Paris: culture, history, fashion and food
Quick facts about Paris
Paris, ‘city of lights’, truly deserves this romantic nickname. It is globally known not only as France’s capital but as a European and world center for art, culture, fashion, and gourmet food. Tourists flock to Paris in millions not only to enjoy sophistication in art and culture but sometimes just to take a photo in front of the city’s many world-famous landmarks.
And there are many of those: Eiffel Tower, which became synonym with Paris (and France) from the time it was built in the late 19th century; Gothic Notre-Dame cathedral, famous not only as a church, but from the famous novel of Victor Hugo, Louvre Museum with famous Mona Lisa, and many more.
Hundreds of cafes and restaurants in between famous landmarks make sightseeing and shopping breaks enjoyable with delicious food and drinks and simply watching the city’s crowds passing by.
Main attractions in Paris
Eiffel Tower. True trademark of Paris, this 324 m high tower from late 19th century offers spectacular views of Paris and exclusive restaurant. Louvre Museum. A must for Paris visit, this museum is globally known not only for hosting famous Mona Lisa, but many world’s art heritage masterpieces. Notre-Dame de Paris. Became famous by Victor Hugo’s novel, this iconic Gothic church has recognizable dual bell towers.
Arc de Triomphe. Triumphal arch gate, one of the famous Paris landmarks, great for selfies and views from the top. Champs-Élysées. Area along wide avenue connecting many landmarks from Arc de Triomphe to Louvre. Great for walks, dining and shopping as well. Palace of Versailles. Royal palace of Louis XIV with ornate apartments, chandeliered Hall of Mirrors, gardens and fountain show.
Sacré-Cœur. Iconic hilltop basilica with a dome. Featuring mosaics and stained glass windows. Musée d’Orsay. Masterpieces of 19th and 20th century art, mostly from French authors. It is housed in a former railway station. Palace of Versailles. A 17th century palace with gilded apartments, chandeliered Hall of Mirrors and a fountain show, used by French kings, starting from Louis XIV.
Montmartre. A large hill in Paris’s 18th arrondissement; it is 130 m high and shares its name with the surrounding district. It’s known for its artistic history, the white-domed Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur, and as a nightclub district. Tuileries Garden. Vast green area, dating back from the 17th century, between Louvre Museum and Place de la Concorde, dotted with statues. Jardin du Luxembourg. Park with manicured lawns and statues, created in 1612 by Marie de’ Medici. Famous for trees planted in patterns and many statues on pedestals.
Moulin Rouge. Famous 19th century cabaret featuring Belle Epoque decor, dinner and dancers in elaborate costumes. Immortalized in paintings of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and famous movie starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. Disneyland Paris. World known theme park with family-friendly rides, shows and costumed characters, also includes hotels, shops and restaurants. Place de la Concorde. One of the major public squares in Paris, this 18th-century promenade is decorated with fountains, statues and a genuine Egyptian obelisk.
Centre Georges Pompidou. Architecturally avant-garde complex housing National Museum of Modern Art (the largest one in France), library and a music centre. Sainte-Chapelle. A 13th century Gothic chapel with relics and notable stained-glass windows of biblical scenes. It was intended to keep precious Christian relics, including Christ’s crown of thorns, acquired by Saint Louis. Les Invalides. Series of army museums and monuments including a church and the tombs of many famed officers, including Napoleon. Everything related to military history of France can be found there.
Catacombs of Paris. The Catacombs of Paris are underground ossuaries in Paris, France, which hold the remains of more than six million people in a small part of a tunnel network built to consolidate Paris’ ancient stone mines. Illuminated labyrinth in former limestone mine with millions of ghoulishly arranged skeletons. Creepy? You bet. Le Marais. A historic district in Paris, consist of many important buildings from France’s pre-revolutionary period. Palais Garnier. A massive (almost 2000 seats) opera house, built from 1861 to 1875 for the Paris Opera. It’s an Italian style opera with Library Museum, with ceiling painted by Chagall.
From other attractions we recommend:Latin Quarter, Champ de Mars, Montparnasse Tower, Rodin Museum, Panthéon, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Musée de l’Orangerie, Pont Neuf, Place des Vosges, Place de la Bastille and Pont des Arts.
Top things to do in Paris
Apart from top attractions listed above, we recommend also visiting Montmartre area (while visiting Sacré-Cœur, Place de la Concorde, Musée d’Orsay, city tour with a dinner cruise, Moulin Rouge Show, Arc de Triomphe, and, if you are traveling with kids (and that is not a prerequisite for this attraction ) you can visit Euro Disney, it is only 50 minutes by train from Paris.
Festivals and events in Paris
Paris is packed with festivals and events all year around. Here are some top recommendations.
Fête de la Musique (Music festival, June), Bastille Day (French National Day, 14th July), Festival Automne à Paris (multidisciplinary art festival, September-December), Tous au restaurant (Food festival, October), Pitchfork Music Festival (November), various events and street markets in December during Christmas time.
Interesting facts about Paris
Here are some interesting facts about this amazing city:
- The Famous Eiffel Tower, the iconic landmark of Paris, was supposed to be a temporary structure, built for the World Fair in 1889.
- In Roman times, Paris was originally called Lutetia.
- The first-ever public screening of a movie was by French brothers Lumière in Paris in 1895.
Best time to fly to Paris
The peak season for flights to Paris is April, September and October. The low season for purchasing tickets is January, February and March.
Paris is served by these airports: Beauvais-Tille Airport, Paris Orly Airport, Chalons Vatry Airport and Charles de Gaulle Airport. Direct flights to Paris are offered by 103 airlines.
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