So many words have been written about Paris, so many stories have been told, so many mysteries have been unveiled. And still…there is always something more to tell and unveil about Paris. The City of Lights, the City of Romance, the City of Love – Paris is undying and always surprising.
The old fascinating Paris
The old streets of Paris, the old architectural jewels, the old artists – all that is old in Paris fascinates. It’s enough to visit the picturesque neighborhood of Montmartre and you’ll understand why Toulouse-Lautrec was so in love with the bohemian world of Paris.
However, the story of Paris started long before Moulin Rouge and the artists of Montmartre. The city was founded in the third century BC, on an island in the middle of the Seine. It was once the capital of the Parisii tribe. During the Roman times, the city expanded and was known as Lutetia.
The Franks took over during the fall of the Roman Empire and Paris became the capital of West Francia, their kingdom. West Francia became France in the Middle Ages and Paris continued to grow and develop. The famous Notre Dame cathedral was already dominating the city’s skyline in the 12th century and Paris was now the capital of one of the most powerful European kingdoms.
The city reached its glory during the 17th and 18th century when buildings like the Louvre and the Panthéon reinvented its landscape and France’s royal power was at its peak. However, the beautiful buildings that tourists admire these days date back to the 19th century when Baron Haussmann redesigned the city and built wide boulevards and spacious apartment buildings.
The majestic Eiffel Tower added that touch of “fabulousness” to the city in 1889 and has become a symbol of the city.
Visit the museums of Paris to better learn about the city’s history and art. While the Louvre doesn’t need any introduction, Musée d’Orsay is less known by tourists but as deserving of their time. This museum gathers under one roof the spectacular works of Impressionists.
Musée de l’Orangerie invites visitors to continue their Impressionist art journey while Musée d’Art Moderne awaits with fresh, contemporary art collections. Musée Marmottan is the ideal destination for those who love the art of Monet and French painters, in general. Musée Rodin is dedicated entirely to the works of the talented sculptor Auguste Rodin.
The Notre Dame cathedral is one of the most beautiful Gothic cathedrals in Europe and its towers are the perfect spot to capture fabulous views of Paris. Famous for its superb stained glass windows, La Sainte Chapelle awaits just a few steps farther from Notre Dame.
Sacré Couer looks over the bohemian Montmartre, where picturesque streets will guide your steps toward quaint cafes and chic restaurants. For more narrow streets and an artistic ambiance, add the Latin Quarter to your itinerary and admire the famous Sorbonne while enjoying a glass of wine or a cup of coffee.
The new dazzling Paris
Start from Les Champs Elysées, the heart of the city! Although it was designed by Haussmann, the glamour and elegance of the most expensive boutiques in Paris add a new shine to this old boulevard. The most crowded boulevard in Paris, home to Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Cartier stores, Champs Elysée is a magnet for tourists.
At the end of the boulevard, on one side awaits the Arc de Triomphe, while at the other side you’ll find the splendid Place de la Concorde, the Egyptian Obelisk, the Tuileries Gardens, and the legendary Pont Alexandre III, one of the most beautiful bridges in the city.
Admire superb views of Paris and the Eiffel Tower from the top of Tour Montparnasse, the tallest office building in the city. This is the third tallest building in France, a 59-story tower that offers the most beautiful views of Paris at sunset.
Not exactly a landmark but a popular attraction nevertheless, the Galleries Lafayette is the most famous department store in Paris, a beautiful architectural gem that houses luxurious shops, overpriced cafes, and, during Christmas time, a gigantic Christmas tree. Everyone comes here to admire its interior topped with a superb kaleidoscopic glass roof. If you discover the kind-of secret rooftop of the galleries, you’ll have the chance to admire beautiful views of the Grand Palais, an art gallery that houses temporary art collections and cultural events, and the Eiffel Tower.
Passionate about contemporary art? Then the Fondation Louis Vuitton is a must see! This ultra-modern and ultra-sophisticated art gallery was inaugurated in the Bois de Boulogne, in 2014. Created by Frank Gehry, this fabulous building is home to various exhibitions of contemporary art.
Continue your contemporary journey with a visit at the Palais de Tokyo, home to numerous art exhibitions and performances but also to a cool café, two restaurants and Le Yoyo club, a fun design bookshop. Visit Centre George Pompidou for more avant-garde art but also for beautiful views of the city.
The Philharmonie de Paris, although easy to confuse with a UFO, is home to classical music performances. The purpose of this 2,400-seat concert hall is to make classical music more accessible. Aesthetically impressive, this building has an impressive rooftop from where you can admire spectacular views of the city.
Paris rarely disappoints. It’s enough to discover Paris from a glance by walking along the Seine at sunset or jumping on board a romantic cruise and you’ll fall in love with the city! And not just because it has so many landmarks and attractions per square meter! But mostly because there’s something unique about the city’s atmosphere. Parisians know how to live. They never seem to be in a hurry, you’ll always find locals enjoying the sun in Jardin du Luxembourg, even on a Tuesday morning, and the local hairdresser is always busy. Because they found out the secret of life: there’s always time for a walk in the park and one more glass of wine.
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