Pont Alexandre

7th Arrondissement of Paris: The Most Important Sights to See

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Your Resource for the 7th Arrondissement Attractions

Visiting the city of Paris for the first time can be overwhelming with the sheer number of things to see and do. Wondering what is interesting about the 7th Arrondissement of Paris? In this blog post, we detail the top things to see while you are planning your visit to this most popular district.

Trust us when we suggest you will have no lack of things to explore, ranging from incredible museums to beautiful green parks and bridges to stunning churches and of course the most famous of sights – the Eiffel Tower. Here we help you to determine the top sights you shouldn’t miss.

Highlights in the 7th Arrondissement of Paris

Admire the Pont Alexandre

If you are looking for a famous landmark in Paris, be sure to visit the Pont Alexandre. Paris has its share of older, interesting bridges, similar to Arles. This is a well-known spot that connects the 7th and 8th arrondissements. 

Pont Alexandre

The bridge was started in 1896 as a sign of the peace agreement between France and Russia and the bridge was officially opened in 1900 for one of the Paris Universal Exhibitions.  You can see on the side of the bridge the coat of arms of St Petersburg with two statues on either side symbolizing the Russian river, Neva.

St Petersburg coat of arms

Amazingly, during this Exhibition, more than 50 million people used the bridge making it a Parisian sight known the world over. So much so that many films have used it as a backdrop including “A View to a Kill” and “Midnight in Paris” and, more recently, “Emily in Paris”.

You can’t miss it due to sheer size and elaborate decorations of the bridge. It measures 154 metres long and 45 metres wide with massive 17-metre-high pillars on either end. Each pillar has bronze figures of winged horses that individually have a cultural significance – Arts, Science, Commerce, and Industry.

Pont Alexandre

Built in the Art Nouveau style, the bride houses ornate lamps, cherub statues and nymphs. Since 1975 Pont Alexandre has been designated a historical monument. Here you can take in the perfect view of the Invalides Esplanade and the Petit and Grand Palais. You can also see the bridge perfectly from a river cruise on the Seine.

Stroll the Quai d’Orsay

This lovely quai is located on the left bank of the Seine and stretches from Pont de la Concorde to Pont d’Alma – a distance of approximately 1.5 kms. This location has long been a place where artists came to paint the beautiful views of Paris along the Seine.

Quai d'Orsay

Walking along the riverside, it is a great spot to admire some of the beautiful buildings dating from the middle of the 1800s through to the early 1900s – The Minister of Foreign Affairs (known as Quai d’Orsay), Napolean’s Tomb, the American Church and several embassy buildings. During this walk, you can also see the Pont des Invalides and Pont Alexandre.

The pedestrian pathway is wide, and many people walk or run along this scenic location. If it is too busy you can walk closer to the river down on the Berges de Seine.

Delve into the Musée d’Orsay

The Musée d’Orsay is one of the most architecturally impressive buildings in France.  It is built on the site of it’s predecessor, the Palais d’Orsay, which was completed in 1810 and then set on fire during the revolutionary bloody Paris Commune of 1871.

Musee d'Orsay is one of the top things to see in the 7th Arrondissement of Paris

It was later decided to build a train station on the site of the former Palais d’Orsay to accommodate the countless visitors that were expected to attend the 1900 Paris Universal Exhibition.  The design was entrusted to three architects, including Victor Laloux, considered one of the greatest architects of his time. 

The result was an imposing Beaux Arts structure that stands proudly on the left bank of River Seine and is one of the highlights of the 7th Arrondissement.  

The main hall of the Musee d'Orsay

The station was used as the terminus for electric trains until 1939.  During World War II it was used as a shipping centre for parcels and then for receiving prisoners during the Liberation.  Due to the rapid growth of Paris and the evolution of train technology the structure became obsolete as a train station.

In 1977 French President d’Estaing decided that the site should be preserved and used as a museum.  The Musée d’Orsay was officially opened nine years later in December 1986 by d’Estaing’s successor, President Mitterrand. 

Inside the Musee d'Orsay

Musée d’Orsay has become one of the most preeminent collections of Impressionist art in the world.  The museum focuses on 19th and 20th century works that include a variety of mediums such as paintings, photographs, sculptures and decorative arts.

✅ To fully understand the incredible collections housed here, visit with an expert guide. This 5-star rated tour provides you with insight and perspective on the impressionist artists and the impact of their art on society.

The world’s most famous Impressionist artists are represented here including Édouard Manet, Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Gustavo Courbet, Edgar Degas and Auguste Rodin.  The museum also features temporary exhibits on a rotating basis including modern artistic trends and the history of art.

Rodin's Gates of Hell

Musée d’Orsay underwent a major renovation in 2011 which significantly bolstered its status as the premier 19th century art museum.  The renovation included several new rooms as well as a dedicated space for Van Gogh which features twenty four of his most famous works.

Room dedicated to Vincent Van Gogh
Starry Nights by Van Gogh

The most impressive addition was on the fifth floor overlooking the Seine.  Twelve new rooms were added to highlight five specialized themes: Origins of Impressionism, the first Impressionist exhibition of 1874, Painting Modern Paris, Impressionism around 1880 and the Sources of 20th Century – Monet and Cézanne after 1900.

Blue Water Lilies by Monet

All of this phenomenal art has contributed to Musée d’Orsay being the most visited museum in Paris.  But this hasn’t been without its problems.  The museum can accommodate about 1.5 million visitors a year, but it is currently seeing nearly 3 million annually.

Halls of art at the Musee d'Orsay

As a result, the museum will be undergoing a major renovation from 2025 to 2027 which will enlarge its entrance and exits to reduce congestion as well as increasing the size of the space for temporary exhibits by 300 m2 (3200 ft2).  The good news is that the museum will remain open during the renovations.

Some say that with all of its incredible art, the beauty and history of the building itself makes it one of the the museum’s most important features.  To get an appreciation for this you just have to admire the Musée d’Orsay from the right bank of the Seine or on a river cruise.  It is quite impressive!

Explore Les Egouts de Paris

At one end of the Quai d’Orsay you will find the entrance to the Les Egouts de Paris – the Sewers of Paris museum. This is a fascinating look at the underground systems of the city and most people don’t even know that it exists!

Musee des Egouts

Under the Paris streets are currently 2600 km of tunnels and gutters that were started initially with only 16km, built early on when the city was first growing.  As time went on Paris’ residents contracted cholera due to the filthy water and it was determined that a structure needed to be put in place to remove water and to treat it.

The tunnels were used to create a gravitational network that moved the water through the various galleries and filtration systems, removed the sediment and eventually cleaned the water so that it could be used for street washing and watering gardens and green spaces.

Catchment basins

As the city grew and the amount of water being disposed of increased, sewage treatment plants were built, and the sewer system was adapted to clean and treat the water that was then sent onward for processing to drinking water.

The idea of touring the sewers is not a new one. In fact, tours of this area have been taking place since 1867 when people would board small boats to see the interesting infrastructure underneath the city. Can you imagine riding in a boat in filtered sewage??

Tunnels in the sewer system

It seems that there was this fascination with the tunnels underground and many artists including authors and poets used the sewers as a backdrop to create mysterious locations for their storytelling. Perhaps that was why people were interested in seeing the hidden spaces.

The visits took many forms over the years but in 1975 a formal Museum was opened. People were invited to walk 500 metres under the line of sewers and guided tours were offered.

In 2018 the tours closed, and the entire spot had a massive renovation re-opening in 2021. Now you can take a self-guided walk through a very large section of the sewers.

Displays in the sewers

You can see the catchment basins, the filtration areas and the instruments and machinery used for filtering and cleaning the water before it is taken for treatment. It is an interesting look at infrastructure that exists everywhere but that you don’t typically have the opportunity to see.

Machinery within the sewers

There are plaques in front of each section – only in French – that explain the mechanics.  This is followed by a history of the evolution of the system, including the designs and engineers who were responsible for creating the concepts.

Plaques at the Sewer Museum

It is a cool and dimly lit area (and initially has an odour to which you become accustomed) so you do feel a little like an explorer checking out an unknown location. If you have done the regular tourist sites in Paris and are looking for something different to do, this is certainly one of those unusual attractions to check out.

Be Fascinated by the Hôtel National des Invalides

The imposing Hôtel National des Invalides is one of the most impressive monuments in Paris.  It has a storied history and is a tribute to the 17th century military which at the time was considered the greatest in Europe.

The Hôtel National des Invalides was originally the Cité des Invalides, commissioned by King Louis XIV for soldiers that had served in the Royal Army.  It was, in fact, its own city just outside of Paris at that time.  The complex consisted of multiple buildings including a hospice, barracks, factory and convent.

The Hôtel National des Invalides opened in 1684 when it welcomed its first soldiers.  At its peak, the complex housed more than 4000 inhabitants and part of it, the Institute National des Invalides is still in operation.

If you are planning on visiting the Hôtel National des Invalides, make sure to leave yourself plenty of time.  The complex is both mammoth and awe-inspiring.  The monument is highlighted by the spectacular golden dome that sits atop the tombs of several French historical dignitaries including Napoleon I, whose remains were moved here in 1861.

des Invalides

The gilded dome is visible from every direction when approaching the Hôtel National des Invalides.  In fact, before the Eiffel Tower was built it was one of the tallest structures in Paris and still provides some of the best vistas in the city from its observation deck. 

The dome itself is an engineering and architectural marvel that was designed by Jules Hardouin-Mansart who also designed the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles and the fabulous Hôtel de Villes in Lyon.

Interesting Fact

The dome is gilded with nearly 14 kgs (30 lbs) of gold consisting of 550,000 gold leaves!

Aside from the dome, there are several other areas of the Hôtel National des Invalides which are a must see. 

✅ The best way to appreciate this Museum is to take a guided tour. This 5-star rated tour will provide you with an explanation of the most important elements of this important sight.

Inside the main gate is the Cour d’Honneur (Court of Honour), the largest courtyard in the Hôtel.  It is used as the main venue for various national, military and civil events and occupies just under ¾ of a hectare (1.6 acres) of space.

Inside the centre arch of the building directly across from the main entrance, a bronze statue of Napoleon looks down across the courtyard.  The giant statue originally sat atop Vendôme Column in the 1st Arrondissement from 1833 to 1863 and was moved here in 1911.  It is made from the bronze of reclaimed cannons that were used against France in the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805.

The Hôtel National des Invalides also boasts Paris’ 2nd Cathedral.  The original chapel was built in the 17th century for the French military veterans.  It was built in the extension to the Cour d’Honour adjacent to the Dome des Invalides which was the King’s Chapel.  This allowed the King and the soldiers to celebrate mass together. 

It became a Cathedral when the Diocese des Armies was moved here in 1986 and is known as Saint-Louis Cathedral.

You can wander around the courtyards, gardens and enter the cathedral without a ticket.  And if you only have a an hour or less to spend here, then this might be a good option.  You will still get a feel for the grandeur of the complex and there are plenty of benches to take a break from all of the walking.  In summer the gardens are in full bloom and quite spectacular.

But, if you want to go into the Dome and see the tomb of Napoleon and some of the other historical artifacts you should buy a ticket to the Musée des Armée.

Learn About the Musée des Armée

While Musèe des Armèe is technically part of Hôtel National des Invalides, we are giving it a call-out here because it does require an entry fee (which gives you access to pretty much everything in les Invalides) and it is really special.

Musee d'Armee

The Musée des Armée was formally created in 1905 with the merger of two earlier museums, the Artillery Museum and the Historical Museum of the Army. 

The Artillery Museum had been initially housed at the Paris Cloister of Saint Thomas d’Aquine until it was moved to les Invalides in 1871.  The Historical Museum of the Army started as an exhibition at les Esplinades des Invalides in 1889. 

Musee d'Armee entrance

Bringing the two original Museums together under the umbrella of the Musée des Armée has created a thorough and rich history of France’s military Golden Age of the 18th century right up to modern times.  It is considered the pre-eminent Military Museum in Europe and one of the best in the world.

Some of the spaces in the museum include Ancient Weapons and Armour, Louis XIV 17th to 19th century, World War I and World War II, Historical Charles de Gaulle as well as several others.

Musee d'Armee

If you really want to get the most out of this amazing complex, consider purchasing a priority access ticket. There is so much to see at Les Invalides that you will not want to spend time waiting in the queue to gain access.

Discover the Musee du Quai Branly

This art museum is hard to miss with exterior glass walls coupled with a massive facade covered in greenery on the outside. When you enter the grounds, it is like stepping into a beautiful tropical garden since the building is set within a large green area that you can walk through before entering.

Entrance to the Museum

The mission of the Museum is to present Arts and Civilizations of Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. The collection is huge – more than 300,000 pieces and is made of fascinating artifacts, photographs, books, sculptures, masks and more.

Don’t waste time. Purchase your skip-the-line access tickets here.

A permanent exhibition offers 3,500 pieces on display, and they are presented together with no division between the different regions of the world. This is done purposefully to inspire conversation or “bridges” between the four continents and their cultures.

Gardens around the Musee du Quai Branly

Each year there are approximately ten temporary exhibitions – they encompass displays of the various pieces from the large, main collection along with loaner items from international locations and other private collections.

The building itself is quite interesting and it is said that it was built specifically to house the collection. It sits on stilts with five levels and has many coloured “boxes” or areas that allow for smaller spaces for the display of the exhibitions.

Musee du Quai Branly

Inside visitors can see a theatre, a cinema, a media library and even a special display of aboriginal works located on the roof.

As mentioned, the Museum has a living wall with 15,000 plants from 150 different species that hang on the outside of the building. Plants include ferns, wallflowers, fuschias and willows to name a few. It is pretty fascinating to see.

Living Wall

Additionally, there is a restaurant onsite within the gardens that also provides a lovely view of the Eiffel Tower. A nice spot to finish your visit.

Tour the Musee Rodin

While in the 7th Arrondissement be sure to head over to the charming Musée Rodin.  This 18th century mansion was hand-picked by the French artist Auguste Rodin who is considered to be the father of modern sculpture.

Entrance to the Musee Rodin

The beautiful mansion Hôtel Biron was built in 1732 but by the time Rodin had found it in 1908, it had been all but abandoned.  He was able to rent the first four floors and then eventually came into possession of the rest of the building by 1911, before donating it to France in 1916.  By 1919 the property formally became known as the Musée Rodin.

Musee Rodin
Inside foyer of the Rodin Museum

Enjoy skip the line access and explore this museum with a guided tour to gain a deeper understanding of Rodin, who is known as the father of modern sculpture.

The Museum consists of the main hall and eighteen rooms filled with a variety of Rodin’s works that represent his evolution as an artist.  The pieces are enhanced by the fabulous natural light that floods through the large windows and changes the impression of the pieces as the light changes throughout the day.

Works of art as Rodin had them displayed when he lived here

But, the Museum is not limited to the Hôtel Biron mansion.  A 2.8 hectare (7 acre) garden that frames the building has been turned into a sensory experience balancing nature with the sculptor’s works. 

The gardens with Rodins work

The garden is worth visiting on its own offering beautiful flowering plants throughout the year.  Yes – even in winter when the garden is filled with the blossoms of the Christmas rose and pink viburnum. 

Gardens at the Museum

The highlight of the garden sculptures is Rodin’s masterpiece, the Thinker, a 1.8 metre (6 feet) tall bronze casting that overlooks another Rodin masterpiece, the Gates of Hell The Thinker depicts a seated heroic figure with his chin resting on his hand as if deep in thought. 

Musée Rodin is a great place to visit if you want to enjoy great art in a peaceful and relaxed setting in the middle of Paris.  There is even a café inside where you can enjoy a light meal, tea, coffee and ice cream.

Be in Awe of the Eiffel Tower

The 7th arrondissement of Paris, of course, houses the most famous sight in France – the Eiffel Tower.  Built for the 1889 Universal Exhibition it was an undertaking that took just over two years to finish.  The tower was a symbol created to celebrate the 100th year anniversary of the French Revolution.

Eiffel Tower

Gustave Eiffel who was the engineer of the structure (but not the designer) created an incredible feat with the tower reaching 312 metres (1024 feet). It is now taller due to the antennas on top and stands at 330 metres. Here are some interesting facts:

✦ Total width on the ground is 124 metres

✦ There are five elevators from the esplanade to the second floor and 2 elevators from the second floor to the top

✦ The total weight of the tower is 10,100 tons

✦ It is made of 18,038 iron parts

✦ There were 2,500,000 rivets used in the assembly

Eiffel Tower

Did You Know?

The Eiffel Tower is the most visited paid monument in the world with 7,000,000 visitors annually.

When the tower was first erected, many of the residents did not like it. They felt it was an eyesore and didn’t fit in with the older architecture of the city. In fact, it was originally only intended to be there for 20 years.

The Esplanade under the tower

However, Gustave Eiffel encouraged scientific experiments using the tower to be conducted and it was found that it would be a good support for large antennas for wireless broadcasting. This is what kept the tower around for us to visit!

Now it is repainted every seven years and the restoration takes up to 3 years to complete. Over 60 tons of paint are used to give it a fresh look!

When visiting you have the choice to take the stairs or the elevator to the first floor and the stair ticket is less expensive.

Under the Eiffel Tower

There you can walk on a glass floor, walk along the outer passageway, eat at several different food outlets, see the original spiral staircase that used to service the top of the tour or find souvenirs in the shop. This is also where the Madame Brasserie is located – a well-known restaurant with a stunning view.

The second floor offers spectacular views since you are now at 125 metres above the ground. On this level is a Michelin starred restaurant, plus other shops, and food options.

View from the 2nd floor

The top of the tower is 276m above the city and here you can walk around on two different floors (one indoor and the other outside) to see the views. Be sure to bring a sweater as it can be quite windy at this level. There is also a champagne bar where you can purchase a glass of champagne to toast this amazing attraction.

For the perfect visit book a tour to the top with a host who will provide skip-the-line access and provide you with a guided tour.

It is best to purchase your tickets in advance and skip-the-line access is recommended to avoid the queues. Note that everyone will be required to go through a security check before gaining access to the tower esplanade.  Ticket pricing is determined by how high you want to visit and whether you take the elevators or stairs.

Security entrance

The Eiffel Tower offers an online visitor’s guide that you can download to your phone that provides you with historical and practical information. If you haven’t done this in advance, the Tower offers free Wi-Fi. Alternatively, you can book a guided tour of the tower.

A trip to the Eiffel Tower is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. When you are there take some time to soak in the views of the city, appreciate this enormous structure and enjoy your time at such a special spot.

Relax at the Champs de Mars

Dating back to 1780 this wide-open green space lies at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.  Translated to Field of Mars (after the Roman God of War, Mars) this is one of the largest parks in the city. Large trees line the edges of the park area, and it is surrounded by gardens that provide a welcome relief from the heat of the summer.

Gardens at Champs des Mar

This is a popular spot for National celebrations, parades, and cultural events since the 25 hectares can hold many people.  In the summer months, you will see people coming here to picnic, enjoy sports, play music or just relax in the sun.

Champs des Mar

At nighttime, there are often concerts held here or if no event is being held many people come just to see the beautiful lights of the Tower.

Champs des Mar

Since this is a popular place, depending on the time of year you are visiting the grass can be sparse or non-existent after a hot and dry summer. Be sure to bring a blanket if you would like to have a picnic or relax in the sunshine.

Did You Know?

The Champ de Mars will be the site of beach volleyball for the 2024 Summer Olympics!

Visit the Sainte Clothide Basilica

Not far off the beaten path, and within walking distance of the Hôtel National des Invalides, you will find this beautiful Neo-Gothic Church in an unassuming neighbourhood.

Sainte Clothide Basilica is relatively recent as far as churches in France go.  It was constructed between 1846 and 1857 and was the first example of a Neo Gothic style church in France.  The location was the previous site of a Monastic Chapel that was dissolved in the 18th Century.

Sainte Clothide

The Basilica was named for Clothide, wife of Clovis I, King of the Franks, in the middle of the 5th century.  She attained sainthood with both the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church for the role she played in spreading Christianity throughout Western Europe.  She convinced Clovis to renounce paganism and convert to Christianity.

Sainte Clothide Church achieved the status of a minor Basilica when it was so designated by Pope Leo III in 1896 on the 14th centenary of the baptism of Clovis.  It is one of 5 minor Basilca’s in Paris.

Much of the architecture of the church, both inside and out, was inspired by the Gothic period of the 5th century when Clovis and Clothide were the rulers of the Franks.

Sainte Clothide

From the towering twin spires reaching into the sky, to the tall, peaked arches of the entrances and windows, it is hard to believe that this church is still under 200 years old.  The architecture is so well done that It truly looks like it could have been constructed in the 5th century.

The interior design, like the exterior, has strong Gothic influence, from the 3 tiered levels of the nave to the use of Gothic style art and sculptures. 

Sainte Clothide

While Saint Clothide Basilica may not be as well known as other churches in Paris, like Notre-Dame Cathedral, if you are in the 7th Arrondissement, it is well worth a visit.

Travel Down the Seine in a River Cruise

There is something special about sailing along the Seine. It gives you a completely different view of the city and the beautiful buildings along the water’s edge.

We enjoyed an hour-long cruise as it provided us with commentary in English and French and 35 sights were highlighted along the route. It is a very relaxing way to enjoy the beauty of the city and is similar to the river cruise sightseeing tours in Lyon.

River cruise boat on the Seine

The boat that we booked started at Pont Neuf and navigated to the Eiffel Tower and then looped back and around the Ile de la Cite (the island in the centre of the Seine). 

There are many different variations of this cruise so depending on the amount of time you have you may want to consider one of the following:

✦ Happy Hour cruise – 1-hour tour that includes a drink

✦ Champagne & Macarons – an evening cruise that includes champagne and macarons

✦ Lunch Cruise – 1 ½ hour cruise with lunch included

✦ Dinner Cruise – 2-hour evening cruise with dinner included

Seine River Cruise Boat

The boats offer both outside seating on the top deck or indoor seating with large picture windows. Be sure to check this out as one of the best things to do in the 7th arrondissement.

FAQs

Where Is the 7th Arrondissement?

The 7th Arrondissement is located on the Left Bank in Central Paris. It is likely the most touristy district given the number of very popular sites that are located there. But it also has a certain amount of charm and romanticism wandering the streets of such a famous location.

Map of the 7th Arrondissement

What is the 7th Arrondissement In Paris Known For?

The best-known attraction in Paris is in the 7th Arrondissement and that is the Eiffel Tower. Known to be the most visited attraction in the world, this site tops the list of many visitors. Aside from the famous tower, this district has much to offer tourists including some of the best museums, places for strolling and relaxation, views of the Seine and impressive bridges.

Best Places to Stay in the 7th Arrondissement

Le Narcisse Blanc Hotel & Spa – a high-quality hotel located in the heart of Paris between the Eiffel Tower and Pont Alexandre. This property offers a variety of rooms and suites and also offers guests an onsite restaurant and spa.

Hotel d’Orsay Espirit de France – located close to the Museum, this 42-room hotel provides breakfast, room service and rooms, suites and larger options for families.

Le Petit Chomel – a family-run, boutique hotel perfectly located near the Bon Marche and many restaurants. The rooms are cozy and some have balconies giving you the option to enjoy the view of the city from the comfort of your room.

Best Restaurants 7th Arrondissement Paris

Le Florimond – if you are looking for excellent French food in an elegant environment, try this Michelin Starred restaurant for homemade, traditional cooking with an emphasis on seasonal products.

Ambassade D’Auvergne – this restaurant offers a warm ambiance with hearty dishes from the Auvergne region of France. The wait staff here are friendly and helpful providing an outstanding experience.

Le Bistrot de Paris – a classic French bistro with well-presented French dishes and excellent service. Locals frequent this spot so you know it must be good.

The Final Word: 7th Arrondissement of Paris

There is no doubt that the 7th district in Paris has some incredible things to see. And this being the central part of Paris where the Paris Universal Exhibitions were held, led to many buildings, infrastructure and sights being created for the visitors at that time. This has fortunately left a dynamic and robust district that must be on your list when visiting Paris.

But the district is also worthy of wandering leisurely. Take some time to admire the architecture, the bridges, and the wide-open paths along the river. It really is a great area for exploring and a must-see on your bucket list.

Our selfie in Paris