carvings. There is also a glimpse of the artist's personal taste in paintings, with his Matisse and Cezanne paintings displayed.

Hotel Sale, 5 rue de Thorigny, 3rd
Tel: (01) 4271 2521. Fax: (01) 4804 7546.
Transport: Metro Chemin Vert or St-Paul.
Opening hours: Mon, Wed-Sun 0930-1800 (Thurs until 2000).
Admission: FFr30; Sun FFr20 18-25s FFr20 (FFr38 and FFr28 during exhibitions); free under-18s.

Centre Georges Pompidou
Considered outrageous in 1977, the Pompidou Centre, designed by Piano and Rogers, has become part of the Parisian landscape, primary coloured tubes and all. Although only just over twenty, the building has already been revamped and extended to cope with the huge numbers visiting its expanding collection of contemporary art and its multimedia library. It re-opened on the first day of the new millennium, the focus being the twentieth-century collection of the Musee National d'Art Moderne (MNAM).

rue Beaubourg, 4th
Tel: (01) 4478 1233.
E-mail: info@cnac-gp.fr
website: www.centrepompidou.fr
Transport: Metro Hotel de Ville or Rambuteau; RER Chatelet-Les Halles.
Opening hours: Wed-Mon 1100-2200
Admission: Permanent exhibitions are free; temporary exhibitions vary.

 
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