One of the most beautiful cities in Europe and also in the world is definitely Paris, the capital and most important city of France. It is not situated in the middle of the French hexagon, but slightly shifted to the north.
The Seine River flows through it in the direction from east to west, and leads to the city of Le Havre where empties into the Atlantic Ocean.
Paris has the reputation of the most beautiful and most romantic city in the world. Often called the city of dreams and magic has always been attractive for artists, writers, thinkers and adventurers.
Likewise, today attracts visitors not only from France but also from abroad. Many people are coming here for extended weekend trips, during which it is possible to familiarize yourself with the most important, what city has to offer.
Paris is a vibrant, bustling and very lively city and economic and cultural center of France.
Perhaps all places in the center of Paris are full of history, you can walk throughout any street and you will pass numerous historical monuments – the venerable churches, ornate Renaissance palaces from the 17th century, Napoleon’s monuments, grand boulevards and lots more.
Centre is also a home to many of the most important museums of the world, the most beautiful buildings of France and various other luxuries. There are also modern buildings, dozens of art galleries, wonderful shops, parks and cafes irresistible.
The city also offers a wide range of entertainment, but also interesting wandering through the narrow twisting medieval streets. Visitors can really enjoy every moment in Paris.
Paris itself has around two million inhabitants, and the whole Paris agglomeration around ten million. It is divided into 20 districts (called arrondissement in French).
With around 27 millions of tourists per year Paris is the most visited city in the world. Its altitude is relatively low, ranging from 30 meters (along the banks of the Seine) up to 130 meters (Montmartre, the only hill in the vicinity of Paris). Area that is covered by Paris (without its agglomeration) is approximately 100 km2.
Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris
The first mention of Paris we have already from the third century BC. At that time there was just a small settlement which occupied only a tiny island on the Seine river. It was inhabited by a Celtic tribe Parisii, after which the city is named. Paris then became the capital city in 508 AD.
The most important sights in Paris include, of course, Eiffel Tower, which is also the main symbol of Paris and France at all. Then you should definitely visit Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral, Louvre, The Basilica of Sacre-Coeur or Moulin Rouge – the most famous cabaret in Paris.
If you will have some more hours to spend in Paris, you could also visit Père Lachaise Cemetery, which is the largest cemetery in this city and world’s most visited cemetery. Right here you can find the graves of the most important French people.
But that still not the end. Your steps should then lead to Hôtel des Invalides, the modern district of La Defense, south-eastern part of Paris, the Bastille, Luxembourg Palace and gardens and Centre Pompidou.
As the capital of France, Paris is the seat of the President, government and both chambers of the French Parliament.
Originally, the city covered just a small area on about a kilometre long island of Ile de la Cité at the Seine River. Now in these places you can find the oldest and most celebrated parts of Paris.
There is the Gothic Notre-Dame Cathedral, which is perhaps the most dominant landmark of the metropolis. It is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture that was built between 1163 and 1367.
The Cathedral witnessed many important events – coronation of Napoleon Bonaparte, or hosted e.g. the funeral of Charles de Gaulle.
Notre Dame Cathedral, Ile de la Cite, Paris, France
In front of the cathedral is located a bronze star that marks the exact location of point zéro. From this point, all the roads in France are measured which confirms the importance of this place, as the imaginary center of France.
Another significant sight is the Basilique du Sacré Cœur situated on the hill of Montmartre. Thanks to its location it is one of the most visible monuments of Paris and of course offers one of the most stunning views of the city.
Building, which foundation stone was laid in 1875, is dominated by five domes in typical oriental style. It has 84 meters high bell tower that conceals the bell “Savoyard“, which is among the world’s largest bells and weighs 19 tonnes.
You will probably not find a person who would not know the most visited tourist monument in Paris – the Eiffel Tower. The tower known also as the “Iron Lady” towering to a height of 324 meters is considered a symbol of Paris.
Eiffel tower in Paris, France by Joe deSousa.
It was designed by architect Gustave Eiffel to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution and the World Expo in 1889. At that time it was the world’s tallest structure. In good weather it is possible to see up to 67 km distance from its top.
At the western end of the famous Champs-Elysees, which is 9 km long, is the Arc de Triomphe (Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile), which was built by Napoleon Bonaparte to celebrate his victory over the Prussian and Russian troops.
This very well known and widely attended Parisian gem is 50 metres high and 45 meters wide. It was built in the middle of Charles de Gaulle square in the years 1806 – 1836.
The structure is littered with reliefs and paintings to celebrate the deeds of Napoleon. Arc de Triomphe is a symbol of many French wars and battles.
Eiffel Tower under Moon
No visitor to Paris should miss a tour of the Louvre – one of the world’s largest museum that houses artifacts representing more than 7 millennia.
Originally, the Louvre was the largest palace in the world, and firstly became a showcase of art during the reign of Francis I. Currently the museum is home to 350.000 priceless artifacts, including the famous original paintings, antiques and oriental ceramics.
There are works of such masters like Leonardo da Vinci, Donatello, or Jean-Antoine Watteau. It has also very impressive entrance, which consists of a huge glass pyramid, which belongs to the characteristic buildings of Paris. The museum is spread on four floors, covering a three separate wings.
Other important museums in Paris include the National Museum of the Middle Ages exhibiting medieval furniture, clothing and accessories, textiles, examples of Byzantine, Coptic and European works, and several admirable tapestries. Equally attractive is the Musée d’Orsay opened in 1986 exhibiting art.
The museum is located in the original station building on the left bank of the River Seine. The local collections cover the period from 1848 to 1914, which was indeed an exciting time for a fine art. Notable is the Musée Rodin and the Musée Picasso.
Musée Rodin, Paris, France
Among the most admired works of architecture of France is the Palace of Versailles, situated 17 km away of Paris. Versailles is considered a kind of symbol of French kings and the size of France. It was originally a small hunting lodge but it was later rebuilt to the magnificent palace by Louis XIV.
The palace’s length is 680 meters. Since 1661 it has been the residence of the government and power centre of France. Its interior hides lots of beautiful ornate rooms, the most interesting of them is 73 meters long Hall of Mirrors.
In the middle of Paris you will also find beautiful natural paradise – Luxembourg Gardens, extending around the vast Luxembourg Palace.
There is more than 25 hectares of greenery and offers many attractions. One of them is the octagonal pond, which is located in the middle of Fontaine Médicis with lots of statues.
Another important historical sight is a monument to the painter Eugène Delacroix. Unmistakable symbol of Paris is also the Moulin Rouge, a place that shocked the citizens of Paris.
The modern face of Paris can be seen in the district of La Defense, where you can find luxury shops and modern skyscrapers.