The 7th arrondissement in Paris boasts many of the tourist attractions that Paris is known for; the most notable being l’Assemblée Nationale, Hôtel des Invalides and the forever iconic Tour Eiffel. In addition to these must sees during your stay in Paris there are some other interesting gems in the 7th that may peak your interests due to their richness in history and contributions they have lent the bustling City of Lights. During your visit to the Eiffel Tower, you will undoubtedly notice the long, grassy field stretching before it that is the Champs de Mars. This large parkland was once a military exercise ground as its name so adequately describes. Champs de Mars was named after the Roman God of War, Mars, and the literal translation is Field of Mars. Not surprisingly, at its southern end is the École Militaire which is the military academy where Napoleon Bonaparte perfected his craft. However, this grassy knoll did not always have such militant background. Prior to the construction of l’École Militaire, this plush parkland provided Parisians with vegetables for centuries as its original use was a market garden for the bustling city. Today, one may enjoy this stretch of greenery in true Parisian fashion. Bikers, skaters, runners and more all make the best use of this wide open and free space. Make it a lasting memory on your stay by packing a picnic and sipping on wine while the Eiffel Tower sparkles before you.
While strolling through the 7th one can undoubtedly notice the great mansions in view. The 7th arrondissement is well known for being one of the priciest districts in Paris and these great Hôtels (mansions) certainly show why. In the 18th century, the French elite decided to build their urban homes in this area. Some prime examples are l’Hôtel Matignon, l’Hôtel de Salm and l’Hôtel Biron. After the French Revolution many of these homes were confiscated and now serve as national institutions or luxe living for the wealthy offering a beautiful reminder of impressive of 18th century architecture.
In addition to the impressive sites above ground, tourists can go below the surface of the city to visit Les Égouts de Paris (the Paris Sewers). While this is not the typical destination on a dream vacation, a museum of waste and water awaits you to provide a surprisingly interesting and unforgettable afternoon. This network of underground tunnels following the well-known above streets was deemed by Victor Hugo as the “other Paris” in Les Miserables. Aside from the pungent aroma, the sewers are very clean boasting vaulted limestone ceilings and street markers for the more famous streets up above. Adults and children alike will find this to be a fascinating underbelly of the City of Lights.