Paris est magnifique!

Nov 12 11:09 2011 melville jackson Print This Article

Bonjour! Welcome to ‘The City of Lights’,Guest Posting Paris. Paris is a city where fashion and culture walk hand-in-hand. Walk by any lane or through any avenue, and you will find yourself in the midst of beauty, art and a rich cultural heritage that envelops the entire city. The city has grown up around the Seine River over the years. Every nook and cranny of Paris is à la mode!

Also infamous as the ultimate romantic retreat, Paris is home to some of the most remarkable structures in the world. Poetry in motion – that is exactly what the city of Paris is. It is what dreams, romantic fables are made of, and most definitely figures in almost every persons travel wish list.  Once you step foot into ‘The City of Lights’, the whole world feels magical as you take in its sights and sounds.

First visits to Paris can be intimidating: nearly every square inch of the city seems to be seeping with history and beauty. All of it is worth seeing and exploring, but there are some Paris tourist attractions that simply should not be missed.

 * The Louvre: To know the Louvre in and out, you might need a lifetime. Still, one has to start somewhere. The site of the world's largest and most diverse collection of paintings, sculptures, and decorative objects, The Louvre is definitely one of Paris' best attractions. Not forgetting the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo, bask in the works of Vermeer, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and countless others. The palace itself is testament to a rich history spanning from the medieval period to the present. The adjacent Tuileries gardens are perfect for a stroll under the Parisian sun. The iconic glass pyramid is a symbol of the modernity of the French capital and completes the picture of perfection of The Louvre.

 * The Eiffel Tower: More than any other landmark, the Eiffel Tower has come to represent an elegant and contemporary Paris. The iron tower, which was built for the 1889 World Exposition by Gustave Eiffel, was wildly unpopular with Parisians when it was unveiled, and was nearly torn down. It has since attracted scores of visitors, and it would be hard to imagine Paris now without it. The tower crowns the Paris night sky with its festive light, and glitters up a storm every hour. Although a number of superlatives have been used to describe The Eiffel Tower, it can never be enough. This characteristic Tower is synonymous with the beauty of Paris and will always stand tall and proud.

 * Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysees: The 164-foot Arc de Triomphe specially made by Emperor Napoléon I does exactly what it was made to do: evoke sheer military power and triumph. It was built in an age when leaders erected monuments in their own honor, and scaled to their egos. The arch's beautiful sculptures and reliefs commemorate Napoléon's generals and soldiers. Visit the Arc de Triomphe to begin or culminate a walk down the equally grandiose Avenue des Champs-Elysées. You can't help but feel grand yourself.

 * Notre Dame Cathedral: No first trip to Paris is complete without a visit to this marvel of gothic architecture. One of the most singular and beautiful cathedrals of Europe, Notre Dame Cathedral's dramatic towers, spire, stained glass and statuary are guaranteed to take your breath away. Witness firsthand the spot that was once the heartbeat of medieval Paris, and that took over 100 years of hard labour to complete. The Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the paramount attractions of Paris.

 * Musee d’Orsay: Walk over the bridge from the Louvre to the Musée d'Orsay and see the bridge between classical and modern art. Housing the world's most important collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings, the Musée d'Orsay's light, airy rooms whir you through three floors of modern wonders, from Degas' ethereal dancers to Monet's water lilies, all the way to Gaugin's leafy jungles. Major works by Van Gogh, Delacroix, Manet, and others await you, too.

 * Sacre Coeur and Montmartre: With its unmistakable white dome, the Sacre Coeur sits at the highest point of Paris on the Montmartre knoll, or butte. This basilica, which was consecrated in 1909, is best known for its garish gold mosaic interiors and for its dramatic terrace, from which you can expect sweeping views of Paris on a clear day. Take the funicular up with a metro ticket and stop off at Sacre Coeur before exploring the winding, village-like streets of Montmartre. And after expending all your energy climbing Montmartre's formidable hills and stairs, consider a traditional Parisian cabaret at the legendary Moulin Rouge.

 * Boat Tour of the Seine River:  Seeing some of Paris' most beautiful sites glide past as you drift down the Seine River is an unforgettable and essential experience. You can hop on near The Notre Dame or The Eiffel Tower. Go at night to enjoy the shimmering play of light on the water, and dress warmly-- the wind from off the Seine can be chilly. You can also take tours of some of Paris' canals and waterways, which will allow you to see a semi-hidden side of the city of light.

 * Galeries Lafayette: First inaugurated in 1893, the Galeries Lafayette department store is a Paris fashion institution. Located near the Opera Garnier, Galeries Lafayette is an essential stop for fashion enthusiasts: men and women's designer collections are always kept at the cutting-edge, and the latest trends in jewelry and accessories, home furnishings, or cosmetics can all be found under one roof. Galeries Lafayette also houses a gourmet food market, Lafayette Gourmet that will be sure to tempt foodies and curious travelers alike. Modeled after a mideastern bazaar, the store flaunts unique architecture and is a feast for the eyes. 

 * Shakespeare & Co: A kind of spell descends as you enter this cluttered, charming bookshop opposite The Notre Dame. Its enchanting nooks and crannies overflow with new and secondhand English-language books, while amid hand painted quotations and a wishing well, a miniature staircase leads to an attic like reading library. This bookshop is the stuff of legends. Shakespeare lovers can read and browse to their hearts content and enjoy the company of the ‘friendly’ books. As quoted by Shakespeare himself- “I would not wish any companion in the world but you.” 

One visit to the French capital and you are hooked on for life. So, come explore Paris in all its grandeur and rest assured you will not feel like saying Au Revoir!

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melville jackson
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