The 7th arrondissement is a treasure trove of monuments, museums, parks, fine dining and exclusive boutiques.
Paris’s affluent and prestigious 7th arrondissement is located in the west of the city, on the left bank of the Seine. Here, you will find numerous legendary monuments and major museums, many of them mainstays of the city’s cultural calendar. Tree-lined avenues, sweeping green spaces and the Seine Quays make it the ideal setting for a walk. It is also packed with top gourmet addresses, both fine food stores and high-class restaurants, as well as Paris’s most sought-after luxury and fashion boutiques. With so much to offer, the 7th arrondissement is certainly worth exploring.
The 7th arrondissement is fortunate enough to be the site of Paris’s best-known landmark: the Eiffel Tower. French engineer Gustave Eiffel designed his 330-metre tower, in the far north-west of the arrondissement, as the flagship of the Universal Exhibition in 1889. Today, it is recognized worldwide as the symbol of France. At the foot of the monument is the Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, housed in a contemporary building designed by Jean Nouvel and dedicated to art from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.
Further along the river, on the quai d’Orsay, is the Palais Bourbon. This former royal residence was built in a similar style to the Grand Trianon at Versailles. It has been modified many times over the years, and is now the meeting place of the National Assembly, the lower chamber of the French parliament. It houses paintings by Eugène Delacroix and a contemporary art collection.
Also on the banks of the Seine, you will find an unusual gem: the Musée national de la Légion d’Honneur et des ordres de la Chevalerie, which displays collections of French and foreign medals and other decorations, including the Légion d’honneur. Just next door is the famous Musée d’Orsay. Sited in a former railway station, it offers visitors a panorama of western art from 1848 to 1914: paintings, sculptures, decorative arts and photography. It holds one of the world’s largest collections of Impressionist works.
Inside the majestic Hôtel National des Invalides, with its opulent gold dome, lie the Musée de l’Armée, dedicated to France’s military history, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, the Musée de l’Ordre de la Libération, the Eglise du Dôme (with Napoleon’s tomb) and the Eglise Saint-Louis des Invalides. The Hôtel Biron in rue de Varenne was once Auguste Rodin’s workshop; today, it is the Musée Rodin. Inside, you can see many of this famous French artist’s works, ranging from terracotta sketches and plaster casts to bronze and marble sculptures. Don’t miss the magnificent sculpture garden, set in the house’s beautiful grounds.
Another of the 7th arrondissement’s key sites is the Basilique Sainte-Clotilde, one of the first Gothic Revival churches built in Paris in the 19th century. This striking building towers over square Samuel Rousseau, with its twin spires stretching 70 metres into the sky. There are also some unusual attractions to be found locally, including the Musée des Egouts de Paris (Museum of the Sewers) and Maison Deyrolle, a cabinet of curiosities packed with fossils, insects and stuffed exotic animals that have to be seen to be believed.
With sweeping avenues, plentiful green spaces and the Seine Quays, the 7th arrondissement is calm and restful, a great place to spend a relaxing day just wandering around.
The Champ-de-Mars Park stretches over more than 24 hectares, between the Eiffel Tower and the Ecole Militaire. It is unfenced and completely public, with wide lawns just perfect for a picnic. It regularly hosts concerts and shows, sports fixtures and major national events.
Another stunning place to walk is the Esplanade des Invalides, a wide avenue bordered by extensive lawns stretching from the Hôtel National des Invalides to the Seine Quays and the majestic Pont Alexandre III.
Do as the locals do and enjoy a stroll along the quai d’Orsay, passing the elegant Ministry of Foreign Affairs building, the Sainte-Trinité Russian Orthodox Cathedral and the American Church in Paris. Head down to the banks of the Seine for a different viewpoint and take advantage of the numerous bar and restaurant barges, and the stands and entertainment on the river banks.
To escape the crowds, make for Catherine Labouré Garden, set in a former vegetable garden behind the high walls of the Couvent des Filles de la Charité. This peaceful haven has retained all its old-world charm with fruit trees, vines and a flower-covered pergola.
In the 7th arrondissement, you will also find long avenues and shopping streets filled with famous names and all the top stores.
A plethora of luxury boutiques makes rue de Grenelle the place to window-shop designer fashion.
Book a highly select visit to Inès de Fressange’s atelier-boutique.
Bon Marché Rive Gauche, the temple of Parisian shopping, brings all the city’s leading luxury and fashion brands together under one roof. Next door, the Grande Epicerie de Paris is filled with the finest food products from around the world.
Gourmet addresses abound in the 7th arrondissement. Angelina in rue du Bac is the place to go for teas, chocolates and a range of sweets, while Chocolaterie Foucher has been crafting its chocolates in the traditional way for six generations. Ryst Duperyon offers grands crus and premium spirits.
The list of boutiques and restaurants at Beaupassage in boulevard Raspail reads like a Who’s Who of French gastronomy: Thierry Marx, Pierre Hermé, Anne-Sophie Pic and Fromagerie Barthélemy.
If fish and seafood make your mouth water, push open the door of Maison Divellec. Or make your way to Petrossian, where the menu revolves around caviar and salmon. Arpège, chef Alain Passard’s three-Michelin-star restaurant in rue de Varenne, is the place to experience French cuisine at its best.