Located in northern France on the river Seine, Paris is a city that has been an important center of commerce for over two thousand years and host in excess of forty five million visitors each year. Paris is also the capital city of France and is considered one of the cultural and entertainment centers of Europe.
Paris has several prodigious landmarks with the most notable and recognizable being the Eiffel Tower. In fact, few people would plan a visit to Paris without seeing this historic landmark. The Eiffel Tower was built around 1889 in preparation of the World Exhibit, which was held to commemorate the French Revolution. It was built by Gustave Eiffel and took more than two years to complete. Today, it adds a unique flavor to the city deemed “The city of lights”
Another popular Paris tourist destination is the Arc de Triomph. This majestic historic landmark was commissioned in 1806 by Napoleon as a tribute to his many victories. However, it was completed until 1834, due to the removal of Napoleon from power. The Arc de Triomph stands 150 feet and is such a perfect location to observe such locations as the Sacre Coeur and La Defense.
Lovers of art and history will no doubt be interested in the Louvre. This is the largest and most visited museum in the world and is located in the center of Paris. There are almost forty thousand pieces of art housed here which include such famous works as the Winged Victory and the Mona Lisa.
Notre Dame, one of the most famous cathedrals in the world, also calls Paris home. The architectural wonder was built during the 12th century and went on to become the inspiration behind many other French cathedrals that were to be built later.
While your visiting Paris you might want to take in the wide green spaces offered by one of the most popular parks in the city, Jardin du Luxembourg. This magnificent was designed in 1612 and covers over fifty-five acres. In the middle of Jardin du Luxembourg sits the Grand Bassin, an eight sided pond around which numerous statues is located. This is a popular place for chess players. There is also a puppet theatre and boat rentals available here.
While at the Jardin du Luxembourg, visitors should take time to check out the two fountains located there. These are the Fontaine de Medicis and the Fontaine de l’Observatoire. Not only are these two locations tranquil and peaceful but they are also beautiful works of art.
Another noteworthy attraction in Paris is the Orsay Museum. This museum contains over twenty-three hundred paintings and over twenty-five hundred sculptures and objects. But, what’s truly spectacular about the Orsay Museum is not what’s contained within it’s walls but the building itself. The Orsay Museum is enclosed in a railway station that was built in the early nineteen hundreds.
Speaking of museums, the Hotel des Invalides is home to several museums which include the Musee de l’Armee (which is dedicated to various French armor), Musée des Plans-Reliefs (a museum dedicated to maps) and the Musée de l’ordre de la Libération ( a museum dedicated to the liberation of France during World War II). But, to truly appreciate this landmark, first your going to have to learn a little about its history.
The Hotel des Invalides was commissioned by King Louie XIV in 1671 to house those disabled and maimed by economically disadvantaged war veterans. It originally was supposed to be only a series of barracks, but the King in his wisdom decided to enlist architect Liberal Bruant to design the building. It’s an opulent building that has a church and a large courtyard. It covers six hundred and forty feet in length. It consist of fifteen courtyards and at it’s peak could house over four thousand veterans.
Another noteworthy location to visit is the Opéra de Paris Garnier. This famous opera house was designed in the baroque style by Charles Garnier. The construction of the building began around 1862 but it wasn’t completed until 1875. Today the building can house two thousand visitors and is now used for performances of the ballet.
Along the musical lines is another famous music house called the Moulin Rouge. This is arguable one of the most famous cabarets in all the world. It was opened in the fall of 1889 and was proclaimed to be the temple of dancing and music. But, the Moulin Rouge would soon gain a reputation as a brothel and not as a music house. This continued on for many years until it was converted back into a music hall. Today, a visit to this music hall can include a nice dinner and elaborate floor shows.
No visit to Paris would be compleat without a visit to the Rodin Museum. This museum was built to honor the famous French sculpture Auguste Rodin who completed such works as “The Thinker” and “The Kiss” Inside visitors can view over six thousand sculptures done by the famous artist. The museum also has numerous special events throughout the year including classes, seminars and lectures.
But, Paris is more then just a city that harbors vestiges of the past. This city also has a bustling nightlife scene and some of the best dining in the world. Paris is a city where you can enjoy traditional French cuisine, as well as continental cuisines from all across Europe.
Paris is also home to a large number of bistros, champagne and wine bars, pubs and open air cafes. And for those who are not so adventurous in their culinary taste, then Paris is also home to all the major fast food chains.
Some of the world’s finest hotels also call Paris home. One of these is the Clos Medicis, which is located a few blocks from the Luxembourg garden. This hotel is a beautiful place to stay and is a very successful mix between modern and antiquated French styles.