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Paris is, in every season, amazing; my favourite time to visit the French capital is spring because the days are sunny with a well-balanced temperature, not too cold and not too warm, the perfect weather to enjoy the city. The capital city is always beautiful and full of activities to do, the distance from one monument to the other is very long, so prepare to walk a lot but the view will repay all the many steps.
I went to Paris two times and below I collected the best of both tips.
Things to do in Paris
The Basilique du Sacre Coeur stands at the summit of Montmartre Hill, the highest point in the city.
It is a Roman Catholic church dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus; the church has been built around 1873 and 1919, and for this, it is the oldest church in Paris. An interesting fact about this building? You can find the giant bell in France, which weight is around 18.835 kg.
The first time I was in Paris, I visited the inside of the Basilique, but the second time I decided to do something different. II went above the dome. It is not too hard to reach the top because even if there are 300 steps, they are scattered in a sort of itinerary between small domes and the roof. If you are lucky like me to find a sunny day, the view of Paris will be fantastic, and it will repay all your effort.
Montmartre is a small village famous mostly to be close to the Sacre Coeur but also as the artist's neighbourhood; walking through the street of this village you can find painters selling their fabulous painting or always ready to make you a portrait. It has always been a place for artists like Picasso, Modigliani and other important painters that gave Montmartre the fame that it has today; there is also a cemetery with influential artists buried in it. I love to walk around this neighbourhood because the atmosphere is fantastic, with all the artist and typical small restaurants and cafe very particular and with delicious food, I recommend to try the creeps in here. Honestly, I took, you know the mini train in every city? Yes, that one to see the whole neighbourhood because, first of all, my mother loves the mini train and then because it was boiling and played a good alternative instead of walking around; there was also the audio guide in Italian (and other languages). I think it was a good idea after all because it allowed me not only to see the whole neighbourhood but also to discover many exciting things comfortably seated.
Everyone has heard about the Arc de Triomphe also just one time. It is a colossal Arc in the middle of the Champs-Elysees ordered by Napoleon to celebrate the battle of Austerlitz.
Napoleone told the French soldiers who had fought with him: "we will return to your homes only under arches of triumph"; indeed an imperial decree dated 18th February 1806 ordered the construction of a triumphal arch dedicated precisely to the victories achieved by the French army. At the base of the arch, there is the tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the First World War built in 1920 and a perpetually burning flame guards the tomb. The monument commemorates the soldiers, never identified who died during World War I, and since 1945 is also dedicated to the memory of the fallen during the Second World War. Of course, after the Arc De Triomphe you can't miss a walk in the Champs-Elysees through giant trees, famous and luxury shops and, if you like shopping, why don't you go to Lafayette?
The most famous monument symbol of France the Tour Eiffel. It was built in 1887 for the Universal Exposition event and never removed. Some curiosity about it???
Who doesn't like the Eiffel Tower? Surely not me, I fall in love with this big piece of iron; thinks that my first time in Paris I had a new camera and to inaugurate it I took more or less 50 pictures only for the Eiffel Tower because in every position the prospective and the photo were different.
I honestly never been inside the museum Louvre. I heard a lot of people said that it deserves a view, but since I am not a big fan of museums, I prefer to concentrate on the area around it. In 2019 my second time in Paris, the Louvre museum celebrated 30 years from its construction. Today it is a symbol of Paris, but when was built a lot of people didn't like it.
The pyramid construction started around 1874-1990 under the initiative of President Mitterrand, with the plan of renovating the entire area. The project was created by Leoh Ming Pei, a famous American-Chinese architect. It included a glass and steel pyramid positioned in the Cour Napoléon, to illuminate a sizeable underground atrium that would be used as a new main entrance to an underground city with shops, bars, services, auditorium, a large library and a temporary exhibition hall. The project raised many controversies, but the pyramid and the underground atrium were still inaugurated on 15th October 1988 and completed in 1989. The second phase of the plan, including the Pyramide Inversée illuminating the Carrousel, was completed in 1993, on the occasion of the museum's bicentennial.
The strong symbolism of the pyramid has inspired different beliefs and fueled questions about the hidden meaning of the inverse pyramid. The pyramids, according to some people, are full of mysteries concerning Masonry and Antichrist due to their form. I don't know about this; for me, it is just a must to see in Paris.
Versailles is incredible. I was amazed by the inside but also the outside. It shows the French splendour back in history but also the fantastic job did to recover the villa that was almost destroyed. The Royal Palace was built for willing of William XIV. He wanted to live outside the capital to step away from the citizen because considered too challenging to manage. From 1682 Versailles remained the seat of the political power of the France Kingdom, but at the beginning of the French Revolution (1789), the royal family was forced to return to the capital. The king needed the royal palace of Versailles, also, to show to other European kings their greatness, indeed they realized huge rooms, the most famous is the mirrors room, organized big parties and dinners but also they built the first zoo. Few people know that once here there was a menagerie, where it was possible to find wild and exotic animals and birds from all over the world. In 1979 the palace become well-protected by UNESCO thanks to its history, its beauty, and its vast and colourful garden.
The garden is enormous with many fountains, statues, flowers and even a small lake with a gondola that you can use (of course, for a cost); I went in summer but obviously, the best period is spring so you can enjoy the flowering. Versailles, for me, has been a one day trip, and I spent all the day there because after had seen the spacious and unique rooms I spent the rest of the day wandering in the garden and why not bring a blanket?
I went to Paris with my parent as a middle meeting point from Italy and Dublin. Since the following month would have been their marriage anniversary, I decided to do something special for them, and why not also for me? So, I decided to buy a cruise in the Senna with lunch. We started the sailing trip in Pont Portofino, near the Louvre museum. We sailed for, more or less, 2 hours, enjoying the panorama we also a superb lunch. The lunch included a starter, main course, dessert and a fantastic bottle of French wine; the best thing was sipping that excellent wine looking at Paris from a completely different point of view.
The vertical garden is a funny and pleasant thing that I found walking around Paris. It was invented by Patrick Blanc, who made him famous all over the world. Blanc is a Parisian botanist that discovered some plants that do not need much ground and can grow in dangerous places like bricks, walls or rocks. His idea was to give to the city expanses of green, even where there is no space. One of the large green walls is at the Quai Branly Museum, located near the Seine and the Eiffel Tower; it is a museum dedicated to primitive arts and "non-western" civilizations, four continents to explore, Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas. Mr Blanc built a wall of 800 square meters of plants from Japan, China, Europe and the United States on the facade of this museum.
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Looking for activities and tours in Paris? I suggest you check out Get Your Guide. To find out more follow the link below and be inspired :)