Off to Paris to fulfil your Parisian dream? What if you’re only staying for a couple of days? But also, you’d want to savor every bit of it? Like any good thing, don’t rush! Just come back some other time & make more memories. Narrowing it down for you. Here are a few places you wouldn’t want to miss!
1. Tour Eiffel
The iconic Tour Eiffel or Eiffel Tower (cried when I saw it), the confirmation you’ve reached your dream destination, a known symbol of Paris. Even Hitler had his photo taken with it! Although a lot say that when you get there, “it’s just a tower”, there’s more to it than meets the eye once you get to know its story.
Let’s time travel for a while. (But if you don’t really care or you’re convinced even without knowing about its history, just skip this part. Ha!)
Once upon a time in 1889, Paris hosted a Worlds Fair to celebrate 100 years of the French Revolution. Among 100 aspiring artists who were competing to build a monument in central Paris, Champ de Mars, the project was granted to Eiffel et Compagnie owned by Architect Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, thus its name “Tour Eiffel” or Eiffel Tower. He also had a secret apartment all to himself at the very top at that time. But, you’d be surprised to know that this wasn’t his idea. It was engineer Maurice Koechlin, one of his employees who had the brains for the famous tower. It was completed in March 31, 1889, the making in two years, two months, and five days. Some time that year, Le Figaro, the French newspaper had their printing press at the tower.
The Eiffel Tower became the tallest structure in the world in 1889, standing 1,000 feet high made up of wrought iron. Until New York City’s Chrysler Building was built in 1930, then it wasn’t anymore. Paris was competitive. In 1957, a 65feet antenna was added to the tower, making it taller than the Chrysler Building. But then again, that didn’t match the Empire State Buliding so Eiffel had to stop at some point.
Years later, if it wasn’t made into a radiotelegraph station, the tower would’ve been scrapped. Also, during World War I, the tower was used to interrupt enemy radio communications & messages would be sent out from the top to direct the French troops to the front line. Although most of the French hated it when it was built, through the years Eiffel Tower has contributed to a lot of historic events & scientific discoveries. One of the interesting things about the tower was that in the late 1920s, it was used as a billboard for Citroën automobiles. No other brand has ever used the Eiffel Tower as an advertising medium.
What is its color? The Eiffel Tower was painted in yellow then red then brown. It is painted every 7 years for its maintenance. It is lit every night from sunset to 1am, 2am in summer. It also glistens every 5 minutes in every hour from the time it is lit. You wouldn’t want to miss this! Be part of the 7 million who visit the most visited monument in the world.
Tip | A toast of champagne at the top for celebrating would be lovely! And oh! The best place to see the lights & where you have your photos taken is from Place du Trocadéro. Experiencing it on top is another wonderful experience.
2. Place du Trocadéro
Now, it’s impossible to miss the best place to get a photo with the Eiffel Tower as the background! You’ve got to get to Place du Trocadéro. As mentioned, even Hitler took his photo there on June 23,1940. This place was named in honor of the Battle of Trocadero when the French, headed by Duc d’ Angoulême, captured Isla del Trocadero in Spain. He is the son of the King of France, Charles X. Here you will find Palais de Chaillot which houses the Musée national de la Marine, Musée de l’Homme, Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, Musée National des Monuments Français & the Théâtre National de Chaillot.
Around the area are stalls selling crepes, coffee, sandwiches & more. Take your time at the area, eat al fresco & enjoy the view of the Eiffel Tower.
3. Champ de Mars
On the opposite end of Place du Trocadéro right across the Eiffel Tower is Champ de Mars. This is another beautiful place to take a photo with Tour Eiffel, stroll &/ or have a picnic. Champ de Mars means “Field of Mars”, named after Campus Martius in Rome. Giving tribute to the Roman god of war in Latin. A part of the James Bond film, A View to Kill, by Roger Moore was filmed here in 1985. Also, come 2024 Summer Olympics that will be held in Paris, Champ de Mars will be used to hold one of the sporting events.
4. La Siene
La Siene or Siene River is a famous river in Paris with a stretch of 777 Kilometers. With this, there are 37 bridges all over Paris and more outside the city. Some of the well- known bridges are Pont Alexandre III where you see four gilt-bronze statues of Fames & Nymphs of the Neva reliefin in the middle. Have you seen the film Me Before You starred by Emilia Clarke & Fin Claflin? Pont Alexandre III is where we see Louisa (Emilia Clarke) crossing towards the end of the film. Another famous bridge is Pont Neuf, the oldest standing bridge across river Siene in Paris which dates back to 1607. This is where the couples place their love locks. You may book a tour where you can ride a boat, cruising around La Siene.
First of all, if you want to make it worth your time aaaand money, make sure you make time to visit the Louvre for one whole day. It is after all the world’s largest art museum! It has an area of 72,735 square meters exhibiting approximately 38,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century.
The Louvre or Musée du Louvre is a historic monument in Paris which is divided into eight curatorial departments: Egyptian Antiquities, Near Eastern Antiquities, Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities, Islamic Art, Sculpture, Decorative Arts, Paintings, Prints & Drawings. With a lot of things going on, make sure to choose top things to see like the Mona Lisa, before wandering.
In the late 12th century, the Louvre was originally built as a fortress under Philip II. In 1546 it was converted into the main residence of the French Kings by Francis I. However in 1682, King Louis XIV moved to live in the Palace of Versailles making Louvre as a place for the royal collection from 1692 & collections of ancient Greek and Roman sculpture. It was during the French Revolution, where the Louvre was decreed to be a museum which opened on August 10, 1793. Since then items increased under the reigns of Napoleon, Louis XVIII and Charles X, and during the second French Empire.
It is the world’s most visited art museum having about 8.1 million visitors annually so make sure to buy tickets ahead & be early for a head start!
Tip | Make sure to visit Angelina for lunch or a quick bite while you’re there!
6. Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe Paris is a triumphal arch honoring those who fought for France particularly wars led by Napoleon Bonaparte. Here you will see engraved names of the generals who fought for the said wars. This famous arch was built between 1806 to 1836. Here lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I where the Memorial Flame burns. This have made the Arc de Triomphe Paris a celebrated patriotic site. Since November 1923 when the flame was ignited for the first time, it has been done daily at 6:30pm.
This majestic arch stands 49.5 m (162 ft) tall, 45 m (150 ft) wide and 22 m (72 ft) deep which is hard to miss when you’re at Champs-Élysées.
Shopping, strolling or simply having an espresso by the streets. Champs Elysees has got to be part of your itinerary in Paris. This avenue stretches 2 Kilometers from Place de la Concorde till Arc de Triomphe & is one of the famous streets in the world. Here you will see restaurants, cafes & top brands like Hermes & Cartier. If you’re a tourist & would want to make most of your time, Champs could be last on your list since shops close late & are open on Sundays which isn’t common in France. And if you’re into sports, particularly a cyclist, no doubt this will be on your list since this is where the famous Tour de France race start.
Tip | Make sure to visit Ladurée & have a heavenly bite of their famous macarons while strolling around Champs-Élysées.
7. Palais Garnier
The Phantom of the Opera is hhhhhheeeeere! Among other things, Palais Garnier is famous for the setting of the movie, The Phantom of the Opera starred by Gerard Buttler, Emmy Rossum & Patrick Wilson. This opera house has the capacity of 1,979, built from 1861 to 1875 which is the most renowned opera house in the world. Its name comes from its architect, Charles Garnier. This place is every ballerina’s dream. The Opera House is now mainly used for ballet.
8. Notre- Dame Cathedral
Notre- Dame Cathedral or Notre-Dame de Paris is a medieval catholic cathedral which has a magnificent French Gothic Architecture. One of its distinguishing designs is having gargoyles, not just a few but about 102 of them. Why? They look so scary & they’re in a church! Well, it has been believed that they scare off evil & practically divert rainwater. Other interesting things about Notre-Dame, here you’ll find some important relics, including the claimed crown of thorns, a piece of the true cross, and one of the holy nails. Also, this got more popular because of the animated movie by Disney, Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Montmarte, aaaaah, the life of old Paris. Here lies at its peak the famed Sacré- Cœur Basilica. It is also known for its artistic history as many artists lived or worked here like Pablo Picasso & Vincent Van Gogh. Several films have been shot here as well like Moulin Rouge & Beauty & the Beast.
10. Palace of Versailles
In the Île-de-France region of France, 20 kilometers from the French capital, lies the Palace of Versailles, Château de Versailles, or simply Versailles. Its history dates back in the 11th century when it started out as a small village, today, however, it is a wealthy suburb of Paris & a very famous tourist attraction.
In 1682 during the reign of King Louis XIV, Versailles was the seat of political power in the Kingdom of France until the royal family returned to the capital in 1789. This happened within three months after the French Revolution begun.
The Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versallies having 357 mirrors is a tribute to the political, economic and artistic success of France where paintings depict the successes of King Louis XIV during his reign.
I wonder how long the palace was built when every part & corner is a work of art.
I stop here. There are a LOT more places to wander in Paris which also depends on your priorities or preference. Hope this helps & may you make your Parisian dreams come true.