This chic and noble arrondissement made history. When Henri IV was the ruler of France, the first houses of the aristocratic Paris were built in this area. Until then, from the 6th to the 16th century, only the monasteries of Saint-Germain and Sainte-Genevieve had rural domains and the wasteland was used by the kings for small game hunting. The area was also popular for its duel rendezvous at sunrise, despite it was forbidden.
In the 16th century, the stones for building the chateau des Tuileries were transported through the rue du Bac. Band because the area has such a central position (near Louvre and Tuileries), the future 7th arrodndissement was very popular with the aristocracy and wealthy bourgeoisie.
A characteristic feature of the 7th arrondissement is its homogeneity. The building still looks as the ones built some two centuries ago. I don’t know what miracle preserved this area from high rise concrete monsters, except maybe the siege of the U.N.E.S.C.O. set in 1958, located exactly behind the Ecole militaire. This palace of glass and concrete is in itself a beautiful modern building but is completely misplaced in this environment. But it is and stays one of the most beautiful arrondissements of Paris. It’s not surprising that the houses, restaurants and boutiques are syntonised to the wishes of the Parisian elite. A lot of top chefs exercise their skills in the 7th and at the quai Voltaire and Carré Rive Gauche dozens of antique dealers wait for their wealthy clients.
The 7th has the reputation of being a secretive arondissement: high walls and heavy doors. Not always true! In the rue du Bac a few doors are open or ready to be pushed. The rue de Grenelle has idyllic gardens and interior courtyards await you at nos. 85, 87 and 102. You have perfectly the right to look behind open doors, it’s a tourist privilege!
But for the tourist coming to Paris, the greatest attractions remain of course the Musée d’Orsay, the musée Rodin and…the Eiffel tower. And if the tower could write its memories…we would know all the secrets, the scandals and metamorphoses of the 19th century.