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Paris by day and night

Updated on June 1, 2015

Paris, France

When you go to Paris you feel a delicious sense of visiting vast cultural significance and grandeur from the stunning architecture and history of Notre Dame to the tree-lined parade of the Champs Elysées. Sitting outside one of the cafes, in the Jardins de Champs Elysées, at lunchtime is certainly a Parisian thing to do, and the promenade is filled with many such characterful establishments. Munch on a panini or try something a little more French like a brie filled baguette, delicious and filling and certainly classically French. There are also excellent street performers and human statues so make sure you take a look at these, as some of them really are quite astounding. If you are interested in following some literary, acting or political stars then eating lunch or grabbing a few drinks at Le Fouquet's on the Champs Elysées will keep you in line with Winston Churchill and Jackie Kennedy Onassis. A visit to Les Deux Magots or Café de Floré will help you meet (in mind) the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Albert Camus and Simone de Beauvoir.

There are many perfume shops along the boulevard of the Champs Elysées, so if you are on a romantic break with a loved one be sure to pick up an expensive French fragrance that is sure to impress the lady in your life, especially since it will be actually from the world's most well-known perfume city. There is an exceptional view from L'Arc de Triomphe, Napoleon's Triumphant Arch. The names of Napoleon's generals adorn the monument, and there are also scenes from various French victories such as that over Austria at the time.

One of the draws to Paris is that old-world ambience matched by the new and technological modernity. In the same place that you learn about France's history and culture you can catch a contemporary Hollywood blockbuster in a newly built cinema, in French of course but with subtitles. The French, or at least Parisians, like foreigners to speak French even if they do know English, and I don't blame them really as I think that if you go to another country you should at least try to speak a few words of the native tongue, but that is just my personal opinion. Fortunately for me, I did French up to A-level, and so when in France somehow remember my French speaking skills and can manage fairly well without speaking any English. It all comes flooding back to me, which is a sensation that I truly enjoy. It is also a joy to see the look on a Parisian's face as you verbalise some quite complex French that has come out of some memory from years gone by :)

There are some rather good and inexpensive clean hotels so visiting the wondrous city is fairly an economical holiday, and you could easily spend much more than a weekend although most choose not to.

A visit to Notre Dame de Paris, or simply Notre Dame is exciting, not only because of its real historical background but also because of its development into the film about the long-suffering hunchback, Quasimodo, but if you do go don't expect to see him floating about... :) Built 800 years ago the cathedral. The appointed bishop at the time wanted to give the city a notable and noticeable gothic cathedral, and his plans were approved by King Louis VII. The inhabitants of the city helped either physically or through their knowledge so it really was a group project for the whole of Paris to be proud of and admire.

The Eiffel Tower is worth climbing simply for the views over Paris, and is much more lively and interesting at night with all the lights lit up. Paris in general transforms into a vivacious dame, coming alive at night, with the Moulin Rouge and the cities musical nightlife. If you enjoy French hip hop then there are many French hip hop nights in various Paris nightclubs such as Djoon and The Financier. Just ask at your hotel for some information and they will be glad to help. Exploring the city at night is also very interesting and the many bars and late night cafes contain all sorts of unusual characters with a plethora of stories just waiting to be heard. If you're a night owl and you like venturing out to different arrondissements, then chatting to the 'natives' will lead you to a place of wonderment and perhaps romance as you listen to an old woman discuss her many lovers and their political backgrounds. Insightful I can assure you!

If you can wake up early enough the following day, then a trip to Le Louvre is a pleasant relaxing afternoon, where you can soak up some culture if you're not too soaked from the night before! :) Renowned for the newly added Louvre Pyramid, the museum cuts a dynamic figure in the centre of Paris. The pyramid, built in 1989 by American architect I. M. Pei, acts as the entrance and a glass roof that allows light into the museum which is really rather scintillating and special. Visit La Seine, the city's gushing river, to add to that calm and feeling that will leave you refreshed and revitalised for the plane or train ride home.


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