Top Ten Interesting Buildings in Paris
As one of the global capital cities of arts and culture, Paris most certainly has its fair share of quirky, impressive or sumptuous architecture. Are you looking for the best architecture Paris has to offer? Or simply the most interesting buildings in Paris? Read on!
In this article, I will list my top 10 buildings in Paris. I have selected them on several criteria: fame, remarkability of architecture and of course, I could not resist tossing my favorite buildings in Paris in the list (see #8 and #9)!
If like me, you are very curious about the quirks and hidden gems of every city you visit and live in, I strongly advise you to check out this free tour of Paris’ quirky and hidden gems, made by Parisians to make you experience their city like a local.
So, without further ado, let’s dive right into the subject.
1. The Centre Pompidou (also referred to by Parisians as “Beaubourg”)
Located at the heart of the 4th arrondissement, the Centre Pompidou (Parisians commonly refer to it as “Beaubourg”) is one of the most famous and iconic buildings of Paris. Inaugurated in 1977, this polycultural space is the result of the vision of former French president Georges Pompidou.
He wanted to create an institution to display France’s impressive modern art collections, and in addition to being a museum the Centre Pompidou is also home to impressive temporary exhibits, a cafeteria, a cinema, and a public library where many Parisian students come to study.
Fun fact: the Centre Pompidou owns the biggest modern art collection of Europe.
Place Georges Pompidou
75 004 Paris
2. The Philharmonie de Paris
I have already spoken of my love of Philharmonie in another article, where you will find all relevant information about what to do there.
The building is particularly known for its impressive architecture: I would go as far as saying that the Philharmonie of Paris is one of the most interesting building designs of Paris. Its most famous building was inaugurated very recently, on January 14th, 2015.
The Philharmonie de Paris is famous for its original design: an all-aluminum hill covered in horizontal and vertical slabs.
This very particular building was designed by the iconic French architect Jean Nouvel, assisted by Brigitte Metra.
Jean Nouvel designed several of my favorite cultural buildings of Paris and even abroad, including the Musée du Quai Branly, the Institut du Monde Arabe, the Fondation Cartier and even the Louvre Abou Dabi.
Cité de la Musique – Philharmonie de Paris
221 avenue Jean Jaurès
75 019 Paris
3. Fondation Louis Vuitton
Now this one is a stunner , and a personal favorite! Launched in 2006 as the art foundation of infamous LVMH group, the Fondation Louis Vuitton acts as an exhibition space that curates every year two or three star-exhibitions that have Parisians line up.
Designed by superstar architect Frank Gehri (he also designed the iconic Bilbao Guggenheim Museum ), the impressive building is known for its humongous construction costs: initially planned to cost 100 billion €, the building ended up multiplying its initial cost by 8.
Fondation Louis Vuitton
8 Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi
4. Musée du Quai Branly
This Museum, which displays controversial arts and tools from Asia, Oceania, Africa and America, is famous for its fully vegetal front wall. The museum is the result from the vision of former president Jacques Chirac, and was designed by Jean Nouvel (same designer who created the plans for the Philharmonie).
Musée du Quai Branly
37 Quai Branly
5. La Géode
To my mind, la Géode is nothing but one of the most interesting cinemas of Paris. This incredible steel sphere is located in the Parc de la Villette in the 19th arrondissement. I think it is also a great place to take breathtaking Instagram pictures if you are looking for an unusual shooting space in Paris.
26 Avenue Corentin Cariou
7. Les Halles
One of the biggest stations in Europe, Châtelet-les-Halles is much more than just a train and transit station: it hosts notably the most frequented cinema of Europe (UGC ciné cité les Halles); a public pool; a mediatheque for film buffs; and a giant mall. Its architecture was thought through through its many changes, and it now constitutes an impressive multimodal complex that has shaped the entire neighborhood.
8. Immeuble la pointe Trigano
Now this one is maybe more unusual than the other buildings I have listed, but it is definitely one of my favorite buildings in Paris. Situated at the crossroads of rue de Cléry and rue de Beauregard, this building is the narrowest building in Paris.
The first time I saw it, I remember the distinct feeling of feeling as though the building was a slice of Paris, so clearly cut in the neighborhood.
If you pass by, I definitely recommend you check it out, you will not regret it!
And if like me, you adore the quirks of the cities you visit, I would definitely advise you to check out this free tour of Paris’ quirky and hidden gems, made by Parisians to make you experience their city like a local.
Immeuble La Pointe Trigano
98 Rue de Cléry
75002 Paris, France
9. 134 rue Mouffetard
Another quirky and unusual pick but I had to include it. This façade is known in the whole neighborhood for its uniqueness, and it now protected by the city of Paris. The building was initially a delicatessen; the owner wanted to have the most original façade of the street, and it looks like he succeed! The façade was created in the 1930’s by Italian crafter Adigheri, using rare Italian technique sgraffito.
134 rue Mouffetard
75 005 Paris
10. Ministère de la Culture et de la communication
And for the last one, a rather shocking one! At the crossroads of rue Saint Honoré and rue Croix des Petits-Champs, the building of the French Ministry of Culture and Communication was modernized by Francis Soller, who draped the austere and traditional building in a silver steel fishnet.
The contrast between the construction and the other austere buildings of the street was widely debated; but I personally think that the building is insanely beautiful, particularly at dawn or golden hour when the sun hits it right. This will make for the most memorable picture if you happen to pass nearby!