The City of Romance and Capital of France, Paris exudes an air of sophistication and storied charm. She was named after a Celtic tribe called the Parisii in the 3rd century BC and is today a major European centre for fashion and finance. Also a hub for commerce, culture and education, she is home to many theatres, museums and has one of the oldest universities in history—the University of Paris. That aside, a majority of Fortune Global 500 companies are headquartered there along with most of the exclusive fashion houses from Dior to Cartier. Scattered with both Michelin restaurants and bistros, she has an equal spread of luxury and quaintness. A bustling city with much to offer, here are 5 things to do in Paris.
The Louvre is the world’s largest museum and houses the famed works of many renowned historical artists. Built as a fortress, it later served many other purposes like as residence for the French Kings as well as an Academy before being decreed a museum during the French Revolution.
Set against the grandeur of the original structure, a trio of glass pyramids in the centre courtyard is designed by internationally distinguished architect I.M Pei. Explore the sprawling palace with three wings and eight curatorial departments with extensive collections from Egyptian Antiquities and Islamic Art to Paintings and Sculptures amongst others. Art lovers can find many masterpieces here including Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Michaelangelo’s The Rebellious Slave.
The Pavillon de L’Horloge (the Clock Pavilion) spans three levels in the Sully wing and documents the chronological progress of the Louvre since its establishment, a perfect stop for those who want to know everything about the museum.
Made internationally famous by the French literary classic, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, this cathedral was a focal landmark in Victor Hugo’s novel. Founded in 1160 by Bishop of Paris Maurice de Sully, Notre-Dame sits on the site of the former Paris cathedral, Saint-Etienne (St Stephen’s). One of the world’s largest and most notable church buildings, her architecture is French Gothic and was amongst the earliest to feature the flying buttress.
Visit Notre-Dame to admire her timeless façade and breath-taking intricate interiors, rich with history. From the exterior, there are several distinct gargoyle statues and if you want a closer look, climb up the spiral staircase to the top, where you will discover a magnificent view of central Paris. Located in the south tower is the famous bell Emmanuelle, the largest of 10, which dates back to 1681. Inside, under the massive archways of her nave, you’ll find an 18th century grand organ as well as statues of ancient figures such as Joan of Arc, who was beatified and canonised in Notre-Dame. Immerse yourself in a surreal journey through a forgotten period.
The Eiffel Tower
Constructed in the late 19th century, The Eiffel Tower is a globally recognised cultural French icon. The impressive Parisian symbol has recently undergone a modern facelift which features glass floors and state of the art infotainment.
The new 1st floor offers an amazing viewing experience 57m above the ground, with its glass balustrades and transparent flooring, giving you an illusive sense that you’re floating. Also located on this level is The 58 Tour Eiffel restaurant which offers contemporary French cuisine.
The 2nd Floor is where you’ll find the One-Star Michelin Jules Verne Restaurant, run by Michelin chef Alain Ducasse and famous for its feature in Jackie Chan’s movie Rush Hour 3. Indulge in a culinary and visual experience that will last a lifetime as you dine while overlooking the city. This is also the only level to access the lifts to the top floor observation deck.
Ascend the Eiffel Tower by taking one of the glass lifts and be awed by the spectacular panorama. At the top, the two separate indoor and outdoor levels allow you to soak in picturesque views of the city.
Champs-Elysees and L’Arc De Triomphe
As depicted in the French song Champs-Elysees, “In any kind of weather at any time of day, you can find all you want at Champs-Elysees.”
Indeed, this is the street for everyone where there is a plethora of entertainment and dining options. Many shops and luxury boutiques line both sides of the almost 2km long stretch from Louis Vuitton to the Disney Store.
Champs-Elysees begins from the Place de la Concorde and passes through several national landmarks including the National Assembly, the Theatre Marigny, the Obelisk of Luxor and the Grand Palais, and ends at the Arc De Triomphe.
The Arc was built in 1906 but wasn’t inaugurated until 1836. It was erected in honour to those who perished in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. Its design portrays images of conflict between the Germans and the French and inscribed on its surfaces are the names of victorious French generals.
For a small admission fee, one can access the museum inside the arch to learn more about its detailed past as well as admire the surrounding sceneries from its roof.
River Seine Cruise
At night, The City of Lights becomes an illuminated wonder. The best way to enjoy Paris is to embark on their River Seine cruises. There’re several different options in the day, but the evening cruises along the river truly allow you to appreciate the beauty and architecture of each building. Don’t forget to enjoy the gentle caress of the cooling breeze on the deck.