Paris. The city of light. The city of love. There is no person in this world who hasn’t fallen in love in it. Or with it. Paris is an incredible city, so beautiful and elegant that takes the breath away. It is so rich in history, museums, monuments and parks that it is so difficult to decide where to start your visit. Luckily, I have visited Paris a lot of times in my life and I have impression there is something that makes me return there and explore it from a different angle every time. That city always succeeds to take my breath away.
When you visit Paris for the first time, you’ll be surprised by its size, its wide boulevards and beautiful architecture. In my opinion, the best way to get to know Paris is by visiting its symbol-The Eiffel Tower, that iron tower 324 meters high made by Gustave Eiffel for the World Exhibition held in Paris in 1889. A lot of artist of the end of the 19th century were against its construction because they considered that enormous iron structure will destroy the image of Paris and throw a shadow on other monuments like Notre Dame, Louvre, Triumphal Arch…Actually, when you compare the architecture of Paris from the end of the 19th century with this iron tower without character, you get to understand why it was so difficult to imagine that this tower could dominate over such an elegant city like Paris. Over time, the tower became one of the symbols of Paris and also the entire France. I recommend you to climb to the top of the tower, by stairs or elevator because the view of Paris is magnificent. The ticket to climb to the second floor of the Eiffel tower costs 11€ and for the top is 17€. You can get to the Eiffel tower by metro line 8, the stop is Ecole militaire, by metro line 6 stop Bir Hakeim, and the best view of the tower is from Trocadero, on the other side of the Seine river.
Next thing you have to visit is definitely the Triumphal arch of the star, the second symbol of Paris which was built under the influence of the Arch of Titus to honour the victories of Napoleon Bonaparte and is situated in the heart of a star shaped square, the intersection of big boulevards. You have to climb to the top of the Triumphal Arch, to the terrace with panoramic view of Champs Elysées. There is also a museum here where you can learn more about the history of this arch. Visit it at 18:30 when the eternal light for the unknown soldier is rekindled and the street lights of Champs Elysées start to turn on.
You can easily get to the arch by metro lines 1,2,6, the name of the stop is Charles de Gaule étoile The entrance to the top of the arch costs 9,5€, and it’s free for children.
After the triumphal arch, you have to visit, actually walk down Champs Elysées that enormous boulevard, full of people, designer boutiques, fancy hotels and restaurants until you get to Concorde square with an Egyptian obelisk in its center. Just across the street you’ll find Garden Tuileries, created by Catherine de Medici in 1564. In the 13th century this area was occupied by workshops, called tuileries, making tiles for the roofs of buildings so that’s how the garden got its name. The garden is today protected by Unesco and is decorated by many famous artists and sculptors statues. At the west end of the garden you can find L’orangerie museum which since 1927 has displayed the series Water Lilies by Claude Monet and it also displays the Walter-Guillaume collection of Impressionist paintings.
After the garden of Tuileries, a visit to Louvre museum is mandatory. It is one of the largest and most famous museums in the world and is situated in Louvre palace, between the right bank of the Seine and Rivoli street. Louvre displays 35000 works of art in eight curatorial departments: Egyptian Antiquities, Near Eastern Antiquities, Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities, Islamic Art, Sculpture, Decorative Arts, Paintings, Prints and Drawings. The Mona Lisa, Venice of Milo, Liberty leading the people and Code of Hammurabi are only some of them. Louvre is considered the world’s second most visited museum.
You will have to plan well your visit to the Louvre because it is so big that it will be difficult to visit everything in just one day. The entrance ticket costs 15€.
Today we discovered only some of the monuments of Paris, but there are so many more to see: Garden of Luxembourg, the Latin quarter, Sorbonne, Pantheon, Notre Dame, Montmartre and so many other things. And also, don’t forget that Paris is not only about the monuments, you also have to live it through the food and wine, long walks by the Seine, its music and people. Don’t be afraid to explore, listen, observe, wander the streets, taste the food because this is the only way to really get to know this unique city.