The beautiful area of the Tuileries Quarter is surrounded by the huge Place de la Concorde to the west and the Grand Louvre to the east. With palaces, expensive shopping streets on the Rue de Rivoli and Rue St-Honore and luxury hotels, this area is tolled with cash but anyone can enjoy the delights of the main attraction, Jardin des Tuileries (the Tuileries Gardens).
The main sight has to be the Louvre museum, one of the most famous art galleries in the world because it is known for having the world-famous Mona Lisa portrait by Leonardo da Vinci (which is not as big as people think, it’s tiny!). For us it has to be the outside (or should I say ‘street level’) as the main entrance to the museum is underneath glass pyramids in the middle of the Napoleon Courtyard. The surrounding buildings started of as a fortress back in the 12th century to protect Paris from those nasty Vikings from Norway. After that, the French Royal Family kept expanding the buildings and has stayed the same ever since until the glass pyramids were constructed back in the late 1980s.
Walking westwards away from the museum, go through the beautiful Jardin des Tuileries which used to be part of the gardens of the nearby palaces. The good thing about walking through the gardens is that it is parallel with the River Seine so river views are also taking in. In the summer there are plenty of people relaxing on the grass, sitting by the water fountains and is also a romantic place to come, there are plenty of lovers holding hands and taking in the blissful surroundings, away from the traffic of the Paris streets.
However at the western end of the jardin des Tuileries is the Place de la Concorde, which is one of Europe’s most historic and magnificent squares. The square was known as Place Louis XV as it had a statue of the king way back in the 18th century. Then the square got a revamp which somehow opened up as an octagon ship with the north side of the square having some impressive mansions. After a while the square became known as the Place de la Revolution, the statue of the former king being replaced by a guillotine (nice!). Here over 1,000 people got beheaded including famous people like Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI. Eventually the square got renamed to Concorde and got a grand refit and also a 3,200 year old obelisk which came all the way from Luxor in Egypt now stands in the heart of the square. Along with two fountains, eight statues which personalises French cities, it certainly has a touch of glass these days.
This area, I say once again, is stunning and has class but is one of the best places to go for an afternoon stroll. Who needs the metro to get between points around here when there is plenty to see. (For those interested, the nearest Metro stations are Louvre-Rivoli, Tuileries, Pyramides, Madeleine and Concorde.
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