Paris is the capital of France and a popular European city. Charles de Gaulle is the main international airport in Paris with thousands of flights a day making it easy to access the city. It is the city of love due to all the romantic vibes it gives. There are also many beautiful hotels to stay in with magnifique views of the city. When in Paris there are many sites to see from art museums to historical monuments. You can choose to go on guided tours or hire a car and drive yourself as you explore the city. Below I have put together a list of 10 places you should see while in Paris.
1) Eiffel Tower
Named after engineer Gustave Eiffel, the tower is on the Champ de Mars in Paris, France. The Eiffel Tower is the tallest structure and the most-visited paid monument in the world. The tower has 3 levels. The 1st floor is about 57 metres high with a glass floor. The 2nd floor, 116 metres high is the last stop before the summit and here you can shop and dine. It has a bar and restaurant with unobstructed monument views. The top level’s upper platform known as the summit is an observation centre for tourists. Gustave Eiffel’s office recreation is on this floor. You can enjoy the view of Paris as you drink from the Champagne bar. Buy your tickets early to avoid long lines.
2) Arc de Triomphe
Having taken 30 years to build and starting on Napoleon’s birthday, it’s among the most famous commemorative monuments. It’s located in the middle of the Place Charles de Gaulle. The position of the Arc allows you to view it from anywhere close. However, you’ll need tickets to access certain areas like the rooftop. Being at the heart of the city, the rooftop gives you a magnificent view of Paris. The names of fallen soldiers are engraved inside the surface of the arch. Likewise, the tombs of the fallen soldiers are at the bottom.
3) Louvre museum
It’s the world’s largest and most visited art museum in the world and a central landmark in the city. Due to the size of the museum, they show certain parts on different days. The 3 main entrances are at the glass pyramid, the Carrousel du Louvre and Porte des Lions. Denon, Richelieu and Sully ,are the 3 wings of the museum all U shaped, each wing with about 4 floors. Sculptures are on the ground floor galleries. The Mona Lisa painting by Leonardo da Vinci is here as well. Galleries on the first floor of the Richelieu wing are full of decorative arts. The museum is very large so be sure to wear comfy shoes when you visit. Tickets can be bought online to avoid long queues at the entrances.
4) Palace of Versailles
Located in the city of Versailles in Yvelines, the palace is a former French royal residence. King Louis XIII used the palace as a hunting lodge and private retreat for himself and his family. In 1624, the King instructed Jacques to construct a château on the site. Every detail added was intended to glorify the king and under King Louis XIV, the palace was changed into a beautiful extravagant complex. The garden of Versailles was planned by André Le Nôtre a famous landscape architect in French history. The Latona fountain is directly west from the terrace and it embodies Ovid’s metamorphoses. Past the present park are two smaller châteaux called the Trianons. The palace is large with beautiful details everywhere so be sure to grab your ticket online so you don’t miss out.
Many people compare Champs-Élysées to Oxford Street in London and Istiklal Caddesi in Istanbul. There’s so much to do in this avenue from shopping to seeing major monuments or even major festive events. It is located between the Arc de Triomphe and Place de la Concorde. Anyone who loves shopping will love the avenue as there’s a large variety of stores and is home to many luxury brands. The avenue is also very reach in culture with exhibition venues, theatres and cinemas. Bars and cafes are present for those who would like to dine or experience the nightlife. Events like the Bastille day and film festival take place in the avenue also.
6) Pont Alexandre III
The Pont Alexandre III is a beautiful arch bridge that crosses the River Seine. Built from 1897 and inaugurated in 1900, it connects the Champs-Élysées quarter and the Les Invalides. The bridge is full of beautiful art and statues and at night it lights up igniting a very romantic feel. It has a width of 40 metres and a total length of 160 metres with 3 traffic lanes including side walks and bike lanes. Constructed low enough, the bridge doesn’t obstruct the view of other buildings and is arched to facilitate navigation in the river. Four pillars are in each corner and they act as counterweights for the steel arches. The pillars, a lady and a horse with wings, are made of bronze and are gold plated representing war, agriculture, commerce and art. In the middle of the bridge there 2 copper pillars.
7) Sacre cœur
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris is a Roman Catholic church. It stands on top of the hill of Montmartre and was already used as a place of worship before the church was built. After the Eiffel Tower it is the second highest point in Paris thus making believers feel like they are closer to God. Engraved on the walls of the church are names of Parisians who funded its construction. It has a massive bell called the Savoyarde, one of the biggest and heaviest bells in the world. It was built by a special stone that is resistant and releases calcite when it rains that cleans it keeping it white and shiny. Several masses happen each day, be sure to check their website to plan a trip.
8) Musée d’Orsay
It’s a fine arts museum with French art from 1848 to 1914 including paintings, furniture, sculptures and photography. Opened in 1986, the museum has over 2000 masterpieces from famous artists including Vincent Van Gogh. Before it was made into a museum, it was a railway station and also housed a 370 room hotel. The museum has one of the best clocks which serves the railway station. There is a square in front of the museum with 6 bronze sculptures representing the continents. Be sure to wear comfy shoes when visiting the museum as it is large and has many beautiful places to be explored. Tickets can be bought online.
9) The Centre Pompidou
Recognized by its avant-garde architectural design, the complex is equidistant from the louvre museum and Notre Dame cathedral. Locally known as beauborg, it combines various forms of art. This includes the biggest modern art museum in Europe, a center for music and acoustic research and a public information library. An architectural contest was done internationally to determine how the cultural centre would look. The centre is named after Georges Pompidou, the president who commissioned it. Near the centre is the Stravinsky fountain that has 16 sculptures that move spraying water around. Being an art museum there is a lot to see so when you are ready to soak yourself in the magnificence of art grab your ticket.
10) Palais Garnier
Palais Garnier is an opera house at the Place de l’Opéra in Paris. It was built for Napoleon III following an assassination attempt to keep him comfortable and secure. Sadly, he never attended any event as he died 2 years before its completion. The interior is astonishingly beautiful as its decorated with 30 types of marble from 8 different countries and 2.5 kilos of gold. Phantom of the Opera is inspired by Palais Garnier. Since they ran out of money, parts of the opera house is left unfinished. It is the first opera house in the world to have electricity as in 1883 a small power plant was installed in the basement. Palais Garnier has a slanted stage and its the largest in Europe. Don’t forget to buy a ticket.
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