Nice Famous Buildings Of France – The world’s leading tourist country, France welcomes more than 80 million visitors every year. The country is truly gifted by the beauty and diversity of its landscapes, its many world-famous monuments, steeped in history and culture, but also by its innumerable culinary specialties.
From the beaches of the Mediterranean to the Champs Elysées through the mountains of the Alps, the Landes, forests of the Vosges and Brittany coast; from kouign-amann to sausages from Toulouse to the plum of Lorraine, fougasse, brie or Panisses, each gourmand will surely find his happiness. You may already know them or dream to visit them …
Nice Famous Buildings Of France
The monuments of France represent the history of this beautiful country, whether in cities or in the countryside. Take the time to discover them over the weekend or holidays with family, couples or friends.
SeaFranceHolidays presents you with some of the most popular tourist attractions, most visited and most emblematic of the country.
Ancienne Douane (Old Customs House) in Strasbourg
The old customs house of the city of Strasbourg is located at the edge of the water and served previously to control the goods that traveled on the Rhine. The bombings of the Second World War had damaged the building, so the one that stands today is a reconstruction.
Today, the brewery and a gallery exhibiting works of art have taken the place of the checkpoint. The building is listed in UNESCO’s listed heritage list. The surrounding area is also considered pretty historic.
The customs checkpoint was built in 1358. Most of the wine, tobacco or fish that the boatmen brought to Strasbourg by this means. Taxes were levied on this type of merchandise. From Strasbourg came out productions such as textiles and cereals.
Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe in Paris, with its full name Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile, is located in the center of the roundabout of the same name, where 12 avenues intersect, including the Champs-Élysée. It was built under the rules of Napoleon, after the battle of Austerlitz.
The work began in 1806 but did not finish until 1836 under the reign of King Louis-Philippe I. Work had indeed been interrupted between 1812 and 1832, following several defeats of the Napoleonic army and the advent of the Restoration, during which monarchy sovereignty was reinstated.
The inauguration will finally take place on July 29, 1836. At that time, the French celebrate the sixth anniversary of the three glorious days, marking the beginning of the July Monarchy. But today, it is dedicated to other ceremonies, as shown by the tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the First World War under the monument. The eternal flame records the fight of all soldiers who died for their homeland.
The Arena of Nîmes
The arenas of Nîmes are built in an old Roman amphitheater. It dates from the 1st century and is still used to host concerts, festivals or bullfights. The rest of the time, it is possible to visit it. The Roman Colosseum would be inspired by this architecture …
The construction took place between the years 50 and 100 AD. 24,000 spectators could sit on 34 rows of terraces. The front squares were reserved for the Roman v.I.Ps. It was already intended for the organization of shows for the population of Nîmes, such as gladiator fights.
In 404, the gladiator fights were banned and the monument was turned into a fortress by the Visigoths, a Germanic people. They added towers and a ditch. Later, the place became a fortified village. The houses were destroyed during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
The workshop of Cézanne is a museum placed in the workshop of Aix en Provence where the painter Paul Cézanne has been doing most of his work. One can see here some models of his famous pieces of art and daily life items: apples, vases, dishes … Trestles and sketches were also left in the room, as well as his famous hat and some of his clothes!
One will like to visit the big room that the painter had done up with a beautiful glass roof to the north to have constant light. We will discover with passion the trapdoor ” secret ” which he had added to bring out his paintings.
The museum also has an audiovisual room, which displays films about the painter’s life and his work. Visitors can also find books, postcards or posters that are offprints of some of his paintings.
Remembering that Paul Cézanne lived most of his life in Aix-en-Provence. He was born in this city, and left only to study in Paris. He finally came back to settle in the city of his childhood, of which landscapes he has painted. The nearby Sainte Victoire mountain was one of his recurring models.
The Bell Tower Of Saint Nicolas Church
The Saint-Nicolas Basilica is a historic monument dating from the nineteenth century. It was built by John Baptist Antoine Lassus. This building replaces another church, which then became too small and old to host all the followers.
Construction began in 1844 and lasted 25 years. It took no less than 15 years to assemble the bell tower. The builders faced difficulties due to the narrowness of the land. They had to be an exception to the tradition that all Catholic buildings should face east towards the rising sun, which represents the resurrected Christ. The Basilica of St. Nicholas has the distinction of being on a north-south axis.
The church is made of granite and stones. Its architecture is neo-Gothic. It underwent a major renovation between 1953 and 1974, after being deeply damaged by a bombing of the Second World War. The surrounding buildings were also affected.
Carcassonne – Ramparts And Towers
The city of Carcassonne is a compilation of medieval buildings, which are located southwest of the city of the same name. It has a wall still well preserved, which perimeter is not less than 3 kilometers long. There is also the Count’s Castle, as well as the Basilica of St. Nazaire.
The site overlooks the current city of Carcassonne, located 150 meters above sea level, on a hill. This location had the advantage of limiting attacks since the west slope was very steep. The occupants had therefore concentrated the defenses on the east side.
The place was inhabited since the Gallo-Roman era. It was then an important place of trade. In the Middle Ages, the Counts of Carcassonne ruled the city, and had a cathedral built in the 11th century. In the 13th century, King Louis IX built a second wall to protect the city against frequent attacks.
The city was abandoned six centuries later, becoming a popular district before being restored in the nineteenth century as an archaeological site.
The Notre Dame De Strasbourg Cathedral
The Notre Dame de Strasbourg cathedral is located in the heart of the historic center of the city. It is famous for its sole arrow, the second one having never been built for lack of money. It has a Gothic style and dates from the 12th century. Its tower rises to 142 meters and has made it, for more than two centuries, the tallest building on the planet.
The building is a rebuilding of another church that burned down in 1176. It had an Ottonian style and was already replacing a Carolingian building which traces have been found. It was very big for the time, with three naves. But the first religious construction built on this site dates from the Roman era: a shrine dedicated to the god Mars was built there.
At the beginning of the 12th century, the bishop of Strasbourg ordered the construction of a cathedral that was to be more grandiose than that of Basel, Switzerland. He stated that it must have had a novel style. But the construction took another turn in 1225, when builders of Chartres brought the Gothic style. The diocese had difficulty in financing the building and appealed for donations. They were not enough to finish the building though…
Saint-Sauveur Cathedral in Aix
The cathedral of Aix-en-Provence is in the upper part of the historic center of the city. It brings together different architectural styles. This particularity is due to the fact that the building was built in several times, at different eras. Its length is 70 meters, and it is 46 meters wide.
Construction began in the 12th century: the Romanesque nave was built. It will later be enriched by ornaments. At the end of the 12th century, a building was built to house a community of canons. The buildings belonging to the cloister were built between the 11th and the 13th century. At that time, the gate of the Gothic nave was also added. The tower, it dates from the fifteenth century.
Legend has it that the monument was built on the site of a Roman temple dedicated to Apollo. A part of Roman wall and columns were found on the site, contributing to the spread of this belief. But Saint Sauveur Cathedral is also on the route of the Aurelian Way, a Roman road to Italy.
Palace and Gardens of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles was a royal residence for three sovereigns: Louis XIV, who had it built, then Louis XV and Louis XVI. In classical style, its construction is distinguished by symmetry. There are also some extravagant elements and sculptures of ancient and mythological influence.
In the seventeenth century, the building that stood at the current location of the Palace of Versailles was a small brick house for hunting. It still included as royal apartments. There were portions of the famous game of palm affected by Louis XIII. Subsequently, the house experienced several expansions.
In 1651, Louis XIV, son of Louis III, went to visit the place. He used the old hunting lodge to bring his mistress Louise de La Vallière. The Sun King finally decided to build a royal residence in Versailles, thus moving away from the capital and the people of Paris which he distrusted. He only spent a few days in the beginning, but finally settled there in 1682, while some development work was not completed.
Château de Chambord
Chambord Castle is located near the town of the same name, in the Loir-et-Cher (Center region). It is the largest castle in the Loire, built in a typical Renaissance style in the sixteenth century. The monument had more of prestige than a defensive function.
The monument was commissioned by King Francis I, but we do not know the name of the architect who designed it. Experts have shown Leonardo da Vinci influences, but the master died before the works started in 1519.
It was a very ambitious project for the time. The king had asked that the course of the Loire to be deviated in order to make it pass in front of the castle, but that proved impossible. As the ground was marshy, it was necessary to drive oak pilots to 12 meters deep for the foundations. The building was however not inhabited very long: after the death of François 1st, his successors did not want to use it and it fell into disuse, before being restored in recent years.
Castle of the Dukes of Brittany
The castle of the Dukes of Brittany was the official residence of Breton rulers between the 13th and 16th centuries. It was then inhabited by different princes and kings. It is now open to the public, home to a museum of decorative arts.
It is the reconstruction in the fifteenth century of a previous building dating from the thirteenth. There remains a vestige of this first castle: the Old Dungeon. Francis II of Brittany decided to completely rebuild the castle in 1455. It was a residence for the duke, but also a defensive fortress. The duke wanted to parry the attacks of the kingdom of France, but the region was still annexed to the sixteenth century.
The monument was then converted into a royal residence. Its defenses were reinforced once again, this time during the wars of religion. Henri IV will reside there during his visit to Nantes for the signing of the edict allowing the practice of their worship to Protestants.