Palais de Chaillot in Paris

When in Paris one of the best views you can get of the Eiffel Tower is from the Palais de Chaillot, which is also known as The Trocadero, and it is located on the opposite side of the River Seine to the Eiffel Tower, yet there is far more to this building than just the great views.

A bit of history on Palais Chaillot

Paris was the going to be the focal point for the World Fair back in 1878 and it was decided that a new building needed to be erected for this very occasion and the place chosen was the hill known as Chaillot.

So originally this new large building was built to hold a concert hall, along with two wings and two towers that were connected, and was called the Palais du Trocadero, which was named after the Battle of Trocadero, but it was also a very unusual architectural design for its time.
Palais de Chaillot south facade

Then according to the plans underneath the building within former quarries an aquarium was put in place to feature fish from French Rivers, and the concert hall contained a large organ build by Aristide Cavaille-Coll, the famous organ builders, but this organ is now housed in a place in Lyon.

The gardens of the original Palais du Trocadero were also laid out, plus there were originally two statues put in place.  The statues, one of a rhinoceros and the other of an elephant, have since been removed, and are now at the Musee d’Orsay.

However, the building proved extremely unpopular and when Paris was to hold the World Fair again in 1937, the city decided that the Palais du Trocadero needed demolishing and a new building put in its place, which would also serve as a great backdrop to the most famous landmark in Paris, the Eiffel Tower.

This new building was designed by architects Louis Boileau, Jacques Carlu and Leon Azema on a similar theme, yet in a more modern style of building, but with the two wings being separated, although the Palais de Chaillot, as it was renamed, was to be built on the foundations of the original palace that was demolished.
These two wings form a large arc and outside there are two large bronze statues of Apollo and Hercules, but in the middle there is a large esplanade, which allows visitors to get exceptional view of the Eiffel Tower, and the aquarium was also renovated, plus one of the wings became home to the Theatre National de Chaillot.

The Jardins du Trocadero Gardens, were also re-designed for the 1937 Exposition, and these also became another focal point near the Eiffel Tower with its impressive fountains, especially the long basin called the Fountain of Warsaw, which has featured in films such as Rush Hour.

And since being built this new building of the Palais de Chaillot is now one of the recognised monuments in Paris, and in fact it became a major icon during World War II after Adolf Hitler was pictured on the terrace of the palace with the Eiffel Tower in the background.

However, another important event in the history of this building, was when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights here in the December of 1948, which is why the esplanade is now called the Esplanade des Droits de L'Homme that translates to Esplanade of Human Rights.
Golden statues at Palais de Chaillot

Hercules and the Bull statue at Palais de Chaillot

The Palais de Chaillot or The Trocadero Today

The Palais de Chaillot was the initial headquarters for NATO, but while a new building was constructed, but today, the Place de Trocadero, the Jardin de Trocadero Gardens and the Palais de Chaillot are some of the famous tourist attractions in Paris that receive hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.

One wing of The Trocadero is now home to the Musee National de la Marine, which is the naval museum, where you can even get to see the original rowing boat of Napoleon Bonaparte I.  On top of that it is also home to the Musee de l’Homme, which is the ethnology museum of man.

The other wing is home to the Cite de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine museum that showcases French architecture and incorporates the original Musee des Monuments Francais, which is the museum of French monuments.

You also have the Theatre National de Chaillot, which is located below the espalanade and is one of the largest concert halls in Paris that plays host to many different dance companies, fashion shows and much more.
La Jeunesse statue at Palais de Chaillot

But in addition to all of this, there is still the aquarium located underneath, and called the Aquarium de Paris Cineaqua, this is a fabulous place for all the family that is more than just any old aquarium and an experience you will never forget.

So if you have a very limited time on holiday in Paris with the family, but want to see some sites or museums, then the Palais de Chaillot, or The Trocadero as it is also called, is an ideal place to start.

Access to Palais de Chaillot

Located on the Right Bank of the River Seine in the 16th Arrondissement of Paris, by the Jardins du Trocadero and with spectacular views of the Eiffel Tower, especially from the terrace, it can be easily reached via public transport in Paris.

You will find that the nearest Metro station is the Trocadero stop serving Lines 6 and 9, although if you are travelling into Paris via the RER trains, then the nearest train station is located on the opposite bank of the River Seine, which is called the Champ de Mars - Tour Eiffel stop serving the RER C Line.
Western wing of Palais de Chaillot

Bas relief sculpture on Palais de Chaillot
There are also several Buses that will get you within walking distance of the Palais de Chaillot and the Jardins du Trocadero, which include the Bus Lines 22, 30, 32, 63, 72 and 82, along with the Noctilien Night Bus Service via Line N53.

Les Cars Air France, who changed their name to Le Bus Direct also have a stop at the Place du Trocadero opposite the Palais de Chaillot for the Direct 1 and Direct 2 lines that go to Orly Airport and Charles de Gaulle Airport respectively, not forgetting that the tour buses in Paris such as l’Open Tour also stop near this famous tourist attraction.

In addition these options, there is also the Batobus Water Bus that does a circuit up and down the River Seine, and on the opposite bank where the Eiffel Tower stands, by the Quai Branly near to the Bateaux Parisiens dock, you will find the Batobus station.