Henry III tried to established peace but was assassinated by a Dominican monk of Opus Dei, and Henry IV had to convert to catholicism before they would crown him. Many of the houses had been destroyed and the population declined in Paris by the Religious Wars, so he started building. A new wing joining the Louvre with the Tuileries Palace, the Pont Neuf, and a pumping station for drinking water. Henry’s widow built the Luxembourg Palace and the Medici Fountain, from Florentine designs.


In the 17th century Louis XIII built the Louvre courtyard, whilst Cardinal Richelieu introduced Roman Jesuit religious architecture, and himself built the Palais Royal and the Sorbonne chapel dome. Louis also built five new bridges over the Seine. Louis XIV was so unpopular that he left Paris in 1671, and made his residence at Versailles, although he built many buildings including Les Invalides, a military hospital like Chelsea. He removed the city walls, and built two small triumphal arches in Roman style.


When the five year old Louis XV came to the throne in 1715 he was housed in the Tuileries whilst Philippe d’Orleans, his guardian, resided at the Palais Royal, the former house of Cardinal Richelieu, and it was not until 1722 that Louis XV returned to Versailles. During Louis’ reign the city expanded westward and the Champs Elysees was built, and many improvements made to Paris. Hygiene, road safety, street lighting and street names, improved water supply and sewage disposal, and an organised fire brigade were all instigated by Louis XV.


Debts caused by the Seven Year War, and France’s involvement in the American Revolution had left the royal coffers empty, and Louis XVI’s attempt at relieving this by encircling Paris with a wall to enable a taxation on everything entering the city proved to be a recipe for disaster.


In 1789, following an armed attack on a peaceful demonstration, a mob raided the arsenal of the Invalides and once armed stormed the Bastille. Within months the revolutionaries had marched to Versailles, arrested the royal family and formed a new government. In 1792 the King of Prussia, in support of Louis, declared war on France. Many thousands were guillotined, tens of thousands imprisoned, and much property belonging to the church and nobility was seized or destroyed.


When, in 1799, General Bonaparte was asked to quell the unrest in the streets he obliged, quickly following it up with deposing the government, declaring a republic, and making himself First Consul and moving into the Tuileries Palace. He crowned himself Emperor in 1804.


He marked his many victories across Europe with the erection of the Arc de Triumphe and the Arc de Carousel, copied from the Arch of Constantine in Rome. He was responsible for many infrastructure improvements in Paris, including the building of canals and installing fountains to provide fresh water.


Following Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo and the restoration of Louis XVIII and his son Charles X, the governance of the country became unpopular with everyone, and demonstrations led to a constitutional monarchy being established under Louis Philippe. However the people of France were still not satisfied, and in 1848 the nephew of Napoleon, Louis Napoleon, became the first President of France, and later Emperor Napoleon III, and political chaos continues.



Louvre Palace


Chateau de Tuileries and Gardens


Grand Palace


Highlander Pub, Rue de Nevers

The Narrowest Street in Paris


Sacre Couer


Station du Nord


Eifel Tower from the North Bank