Paris Modern Architecture Tour: Guimard to Le Corbusier

Explore the highlights of Modernist architecture in Paris with an expert
From US$518 privately
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Tour Details
3 hours
Product Type
  • Palais de Chaillot
  • Fondation Le Corbusier / Maison La Roche
  • Eiffel Tower (exterior only)
Photos & Highlights
  • An in-depth introduction to Art Nouveau and Art Deco in Paris
  • Visit Villa La Roche & Maison Jeanneret by Le Corbusier with an architect or architectural historian
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Tour Description
The first decades of the 20th century saw Paris become the epicenter of experimentation in art, architecture, and design. In architecture, in particular, cultural dissonance between the past and new realities emerged in the architectural designs of Le Corbusier and Robert Mallet-Stevens, among others. During this 3-hour Paris architecture tour, you will join a practicing architect or architectural historian, to explore the aesthetics of the Modernist movement. This tour will take place in the city's 16th arrondissement and include aspects of the Art Nouveau and Art Déco movements, as well as the Villa La Roche & Maison Jeanneret by Le Corbusier

Paris Art Nouveau and Art Déco Tour

Known for its affluent residents and iconic landmarks like Palais Galliera, it's easy to overlook the 16th arrondissement's third draw: its Modernist architecture. This quiet neighborhood is home to the city's unusually rich collection of works designed by the top architects of this period. Your tour will begin at the Palais de Chaillot, taking in the scope of Carlu, Boileau, and Azéma's joint vision. This sleek, late 1930s, modernist reimagining of the original Trocadero Palace, initially built for the 1878 World's Fair, opens the conversation and helps to define Modernism in contrast to the popular Neoclassicism, Art Nouveau, and Art Déco.

"The concept was novel. We often visit Paris, but we were unaware of its rich collection of modernist architecture! It was thrilling to see Hector Guimard's work and Le Corbusier's 'workshop.' It was as if we were seeing Paris for the first time."

Moving on from this initial large-scale example, you will continue your exploration by discovering its foundations in Art Nouveau. Here, you will take note of a series of buildings designed by architect Hector Guimard, as well as his famous Paris métro signs, whose lingering presence has contributed to shaping the city's aesthetic. These works will give you a sense of the early triumphs of the period, and reveal the distinct departure from the revival style popular in the 19th century.

Le Corbusier & Mallet-Stevens

Following your examination of Guimard's contributions, you will work your way to the Villa La Roche & Maison Jeanneret, which were designed by Le Corbusier and now form the home of the Fondation Le Corbusier. Here, you will discuss the architect's profound influence on Parisian architecture, as well as European and American Modernism. You may discuss his proposed contributions to city planning, which he called Ville Contemporaine, or his controversial Plan Voisin, which suggested replacing much of central Paris with modern skyscrapers.

Complementing Le Corbusier's modern vision, you will continue on to view several structures designed by Robert Mallet-Stevens in the mid-1920s on the street to which he gave his name. Striking for their streamlined, boxy design, these buildings stood out from the rest of the city's heavily Haussmannian aesthetic. To learn more about Baron von Haussmann and the re-making of Paris in the 19th century, try our Haussmann Architecture tour.

Lingering Impact

As your walk comes to a close, you will reflect upon the hidden structures you've uncovered and come away with an understanding of how these designs set the stage for contemporary architecture.

Note, many clients often pair this tour with one of our modern art walks such as our Pompidou Center Tour.


Is this seminar walking-intensive, and/or wheelchair accessible?
We do cover extensive territory on this tour, some of it by public transport. Additionally, some of the sites we visit are not entirely accessible to wheelchairs. Please contact us with any questions; we will be happy to advise if this tour will be appropriate for you, and can also discuss possible adjustments for visitors with mobility concerns.
Where You'll Start
(4.69) 36 Reviews

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Rebecca was a very charming and knowledgeable guide and was well prepared for our tour.
Jacob was excellent. His education and passion for the subject matter was readily apparent. He was anxious to impart information. I had a throughly enjoyable and informational experience.
Great tour. Highly recommend.