Ahh Paris, the City of Lights. Situated on the river Seine the romance capital of the world offers its visitors a wide variety of culture, history, food, fashion, music and fun. One of the leading business and culture centers in the world, the Paris region hosts over 45 million tourists every year. Full of iconic landmarks, world famous institution and popular parks there is much to enjoy and explore. Here are some things you should definitely take in when visiting:
Where to go:
Arc de Triomphe (arc-de-triomphe.monuments-nationaux.fr)
Standing tall in the center of Place Charles de Gaulle stands the Arc de Triomphe, a monument that honors those who fought for France, mainly during the Napoleonic Wars. On the inside and the top of the arc are the names of generals and wars fought; below the arc is the tomb of the unknown soldier from World War I. One of the most famous monuments in Paris, the Arc de Triumph was commissioned in 1806 after the victory at Austerlitz by Emperor Napoleon. Following its construction, the Arc de Triomphe became the rallying point of French troops parading after successful military campaigns and for the annual Bastille Day Military Parade. The Arc is the linchpin of the Axe historique – a series of monuments and grand thoroughfares on a route which goes from the courtyard of the Louvre Palace, to the Arche de la Défense. Visitors can climb the 284 steps to reach the top of the arc or take the single elevator, once at the top you will be treated to an incredible panoramic view of Paris.
Notre Dame de Paris (www.notredamedeparis.fr)
Widely considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in Europe, Notre Dame de Paris hosts over 13 million visitors each year. Taking over 200 years to complete, it was one of the first buildings in the world to use the flying buttress. Inside the cathedral majestic works of art decorate the structure including amazing stained glass windows and beautiful portals featuring biblical scenes and more. Of course the highlight of a visit is exploring the famous towers of Notre Dame, made famous in the book “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, but make sure you’re in shape as you will have to climb over 380 steps to get to the top. For more information on the Notre Dame de Paris view our full article.
Opera Garnier (www.operadeparis.fr)
An amazing example of Neo-Baroque architecture at its finest, the Opera Garnier is the thirteenth theater to house the Paris opera since its inception in 1669. Opened in 1875, this lavishly decorated building served as inspiration for the next thirty years with theaters around the world being built using it as the model. The Opera Garnier is truly a delight for the eyes, impressive at first sight from the outside but truly amazing once you enter its lavish confines. It is definitely a must see attraction when visiting Paris. For more information on the Opera Garnier view our full article.
What to do:
Every year on July 14th festivities are held on Champs-Élysées avenue in front of the President of the Republic. Bastille Day is the French national holiday, formally called La Fête Nationale (The National Celebration), which commemorates the day the revolutionary mobs stormed of the fortress-prison in Bastille on 14 July 1789. Festivites begin the morning of July 14th with numerous events held around town and the celebration culminating with a grand parade down the Champs-Élysées and an amazing fireworks display over the Eiffel Tower.
The Café Scene
The Saint-Germain-des-Prés area is the traditional and still chic heart of the Paris café scene. It is home to a number of famous cafés including the esteemed Les Deux Magots and the Café de Flore, historical rendezvous sites of the literary and intellectual elite of the city. The Saint-Germain-des-Prés area was also the center of the existentialist movement associated with Ernest Hemingway, Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre.
Guy Savoy (www.guysavoy.com)
One of the finest and most innovative restaurants in Paris, Guy Savoy is owned by the world-famous French Chef of the same name. The restaurant has been ranked multiple times in the Restaurant Magazine Top 50 Restaurants in the world and has garnered a 3 Michelin star ranking joining only 80 other restaurants in the world. Featuring an amazing menu that changes seasonally and usually comprised of nine or more courses, dining at the Guy Savoy in Paris is truly a delectable culinary experience.
What to see:
Monet Marmottan Museum (www.marmottan.com)
Another amazing must see museum is the Musée Marmottan Monet. Originally a hunting lodge for the Duke of Valmy, the house and its collection of art was bequeathed to the Académie des Beaux-Arts by Paul Marmottan and it was opened as the Museum Marmottan in 1934. The museum features a collection of over three hundred Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works by Claude Monet (the largest collection of his works in the world), Berthe Morisot, Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Alfred Sisley, Camille Pissarro, Paul Gauguin, Paul Signac and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. One of the most famous pieces in the museum is Monet’s Impression, Sunrise which is the painting from which the Impressionism movement took its name.
Louvre Museum (www.louvre.fr)
Originally created as a fortress for King Phillip II in the 1100s, the Louvre Museum has been exhibiting grand works of art since 1793. Probably the most famous museum in the world (and definitely the most highly trafficked) this massive collection of fine art and antiques is so diverse it is hard to know where to begin when you walk through the doors. At 652,300 square feet and with over 35,000 pieces on display you could easily spend a week lost in all the beauty and grandeur the Louvre holds. A fantastical journey through history, culture, and art it is hard to find a point of comparison as few can even begin to hold themselves up against the majesty that is the Louvre Museum. For more information on the Louvre Museum view our full article.
Eiffel Tower (www.tour-eiffel.fr)
One of the most recognizable structures in the world and the first thing that comes to most people’s minds when thinking about Paris is the Eiffel Tower. Drawing over 6 million visitors per year this amazing structure is loaded with amazing views, shopping, fine dining and much more. At the ground floor visitors can enjoy the magnificent sculpture of the Tower’s creator, Gustave Eiffel which was carved by Bourdelle in 1929. The first floor of the tower offers a large space to stroll and explore the history of this amazing structure. There is also 58 Tour Eiffel, a great place to grab some lunch with your family. The second floor of the tower gives visitors the best photo opportunities with its beautiful 360 degree view of Paris. It is also home to the Eiffel Towers fine dining experience with amazing views of the city, the restaurant Le Jules Verne. The top floor consists of an outdoor and indoor level that features a historical reproduction of Gustave Eiffel’s office including wax versions of Gustave, his daughter Claire and Thomas Edison. For more information on the Eiffel Tower view our full article.