Paris, affectionately referred to by many wanderlusts as The City of Light, is a popular destination in Europe. Its historical monuments and rich history give it a unique charm that attracts both seasoned and first-time travellers from the world over.
In the past year, however, this beautiful French city saw a dip in visitor numbers after experiencing a setback that shocked but inspired many.
Visitor trepidation is obviously understandable, but there are compelling reasons to go to Paris, especially in 2017. Here are five reasons why you should book a trip to this magical European capital this year.
Paris and its people are resilient.
The City of Light and its iconic Eiffel Tower has been the setting and inspiration of many movies, plays, songs and books – all for good reason. Paris, with its long history, has proven to be quite resilient. It withstood and survived revolutions, diseases, and most recently, attacks. Testaments to this extraordinary resilience are the storied buildings and monuments, and the rich history magnificently enshrined in the breathtaking art displayed in the city’s museums and galleries.
Parisians know how to live in the moment.
Whether you’re staying in a quaint inn or a fancy hotel, in the city centre or a little farther out, there will be a fabulous local café, where you can just drop in to engage locals in a friendly conversation, read a newspaper, grab a cup of freshly brewed coffee, or simply bask in the Parisian sun.
Food is not just a meal in France, it is an experience.
French cuisine is one of the best in the world, but you know that already. What you probably don’t know is that lunch is typically an hour-long experience for many locals. A typical French lunch starts with an apéritif, a drink designed to stimulate appetite. It then proceeds with a three-course meal, consumed at a leisurely pace while enjoying a conversation with family and friends, and ends with a digestif, which as the name suggests, is an alcoholic beverage intended to help you digest your meal.
You do not need to spend a fortune to go around Paris.
Walking is so commonplace in Paris that the locals have a word for it – flâneur. It means to stroll idly. Walking through Paris’ streets lets you take in the French ambiance like a true Parisian. Popular sites among tourists include the Promenade Plantée, Viaduc des Arts, and Port de Plaisance de Paris-Arsenal. All three are conveniently located in the 12th arrondissement, in the vicinity the River Seine. If you are looking for a less touristy area, consider the Rue des Martyrs. It features restaurants, patisseries, charming flower shops as well as chocolate shops. Going there, you’ll also get to see churches and historical buildings.
A church visit in Paris is both a spiritual and a historical journey.
The Notre-Dame Cathedral, situated near the Seine on the Île de la Cité, is probably the most famous church in Paris thanks to the countless novels, films, and even animated movies that feature it.
However, the church with the most history is the Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Built in the 5th century, it is the oldest church in Paris. For years, the Saint-Germain-des-Prés was the most important religious building in the whole of France, and even became the burial site of Merovingian kings. In spite of its religious significance, the church was looted and burned down by Vikings. It was reconstructed and stood for ages before it was damaged again during the French revolution. This historic church was again rebuilt in the 19th century and remains to be a popular destination for tourists and pilgrims alike.
Looking to experience The City of Light? Spice up your Paris itinerary with these tours and activities!
By: Brendelyn Balaga