The 7th arrondissement of Paris is one of the 20 arrondissements (administrative districts) of the capital city of France. It includes some of the major tourist attractions of Paris, such as the Eiffel Tower and the Hôtel des Invalides (Napoléon's resting place), and a concentration of such world-famous museums as the Musée d'Orsay, Musee Rodin, and the Musée du quai Branly.
Situated on the Rive Gauche—the "Left", or Southern, bank of the River Seine—this central arrondissement, which includes the historical aristocratic neighbourhood of Faubourg Saint-Germain, contains a number of French national institutions, among them the French National Assembly and numerous government ministries. It is also home to many foreign diplomatic embassies, some of them occupying outstanding Hôtels particuliers.
The arrondissement is home to the French upper class since the 17th century, when it became the new residence of French highest nobility. The district has been so fashionable within the French aristocracy that the phrase le Faubourg—referring to the ancient name of the current 7th arrondissement—has been used to describe French nobility ever since. France's 2nd richest district in average income and Paris' 1st, this arrondissement is part of Paris Ouest, alongside the 6th, 8th, 16th arrondissements and Neuilly, and is usually considered the most aristocratic district of the area.
Squares and gardens, clearings and perspectives defined the open spaces around this exceptional building. A century later, Louis XV reinforced the military identity of the new quartier with the creation of the Military School and the Champ-de-Mars. The 19th century saw the arrival of the emblematic Eiffel Tower. The presence of such grandiose monuments ensured that this part of the 7th arrondissement, one of the most residential parts of the capital, would be one of the most popular tourist areas in the world.
In 2006 the popularity of the area was further reinforced with construction of the new Musée du Quai-Branly, dedicated to the arts and civilizations of Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas just a stone's throw from the Eiffel Tower.
Rue de Grenelle and Rue de Varenne, the Rodin Museum and Palais Bourbon at the Musée d’Orsay.
This area, formerly part of the Marais became the home to French nobility. Faubourg Saint-Germain grew up around the walls of the Abbaye de Saint-Germain-des-Prés from 1615. In the space of two centuries around 300 mansions were constructed by famous architects for a nobility that led lives of pleasure and idleness, ordered by the social calendar.
Around a hundred of these mansions survive, converted by the French Republic into a house of parliament (the Assemblée Nationale), ministries, embassies, museums and other public buildings. In this way 'notre faubourg' (our faubourg), the nerve centre of the nation, remains one of the most elegant and prestigious quartiers in the city, a sort of microcosm where the spirit of its aristocratic heritage lives on.