What can be said about the sexy, sophisticated City of Lights that hasn't already been said a thousand times before? Quite simply, this is one of the world's great metropolises, a trend-setter, market-leader and cultural capital for over a thousand years and still going strong. This is the place that gave the world the cancan and the cinematograph, a city that reinvented itself during the Renaissance, bopped to the beat of the Jazz Age and positively glittered during the belle époque (beautiful era).
Did you Know?
- Paris has 36 bridges which cross the River Seine (pronounced ‘sen’), a UNESCO site, which is 776km long
- Paris is the number 1 tourist city n in the world. The population of the city is around 2 million, but the City of Lights attracts a whopping 32 million tourists a year!
- The Eiffel Tower was originally designed for Barcelona, but the city thought it was ugly so it went to Paris instead.
1. The Louvre
This all mighty and world famous museum started off as a fortress in the 13th century and was rebuilt throughout the ages. Eventually in the 18th century the fortress was transformed into the Musee du Louvre with people from all over the world coming just to see the top attractions like Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. But there is a lot more to see with works by Raphael, Botticelli and Delaxcroix. The main entrance is the Cour Napoléon, which is covered by the 21m-high glass Pyramide du Louvre but the quickest way to get in is through the Port des Lions entrance beside the gardens on the southwest side of the building.
2. Eiffel Tower
It’s impossible to go to Paris without seeing the ‘metal asparagus’ that sticks out of the city centre. Originally it was built for the 1889 Exposition Universelle and was meant to be a temporary construction that was almost torn down several times. Thankfully it was spared in the early 20th century because it proved to be a great platform for radio antennas. Now 6.9 million people enjoy the trek to the top of the Eiffel Tower each year for a great view of Paris. There are a couple of platforms you can visit and if you’re feeling steely legged, you can save a few pennies and take the stairs to the different platforms, but there are a lot of steps and it’s really, really steep! 20,000 lights sparkle on the tower hourly in the evening in a night show not to be missed. Spreading out around the Eiffel Tower is the Jardins du Trocadéro / Trocadero Gardens, whose fountains and statue garden are illuminated at night.
3. Notre Dame
700 year old Notre Dame is one the most famous churches in world. The locals ignored the beautiful building for a few years until it became famous through Victor Hugo’s fairy tale story, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Then the locals realized that it was a major tourist attraction and quickly cleaned it up to what we see today. It is free to go inside and view, or you can pay a small amount and go up to the viewing platform.
4. Montmarte District / Basilique du Sacré Coeur
The Montmarte district is a very colourful and romantic neighborhood in Paris where a number of writers and artists, including Picasso, lived during the 19th and 20th century. The star attraction of the district has to be the Basilique du Sacré Coeur, an amazing church that gleams white up high on Montmarte. From the Basilica there is an amazing view where you can take a panorama shot of the city.
5. Palace of Versailles
Just outside Paris’ city centre is the town of Versailles where you will find the most famous Palace in France. Louis the 14th aka ‘The Sun King’ converted the Palace of Versailles into the royal court to become one of the most luxurious buildings in the world. The most famous of rooms inside is the Hall of Mirrors, witnessing the signing of the Treaty of Versailles (ending WWI) and also the Franco-Prussian War Peace Treaty in 1871. The history, gardens, rooms have made other royal families around in Europe envious for years and wanting to replicate for themselves.
1. La Marmite
If you want to try some French classics then La Marmite is the perfect place to do that at a relatively affordable price. Good meals to try are the foie gras, escargot, confit Duck and cassoulet.
2. Latin Quarter
The Latin Quarter in Paris, also known as the ‘academic’ quarter is just as famous for its food as it is for the Sorbonne University. Just walking through the quarter you will find many great set menu lunch options such as entrée + main + dessert lunch setting you back only 10-12 Euros. These restaurants are great value but typically more ‘touristy’ because of the price and the English-speaking factor.
3. La Cremalliere
La Cremalliere has fantastic décor with live music on most nights of the week performing jazz shows, cabaret acts and even magicians and cancan performers. There is a nice 3 course set menu to choose from for around 20euros.
4. Café Central Paris
Central Paris is a French style restaurant / pub that has a nice balcony view and serves French cuisine such as duck confit, foie gras, and scrumptious desserts.
5. Gérard Mulot
If you have a bit of a sweet tooth and want to indulge in some delicious looking French pastries, quiches, beautiful sweet tarts, biscuits and macaroons, then Gérard Mulot is the place for you.
O’Sullivans is popular nightspot next door to the Moulin Rouge. The Irish bar sets up a dance floor for a late night boogie.
2. Brasserie L'epoque
f you are wanting to head out and test out the mic at a karaoke bar, then this is the place for you. A lot of the songs are in French but they also play English ones too.
3. Le Piano Vache
Located in the Latin Quarter, Le Piano Vache has cool hipster décor and a great vibe that is perfect to hang out with mates any day of the week. They have DJ’s and bands playing as well as pop rock jam sessions throughout the week.
4. Le Dernier Bar Avant le fin du Monde
Translated to ‘The last bar before the end of the world’, this place is one of the quirkiest bars in Paris. The entry is decorated with Star Wars paraphernalia; the upstairs room feels like a Sherlock Holmes’ apartment and downstairs is like something out of Star Trek, really sleek and bare. Even though the décor is a bit out there, the whole feeling of the place is quite relaxed with board games available to play and be social with other patrons. But the best thing about the décor has to be the urinals in the men’s toilets as they have a video game attached where you control a little penguin when you pee!
Perched up high on the top of the Cite de la Mode et du Design, Wanderlust is a new spot that has a fabulous terrace overlooking the left bank of the River Seine. Inside the complex there is also a fashion museum, many cool cafes and shops and a bar. The dance club part of the programming happens only on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 11pm onwards and goes until 6am playing electro, new disco and house music.
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Live your dreams in paris!"