Paris the City of Lights

BySandip Hor, Paris
Dec 27, 2010 05:33 PM IST

Paris, the City of Lights offers endless attractions. I suggest here for visitors, particularly first timers what the French would call less incontournables (the unmissable) sites.

Paris, the City of Lights offers endless attractions. I suggest here for visitors, .particularly first timers what the French would call less incontournables (the unmissable) sites. 

Built on the banks of the river Seine which divides the city into two, referred as the right bank and the left bank, both sides are abound with historical monuments, cultural sights, museums amidst colourful and lively districts, each with their own distinctive character.

For all, unquestionably the first destination is the iconic Eiffel Tower which was built by Gustave Eiffel in 1889 as a part of the Universal Exhibition. There is a magnificent view from its top, but be aware of the long queue and hours of patience. Suggested next stop is the Arc de Triomphe, the largest triumph in the world that was commissioned by Napoleon in honour of his 128 victory battles. It stands proudly at the top of Champ-Elyses - the celebrity street in Paris and the most fashionable in the world, where you come to dress up in Lanvin or to layer with the chicest accessories from some of the world's flagship boutique stores such as the Dior, Prada and Nina Ricci.

Paris is full of museums and galleries .Irrespective of whether you are art connoisseur or not, the "must sees" are Musee de Orsay, once a railway station, now houses an outstanding collection of impressionist masterpieces which includes works of Monet, Van Gough, Renoir and Manet, Musee Rodin to see the famous creations of Auguste Rodin such as The Kiss, Cathedral, Gate of Hell and various incarnations of his Thinker and the world famous Lourve, a former royal palace and now the home of Leonardo de Vinci's Mona Lisa , Michael Angelo's Slaves and 2nd century BC Statue of Venus De Milo.

Walking along the banks of River Seine is an experience by itself. You will come across the majestic 14th century Notre Dame Cathedral, a repository of French art and history and a stroll around the area with a coffee at a café is a good way of experiencing Parisian culture .For shopping lovers visit the famous Galleries Lafayette at Bastille in the same area where Opera de Paris is located.

A quick dash to Sacre Coeur , a white domed basilica in Montmartre where you see budding artists in action with their paint and brushes displaying their creative talent, is highly recommended. From the basilica terrace you enjoy a spectacular view of Paris free of cost and then not regret going up the Eiffel tower for the same purpose.

If you have time visit the stunning Versailles Palace which is located around 25 km south west of Paris where the armistice end of World War I was signed.

Finally do not leave Paris without enjoying an evening show of artful beauty and glamour at either the Lido or Moulin Rouge. Both are fairly expensive, but you may be doing it once in a life time, so don't bother to tax your credit card a little extra.

How do you see all of the above? The public transport system in Paris comprising of mainly of metro rail and bus is excellent and cheap. There is a metro station close to all tourist landmarks. Buy a 3- day Paris Visite card that allows unlimited travel on both bus and rail within central Paris and inner metropolitan zones.

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