Many things come to mind when you think of Paris; food, fashion, romance; art; architecture, but can Paris live up to the hype that surrounds it? After all, the city throws itself on the mercy of 27 million visitors a year, each arriving with exceptionally high expectations of the French capital.
And it meets every one.
Visit Paris and you won’t be disappointed. How can you be in a city with such beautiful architecture, artwork, and variety of stellar entertainment?
Getting Around Paris
It it’s your first time in the city I’d recommend using one of the city bus tour services to get around. Taking the tour bus might be more expensive than the subway but it allows you to soak up the city’s relaxed, vibrant atmosphere, and take in a lot more of its landmarks by opting for the bus. You can use the bus to travel the city as much as you like, and if you book online with http://www.localparistours.com/paris-hop-on-hop-off-bus you will have access to a free audio commentary (via headphones) in 1 of 8 languages, giving you all the historic and current facts about the city you use to know.
1. The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower has to be top of the list, simply because it’s the city’s icon. I recommend you visit early in the day if you want to go to the top of the tower, as the tower’s highest accessible point often becomes saturated with visitors, and access if then only permitted to the mid-level.
2. The Louvre
Featured in the hit novel and blockbuster film The Da Vinci Code, The Louvre is one of Paris’ top attractions, and with the works of Da Vinci – including the Mona Lisa, – Michelangelo, Raphael and Greek sculptures such as the Venus de Milo Don display, it’s easy to see why.
If you want to skip the long queues at the pyramid entrance, try accessing the museum via its underground entrance, through the Carousel de Louvre shopping mall! (By using this entrance you will also see La Pyramide Inversee, (the inverted pyramid), another key landmark of Brown’s book.
3. Notre Dame Cathedral
Simply magnificent, Notre Dame Cathedral is my personal highlight of my trip to Paris. The French Gothic architecture is stunning, and it’s definitely worth taking a trip up the cathedral to see the bell tower (no Quasimodo there – must have been out when I visited!) and, one of my favourites, the gargoyles watching over the city in every direction.
The queue to go into and up the cathedral can be long, but you can get skip-the-queue tours (like the one below) if you book in advance.
4. The Moulin Rouge
Paris is lucky enough to boast ownership of the most famous cabaret in the world, so make the most of that and add it to your itinerary! The dancing is spectacular, but one of my favourite parts of the show was the shadow puppet show – I know that sounds really silly and geeky but trust me, it was hilarious!
I’d recommend booking in advance to avoid disappointment because the shows do often sell out. It’s also a good idea because you can often get discounts for booking on line, and with the show alone costing roughly €110, every little helps!
5. La Basilica du Sacre Coeur and Monmarte
La Basilica du Scare Coeur sits proudly on top of Monmarte hill, and from your first glimpse of the church you will understand exactly why it’s one of Paris’ main tourist attractions. If you’re lucky enough to visit Paris when the weather is fine, seeing the magnificent white building gleaming in the sun against a cloudless, brilliant blue sky will take your breath away.
What made my visit to Sacre Coeur even more special were the quaint little cobbled streets and artists lining them within the area of Monmarte. Rather than race to the basilica, I’d recommend you take your time to explore all the street artists, cafes and treasure troves this lovely little place has to offer.