10 Inspirational Illustrations of France’s Monuments
BlogTourism
|
4
MIN READ
|
Aug 6, 2022

10 Inspirational Illustrations of France’s Monuments

10 Inspirational Illustrations of France’s Monuments
Julien Mainguy

French and based in Vancouver since 2014, Julien Mainguy is the co-founder of Best of France. Passionate about the cultural difference between Canada and Europe, he is leading numerous projects to create awareness, help people grow, and bring communities together.

Frantastique - Online French lessons

France is well known for its history and culture, and the monuments to represent them. Here are 10 inspirational illustrations of some of France’s most famous landmarks:

1 - Palace of Versailles, Versailles

The Palace of Versailles is probably the most significant symbol of French opulence. Listed as a World Heritage Site for 40 years, the original plans for this palace were developed by Le Vau, Louis XIV's architect. His successors then gradually added to its magnificence until the French Revolution in 1789. With more than 2300 rooms, a spectacular geometric garden, and an iconic Hall of Mirrors, there is no doubt why this place was once called "the most beautiful house ever".

Palace of Versailles and its geometric garden.
Palace of Versailles and its geometric garden.

2 - Eiffel Tower, Paris

Tour Eiffel view from the "Champs de Mars" park.
Tour Eiffel view from the "Champs de Mars" park.

France's most famous monument. Once the tallest building in the world, it was conceived by Gustave Eiffel to celebrate the French Revolution's centennial during the Exposition Universelle in 1889. What most people ignore is that the Eiffel Tower was meant to be a temporary structure demolished twenty years after its construction. However, with the development of radio communication, it quickly became a strategic asset for the French military, and the city of Paris decided to keep it. It has since been ranked as the most-visited paid monument in the world, with over a quarter of a billion visitors. The observation deck at its top is the highest in the European Union. The tower also houses two restaurants, one of which has a Michelin star.

3 - Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris

The cathedral of Our Lady of Paris, better known as Notre-Dame, is one of the symbols of Paris' reputation as the "City of Love". Its colorful rose-tinted windows, wooden rib-vaulted ceiling, and impressive gargoyles make it a masterpiece of gothic architecture. The cathedral was the primary setting of Victor Hugo's novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame, later turned in popular culture into a Disney film. It is currently being restored after being nearly destroyed in a fire in 2019.

Notre-Dame Cathedral and its iconic stained-glass windows.
Notre-Dame Cathedral and its iconic stained-glass windows.

4 - Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, Paris

Overlooking the rest of Paris at 130 m altitude, the Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur is a monument of French resilience. Built right after France’s defeat in the 1870 Franco-Prussian War, its purpose was to instill a sense of "national moral resurgence". Located on the hill of Montmartre, which in ancient French signifies "Mount of Martyrs", its tall structure is visible from almost anywhere in Paris.

Front view of the Basilica showing its impressive achitecture.
Front view of the Basilica showing its impressive achitecture.

5 - Arc de Triomphe, Paris

Napoleon's Arc de Triomphe, or Triumphal Arch in English, was built over a period of 57 years to commemorate the victories of the Grande Armée. It echoes the roman triumphal arcs, which served the same purpose. Nowadays, visitors can access the roof and have an amazing view of Paris' monuments and skyline. It also has many replicas worldwide, from New York to Bucharest to New Delhi.

Arc de Triomphe in the middle of "Place Charles de Gaulle".
Arc de Triomphe in the middle of "Place Charles de Gaulle".

6 - Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy

The Abbey at Mont-Saint-Michel is the most visited monument in France outside of the Parisian region. Dating back to the 6th century, Mont-Saint-Michel's town, abbey, and fortification are hotly contested between Brittany and Normandy. Both claim ownership of the wonder. Built in a marsh, it is a tidal island, accessible by land only at certain times of the day - although a bridge now permanently links it to the mainland.

Aerial view of the Mont-Saint-Michel at sunrise.
Aerial view of the Mont-Saint-Michel at sunrise.

7 - Notre-Dame de la Garde, Marseille

The basilica is Marseille’s most visited site. It was built on the foundations of an ancient fort at the highest natural point in Marseille, which overlooks the old port. Locally known as ‘La Bonne Mère’ (the good mother), its interior is colorful with lots of mosaics and stained glass windows. Meticulously restored from 2001 to 2008, it is today an inspirational sight for all of Marseille.

The golden statue of Virgin Mary overlooking Marseille from Notre-Dame de la Garde.
The golden statue of Virgin Mary overlooking Marseille from Notre-Dame de la Garde.

8 - Château de Chambord, Loire Valley

The Loire Valley is home to France's most beautiful castles, and the Château de Chambord is probably the most famous one. Originally built as a hunting lodge, it gradually became the most recognizable castle in France thanks to its sumptuous design that symbolizes the Renaissance. It is speculated that Leonardo Da Vinci participated in the chateau's design, notably for its enigmatic staircase.

Chambord castle, one of the most famous of the Loire Valley.
Chambord castle, one of the most famous of the Loire Valley.

9 - Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg, Alsace

The Haut-Kœnigsbourg is a medieval castle in France’s eastern region of Alsace. For a long time, the French ignored it due to high animosity with Germany. Indeed, the castle was built with heavy Germanic influence and restored by the german empire when it had annexed Alsace before the First World War. Now one of the most visited sites in the country, it is much appreciated by French and foreigners alike.

Haut-Koenigsbourg castle and its majestic view over Alsace.
Haut-Koenigsbourg castle and its majestic view over Alsace.

10 - Carcassonne, Occitanie

The medieval fortified city of Carcassonne, located in Southern France, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Exceptionally preserved and restored, it is a fantastic representation of the architecture and organization of a medieval fortress town. Carcassonne is the perfect destination for history lovers looking to get soaked in the medieval atmosphere while enjoying a sunny day in Southern France.

The medieval city of Carcassonne, in the South of France.
The medieval city of Carcassonne, in the South of France.


Visit our shop to see an illustrated map of France, featuring some of the most famous landmarks!