Thursday, May 14, 2009

Top 10 Things To Do in Paris, France

Paris is one of the most popular tourist destination. If I try to make complete list of things to do and see in Paris, it will probably have couple of hundred items in the list. As some one has said "If you ever get bored in Paris that means there is no reason for you to live anymore!!".

Here are top 10 places to visit in Paris. They are good for 3 to 4 day itinerary for Paris. At the bottom of the post you will find few tips for Paris trip.

You may also like to take a weekend Getaway from Paris: Day Trip to London.

1. Eiffel Tower from Trocadero Gardens:

One would go on top of Eiffel tower to get spectacular view of Paris and Seine River. But where do you go to get best view of Eiffel tower. The best view of Eiffel tower are from Trocadero Gardens. First time visitors would be speechless looking at panoramic views of Eiffel Tower from Trocadero Gardens.

2. Louvre Museum and Pyramid:

Louvre Museum is the largest,most visited and probably most famous museum in the world. It houses collection of Masterpieces. Paintings from various times and cultures including Greek, Egyptian,Orientals. etc. Sculptures , decorative and modern art from different eras. You will need days to cover this entire museum which covers about 600,000 square feet!. You may decide to take some short tours that will cover major art piece of the museum.

Author Dan Brown's Best Selling Novel Da Vinci Code starts here in Louvre Museum and covers many famous places in Paris. The Pyramid shown at the end of the movie based on this Novel is also located at the entrance of the Museum which also one of the art piece in itself.

3. Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysees:

Great General of France Napoleon Bonaparte started building this great Arc to honor people who fought for France and to commemorate his victories in different wars. It is one of the most famous monument in Paris. One side of this Arc is Champs-Elysees avenue. Both sides of the avenue are trees, artistic lampposts, restaurants and boutiques. A fun place to hang out.

4. Hôtel des Invalides:

Hotel Des Invalides was created originally to house disabled war veterans. It also houses tombs of many French Generals. The most famous being Napoleon Bonaparte. Museum of Army is also located here. It is also very interesting place to visit.

5. Notre Dam:

Notre Dam Cathedral is one of the first and finest example of Gothic Architecture. Its construction started in 11th Century. It was destroyed in 17th century and again rebuilt in 19th century. It is one more very famous landmark of Paris the City of Lights.

6. Conciergerie and Palais De Justice:

Conciergeri and Palais De Justice ie. Jail and Palace of Justice are located near Notre Dam. Originally this building was a palace and then used as a jail for some time. Now it is houses offices of Justice Deparment and court.

Queen Mary Antoinette (Queen of Emporar Luis XVI) was imprisoned in this Jail for some time before she was executed by Guillotine during French Revolution in 16th Century. Touring this place gives insight into Jails from those times.

7. Panthéon:
Originally build as a Cathedral, Pantheon functions as burial place for great people, including Nobel prize winner scientist Madam Curie and Pierrie Curie. French philosophers Voltaire and Rousseau etc. Its beautiful Gothic architecture is worth the visit.

8. Place de la Concorde (Concorde Square) :

The Concorde Square is the most beautiful place of Paris . From this 84,000 square meters open ground you get superb view of Champs-Elysées and Arch De Triumph, on one side, the Louvre on the other side.A beautiful fountain and a pillar brought from Egypt stands in the middle of the ground.

Yet this was the place where Louis XVI and Mary Antoinette were executed by Guillotine. While visiting this place, it still feels like something bad has just happend here.

9. Grand Palais and Petit Palais:

Grand Palace and Petit Palace are the glass exhibition halls built during Paris Exhibition of 1900 also known as The World Fair. Right now there are different exhibitions running at different times.

10. Seine River Cruise:

Trip of Paris will not be complete without Seine River Cruise. You do not need to spend tons of money for dinner cruise or any kind of other speciality cruise. Any simple boat ride is good enough to enjoy Paris in a very relaxing and unique way. I would suggest night tour and you can see all of the above mentioned monuments in a different light. They just have different charm at night.

Also check out numerous crepe places on the river shore. Chocolate crepe and cheese crepe and many different varieties are available.

More Tips for your Paris Visit:
1. Hop On Hop Off Bus:

Paris has good internal transportation via train and bus. But if you do not intend to figure out which bus to catch or where to change stations yourselves, Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus is a very good option to explore Paris at your own pace. There are couple of companies running these kind of buses. They have two day pass. So in two days you can visit as many attractions covered by this pass at your own convenience. They run through out the day every 15-30 minutes. Check out the companies that cover all the places of interest you want to cover. I liked the bus ran by GrayLine. They had most coverage at almost same cost.

2. Paris Pass:

You can purchase Paris Pass in advance or from any attractions that are covered by this pass. They come in 2,4 and 6 days variety. This pass covers entry fee as well as transportation via bus and train in central Paris. Even with the 2 day pass you can save quite a bit of money.

3. Travel Insurance:

While travelling outside of US I do prefer to purchase travel insurance. I will not promote any specific company or product here, but there are respectable companies out there in Travel Insurance Space that could help with injuries, sickness or lost luggage.