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Belle Paris

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). 




As you might expect, Paris is strewn with historic architecture, glorious galleries and cultural treasures galore, but the modern-day city is much more than just a museum piece. It's a heady hotchpotch of cultures and ideas – a place to stroll the boulevards, shop till you drop or just do as the Parisians do and watch the world buzz by from a streetside cafe. Savour every moment.

Eiffel Tower

It’s impossible to imagine Paris without the Tour Eiffel , but the ‘metal asparagus’ faced opposition from Paris’ artistic elite when it was built for the 1889 Exposition Universelle. It was almost torn down in 1909 but was spared because it proved an ideal platform for radio antennas.These days some 6.9 million people make the 324m trek to the top each year. If you’re feeling steely-legged, you can dodge the lift fees by taking the stairs to the 1st and 2nd platforms, but be warned: it’s steep. Really, really steep.Spreading out around the Eiffel Tower are the Jardins du Trocadéro (Trocadero Gardens; Trocadéro), whose fountains and statue garden are grandly illuminated at night.

Arc de Triomphe


The Arc de Triomphe stands in the middle of the world’s largest traffic roundabout, place de l’Étoile (Charles de Gaulle Étoile), officially known as place Charles de Gaulle. The ‘triumphal arch’ was commissioned in 1806 by Napoleon to commemorate his victories, but remained unfinished when he started losing battles, and wasn’t completed until 1836. Since 1920, the body of an unknown soldier from WWI has lain beneath the arch; a memorial flame is rekindled each evening around 6.30pm.The viewing platform affords wonderful views of the dozen avenues that radiate out from the arch, many of which are named after Napoleonic generals. Av Foch is Paris’ widest boulevard, while av des Champs-Elysées leads south to place de la Concorde and its famous 3300-year-old pink granite obelisk, which once stood in the Temple of Ramses at Thebes (present-day Luxor).

Montmartre & Pigalle


During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, bohemian Montmartre attracted a number of important writers and artists, including Picasso, who lived at the studio called Bateau Lavoir from 1908 to 1912. Montmartre’s most famous landmark is the Basilique du Sacré Coeur, whose gleaming white dome has one of the most spectacular city panoramas anywhere in Paris.Nearby place du Tertre (Abbesses) was once the main square of the village of Montmartre; these days it’s filled with cafes, restaurants, endless tourists and a concentrated cluster of caricaturists and painters – if you want to get your portrait painted in Paris, this is definitely the place. Only a few blocks southwest of the tranquil residential streets of Montmartre is lively, neon-lit Pigalle (9e and 18e), one of Paris’ two main sex districts. It’s connected to the top of Butte de Montmartre (Montmartre Hill) by a funicular.


Musee du Louvre


The vast Palais du Louvre was constructed as a fortress by Philippe-Auguste in the 13th century and rebuilt in the mid-16th century. In 1793 the Revolutionary Convention transformed it into the Musée du Louvre.The Louvre’s top attractions are da Vinci’s mischievous Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo, but there’s much, much more to see. Other highlights include key works by Raphael, Botticelli, Delacroix and Titian, the lavish apartments of Napoleon III’s Minister of State, and a glorious collection of Greek and Roman sculpture. Tickets remain valid for the whole day, so take your time – you’ll enjoy it more if you don’t try and pack too much into one day.The main entrance in the Cour Napoléon is covered by the 21m-high glass Pyramide du Louvre. 

Eiffel Tower


It’s impossible to imagine Paris without the Tour Eiffel, but the ‘metal asparagus’ faced opposition from Paris’ artistic elite when it was built for the 1889 Exposition Universelle. It was almost torn down in 1909 but was spared because it proved an ideal platform for radio antennas.

These days some 6.9 million people make the 324m trek to the top each year. If you’re feeling steely-legged, you can dodge the lift fees by taking the stairs to the 1st and 2nd platforms, but be warned: it’s steep. Really, really steep.

Spreading out around the Eiffel Tower are the Jardins du Trocadéro (Trocadero Gardens; mTrocadéro), whose fountains and statue garden are grandly illuminated at night.

Musée d’Orsay

The Musée d’Orsay, housed in a turn-of-the-20th century train station, displays France’s national collection of paintings, sculptures and artwork produced between the 1840s and 1914, including the fruits of the impressionist, post-impressionist and art nouveau movements. Among its exhibits are works by Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Sisley, Degas, Manet, Gauguin, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Seurat and Matisse.


Panthéon

The domed landmark known as the Panthéon was completed in 1789. The crypt houses the tombs of French luminaries such as Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Émile Zola, Jean Moulin and Marie Curie. A working model of Foucault’s Pendulum demonstrates the rotation of the earth.

Ste-Chapelle & the Conciergerie


Paris’ most exquisite Gothic monument is Ste-Chapelle, tucked within the Palais de Justice (Law Courts). Built in just under three years, Ste-Chapelle was consecrated in 1248. The chapel was conceived by Louis IX to house his sacred relics, now kept in the treasury of Notre Dame.

Nearby, the 14th-century palace known as the Conciergerie became the city’s main prison during the Reign of Terror (1793–94). Many famous inmates, including Marie-Antoinette and the radicals Danton and Robespierre, were incarcerated here before meeting their eventual fate beneath the guillotine. You can also visit Europe’s largest surviving medieval hall, the Salle des Gens d’Armes (Cavalrymen’s Hall). 

Musée du Louvre


The vast Palais du Louvre was constructed as a fortress by Philippe-Auguste in the 13th century and rebuilt in the mid-16th century. In 1793 the Revolutionary Convention transformed it into the Musée du Louvre, the nation’s first (and foremost) national museum.

The Louvre’s top attractions are da Vinci’s mischievous Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo, but there’s much, much more to see. Other highlights include key works by Raphael, Botticelli, Delacroix and Titian, the lavish apartments of Napoleon III’s Minister of State, and a glorious collection of Greek and Roman sculpture. Tickets remain valid for the whole day, so take your time – you’ll enjoy it more if you don’t try and pack too much into one day.

Jardin des Tuileries

Joggers and picnickers congregate in the 28-hectare Jardin des Tuileries, laid out in the mid-17th century by André Le Nôtre, designer of the Versailles garden.

Arc de Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe stands in the middle of the world’s largest traffic roundabout, place de l’Étoile (Charles de Gaulle Étoile), officially known as place Charles de Gaulle. The ‘triumphal arch’ was commissioned in 1806 by Napoleon to commemorate his victories, but remained unfinished when he started losing battles, and wasn’t completed until 1836. Since 1920, the body of an unknown soldier from WWI has lain beneath the arch; a memorial flame is rekindled each evening around 6.30pm.

The viewing platform affords wonderful views of the dozen avenues that radiate out from the arch, many of which are named after Napoleonic generals. Av Foch is Paris’ widest boulevard, while av des Champs-Elysées leads south to place de la Concorde and its famous 3300-year-old pink granite obelisk, which once stood in the Temple of Ramses at Thebes (present-day Luxor).

Centre National d’Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou


Opened in 1977, the inside-out Centre National d’Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou is a huge cultural and artistic centre, housing the Musée National d’Art Moderne. Nearby place Igor Stravinsky is famous for its fanciful mechanical fountains.

Place des Vosges


The Marais, the area of the Right Bank north of Île St-Louis in the 3e and 4e, was transformed into one of the city’s most fashionable districts by Henri IV, who constructed the elegant hôtels particuliers around place Royale – today known as the Place des Vosges (St-Paul or Bastille).

The novelist Victor Hugo lived here from 1832 to 1848, and the Maison de Victor Hugo contains drawings, paintings and memorabilia relating to the author.

Picasso Museum

The Picasso Museum contains more than 3500 of the grand maître’s engravings, paintings, ceramics and sculptures.

Place de la Bastille


The Bastille is the most famous monument in Paris that no longer exists; the notorious prison was demolished by a revolutionary mob on 14 July 1789, and the place de la Bastille (Bastille), where the prison once stood, is now a busy traffic roundabout. The 52m-high Colonne de Juillet (July Column) was erected in memory of Parisians killed during the July Revolution of 1830.

Montmartre& Pigalle


During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, bohemian Montmartre attracted a number of important writers and artists, including Picasso, who lived at the studio called Bateau Lavoir (11bis Émile Goudeau; mAbbesses) from 1908 to 1912.

Montmartre’s most famous landmark is the Basilique du Sacré Coeur (Basilica of the Sacred Heart; Tel 01 53 41 89 00; http://www.sacre-coeur-montmartre.com/; place du Parvis du Sacré Coeur, 18e; h6am-10.30pm; mAnvers), whose gleaming white dome (admission €5; h9am-7pm Apr-Sep, 9am-6pm Oct-Mar) has one of the most spectacular city panoramas anywhere in Paris.
When it comes to food, Paris has everything.As the culinary centre of the mostaggressively gastronomic country in the world, the city has more ‘generic French’,regional and ethnic restaurants than any other place in France.
Le Petit Mâchon Anupbeat bistro with Lyon-inspired specialities.Try the saucisson de Lyon (Lyon sausage)studded with pistachios.

Scoop This American-style ice-cream parlour has been making quite a splash forits wraps, burgers, tarts and soups and central, trendy location. Sunday brunch(11.30am to 4pm) includes pancakes with maple syrup.

Breakfast in America (4 rue Malher, 4e) American-style diner, complete with red banquettes and Formica surfaces.Breakfast, served all day and with free coffee refills, starts at €6.50, and there are generous burgers, chicken wings and fish and chips.

Le Trumilou (84 quai de l’Hôtel deVille, 4e) Thisno-frills bistro is a Parisian institutionfor classic French cooking: try confit auxpruneaux (duck with prunes) and the risde veau grand-mère (veal sweetbreads).

Kootchi (40 rue du Cardinal Lemoine,5e) Afghan grub such as qhaboli palawo(veal ‘stew’ with nuts and spices) and traditional halva perfumed with rose and cardamom.

Le Baba Bourgeois (5 quai de laTournelle, 5e) Contemporary dining in a former architect’s studio. Its tartines (open-face sandwiches),terrines, tartes salées (savourytarts) and salads are delicious, and there’san all-you-can-eat Sunday buffet.

Recommendations

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Live your dreams in paris!"

Erin, Queensland