The city of lights and love, Paris radiates with an artistic glow, coming not only from the numerous excellent galleries, but also the architectural masterpieces scattered around the city. Encompassing a variety of styles, the city is a rather eclectic mixture of Medieval, Renaissance and Modern aesthetics.
This feature is best exemplified by the huge glass pyramid situated in front of the famous Louvre museum, holding such masterpieces as the sculpture of Venus de Milo and such renowned paintings as ‘Mona Lisa’ and ‘La Liberté Guidant le Peuple.’ The Parisian clash of styles is also perceptible at the site of the Medieval Cathedral of Notre Dame, sitting almost next door to the ultra-modern, state-of-the-art Pompidou Centre and the 19th-century Arc de Triomphe, which is located beside the postmodern Arche de Defense.
To many, Paris is also known as the fashion capital of the world. This association isn’t unwarranted, as the city houses ateliers of some of the most celebrated designers, including Coco Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier, Louis Vuitton and Pierre Cardin. Most designer boutiques and studios are located in Faubourg Saint-Honoré, in the 8th arrondissement. Some notable fashion houses, including Chanel or Yves Saint-Laurent, have also mastered the art of perfume-making, and delivered some of the most recognisable scents of the 20th Century.
Paris is also known for yet another kind of fashionable sophistication, as it boasts one of the most prestigious universities in Europe, La Sorbonne. Students from all over the world arrive here not only to enjoy the superb studying conditions, but also to thrive and develop in the unique Parisian air of tradition, innovation and progress.
Apart from the museums and historical landmarks, the true spirit of Paris is best experienced in small cafés, open-air bistros and exquisite restaurants, offering live music and romantic candle-lit dinners for two, an image for which the French capital is perhaps most famous. An enchanting traditional Parisian eatery is the best place to savour exquisite local specialties, such as pate-like rillettes and delicious andouillette sausages. The majority of dishes are based on locally-produced goat cheeses and champignons (mushrooms). As a conclusion to their meal, Parisians savour Guignolet, a type of liqueur made from cherries.
Apart from the traditional eateries, the spirit of Paris can also be found in its secluded, narrow streets, many still unexplored by the crowds that flock to Paris every day. Though it’s slowly turning into the city’s most profitable tourist location, the hilly area of Montmartre continues to charm visitors coming in search of peace and quiet. Here, you can encounter the Parisian daily life at its most authentic. It’s best to stroll along its streets in the evening, when the city falls into a quiet slumber and the golden riverside lights stage a fascinating show on the waters of the shimmering Seine River below. Paris is known around the world for its extensive parks and stunning gardens, testifying to its imperial past.
Two of the city’s oldest green areas are the 16th-century Tuileries Garden, a garden for the famous royal residence once located beside today’s Louvre, and the 17th-century Luxembourg Garden, a formerly private garden of Marie de' Medici’s chateau. The city’s first public garden was the Jardin des Plantes, created by Guy de La Brosse, the personal doctor of Louis XIII, who used it for the cultivation of herbs and medicinal plants.
Another popular location for an interesting walk through the French capital is a tour of its fascinating cemeteries. The city’s cemeteries were located on its outskirts upon their creation in the early 19th Century, after burials within the city limits were banned. A cemetery founded in the abandoned limestone mines just outside of the southern city gates is known today as the Paris Catacombes.
With time, the French capital has grown to encompass the burial sites. Some of them are known around the world because of the famous people to whom they serve as a final resting place. The Père Lachaise Cemetery holds the graves of Balzac, Chopin, Maria Callas, Edith Piaf and Jim Morrison. Getting about Paris should be fairly easy, for the city offers a well-maintained public transport system which reaches virtually any place in the city and is fast and affordable. All you need is a map, comfy shoes, a camera and a mind set to learn as much as possible about this truly magnificent city.
With its beauty and rich cultural heritage, Paris is one of a kind. What are you waiting for? Get a ticket and book a Paris hotel, the City of Light is waiting for you to uncover its mysteries!