Learn about Paris’ heritage at the best historic buildings in Paris
Paris is full of historic buildings and some sites in the city date back to the Roman times. Unlock some of the most impressive and important historic buildings in Paris for free and visit cathedrals, to chateaux to learn more about Paris’ rich culture and heritage.
One of the most popular historic buildings in Paris is Notre Dame Cathedral. Deemed one of the most popular historic sites in the world, it’s a non-mover on everyone’s bucket list. Dating back to the 13th century this stunning French Gothic cathedral is loved for its stained glass windows, gargoyles and huge bells. Climb the two towers and you can see over central Paris from this unique vantage point on the Île de la Cité, right in the middle of the River Seine. Before you go, don’t forget to pop into the reliquary, Saint-Chapelle, another 13th church on the Île de la Cité, famous for its relics as well as boasting the oldest complete collection of stained glass windows in the world.
The Conciergerie has been the power house and seat of Justice in Paris for 1000 years and its building is formidably imposing on the bank of the River Seine. The original building was a Roman fortress and was used in the Middle Ages as a palace, reputed for its resplendence. Visit this stunning building and learn about the fascinating history of Paris’ civil and legal past – and all the nitty gritty tales, too!
You can’t visit Paris without seeing the opulent Palace of Versailles. Home to King Louis XVI, this 18th century historic building is one of the finest in the world and set among 250 acres of landscaped gardens it really is a sight to behold. This UNESCO World Heritage site is steeped in history and was the official seat of power until 1789. The building is famous for its extravagance and grandeur and visitors can admire the Hall of Mirrors, in which the treaty of Versailles was signed, as well as the Grand Apartments once home to the King and Marie Antoinette.
Paris is also home to historic chateaux just outside the city centre. One of the most impressive is Chateaux de Pierrefonds one of the most iconic castles in the world complete with turrets and battlements. Home to kings for over 200 years, it now showcases a permanent exhibition of 19th century ornaments produced by Monduit. Other must-visit castes are Chateaux du Fontainbleau the impressive Renaissance style summer residence, used by the royal family from the 16th century. Visitors can admire the resplendent décor through the ages of the different rulers, restored with the original paintings, furniture and tapestries.
Historic Buildings FREE with a Paris Pass
The construction of the Gothic Notre Dame Cathedral, undertaken at the initiative of Maurice de Sully, began about 1160 and amazingly was completed within 40 years. Normally €8.50
The Palace of Versailles, is one of the largest and most opulent castles in the world. Boasting around 2,143 windows, 1,252 fireplaces, and 67 staircases, the Castle is one of the most visited attractions in France. Normally €18.00
The Army Museum at Les Invalides was originally built by Louis XIV as a hospital and home for disabled soldiers. Normally €9.50
La Conciergerie has been the central seat of authority and justice in Paris for almost 1000 years. Normally €8.50
Sainte-Chapelle was an architectural and aesthetic marvel of its day and at one time the most important and holy place in the whole world. Normally €8.50
Beneath the streets of central Paris, the Crypte Archéologique is a huge and haunting space extending 80m under the shadow of Notre Dame Cathedral and an intriguing attraction for any visit to Paris. Normally €6.00
The Châteaux de Malmaison, also known as the Palace of Malmaison, takes its name from the Normans who once invaded France. Normally €6.50
The Basilique Royal de Saint-Denis is the burial place of French royalty in Paris. It is a necropolis, a stunning edifice to the dead, full of hauntingly beautiful funeral sculptures, mausoleums, and tombs. Normally €7.50
Built in the style of Louis XIII the Maison d’Auguste Rodin a Meudon villa on the outskirts of Paris was the home and workshop of the sculptor Auguste Rodin. Normally €10.00
The Château de Maisons-Laffitte was designed by François Mansart and built between 1630 and 1651. It is a fantastic example of the French baroque style and an important building in the history of European architecture. Normally €7.50
Marvel at the impressive 18th century Châteaux de Champs-Sur-Marne, a beautiful French mansion in outer Paris. Famed for its structure and size, its featured in films from Dangerous Liaisons and Marie Antoinette. Normally €7.50
The Château de Pierrefonds is a majestic and beautiful palace which has weathered the whims of kings for hundreds of years and is certain to be a favorite of any Paris visitor. Normally €7.50
The Château de Vincennes is an imposing 13th century fortress which has stood at the heart of French history since its construction. Normally €8.50
The magnificent Château du Fontainebleau has been the main summer residence for French Monarchs for hundreds of years. Normally €11.00
The Château de Compiègne was a royal residence built for Louis XV and restored by Napoleon. It was one of three seats of royal government, the others being Versailles and Fontainebleau. Normally €7.00
The Musée de Port-Royal des Champs was at one time a famous school. Normally €4.50
The Château de Rambouillet, which is the summer residence for the Presidents of France, is located in the town of Rambouillet, 30 miles southwest of Paris. Normally €8.50
The Villa Savoye is a masterpiece of 20th century design and one of the greatest works by the Swiss architect Le Corbusier. Normally €7.50