Review/Gallery: Inspired by the Parisian capital of beauty
- Credit: Archant
PARIS was the second destination of a whistle-stop budget tour around Europe for reporter Lauren Everitt and her American companion. Here’s what they discovered.
La Ville-Lumière – the city of light – has more recognisable monuments than any other city in the world, but its tree-shaded boulevards, romantic bridges illuminated by wrought-iron lamps and cafe terraces all have a timeless familiarity too.
There is so much of Paris to explore and we attempted to take as big a bite as possible during our three-night stay in the Bastille Hotel Central in the lively Bastille district of the city.
Wandering along the banks of the River Seine, it’s hard to miss the 37 bridges that cross the murky waters winding their way through the city.
The first stop on our Parisian adventure was the magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral – one of the city’s most popular tourist hubs.
Located in the Île de la Cité, the landmark has been at the heart of many historic events – including the coronation of Napoleon – since its construction, which began in 1163 and ended in 1270.
Every year around 13 million tourists and worshippers visit Notre Dame – Our Lady of Paris – and as a destination it attracts more visitors than the Eiffel Tower.
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The Gothic cathedral’s dramatic towers, spire and stained glass are guaranteed to take your breath away while climbing the north tower to get a gargoyle’s perspective of Paris is a definite must.
Back strolling along the river path it was not long before we stumbled across our next destination – the Louvre.
While the famed glass pyramids might be awe-inspiring for tourists, the majority of Parisians despise them.
As museums go, the Louvre is quite simply a mammoth. It is a feast for the eyes with a vast array of artistic and cultural collections.
Undoubtedly, the piece de resistance that everyone clamours to see is Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. The artist’s work sits alongside Vermeer and Delacroix as well as Egyptian and Islamic arts collections.
Only stopping for a croissant and a coffee, it was time to take in the Champs-Élysées which runs 1,910m in a straight line from Place de la Concorde to the magnificent Arc de Triomphe.
The famous street – one of the most expensive in the world – is well-known for its plentiful designer clothes, shoes and handbag stores as well as luxury car dealerships.
The Eiffel Tower, the city’s greatest viewpoint, which stands at 324m, is best seen by nightfall with its glittering lights illuminating the dark sky.
Lifts yo-yo up and down the north, west and east pillars of the signature tower before a quick change into lifts on the second floor for the final ascent to the top. Those feeling more athletic might be more inclined to climb the south pillar’s stairs - all 1,665 of them up to the second floor.
The summit of Montmartre hill also offers an exceptional panorama over Paris with the backdrop of the much-loved and iconic Sacré Coeur.
The beaming white church is the flagship sight of the Montmartre district. It is the artistic district with many artists, poets and writers making it their home.
To take a moment out of the hustle and bustle of the city, arguably the best-looking square, Place des Vosges, is the perfect destination.
The tranquil square in the Marais district is enclosed by pink brick and stone mansions and arcades of independent boutiques and cafes.
It is a place to sit with a picnic on the grassy gardens and listen to the merry buskers playing beneath the arcades.
But quite simply Paris would not be Paris without the Eiffel Tower, Sacré Coeur, Notre Dame or Arc de Triomphe.
It is the stuff of dreams and one of the most fascinating capitals in the world.