As they say, Paris is always a good idea. It really is. The architecture, the macaroons and the atmosphere. This time when I went to Paris, they all lived up to their name so I have put together a little Paris Travel Diary of some of the sights that I recommend seeing!
Number one of course you already know – it’s the Eiffel Tower. You simply cannot go to Paris without seeing this icon and I don’t know what it is about this tall metal tower but it is really enchanting. Just being near it will let you soak up the spirit of Paris. I really recommend seeing this by day and seeing it by night. Years before I did take the elevator to the viewing point at the top but this time I decided to skip the lines and just enjoy looking at it from the ground up. And the views are free!
The Eiffel Tower was built by Gustave Eiffel for the 1889 Exposition Universelle, which was to celebrate the 100th year anniversary of the French Revolution. It was only ever intended to last 20 years but ended up as a telecommunications tower. It’s a true icon of Paris and not to be missed, neither by day or by night.
For my Paris trip, I took the hop-on, hop-off bus for two days, jumping off where I needed to. It’s good to ride the hop-on, hop-off bus all the way around the first time you jump on, just to get your bearings. You can then take it again and jump off at the stops where you want to get off at.
One such stop is the Arc de Triomphe. The Arc was built between 1806 and 1836 and stands at the centre of Place Charles de Gaulle which is located at the western end of the Champs-Élysées. The arches whole decorative style is entirely of the tradition of sculpture from the first half of the nineteenth century.
The triumphal arch is in honour of those who fought for France, in particular, those who fought during the Napoleonic Wars. Engraved on the inside and at the top of the arch are all of the names of the generals and wars fought. There are inscriptions in the ground underneath the vault of the arch which include the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I where the Memorial Flame burns. It’s large and impressive and really worth a stop to see, especially if you are wanting to shop along the Champs-Élysées anyways.
Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great on my trip to Paris but you can still get a feeling of the atmosphere from these photos (I hope). Something slightly forlorn but elegant and classy all the same.
Another place you must visit while in Paris is The Lourve. The Louvre or the Louvre Museum is the world’s largest museum and a historic monument that is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the 1st arrondissement (ward). Nearly 35,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century are exhibited here and you must go just to see the famous Mona Lisa! I’m sure the question most asked of those who visit The Lourve to the staff there is, ‘Which way to the Mona Lisa?’.
The Notre Dame Cathedral is also worth a visit. Notre Dame is French for ‘Our Lady of Paris.’ This is a medieval Catholic cathedral on the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement. The cathedral is an example of French Gothic architecture, and is among the largest and most well-known church buildings in the world. I didn’t go inside this time but simply wandered around, taking in the views.
Now on to shopping! I love Galleries Lafayette for shopping in Paris and I went to the one near to the Opera. This is an upscale French department store and they have every designer brand under the sun that you would want to discover. I managed to sneak away with my own personalised Louis Vuitton Neverfull bag. When in Paris…
Now on to food! Paris is really expensive for eating out but they have amazing breakfasts for on the cheap! There are really inexpensive little joints – the one I liked was Pomme de Pain. You can get two pastries, a juice and a coffee for under 5 Euros so it’s not bad. And I recommend that if you are in Paris you better eat a croissant every single day – they are amazing!
You cannot miss Ladurée for the macaroons in every variety imaginable. Just for the experience you must go. Parisian tea rooms’ history is intimately tied to the history of the Ladurée family. It all began in 1862, when
Louis Ernest Ladurée, a miller from the southwest of France, founded a bakery in Paris at 16 rue Royale. The rest is history!
Also you cannot go to France without trying escargot. I know it sounds strange but they are actually not too bad. If you wander the back streets around Notre Dame you will find some French restaurants with some really good lunch deals – 3 courses or 2 courses for around 15 Euros each. Escargot are chewy and garlicky – just how you would imagine them. If given the choice I probably wouldn’t choose them over a nice Beef bourguignon but it is still a French speciality you must try – just for the experience!
Another French speciality is Crème brûlée and you must try it in Paris. Crème brûlée, also known as burnt cream, crema catalana, or Trinity cream is a dessert consisting of a rich custard base topped with a contrasting layer of hard caramel. It is one of my favourite desserts and I will pretty much make any excuse to have it! And what better excuse is there than being in Paris…
Last but not least if you are looking for nighttime entertainment you must visit Moulin Rouge. Moulin Rouge is a cabaret which still operates today. You must make reservations in advance and the shows are pricey, I’m not going to lie. But well worth it all the same!
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