Top Ten Things To Do In Paris
Paris really is all that it is cracked up to be and you truly do have to see it to believe it. It has humming cafes, elegantly dressed locals, spectacular monuments and well, these 10 things:
1. Eiffel Tower
Designed and constructed for the 1889 Exposition Universelle (the World Fair), the Eiffel Tower was almost universally hated by the French but it has since become one of the world’s most iconic monuments. To catch a glimpse of Paris after hours, plan to take your tower trek at night when the Eiffel Tower illuminates the golden city below. Also, make sure to turn your attention to the tower every night on the hour, when thousands of flickering light bulbs make the Eiffel Tower sparkle.
2. Notre Dame Cathedral
Builders started work on the Notre Dame Cathedral in 1163, finishing nearly 200 years later in 1345, but it has since become world-renowned as a result of Victor Hugo’s famed novel, “Notre-Dame de Paris” and the Disney film ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame.’ After admiring it’s external design, climb the 387 steps to the top and see Montmartre to the north, the Arc de Triomphe to the west and St-Sulpice and the Panthéon to the south.
3. The Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles is one of the largest and most opulent castles in the world. This stunning historic castle with its beautiful architecture and gardens, and deep history is a must visit sight on a sightseeing trip to Paris.
4. Arc de Triomphe
Climb to the Arc’s panoramic viewing terrace and gaze down each avenue into the city. It’s the best place to admire the taut geometry of Paris’s urban plan, devised by Napoleon III’s prefect Baron Georges-Eugène Hausmann, who razed the city’s medieval slums to lay down broad boulevards. Rows of neatly trimmed plane trees line each avenue, heightening the effect.
5. Cruise along the Seine River
6. The Louvre Museum
Once a fort and then a palace, the massive Musée du Louvre is now the world’s largest art museum that holds three of the most iconic items in the world, the enigmatic “Mona Lisa,” the curvaceous Venus de Milo and the headless Winged Victory of Samothrace.
7. Paris Catacombs
A visit to the Paris Catacombs are downright chilling. Prior to the creation of the Catacombs in the mid-18th century, Parisians buried their dead in cemeteries. But as the city continued to grow, burial grounds ran out of space, and tainted groundwater affected nearby residents. The Catacombs provided ample and safe space for deceased loved ones, which Parisians used for nearly 30 years. Today, the solemn, skull-and-boned lined tunnels weave beneath the heart of the City of Love, beckoning to visitors as they pass through.
Paris’ most famous boulevard — stretching more than a mile from the glittering obelisk atPlace de la Concorde to the foot of the Arc de Triomphe — is a shopper’s mecca. Along its wide, tree-lined sidewalks, you’ll find such luxury stores as Louis Vuitton and Hugo Boss rubbing elbows with less-pricey establishments like Adidas and Gap.
In a city where pastries are purveyed in not one but two types of bakeries: pâtisseries and boulangeries, the quality of the bread and desert type pastries are amazing. From buttery croissants to the elegant Gâteau St. Honoré to creamy Éclair’s, your tastebuds will have plenty to enjoy in Paris.
10. Centre Pompidou
The Centre Pompidou is one of the most visited cultural sites in Paris. Inside the inside-out museum, you’ll find a massive complex of art museums, a reconstituted studio, a library, rooftop restaurant, two cinemas, one theatre and a colourful fountain installation, located near the main entrance.
By Jacinta Frazzetto