The capital of France known as the City of Lights
Paris is the capital city and the most populated city in France. It is often referred to as the City of Lights because it was one of the first cities in Europe to have electricity. Americans will often refer to Paris as the City of Love, but most Europeans reserve that title for Venice, Italy. Paris is a beautiful city with a rich history and is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. While the city can be congested at times, it isn’t overly difficult to navigate the streets. I have often heard that the French were rude, but once I got out and around the city, I found that this wasn’t the case at all.
Things to Do and See
The Louvre is arguably the world’s most famous museums and houses without question the world’s most famous painting. It is also the largest and one of the most visited art museums in the world. At more than 750,000 square feet (70,000 square meters), the museum host exhibits from all over the world from prehistoric to present day with the most famous piece being the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. While the size of the museum makes it pretty easy to navigate and avoid the crowds, you can expect a mob when you get to the room where the Mona Lisa is displayed. The painting is probably smaller than you imagined and there is a barrier that prevents you from getting too close, but be patient. As new people come in and others go out, you’ll be able to work your way to the front and get your obligatory photo op.
The Eiffel Tower is probably the one landmark most associated with Paris. Standing at more than 1,000 feet (300 meters) tall, it was at one time the tallest man-made structures in the world and is still one of the most visited monuments in the world. The lines are often long, but it is worth the wait to make the trip to the top and catch the views of the city. You can take the elevator to the second floor and then the lift to the top. There is also the option to take the stairs to the second floor, but be warned that it is 704 stairs to the second floor. However, taking the stairs gives you access to the often-overlooked first floor, where you can find a restaurant and a gift shop.
Avenue des Champs-Élysées
Avenue des Champs-Élysées is a street in Paris known for its cafes and high-end luxury shopping. It is also known for the annual Bastille Day parade and as the ending point for the Tour de France. It’s a great place to sit down, sip a coffee, and people watch the day away.
This French Gothic cathedral is one of the most well-known church buildings in the world. The cathedral was completed in the 1300s and is still in use today. It is supposed to house the Crown of Thorns, a piece of the True Cross, and one of the Holy Nails. It is also the setting for the story of the Humpback of Notre-Dame.
Paris has a pretty decent nightlife scene. From large night clubs to smaller lounges and bars, there are venues to suit any mood. I would have liked to see more variety in terms of music, but there are definitely good times to be had. You can also catch plenty of shows in Paris. Anything from an opera to cabaret, the city has got you covered. There are also a few casinos throughout the city as well. They aren’t the largest casinos or have a variety of games that you would find in a Las Vegas casino, but they are definitely enough to keep you entertained.
When it comes to French cuisine, my first thoughts were of sheer excitement. The rich foods, the robust flavors, the creamy ingredients, how can this not be amazing? Maybe I set my expectations too high or didn’t find the right restaurant or dish, but I never found what I was looking for. However, the pastries in Paris easily make up for anything I found lacking. Add in the fact that there seemed to be a bakery on almost every corner, made for a lot of pit stops for croissants during my visits.
Paris is one of the more expensive cities in the world to visit. Some of these costs can be lowered by utilizing public transportation and avoiding hotels in some of the more touristy areas (avoiding hotels in the touristy areas also gives you a better feel for the real Paris). And while the cost of travel to get to Paris isn’t terrible, it’s not easy to find any real deals.
Paris is generally a pretty safe city to visit. The biggest problems to look out for are pickpockets and scams, especially around some of the major tourist sites. Simple common-sense precautions can help you to avoid becoming a victim. Make sure to be aware of your surroundings, avoid leaving your phone sitting on the table while you’re out to eat or for drinks, be leery of people that seem to be attempting to distract you, and make sure that people offering to help with your bags are actually part of the hotel staff.
Unfortunately, Paris has been the subject of a few terrorist attacks recently. This doesn’t mean that you should avoid visiting, but it does mean that you take some extra steps. Before your visit, make sure to visit your country’s embassy or consulate website to check for any warnings or tips. It also helps to know how to contact them in the event there is a situation during your trip. Avoid large gatherings or demonstrations whenever possible and try to blend in with the locals to keep from making yourself an easy target.
Description: The capital of France known as the City of Lights
Things to Do and See
The City of Lights
Tons of History Sceneries