Discovering Parisarrondissement 1

By: Tatyana Kogut.
Just like many big cities, Paris consists of departments, each with its own history, its own spirit and charm. Each of them lives its own life, the left bank is unlike the right one, and some even say that often two different metro stations are like two different worlds. Don't trust those who say they know Paris like the back of their hand, this is impossible. Those who don't have enough time to study Paris thoroughly are advised to choose one or two districts, or regions, or arrondissements, or whatever you want to study, and walk them far and wide. On your next visit you will definitely want to continue your studies. So, what shall we start with?The first arrondissement of Paris contains lots of attractions. It is located on the right bank of Seine, also covering the west end of the Ile de la Cite  the very heart of Paris, the place from where it started. It contains the oldest, the most historic and the most Parisian points of interest. We will try to give a brief overview of what is worth seeing there. Pont Neuf 1607. Even though the name is translated as the New Bridge, Pont Neuf is the actually the oldest city bridge. The bridge is made of stone, construction was finished during the reign of Henri IV.

The bridge was of great success, the French people liked its half-round arches which made it exceptionally elegant. The looks of the bridge hasn't changed till nowadays.Le Louvre. The largest museum in France and the royal gallery of arts. It reflects many epochs and those who want to see it all in one day are... not advised to do this. A thorough survey needs some time. King Philip Augustus wanted to make it a fortress  for this, he constructed the "Old Tower", which was both an observation tower and a shelter. Francois I started its transformation into a Renaissance palace. King Henry IV united the Palais du Louvre with the Palais des Tuileries. Two galleries were constructed, which contained royal pieces of art. In 1793 the palace was turned into a museum. In 1981 the Louvre's courtyard was reconstructed, there was a new entrance to the museum - the Pyramide - built, and the underground area was transformed into a huge space with restaurants, souvenir shops, book stores etc. This is where modernity interweaves with history. The Tuileries Garden is also a place not to be missed. It is beautiful, majestic and at the same time intimate and individual. In 1666 André Le Notre transformed the small garden of the Tuileries Palace into a park with spacious lanes that were the sketch for the future Champs-Élysées. Hundreds of statues adorned the new park, making it look like an outdoor museum. Palais Royal. North of the Louvre there is the Palais Royal, the old residence built by the project of the the architect Jacques Lemercier. This is where Louis XIV spent his childhood, until the Fronde made him leave the place. After the fire of 1761 the palace was reconstructed, and after the Revolution there was the French theatre (the seat of the Comédie-Française,) added to the building. Nowadays the palace houses the Constitutional Council, and the Ministry of Culture. Other objects worth seeing here are La Samaritaine - Grand Magazin, which started the architectural tendency for the numerous commercial buildings constructed in the beginning of the 20th century, and Rivoli Squat (chez Robert, electron libre)  an unusual old building, decorated with bottles, angels, wings and what not. This is a kind of manifestation  more than 200 artists squatted the building in 1999Free Web Content, and refused to leave it. The decoration of the building is a kind of their demonstration of freedom and independence.

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