The Allure of Paris
The Allure of Paris
By Tony DeLorger © 2013
Paris, reputedly the most romantic city in the world, does have a charm and individuality that is hard to beat. From its beautiful and unique architecture to its elegant bridges, statues and monuments, Paris is a chronicle of a long and often torrid history. When you stand in front of Notre Dame it is hard not to imagine Quasimodo, the fictional character from Victor Hugo's 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame,' and even scenes of revolution, all those years ago.
Evidence of the Empire Period and Napoleon is simply everywhere, with symbols, sculptures and remnants abundant throughout Paris. Magnificence is around every corner with intricate sculptures in gold with such crafted detail in every aspect of city buildings. One cannot be anything but impressed, strolling the Champs Elysees, Musee Du Louvre, Palais De Chaillot or just wandering the streets of Paris at will. There is so much to see, one would have to spend at least a week to take it all in.
As a tourist, I found the Metro train system the easiest way to get around. Inevitably there is some walking involved, but that really is the best way to explore Paris. Travelling by train is an experience in itself, buskers nearly always on the local trains, singing and playing for a Euro here and there. Many of them are really good and although the locals all but ignore them, it is certainly a unique experience on public transport.
As far as what to see, then you'll have a long list and probably not enough time to see it all. The icons, like Tour Eiffel, Arc De Triomphe, Musee Du Louvre, Des Champs Elysees, Notre Dame, Palais Royal, Montmartre, Moulin Rouge, Le Pantheon, Versailles and so many museums and churches, are all worth exploring if you have the time.
Although the queues are long, it is worth the wait to get to the top of the Eiffel Tower; the views over Paris are breathtaking. Also a night cruise down the Seine is highly recommended. But by far the best way to experience Paris is just to relax and absorb the ambience: enjoy a coffee or meal in the sun and watch the Parisians going about their business. If you speak at least a little French, it is appreciated and you'll have little problems dealing with shopkeepers and restaurants, purchasing or ordering exactly what you want.
Accommodation is varied, and you can pay as much or as little as your budget allows. Apart from all the well known hotels, there are many private apartments and rooms at very reasonable rates. It pays to spend some time on the internet and find something that is both reasonable and close to at least a Metro station for ease of transport.
So whether you're looking for a romantic holiday or want to absorb history in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Paris is for you.