France is perhaps the most sought-after destination by tourists interested in Western architecture during the Baroque, Romanesque, and Gothic periods. Having iconic landmarks—from palaces and gardens to towering skyscrapers—this country at the heart of Europe boasts architectural marvels that we still see today in their full glory. Browse through our gallery for a visual feast:
Architectural Marvels: Places You Need To Visit In France
The Eiffel Tower in Paris is the most iconic landmark of France and has been the most visited place by tourists and locals alike. It is a latticework made of wrought iron and was named after Gustave Eiffel, its engineer.
The Luxembourg Palace in The Jardin du Luxembourg or Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, France. Luxembourg Palace was originally built (1615-1645) to be the royal residence of the regent Marie de Medici. Today, it is owned by the French Senate, which holds its meetings in the Palace. Inspired by the palace in Florence she grew up in, de Medici commissioned Salomon de Brosse to build the palace and the fountain in 1612. She had 2,000 elm trees planted in the garden, which its series of gardeners include Tommaso Francini, who was much renowned in this architectural field.
The Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris is a medieval Catholic cathedral considered to be one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture. The construction began in 1163 under Bishop Maurice de Sully and was largely completed in 1260.
Place de la Concorde is one of Paris' major public squares and is considered to be the largest of all. During the French Revolution, it was earned its name, Place de la Révolution, after being a notable site of many public executions including those of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Designed by Ange-Jacques Gabriel in 1755, the place is a moat-skirted octagon and showcases an equestrian statue of King Louis XVI, sculpted mostly by Edmé Bouchardon, then completed by Jean-Baptiste Pigalle.
In the photo, we see La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière at the rear at Lyon of the Rhône-Alpes region. This minor basilica was designed by Pierre Bossan and draws from both Byzantine and Romanesque architecture. It actually has two churches, one built on top of the other. It has four main towers and a bell tower topped with a gilded statue of the Virgin Mary. With its unique shape, it earned the nickname of 'the upside-down elephant'..
Here's a general view of the Louvre pyramid, at Cour Carre Du Louvre in Paris. Designed by renowned Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei in 1983 and was finished in 1988, it is a large glass and metal pyramid surrounded by three smaller pyramids and serves as the main entrance to the acclaimed Louvre Museum.
Arc de Triomphe, also known as the 'Triumphal Arch of the Star' stands at the western end of the Champs-Élysées. It was built in honour of the heroes of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars, and had the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its surfaces. Beneath its vault is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. It was commissioned in 1806, after Emperor Napoleon's victory at Austerlitz. However, its architect Jean Chagrin died in 1811. With its foundations and wooden mock-up all in place, Jean-Nicolas Huyot took over during the construction. Revolutions in between hampered the construction over the years until it was completed during the reign of King Louis-Philippe, between 1833 and 1836.
View on the Pont Alexandre III in Paris, a bridge that spans the Seine River and that is widely regarded as the most ornate, extravagant bridge in Paris. In the rear is the Grand Palais (Grand Palais des Champs-Elysées) a building created for the universal exposition of 1900.
Musée d'Orsay is one of the most visited art museums in the world. Its building complex includes the former Gare d'Orsay, a Beaux-Arts railway station built at the turn of the 20th century. Mainly, the museum keeps French art dating from 1814 to 1914, which is widely considered the largest collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist masterpieces in the world.
Château de Vaux le Vicomte in Maincy is a Baroque French château built between 1658 and 1661 for Nicolas Fouquet, Marquis de Belle île, Viscount of Melun and Vaux. It had been an influential architectural masterpiece during the mid-17th century, designed by architect Louis Le Vau and landscape architect André Le Nôtre. The painter-decorator Charles Le Brun also worked with the two for this massive project.