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Paris - Around Town : Chaillot Quarter (part 1)

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Chaillot was a separate village until the 19th century, when it was swallowed up by the growing city and bestowed with wide avenues and lavish mansions during the Second Empire building spree. Its centrepiece is the glorious Palais de Chaillot which stands on top of the small Chaillot hill, its wide white-stone wings embracing the Trocadéro Gardens and its terrace gazing across the Seine to the Eiffel Tower. Behind the palace is the place du Trocadéro, laid out in 1858 and originally called the place du Roi-de-Rome (King of Rome), the title of Napoleon’s son. The square is ringed with smart cafés, overlooking the central equestrian statue of World War I hero Marshal Ferdinand Foch. Many of the elegant mansions in this area now house embassies, and there are numerous fine dining spots. To the west are the exclusive residential neighbourhoods of the Parisian bourgeoisie.

General Foch

General Ferdinand Foch (1851–1929), whose statue stands in the centre of place du Trocadéro, was the commander-in-chief of the Allied armies by the end of World War I. His masterful command ultimately led to victory over the Germans in 1918, whereupon he was made a Marshal of France and elected to the French Academy.


Café Carette

Sights
  1. Palais de Chaillot

    The fall of his empire scuppered Napoleon’s plans for an opulent palace for his son on Chaillot hill, but the site was later used for the Trocadéro palace, built for the Universal Exhibition of 1878. It was replaced by the present Neo-Classical building with its huge colonnaded wings for the prewar exhibition of 1937. The two pavilions house three museums, including the Musée de l’Homme. The broad terrace is the domain of souvenir sellers and skate-boarders by day, while at night it is crowded with busloads of tour groups stopping off for the splendid view of the Eiffel Tower across the Seine. Two bronzes, Apollo by Henri Bouchard and Hercules by Pommier, stand to the front of the terrace. Beneath the terrace is the 1,200-seat Théâtre National de Chaillot.

    • 17 pl du Trocadéro, 75016

  2. Cinéaqua

    Originally built in 1878 for the Universal Exhibition, Paris’ aquarium reopened in 2006 after a 21-year closure. It is home to over 500 species, including seahorses, stonefish and some spectacular sharks and rays. Built into a former quarry, the site has been designed to blend in with the Chaillot hillside. There is also a futuristic cinema complex, the Movieum.

    • Ave Albert de Mun, 75016

    • Open 10am–10pm daily

    • Admission charge

    • Cinéaqua 2 ave des Nations Unies, 75016

    • www.cineaqua.com

  3. Musée de la Marine

    French naval history is the focus of this museum, whether in war, trade and commerce, or industries such as fishing. The displays range from naval art to science to maritime adventure and popular legends and traditions. Among the highlights is an outstanding collection of model ships, from the feluccas of ancient Egypt, to medieval galleys to nuclear submarines. You can also watch craftsmen at work on the models. Napoleon’s royal barge is also on show .

    • Palais de Chaillot, 75016

    • Open 10am–6pm Wed–Mon

    • Closed 1 Jan, 1 May, 25 Dec

    • Admission charge

    • www.musee-marine.fr

  4. Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine

    Occupying the east wing of the Palais Chaillot (together with the Musée de l’Homme), this museum is a veritable ode to French architectural heritage, showcasing its development through the ages as well as contemporary architecture. The Galerie des Moulages (Medieval to Renaissance) contains moulded portions of churches and great French cathedrals such as Chartres. The Galerie Moderne et Contemporain includes a reconstruction of an apartment designed by Le Corbusier, and architectural designs from 1990 onwards. The wall-painting gallery in the Pavillon de Tête has a stunning collection of murals copied from medieval frescoes.

    • Palais de Chaillot, 75116

    • Open 11am–7pm Wed–Mon (until 9pm Thu)

    • 01 58 51 52 00

    • Admission charge

    • www.citechaillot.fr

  5. Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

    This modern art museum is housed in the east wing of the Palais de Tokyo, built for the 1937 World Fair. Its permanent collection includes such masters as Chagall, Picasso, Modigliani and Léger; further highlights include Raoul Dufy’s enormous mural The Spirit of Electricity (1937), and Picabia’s Lovers (After the Rain) (1925). The museum is also keen to promote up-and-coming artists by showcasing their work in frequent temporary exhibitions on the same site.

    • 11 ave du Président-Wilson, 75016

    • Open 10am–6pm Tue–Sun (until 10pm Thu during temporary exhibitions)

    • 01 53 67 40 00

    • Admission charge

  6. Cimetière de Passy

    This small cemetery covers only 1 ha (2.5 acres), yet many famous people have been laid to rest here with the Eiffel Tower as their eternal view (see Graves in Cimetière de Passy). It is worth a visit just to admire the striking sculptures on the tombs.

    • d Pl du Trocadéro (entrance rue du Commandant Schloessing) 75016

    Cimetière de Passy
  7. Jardins du Trocadéro

    Designed in 1937, the tiered Trocadéro Gardens descend gently down Chaillot Hill from the palace to the Seine and the Pont d’Iéna. The centrepiece of this 10-ha (25-acre) park is the long rectangular pool lined with stone and bronze statues, including Woman by Georges Braque (1882–1963). Its illuminated fountains are spectacular at night. With flowering trees, walkways and bridges over small streams, the gardens are a romantic place for a stroll .

  8. Musée du Vin

    The vaulted 14th-century cellars where the monks of Passy once made wine are an atmospheric setting for this wine museum. Waxwork figures depict the history of the wine-making process, and there are displays of wine paraphernalia. There are tasting sessions, wine for sale and a restaurant.

    Exhibit at the Musée du Vin
  9. Maison de Balzac

    The writer Honoré de Balzac rented an apartment here from 1840–44, and assumed a false name to avoid his many creditors. He worked on several of his famous novels here, including La cousine Bette and La comédie humaine. The house is now a museum displaying first editions and manuscripts, personal mementoes and letters, and paintings and drawings of his friends and family.

    • 47 rue Raynouard, 75016

    • Open 10am–6pm Tue–Sun

    • Closed public hols

    • Admission charge

    • www.balzac.paris.fr

  10. Musée National des Arts Asiatiques-Guimet

    One of the world’s foremost museums of Asiatic and Oriental art, founded by industrialist Emile Guimet in Lyon in 1879. The Khmer Buddhist temple sculptures from Angkor Wat are the highlight of the finest collection of Cambodian art in the west. Guimet’s original collection tracing Chinese and Japanese religion from the 4th to 19th centuries is also on display, as are artifacts from India, Indonesia and Vietnam.

    • 6 pl d’Iéna, 75016

    • Open 10am– 6pm Wed–Mon

    • Admission charge

    • www.guimet.fr

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