If New York is the “City that Never Sleeps” then Paris is the city you need a good sleep each night in so that you can make the most of each day you have there, whether it be a few days, a month or a year.
There are so many things to do in Paris and places to see.
Paris is full of culture, museums and dominated of course by the ever-present and visible Eiffel tower.
The city abounds with numerous museums where Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael, Monet, Rodin, Delacroix and Picasso are all represented. These best value for museums is the Museum or Paris Pass. You can buy a 2, 4 or 6 Day Museum Pass or a Paris Attractions Pass.
Bear in mind however that you could spend 4 days in the Louvre alone! If you buy one of these you need to use it practically all the days to get the value. Remember also that many museums have one day a week that is free entry.
The Louvre is one of the finest museums in the world of art. It is actually several museums rolled into one. It holds treasures from the Egyptians, Etruscans, Greeks, Romans, Middle Eastern and Islamic cultures. The main attraction though, is the western painting and sculpture gallery in the vast Denon wing with around 6,000 of the most famous paintings in the world on display.
Its two most celebrated works, the Mona Lisa and Veronese’s lavish Wedding at Canaare the most looked upon. After the release of the bestselling book ‘The Da Vinci Code’, the queues to enter this museum have become even more extensive.
We could visit the Louvre every Sunday for a year and still not get bored.
The Musee D’Orsay is home to the great artists of the 19th century. It was originally a train station but now houses a huge treasure trove of art—paintings by Delacroix, Degas, Corot, Manet, Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Gauguin, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec and many others. Picture walking from room to room, wall to wall, eyes consuming oils, water colours, acrylics, textures, emotions, pain, and beauty.
The Rodin Museum houses his personal collection in a charming hotel with a sprawling garden where the sculptor lived in his later years. The Kiss, the Cathedral, the Walking Man and portrait busts are some of the exhibits here, among paintings by artists such as Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir, Carriere and Rodin himself. Among the greenery in the gardens, you will also find Rodin’s sculptures such as the Burghers of Calais, the Gates of Hell and the Thinker.
Les Invalides & Musee de L’Armee has an imposing gilded dome and was once a hospital for wounded soldiers. The two connecting churches, the Eglise St. Louis and the Eglise du Dome were for the soldiers and the king respectively. Since 1840, the latter has been dedicated to Napoleon, whose body lies here. The complex also contains the Military Museum.
Paris’ towers, churches, palaces, archways, bridges and fountains are renowned worldwide for their splendour and beauty. These monuments relate two thousand years of the capital’s glorious past.
The 300m high Eiffel Tower is undoubtely the most famous landmark in the world. It’s Paris’ most visited attraction; ironic for a structure that was intended to stand for just a few months. The cast-iron tower was built for the 1889 World Fair and the centenary of the 1789 Revolution and was named after its designer, Gustave Eiffel.
It took over two years to construct using some 18,000 pieces of metal and 2,500,000 rivets.
It was the tallest structure in the world until New York’s Empire State Building was constructed in the 1930s. 20,000 flashbulbs light up the edifice at night making it even more stunning.
At the Pere – Lachaise Cemetery you can see the graves of Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Colette and Edith Piaf reside among the thousands of tombs in the city’s enormous cemetery. It is not as gloomy as you might think.
People come here for a quiet stroll to reflect and ponder among great minds and indeed it’s a delightful stroll through tree lined streets!
Then there is the city’s catacombs which are used to store exhumed bones to stop them from overflowing the Paris cemetrys. The 3,000-km network of subterranean passages runs under the city, and is not for the claustrophobic or the squeamish. The bones of about six million people are said to be residing here!
Under the Arc de Triomphe lies the grave of an unknown soldier. Napoleon ordered its construction in 1809 as a monument to the Republican armies. The arch is 50m high and 45m wide and bears the names of Napoleon’s victories. It is decorated with a frieze of battle scenes and sculptures, the most famous of which is ‘Departure of the Volunteers’, depicting the departure of volunteer forces after the French Revolution. The arc is the starting point of the annual Bastille Day military procession.
The impressive Notre Dame Cathedral was the inspiration for Victor Hugo’s novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame and is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. It was constructed between 1163 and 1334, with a huge investment of time and money which was a reflection of the city’s prosperity at the time. It was plundered during the French Revolution and since the 19th century, restoration works have been going on to restore its former glory. It was here that Henry VI was crowned, Napoleon declared himself Emperor, and the beautification of Joan of Arc was hosted.
The Sacre Coeur church is perched atop the highest point in Paris, just 250 yards from our “Paris home”.
It affords spectacular views of the whole city, and is a favorite among artists who spend hours painting the perfect picture of the city.
The church is crowned by a distinctive 83 m dome, and an 84 m high bell-tower shelters an 18.5 ton bell with an 850 kg clapper. Inside you will find works of art such as marble sculptures, stained-glass windows, and mosaics. We spend many an evening is wandering among the crowds here.
The Pantheon is the final resting place for the great heroes of the French Republic and also offers a marvelous view of the city. This neo-classical mega structure was commissioned by Louis XV to thank Saint Genevieve for his recovery from illness. By the time it was ready in 1790, the structure was rededicated as a ‘temple of reason’ and resting place of the nation’s great men, as a result of the revolution. Interred here are greats like Voltaire, Rousseau, Hugo, Zola and Malraux.
There are 35 bridges built along the axis created by the Seine and represent great historical events and meeting places. The most famous among them all is the Pont-Neuf. It was one of the first of the modern bridges in Paris and its construction marked the end of the Middle Ages.
It linked the Louvre, the Saint-Germain Abbey and the Left Bank. It is 238 m long and 20 m wide divided into two sections separated by the divider where the Henri IV statue stands.
If culture, architecture, design, art and history are your forte, then you will wake each day eager to experience everything that Paris can offer.
Regardless of the state of your finances, you will feel richer for having spent some moments in time in Paris.
More of beautiful Paris here – click to open Gallery.