Magical Paris

The journal details many well-known and less-known and even some off the beaten track sights of Paris I have seen on my frequent trips to the French capital.

Magical Paris

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by aliante1981 on May 21, 2002

Visit the renowned museums of Louvre, Carnavalet, Orsay, Rodin, Picasso. Stroll along the quiet streets of the Latin quarter or go shopping on the Champs-Elysees. Watch glamorous performances at Comedy Francais or Opera Theatre, or sparkling night shows at the Lido, Moulin Rouge and Crazy Horse. If admiring medieval architecture is right up your alley, then Hotel de Cluny and surroundings are made for you. Gothic sounds just about right? Then head for Sainte-Chapelle, Notre-Dame Cathedral, or Sorbonne church with the tomb of Cardinal Richellieu.

You can visit some of the finest gardens of Europe right here, in Paris, too - Luxembourg gardens spring to mind immediately. And can one say he's been to Paris if he missed out on the world-famous Eiffel Tower? And what does the French capital look like when seen from the river?

Paris is more than worth a visit for its own sake, but it's also an ideal starting point for excursions to the palaces of Versailles, Fontainbleau. ${QuickSuggestions} Visit museums, historical buildings, churches, amuze yourselves in parks - more to come with my entries.${BestWay} You can choose traditional public transport that comes in the form of buses and metro, or special means of transportation designed for tourists: Balabus (bus tours), or innumerable companies offering Seine cruises (you can leave at some points). Taxis are pretty expensive, but worth calling for if you are in a hurry and not on a particularly tight budget.

Notre Dame Cathedral

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by aliante1981 on May 21, 2002

If I were asked to name just one building that symbolizes the whole history of Paris I would say it is Notre-Dame. From year 1159, when Catholic Bishop de Sully ordered it to be built till the 19th century, when it was extensively rennovated, the Cathedral church of Paris has been the heart of the city. It witnessed the coronations of Henry IV (who famously said that 'Paris was worth a mass') and Napoleon; the French Revolution and the subsequent distruction of churches; the start of many Crusades into the Holy Land.

If you are in for architecture, you should consider paying attention to the following points: Galerie de Chimeres (I spent considerable time wondering what kind of animals they resembled most), West Rose Window (showing the Virgin to whom the entire Cathedral in consacrated), The Kings Gallery (with images of kings of Judah), South Rose Window (depicting Christ).

For those of you view lovers: you should not miss the view from the top of the South tower (387 steps up where hard on me, but they were well worth it). It's also a good occasion to take a closer look at those Chimeres and take some wonderful aerial pictures of Paris. When the weather is fine, you can see the town as if it were justa tiny model and you a giant towering over it (but not towering over the Eiffel Tower, still).

Cath├ędrale Notre-Dame
6, place du Parvis-de-Notre-Dame
Paris, France, 75004
+33 (1) 42 34 56 10


Member Rating 4 out of 5 by aliante1981 on May 21, 2002

Conciergerie - today part of Palais de Justice, it is best visited together with Sainte-Chapelle (and cheaper, too!). This grim but still elegant building has many reasons that make a visit to it one of the things highest on a 'must-see' list for a tourist in Paris. First aspect is historical: it served as a prison for many years and in this way, was home to many famous personalities (it's sometimes surprising to me how many of them actually crossed the threshold of a prison in those days): Francois Ravalliac (who assasinated Henry IV), Marie-Antoinette (killed lated) and Charlotte Corday, who killed one of the most famous revolutionaries of France - that is Marat.

But historical is not the only aspect that might make a visit to Conciergerie well worth your precious time. In fact, it is also an architectural marvel (the fact that often gets overlooked): four-aisled Gothic hall is a good example of it.

Practical suggestions: you should buy a combined ticket to Sainte-Chapelle and Conciergerie - it will cut the cost of both visits considerably. Also, do not forget to pick up a free leaflet explaining this marvellous building in detail as soon as you enter the building.

1 quai de l'Horloge
Paris, France, 75001

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