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Top Ten Things to See and Do in Paris

As you would expect from the French capital, there are literally hundreds of things you can do which will delight, entertain and astound you. This beautiful city, sometimes referred to as the City of Light, has some of the most visited attractions in the world. Here are ten of the very best sights that Paris has to offer.

The Arc du Triomphe

The Arc du Triomphe

One of the most instantly recognisable images of France, the Arc du Triomphe stands in the centre of Place Charles de Gaulle at the western end of the Champs Elysee. The monument lists many of the significant battles fought by the French people and is embellished with impressive sculptures and highly detailed reliefs. Beneath the Arc lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, with its eternal flame which burns in memory of those unidentified soldiers who died during the First and Second World War.

A lift takes you to a museum at the top of the Arc de Triomphe and a further 45 steps allow you to access the roof terrace which commands superb views across the city of Paris. The Place Charles de Gaulle is one of the busiest road junctions in the city and, for this reason, it is advised you access the Arc du Triomphe using one of the two underpasses specifically designed for the purpose.

The Centre Georges Pompidou

The Centre Georges Pompidou

The stunning Georges Pompidou museum of modern art is one of the largest of its kind in the Europe. From the design of the building itself, to the exhibits which it houses, the museum is at the forefront of the very best modern art on display anywhere in the world. Named after the 19th President of France, The Centre Georges Pompidou is home to some 50,000 works of art, of which between 1,500 and 2,000 are on display at any one time. Cubism, Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism are just some of the art movements which you can experience during your visit.

The Conciergerie

The Conciergerie

Rich in history, the Conciergerie was a former royal palace and prison which sits on the banks of the Seine in the centre of Paris. The building retains many parts of its original medieval structure and offers the visitor an insight into the Paris of old. Of particular note are the cell where Marie Antoinette awaited her execution and the original torture chambers which have been preserved for future generations to appreciate.

The Louvre

The Louvre

Probably the most recognisable museum in the world, and certainly home to the most recognisable painting, the Louvre houses some of the finest works of art on the planet. Originally, the Louvre was a grand palace and, even after Louis XIV chose Versailles to be his main home, the Louvre housed many great works of art of the royal household.  During the French Revolution, the palace was designated as a museum by the national assembly and it has remained so ever since. The stunning pyramid entrance, a feature of movies such as The Da Vinci Code, draws visitors in the thousands and the lover of antiquities is certain to be enthralled by its charming delights.

Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge

At night Paris comes alive, the city’s restaurants offer fine dining and Parisians attend opera, ballets and other shows. For more than a century, the Moulin Rouge has been among the finest of the evening entertainments. The cabaret show, with dozens of dancing girls in incredible costumes, is a spectacle unlike any other you will ever experience. The popularity of the venue means that room is limited within the venue. However tickets are usually available. Those who book to enjoy a pre-show dinner tend to obtain better seats than those arriving later in the evening. For a night of true French entertainment, look no further than the Moulin Rouge.

Musee d’Orsay

Musee d’Orsay

The Musee d’Orsay began life as a train station in 1900. However, as trains grew longer, the length of its platforms meant that it was no longer large enough to accommodate modern trains and the building was transformed into a theatre. In 1970 the building evolved again, becoming a Museum dedicated to works of art created from 1848-1915. The works of many famous artists are exhibited there including Renoir, Van Gogh, Monet and Cezanne. A beautiful museum in a very unusual setting.

Notre Dame from the River Seine, Paris

Notre Dame

The Cathedral of Notre Dame is one of the finest examples of Gothic Architecture anywhere in the world. Its beautiful towers offer superb views across Paris. However, you do need to climb 422 steps to see them! Inside, the towering ceilings and beautiful stained glass windows will simply amaze you and there are several opportunities daily to celebrate mass in the cathedral. At night the cathedral is brought to life with a spectacular show projected onto a hundred square metre screen.

Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles

The Palace of Versailles is one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. From 1682 until the start of the French Revolution in 1789, Versailles housed the royal court and much of the structure which stands today shows evidence of work completed during this period. From the stunning Hall of Mirrors, to the ornate Queen’s Grand Apartment, the interior of the house reflects the decadent lifestyle enjoyed by the French monarchs. The superbly laid out gardens, which contain an assortment of beautifully sculptured fountains, simply crown this incredible experience. A visit to the Palace of Versailles will remain in your memory long after you have left Paris and returned home.

The River Seine

The River Seine

A trip along the Seine in a beautiful glass top boat allows the visitor to see Paris from a new perspective. Passing by many of the famous sites of Paris, Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, and beneath the famous Pont Alexandre III, the beautiful art nouveau bridge which spans the Seine, touring Paris by boat is a leisurely way to experience the city. For an added ‘je ne sais quoi’ many boats offer a combined dining and river cruise experience.

Eiffel Tower from the River Seine

The Eiffel Tower

Built as the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair, the iconic Eiffel Tower has come to represent not only Paris but also France itself. On a clear day it is possible to see more than 40 miles from the top of the tower and no trip to Paris would be complete without a visit to the structure. With three floors, which are accessible by lift, the tower houses a museum, several eating establishments, souvenir shops and, of course, numerous viewing platforms. For a spectacular experience, scale the tower at night when you can discover the true beauty of the City of Light.

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