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Sightseeing in Paris

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Paris is the most visited city in the world and it’s easy to see why.  The French capital is steeped in history, rich in culture and unparalleled in cuisine.  Sightseeing in Paris could be a never-ending touristic journey, but if these famous landmarks are at the top of your list, you won’t be disappointed.

The Eiffel Tower

A globally renowned icon of France, the Eiffel Tower was originally intended to be a temporary structure when it was completed in 1889.  Tourists can visit any of the Tower’s three floors until 11pm, or midnight in the summer.  Whilst a daytime ascent will guarantee spectacular views across Paris (weather-permitting!), I would highly recommend timing your visit to coincide with dusk, as there is something truly magical about seeing the city become illuminated beneath your feet.

Trivia: The Eiffel Tower stands at 324 metres high and is lit by 20,000 light bulbs.

Bohemian Montmartre

Montmartre is the bohemian quarter of Paris and stands on a small hill crowned by the distinctive Basilica of Sacré Coeur.  Those who climb the steps to this Catholic seat of worship are rewarded by panoramic views of Paris and the comfort that everything else in the city is downhill from this point!  In the surrounding streets you’ll find the famous Moulin Rouge nightclub and discover haunts that drew artists to the area in the later 19th Century.

Trivia: If you’re a fan of Amélie, you can see many of the locations featured in the 2001 film around Montmarte, including the café where she worked: Les Deux Moulins.

Notre Dame de Paris

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Notre Dame Cathedral is a spectacular work of architecture.  Huge gothic buttresses surround a large part of the exterior and the detail, vibrancy and size of the stained glass inside takes your breath away.  Situated on the Île de la Cité, an island in the middle of the Seine, it’s well worth viewing Notre Dame from the water.  Bateaux Mouches tours run along the river throughout the year, although they are less frequent between October and March.  It’s a fantastic way to get a feel for the city and who knows, possibly a glimpse of the Hunchback!

Trivia: In 1971, tight rope walker Philippe Petit walked between the towers of Notre Dame, much to the surprise of watching Parisians!

Art in Paris

If you prefer to do your sightseeing inside, Paris is home to some of the world’s most famous art galleries.  The Musée d’Orsay, a former railway station, is well known for its collection of impressionist paintings by artists, including Monet and Degas, whilst modern art can be found in the Centre Georges Pompidou.  If your only reason for visiting the Louvre is to see the enigmatic Mona Lisa, rest assured that entering the glass pyramid will leave you with far more inspiration than a link to The Da Vinci Code.  The Louvre Palace is one of the largest museums in the world and houses antiquities and art work dating back to the Ancient Egyptians.

Trivia: The Musée d’Orsay recently featured in the Van Gogh episode of Doctor Who.

Written by Jemma Saunders

Read Jemma’s blog or follow her on Twitter @JemSaunders1