Paris, France is the world's most popular city destination for tourists all over the globe. Dubbed the City of Love, it offers its visitors more than just passion and romance. Steeped in more than 2,000 years of culture and history, this city promises tourists a memorable vacation with its impressive architecture, enlightening museums, historical monuments, and beautiful gardens.
La Tour Eiffel (The Eiffel Tower) was built by engineer Gustave Eiffel in 1889, in celebration of the 100-year anniversary of the French Revolution (1789). Initially considered an eyesore, today it is the landmark of Paris. At 984 feet (300 m) high, the tower offers a spectacular panoramic view of the entire city from all directions. The view at sunset is especially breathtaking, and well worth the long line to the top.
Notre Dame de Paris (Notre Dame Cathedral) was the first cathedral to be built, marking the city as the capital of France. Its construction began in 1163, but took almost two centuries to complete. The cathedral is designed based on Gothic architecture, with several large rose windows, colorful stained glass, pointed arches and spires, and innovative sculptures, such as gargoyles. The cathedral saw many historical moments, including the crowning of Henry VI of England in 1430.
Le Musée du Louvre (The Louvre Museum), a fortress in the Middle Ages, is now home to Leonardo Da Vinci's world-renowned painting, the Mona Lisa, and an impressive collection of art and antiquities from the world over. Six million people visit the Louvre Museum every year to admire its exhibits and collections. It would take months to complete a tour of everything in the museum. Therefore, it is recommended to choose what to see first and leave the rest for another visit.
Le Jardin des Tuileries (Tuileries Garden) is a beautiful park in the heart of Paris. This 61.8-acre (25-hectare) park was initially built for Catherine de Médicis in 1559, and it is an amazing place to unwind from a long day of sightseeing. There are two fascinating museums to visit within the park itself: Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume and La Musée de L'Orangérie. A visitor may also enjoy a cup of coffee by the many fountains and sculptures in the park.
L'Avenue des Champs-Élysées (The Champs-Élysées Avenue), featuring luxurious boutiques and awe-inspiring automobile showrooms, is not to be missed. The long avenue leads towards the Arc de Triomphe, an arch constructed under Napoléon Bonaparte's reign in 1806 as a symbol of victories during his time. The arch was built over the tomb of an unknown soldier, and a constant flame is lit to commemorate him and others who perished during the two World Wars. The avenue is also the site of major celebrations, such as New Year's Eve and French National Day on 14 July.
La Basilique du Sacré-Coeur (The Sacred-Heart Basilica), located on Montmarte Hill in the north of Paris, was erected in 1873 and is an imposing reminder of the sins committed by the city. Many at the time believed that sinful acts had caused the downfall of the French in the Franco-Prussian war (1870). Designed and built by Paul Abadie, the 272-foot (83-m) white basilica today overlooks an outstanding view of the city.
Le Quartier Latin (Latin Quarter) is so named because Latin was widely spoken in this area during the Middle Ages. This popular neighborhood is well-known for its colorful student life, bistros, and eclectic secondhand bookstores. There are also historical monuments and attractions nearby, such as Le Panthéon and L'Église St. Étienne du Mont.
Les Catacombs de Paris (The Catacombs of Paris), an underground network of tunnels spanning more than 186 miles (300 km), are not for the faint-hearted. The Catacombs are an intricate maze of burial grounds filled with bones exhumed from the Cimetière des Innocents in the 18th century. An efficient tour guide is necessary, as visitors may become lost in the complex passages or trapped in cave-ins that occasionally occur. Although the Catacombs can be an eerie experience, it is fascinating to learn about the darker side of the city's history.
From its elaborate architectural designs to its classy French lifestyle, Paris is certainly a city that teases the senses. With so many amazing tourist attractions, it is no wonder that it is the most visited city on earth, and it will no doubt continue to be so for many years ahead.