The greatest gems of French architecture are represented at the City of Architecture and Heritage, which bills itself as the largest architectural museum in the world. Reopened in 2007 after an €84-million renovation, the former French Monuments Museum contains some 350 plaster-cast reproductions spread out over 86,000 square feet. While it may seem odd to see a collection comprised entirely of copies, these are no ordinary ones: they include partial facades from some
of the most important Gothic churches, a gallery of frescoes and windows (among them a stained-glass stunner from the famous Chartres cathedral), plus an assembly of gargoyles practically leaping off the back wall of the soaring first-floor gallery. Video monitors with joysticks allow a 360-degree view of some of the grandest cathedrals. The upper-floor gallery is devoted to architecture since 1851, with a life-size replica of a postwar apartment in Marseille designed by the urban-planning pioneer Le Corbusier. It's worth springing for the €3 English audiovisual guide. The museum's small café offers a great view of the Eiffel Tower.