There are many reasons to visit Paris: Beginning with, it is being one of the business and politic centres of Europe. Second, it is home to priceless art collections, world-known museums and literature collections. Furthermore, I know people just go to Paris for delicious French cuisine and tasting exquisite French wines. It is easy to expand the list with cultural and historic richness that has been offered on the one hand, and colourful night life and fun at Moulin Rouge on the other. But if we set aside all the reasons, Paris is a destination just being-for-itself for me. Maybe it is because that I lived the very first two-years of my life there or it tempted me more and more in every visit I made.
Apart from my biased opinion, there is a reality that Paris is usually on top of the official “Most Visited Cities Lists” with around 20 million tourists per year. Due to economic downturn and Olympic fever, it was second on the 2012’s list with 16 million visitors after London (16.9 million).
Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile
Paris is capital of France with a population of 2,2 million habitants and it is located on the River Seine, which is at the centre of Île de France region. Paris is divided into 20 arrondissements as administrative districts and these are named separately and numbered in a clockwise order, nautilus shape. Every arrondissement has its offerings in a different kind. Your time and indulgences will determine your sight-seeing schedule but I will try to provide some help with must see places for a three day visit at Paris.
Basically, it is possible to define four broad categories in a systematic approach and count five prominent places under each of these categories. But it must be kept in mind that, this is just a list to give you a general idea and you can add more places in a second.
|Museums and Art Galleries:
- Musée du Louvre
- Musée d’Orsay
- Musée Rodin
- Musée Picasso
- Centre Pompidou
- Esplanade des Invalides
- Jardins des Champs-Elysées
- Jardin du Luxembourg
- Jardins de Tuileries
- Bois de Boulogne
|Buildings and Monuments:
- Tower Eiffel
- Palais de Chaillot
- Assemblée Nationale Palais-Bourbon
- Grande Palais et Petit Palais
- Arc de Triomphe
As it is impossible to think Paris without considering River Seine, I strictly recommend you to spare a day for a boat trip. There are hop on hop off boat tours which will enable you to save time and see as many places as you would like to.
Daily pass are around €15 per adult and you can get on from either side during the scheduled time. Once you disembark at any of the stops, enjoy your sight-seeing for monuments, palaces or squares and walk to the closest port for your next destination. However, don’t forget to take pictures during your boat trip, because every bridge at River Seine has its own story and statues. So you can read and would like to see it again by looking your pictures. Few prominent ones that I can name are Pont d’Iena, Pont de l’Alma and Pont Alexandre III.
Musée du Louvre
In the second day, I suggest you to visit the Louvre Museum in the morning. Although it is possible to spend all day there, it would be convenient to go to the Eiffel Tower and have a view from the top floor at the afternoon. In a clear sky you can see whole Paris with a naked eye and you can pick your next place to go. My humble suggestion for the elevator is to buy your Eiffel Tower ticket online. Because there are usually huge queues at any time of the day (especially in the summer season) and I can guarantee that it will be boring to wait. In the evening St-Germain des-Prés is a very nice place to hang out and relax with a drink. I bet you will enjoy the atmosphere there.
La Tour Eiffel Les Jardins du Troadéro
In the third day of your visit you can combine art and nature. It would be wise to start with strolling down from the Les escaliers de Montmarte rather than climbing it up, so you can enjoy the inspiring environment for painters, musicians and poets in old times. If you go to Place du Tertre you can still meet street painters at the tourism centre of Montmarte. Then you can extend your visit to Quartier Opera if you like the crowd. It is banking, trade and news centre of Paris and as there are many stylish and expensive stores, it is not surprising that area to be full of people during day. But don’t worry your next place to see is very tranquil and peaceful area; Quartier Luxembourg. In the gardens of Luxembourg you will be welcomed by the lake, fountains, amazing statues and various tones of green. Therefore, you will forget your tiredness.
As I warned you in the beginning, it is not possible to see everything in three days and you need a good planning about what you would like to see. However, whichever course you follow or whatever route you take, don’t pass over the French cuisine and drink culture. Start a day with a French style breakfast, which usually contains croissant, beurre, confiture, chocolat, baguette and café. Then reward yourself with selections from ravishing French cuisine. As hors d’oeuvre (appetizers); “soupe à l’oignon”, “terrine de saumon” or “croûtons crémeux aux canneberges et au jambon de Parme” are among the most prominent flavours that I come up with first. As main dishes; “coq au vin”, “moules marinière”, or “escargots à la Bourguignonne” are exotic meals that you should try at Paris. However, if you would like to go traditional I can also suggest “boeuf à la ficelle” or “le poisson rouge”. Needless to say “crème brûlée” or “mousse au chocolat” will be nice choices as a dessert.
Last but not least, if you have a taste for wine and cheese you will find both in plenty and at top quality in Paris. Prices vary according to your preference and can go to sky high, but it is usually affordable. Besides, as it is a part of the French culture, I recommend wine rather than beer at the bars and restaurants.
Ergun UNUTMAZ, 05/03/2013