Sunday, 10 August 2014

Top Things to do in Paris

Could there be anything better than being immersed in the history and culture of one of Europe’s great cities, Paris? This mini guide will help you decide what to see and how to make the best of your time in one of the most romantic cities in the world.

Paris is one of the world’s great style capitals and every time I go I fall in love with it all over again. Still rated as one of the most romantic and fun cities in the world, Paris is full of great food, historic sites and fashion! With Worldclass museums and galleries you can take the family or just that special person in your life for a fabulous break.

No matter whether you're taking a stroll along the River Seine or soaking up city life from a pavement café, it’s easy to see why. Make sure your ‘must see’ list includes the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and Musée d’Orsay. But be sure to spend a quiet moment in the Jardin de Tuileries and savour an éclair from a patisserie or a glass of Beaujolais in a bistro. From culinary delights to cultural sights, the romance of Paris is a dream city to visit.

Top Things to do in Paris:

1. Orsay Museum2. Sacré Cœur3. Monmatre4. Louvre Museum5. Notre Dame6. Paris Bus Tour7. Château Wine Tasting8. Palace of Versailles9. Bateaux Parisiens River Cruise10. Arc De Triomphe

1. Orsay Museum

The Orsay Museum was originally designed as a train station in 1900. By the 1950’s it became apparent that the platforms were too short for modern trains and the building became home to a theatre. In the 1970's it was remodelled and converted into a museum dedicated to displaying art from the period 1848 to 1915. There are many masterpieces at the Orsay include work by Delacroix, Manet, Guaguin, Cézanne, Monet, Renoir, Sisley, van Gogh and many more great artists.

2. Sacré Cœur

Completed in 1914, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart is located on Montmartre, which is the highest point in the city. I had a fabulous time visiting Sacré Cœur. The complex includes a garden for meditation, with a fountain. When I was walking through there was a choir of monks practicing which heightened the experience. The top of the dome is open to tourists and provides a spectacular panoramic view of the city of Paris. Sacré Coeur is a landmark of Paris, even appearing in several movies such as Amélie, Ronin and Audrey Hepburn's Sabrina and in music videos such as U2's Two Hearts beats as one.

3. Monmatre

Montmartre was once the home of – and the daily inspiration for – artists such as Salvadore Dali, Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri Matisse and Claude Monet. Many films have used the romantic scene of Manmatre as their set including La Vie en Rose, Amélie and Moulin Rouge (both 1952 and 2001 versions). Pigalle, an area within Monmatre which is home to Moulin Rouge, is known for its focus on music with many music shops, instrument shops and concert halls focusing on rock-n-roll filling the streets.

4. Louvre Museum

The Louvre Museum is unquestionably one of the finest art galleries in the world. Home to thousands of classic and modern masterpieces, the Louvre is the jewel in the crown of French culture, a towering testament to European civilisation and history.Its quality and importance is highlighted through its popularity as the Louvre is the globes most-visited museum.

5. Notre Dame

The construction of the Gothic Notre Dame Cathedral, undertaken at the initiative of Maurice de Sully, began about 1160 and amazingly was completed within 40 years.Around 1250, Jean de Chelles built the north arm and began work on the south arm, which was completed by Jean de Montreuil.From the middle of the 13th century to the beginning of the 14th century, the chapels of Notre Dame Paris were constructed between the buttresses of the nave. The buttresses next to the chevet were built by Pierre de Montreuil and are particularly fine.

6. Paris Bus Tour

If you have little time in Paris then a bus tour will allow you to familiarise yourself with the geography of the city whilst discovering the main sights of the city in a relaxed way. Each round tour lasts approximately 2hours and 15minutes, and features all of the main sights of central Paris.

7. Château Wine Tasting

France and Paris is home to some of the finest wine in Europe. From champagnes to Bordeaux’s the variety is wide and the quality is high. Whether you are a wine novice or a connoisseur, the Ô Château Wine Tasting is for you! With a unique approach, this is a great opportunity to have some good fun and experience some great French wine.

8. Palace of Versailles

The Palace of Versailles, is one of the largest and most opulent castles in the world. Boasting around 2,143 windows, 1,252 fireplaces, and 67 staircases, the Castle is one of the most visited attractions in France.As a fine example of 18th century French art, this historic building has been on Unesco's World Heritage List for 30 years. The castle was the official seat of power until 1789, but has since been seen as the unofficial seat. Also known as the “cradle of liberty” (Berceau-de-la-Liberté) it was here that the people of Paris made their stand against King Louis XV1, forcing the Royal Family to leave behind their life of decadence and move back to the true capital city of Paris.
I would advise you to get to Versailles early, hop in the seemingly massive line to enter the chateau immediately. If you are armed with tickets already, the security check line won’t take that long, but it only grows longer with each passing hour. The other option is to wait until later in the afternoon, right before closing, but you run the risk of a long line at 6 p.m., the last entry into the palace. Try not to neglect the other parts of Versailles. After taking in the grandeur of the palace, tourists who push on towards the Grand Trianon, the Petit Trianon and the Queen's Hamlet fall more and more in love with Versailles. Strolling through the fairytale garden created for Marie Antoinette, complete with farm animals and grain mill, adds another layer of allure to the already bewildering estate.For a mere €3 you can visit the Potager du Roi, the king’s personal vegetable garden. It sounds goofy, but it’s another experience that compliments the grandiosity of Versailles. Most of the garden’s layout is similar to how it looked during Louis XIV’s time and it still produces tons of fruits and vegetables sold at the markets in Versailles.

9. Bateaux Parisiens River Cruise

Cruise up the majestic Seine and discover the sights of Paris from a new perspective with the Paris Pass! From the water it is possible to see the bridges and monuments of Paris as you could never hope to from land. Bateaux Parisiens River Cruises deliver spectacular and hidden views of this magnificent city. An informative historical and cultural commentary is available in English and on-board guides occasionally take the microphone to inform Paris visitors about current events, exhibits, and festivals.

10. Arc De Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe is perhaps the most iconic of all French monuments. It is at once instantly recognisable and deeply evocative of the military glories and follies of France. Napoleon ordered its construction in 1809 to celebrate the triumph of the Republican armies. However, it was soon after that his empire began to collapse, and the Arc was not completed until 1836. The Arc de Triomphe is decorated with friezes of battle scenes and carved with the names of Napoleon's victories.

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