Pampering the history, art and culture of Paris
After enjoying London for few weeks, I couldn’t ask anything more from what I have seen and done but to leave London, it was hard for me. As they say, all good things must come to an end but it was time to continue onto my next journey to Paris, known as city of lights but it is a city of romance and art, of the Eiffel Tower and the Musee Du Louvre.
Paris, the capital of France is undoubtedly one of the most sophisticated, beautiful city in the world and one of the most visited cities. Though knows as a chic fashion hub and romance capital of the world it is also a lively city and a centre for art, culture and haute couture. It is the favourite city destination for families, honeymooners and tourists that have an active interest in history and culture. Visiting Paris for the very first time was exciting and I just couldn’t wait to explore this modern day city.
To get to Paris from London, I took a train trip which I never done before but certainly, it was one of the great way for me to explore one of the major European Union cities – Paris. London is a very popular starting point for many travellers to getaway for their European holiday destination. There is only one train running directly from London to Paris – Eurostar. Aboard this Eurostar high-speed train was so easy in making my decision on which train to take was a bit easier for me. Taking this short and comfortable train ride travelling through the channel-tunnel to the European mainland was absolutely fascinating and what a comfortable experience it was. It was definitely the perfect way to see more of Europe, especially Paris. As I was only travelling to Paris, I only purchased a regular, single train ticket instead of buying a Europass which allows you to get to many destinations or even purchasing a premium class ticket.
Finally, this 348 kilometres train journey arrived in Paris, where I disembarked and took another domestic train to my hotel. Within the city, the Metro is the easiest mode of transportation in Paris. However there are many forms of transportations including taxicabs which are readily available but catching a train would gave me more familiarity around the stations in Paris. Yes, Paris is one of the liveable city in the world where rich and famous come to shop, entertain and display their wealth and indulge in their glamorous way of life. This is also the place where many tourist all over the world come to enjoy. Apart from the modern lifestyle, Paris has an enthralling history and a wealth of well-preserved monuments, history and culture. Though I was only in Paris for a week, it did allowed me to visit some of the major sites and attractions but more time was needed to thoroughly explore more of this city which is undiscovered by many tourist who enter Paris for short stays. Unfortunately, I only had few days in the city and my days were getting numbered and irrespective of how much or how little time I had, there were places and experiences that I just couldn’t miss. Certainly, Paris is one of the most expensive cities in Europe and it can be different for different people. Many of the tourist come to visit as many significant sights as possible – like me, while others come to spend little more time enjoying long lunches, sipping a lot of wine and tasting a lot of French delicacies.
From what I have observed since I arrived in Paris, you will never spend a dull moment. It has endless number of entertainment options around town and there is tons and tons of places to visit and corners to explore. There were many major sites and attractions that I wanted to visit which I had in my priority list of itinerary. Yes, a trip to many of this places were about to be fulfilled and was already counting days to hours. I began my Paris exploration on a sight-seeing on a river cruise. For me, taking this rive cruise was the best introduction to one of the major European Unity city. As we cruise along the river as it winds through Paris was one of the most romantic thing I have ever done but sadly without a travel companion to share my intimacy but I wasn’t the only solo traveler on board. As an experienced solo traveler, this has become a cultural norm for me but I guess, many come to Paris to find LOVE. The cruise passed under numerous bridges in Paris, going by such sights as the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower. The cruise lasted about an hour, but what a magical hour it was.
Palace of Versailles
On my third day, I visited The Palace of Versailles. Visiting to this palace and learning about its history brought me back in time what it was like during those times dating back many years. This palace started out life as a royal hunting lodge in this vast area, but later became a palace housing the king’s court. Looking at this mammoth structure is ornate, opulent and over the top in its richness is just unbelievably incredible. I must say, this is one of Paris’s most visited landmarks. Many visitors come to see its magnificent gardens and the Hall of Mirrors with its 357 mirrors decorating 17 arches. However, the Palace of Versailles ceased being a royal residence during the French Revolution and today it houses a museum of French history.
Notre Dame Cathedral & Arc de Triomphe
The following day, I decided to visit some of the historical sites in Paris before spending the evening to see the Moulin Rouge show. In starting my day in Paris, I spend the morning at one of the most striking gothic cathedrals in the world – Notre Dame Cathedral. No trip to Paris could be complete without a visit to the world famous Notre Dame Cathedral. Standing more than 400 feet (120 metres) high with two lofty towers and a spire, this marvellous church is considered a supreme example of French Gothic architecture. A tour of this 13th century masterpiece allows visitors to admire the awe-inspiring rose windows, Gothic carvings, beautiful sculptures and a collection of relics. It is absolutely an amazing art of work. After visiting this cathedral, I replenish myself with some nice French gourmet lunch, it was time to visit the Arc De Triomphe. Paris is a wonderland for travellers and Arc de Triomphe is one of the most noteworthy spots in the city. Walking straight on Champs Elyse’e, I found myself at the enormous roundabout that surrounds the Arc de Triomphe. This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Paris. This Arc de Triomphe was constructed in 1806 to memorialise the triumphal battles of Napoleon Bonaparte. Standing 164 feet high and 148 feet (50 by 45 metres) wide, the arch features intricate reliefs depicting victorious battles and engraved names of many who died fighting for the emperor. Beneath the arch is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from the first world war.
Taking a self-guided tour of this two historical sites, certainly gave me a profound insight about its significant history of this monuments. As I call it a day, another active lifestyle started to emerge – exploring the night-life of Paris. As it was my fourth day in the city, I felt the need to see and do a lot to make the best of my time in Paris, but in reality I had only 6 days so I had to make the most of every place I visited and yet, kept enough time to actually sit with a glass of french wine, relax and enjoy the sounds of all things French that I hear in and around the capital.
I then made my way back to a restaurant that I found when I strolled through Champs Elyse’s and settled in with a big serving of Cassoulet and a glass of fine champagne before retiring back at the hotel.
After spending four hectic days sight-seeing in Paris, I still didn’t exhaust myself and I wasn’t surprised at all, especially enjoying this vibrant city. One of the mottos that I believe when I am travelling away from home is that – Holiday is for having a time of your life away from home and when you’re home, it is time for rest. I decided to start out my day to a slow start, which I took time out to treat myself shopping at Boulevard Haussmann. Paris has no shortage for shopping, especially in the fashion world. As I have a very expensive taste for brand clothing, I totally indulged myself without any second thought. This was a great way to end my second last day in the city, especially Paris and to end the day, I booked myself to a performance with dinner and champagne at the world-famous Cabaret – Moulin Rouge. What a thrill to attend this show and the performance from all the cast was just brilliant. I just couldn’t find any fault and the vibrant excitement just kept coming until the end of the show. Though, I had a fabulous dinner prior to the beginning of the show but no cameras were allowed at all and every bag was thoroughly check or scanned as you enter the area. This is undoubtedly one of the best shows that I have thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it.
It was very interesting to find out that, it was in year 1889 which is known as the year when France’s most famous landmark – the Eiffel Tower was constructed. At the same year, the Moulin Rouge opened its doors as an entertainment venue. When it opened, it catered to the rich who wanted to ‘slum’ it. Courtesans worked there and were responsible for inventing the can-can, a dance considered racy for the era. Today, the Moulin Rouge is still considered to be Paris’s premier entertainment venue. It has been the subject to many numerous films.
It was my final day in Paris and I thought leaving London was hard for me but leaving Paris, I felt that my heart was broken. I had such a great time in this French capital and just fell in love with the place. I can now understand why, Paris is one of the most romantic cities in the world and definitely I wasn’t in the La-La Land. I haven’t dislike this city at all and to come to the last of my Paris tour, there was no way I could leave without taking few photographs of the Eiffel Tower. I have been dreaming about this moment since I know that I was heading to Paris when I planned my European travel itinerary. This is was my ultimate moment at one of the most iconic structures in the whole wide world. Visiting this iconic symbol of Paris and standing face-to-face at the bottom and on the very top of the Eiffel Tower as I hold my breath, I was just speechless. I felt like someone has choked me in my sleep. The view from the top was stunning and magical from every angle. Looking down from the top of the tower below was a sea of buildings which looked like a remnant of ancient cities in biblical times.
The Eiffel Tower is usually ranked as the number one thing to do for most of the tourists when they visit Paris. Towering more than 1,000 feet (300 metres) high in the Champ de Mars park, this iron structure which was constructed in 1889 for the World Exposition. It is undoubtedly one of the world’s most photographed tourist attraction. The Eiffel Tower creates an excellent photography opportunity for both day and night times. Without a doubt I was certainly in my glory. What a view, what a scene and what an attraction. To view the city of Paris from the top of the tower was amazingly incredible and I just couldn’t get enough of the view and the cameras never stopped clicking. As they say, this is one of the “MUST DO” thing before you die and I totally accept that without any regrets.
From a personal perspective: Travelling does broaden our mind but it is the very experience that we experience in that moment which justifies how we enjoy ourselves in a very profound way. Whether we are travelling to see the scenes from the unique outback towns to major cities – man-made or natural, it is how we as an individual see, react and appreciate the things around us.
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