Wednesday, 31 August 2011
GUIDE TO: PARIS
Off the sublimely serene River Seine, in this town your perspective of the world will change once again. What stands out most about gay Paris is the enormous, historical evoking Eiffel Tower that scrapes above the sky and towers above everything else. A cast-iron structure of epic, man-made proportions, this is bold and beautiful and in iconic status associated with France and Europe as a whole as much as Paris. Elevating your way to the top (if you don't have the shoes to walk the serious experience that is these staircases), you can almost see the whole city from the top of this tower. The view is as amazing as it is vast, all-encompassing in the day, golden and bright at night. Ooh la, la, this sure is beautiful. Words in any language can't describe, you just have to view it for yourself and take your time.
From the Eiffel Tower you can catch an upfront view of La Défense behind it. This stunning business district is well-endowed with sky scrapers and architectural structures that look more like something out of Asia or America than a traditional European city that has seen little change since 1860 (and believe me that's a good thing, as this cities positive percent is at a century). Nonetheless La Défense is inoffensive to the tradition of its home and a perfect part of Paris, a classic attraction and one of the worlds favourite cities that continues to make dynamic developments, just like neighbouring European city and country London in England.
Take another view from Eiffel and you will get an eye full of the long and epic Champs-Élysées. A road that doubles up as a boutique of restaurants and shops and mainly as a mall. One so magnificent it could even put London and Washington's malls in their respective places. Travel and traverse down this tree-lined mile that helps Paris make it's footprint as a green city and you'll really see a city rich in colour, texture and tradition. When the annual, worldwide appealing, tradition of the Tour De France reaches its destination here, you can really see it in all its glory. Take the Arc de Triomphe at the top of the mall for example. This really is an arc of triumph and iconic structure in the forefront of tourist attractions and the background of the capital of France's history. It rests as a monument and symbol of Paris' timeless culture and architectural greatness. White marble has never looked so perfect or pure.
As a matter of fact there's more to Paris then what meets the tour guides eyes. Every road, vestibule, alley and rue is rich with beautiful culture, character, tradition and history, making even a stop at any hotel, restaurant bar or coffee shop a memorable experience to cash into your memory banks. Still for a good nights sleep may we suggest Hotel Eiffel Seine. A good meal, Le Grand Véfour (where atmosphere and ambiance is on the menu). A good coffee (and lunch), Da Stuzzi which was used in 'Inception' (no it didn't really blow up) and a good time Le Baiser Salé. Or if you want to get real wild and fancy a cabaret how about the majestic Moulin Rouge? All these places are great and wonderful places to stay even with your world on a string. Speaking of money, this may not be Italy or London you best believe this city is in fashion with serious shopping, as the grand Galeries Lafayette department store really makes for one heaven sent shopping experience, especially in the magical Christmas season.
There's so much more to see in this city sight wise too. Where else can you read the 'Da Vinci Code' next to a pyramid that looks like a greenhouse and the 'other' Statue of Liberty. A place that has so many museums and galleries that you might just catch a glimpse of Napoleon or the worlds most famous painting and if that's not enough, why not save time and take it all in on the wheel that shows you all the WOW factors of this amazing place? Like the praise-worthy testament of the 12th century cathedral Notre Dame de Paris, the grace given Tuileries Gardens, the epic, song-worthy Opéra Garnier or the loving Louvre which will capture your heart.
Or how about the romantic street of Lycée Louis-le-Grand, again recently made famous by the Leonardo DiCaprio movie 'Inception' (but again, don't worry the street won't really turn in on its self). Places like the lavish Latin Quarter, the evocative Élysée Palace or the canvas of the Canal Saint-Martin help paint this town whole. Paris is pretty and as perfect as a picture, from the Place Vendôme to the Place de la Concorde there's plenty to see and do in this cityscape. While the sensational Sacré-Cœur Basilica almost looks like something out of India. Still the Jardin du Luxembourg gardens are distinctly French and distinctly beautiful. For sports too, football or otherwise, no stage is greater than the Stade Da France, while for other forms of family entertainment, don't forget Disneyland Paris too.
This is why Paris is the most visited city in the world and all these millions of people can't be wrong. So take une minute as its time to wave au revoir to work for a week or two and wave hello to a city you'll really adore. The French have it all from the magnificent Marseilles to cool Calais but nothing is more of an exclamation to the country of France than the perfect place that is its capital, Paris. So brush up on your Francais, take the last train to Paris and live it up. Just make sure you say hello to Mona Lisa while your there. TIM DAVID HARVEY.