Our tour of the arrondissements has finally arrived at the 7e arrondissement of Paris. The arrondissement that houses the most iconic site in all of Paris. Arguably one of the most iconic sites in the world. The Eiffel Tower. It should come as no surprise that the majority of people who visit the 7e are coming to see the Eiffel Tower. But the 7e has so much more to offer than France’s Iron Lady, so let’s dive in.
La Tour Eiffel
Of course, we do have to start with the reason why millions of people visit the 7e arrondissement every year. Love it or hate it, the Eiffel Tower is practically synonymous with Paris. It was built for the 1889 World’s Fair, and it caused a sensation at the time of its construction. Parisians believed it to be a blight on their city, and there were calls to have it removed as soon as it was built. Attitudes have softened somewhat in the nearly 150 years since its construction, and today, the Eiffel Tower is the iconic monument of Paris. No visit to this city would be complete without seeing the Eiffel Tower at least once.
A History of World’s Fairs
The Eiffel Tower may have been built for the 1889 World’s Fair, but the 7e has actually hosted several of these Universal Exhibitions throughout its history. In fact, the iconic Champ de Mars public park that is located in front of the Eiffel Tower was the main staging ground for these World Fairs for decades, and countless buildings were built in and around the 7e for these events. Sadly, most of those buildings were later torn down, but one building in particular remains. It was built to be a train station for the 1900 World’s Fair, but now houses the Musée d’Orsay, one of my favourite museums in Paris.
So Many Iconic Sites to Discover
Speaking of museums, the 7e is home to an abundance of some of Paris’ most famous cultural buildings. The Musée d’Orsay is the most well known, as it is the second most visited museum in Paris. But the 7e is also where you will find Les Invalides and Napoleon’s final resting place, the Musée de l’Ordre de la Libération, the Musée Rodin, and the Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, another one of my favourite museums in Paris. The 7e is also where you will find the iconic Pont Alexandre III, also built for a World’s Fair, and the Palais-Bourbon, the 7e’s namesake and home to France’s National Assembly.
Rue Cler – A foodie’s paradise! This street is packed with cafes, restaurants, and food shops, not to mention countless terraces to take a seat, enjoy a drink, and people watch.
Jardin Catherine-Labouré – A beautiful and hidden away garden off of Rue de Babylone. A much more tranquil alternative to the always packed Champ de Mars.
Paris Museum of Sewers – Yes, I know this may sound weird. And yes, it does smell. But I promise that this off the beaten track museum tells the history of Paris from a fascinating angle.
Basilique Sainte-Clotilde – A beautiful neo-gothic church that receives a fraction of the visitors of even the lesser known churches in Paris.
Le Bon Marché – The oldest department store in Paris. Even if you have no intention of buying anything, Le Bon Marché is worth a visit.
Want to read more about the arrondissements of Paris? Click HERE.
Laura Moore is a professional storyteller who loves history and the many stories that make Paris one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Join one of her signature tours to learn the story of a city.