For years Disneyland has been a symbol of magic and enjoyment for children all over the world. The mystery and adventure that precedes a trip to the famed resort on the outskirts of Paris usually ensures plenty of disturbed night’s sleep for parents. However, there is more magic to discover in the city that is likely to keep children entertained. Continue reading “More Magic in Paris than Just at Disneyland” »
The Eiffel Tower continues to attract thousands daily more than 100 years after its difficult birth. Still one of the tallest structures in France, the three-leveled spire adorned with thousands of lights inspires awe decades after being surpassed in height.
Inside, along with first editions of the writer’s works, is a painting of his funeral procession at the Arc de Triomphe. At the time of his death his fame and popularity were so great that millions came to mourn his passing.
There are also portraits of his family. Alongside are drawings and documents showing the life story of Hugo and the many artists he knew as friends. Balzac and Dumas, Paganini and Liszt, Musset and many more dined here. Even Dickens and the Duke of Orleans paid visits.
‘Maison’ is French for ‘house’. In this case the word is slightly misleading. While no palace, though sited in the Place des Vosges – originally known as Place Royale – the site is no simple domicile. These sprawling apartments were the home of the famed writer between 1832 and 1848. Hugo fled from the revolution in that year. Continue reading “Maison de Victor Hugo, Paris” »
La Tour Eiffel can be seen changing shades from cocoa to gold as dusk fades to dark. The lights along its four pillars melding into the spire are only one of the many sights not to be missed. Joining the left and right banks (the ‘rive gauche’ and the ‘rive droit’) along this ancient river are bridges themselves no stranger to time.
Whether seen by a long, leisurely walk or from one of the many excellent tour boats, the view along the Seine in Paris is a delight.
The river flows nearly 800km (480mi) from Dijon through Paris and into the English Channel. But even the short section through the city provides enough sights to satisfy the most discerning traveler. Continue reading “The Seine River in Paris” »
Once reached via that winding, narrow passageway the visitor enters a large area dominated by a huge church bell and spectacular sights. From here it’s easy to imagine the fictional Quasimodo (the Hunchback of Notre Dame) ringing the 13-ton bell and clambering on the gargoyles around the perimeter.
Second only to the Eiffel Tower as the recognized symbol of France, the Cathédrale Notre Dame is both a tourist destination and a working church. Built between 1163AD and 1345AD the Gothic masterpiece remains today one of the world’s great structures. The enormous interior can seat 6,000 at the base. But, for many, the major attraction is the 387-step climb to the top of the famous towers. Continue reading “Notre Dame, Paris” »
This tree-lined avenue begins at the Arc de Triomphe and ends 2km (1.2mi) east at the Egyptian Obelisk, through the 8th arrondissement. An ‘arrondissement’ is a district. Paris is divided into twenty with the first at the center and the others winding clockwise around it.
Not merely a boulevard, the Champs-Elysées has justly earned its name. In Greek mythology, the Elysian Fields was the resting place of heroes who dwelt in perfect happiness. Fortunately, visitors don’t have to die to reach it. Though you may think so after making your way through the French airports and into Paris. Continue reading “Champs-Elysées, Paris” »
Many of the traditional rides from the California theme park were recreated (with some French twists) at the park and resort only 32 kilometers (19 miles) outside Paris.
There’s the familiar Pirates of the Caribbean, on which the recent films were based and the love-it-or-hate-it It’s A Small World ride, along with dozens more. The Legend of the Lion King show regularly sells out, so get tickets in advance.
Affectionately known as DLP by Mouseketeers the world over, Disneyland Paris is a cornucopia of rides, restaurants, exhibits and all out fun for everyone. And in the last few years the fun has been doubled as Disney added the Walt Disney Studios park to an already jam packed adventure. Continue reading “Disneyland Paris” »
Despite its late-19th century origins, the architecture is a much older style. A mixture of Romanesque and Byzantine, the white, Oriental-style domes house a 19-ton bell (Savoyarde) and elaborate reliefs. Note: ‘Oriental’ does not mean ‘Asian’. The architecture of the Middle East is commonly known as ‘Oriental’.
The site of Sacré Coeur has long been an attraction for religious figures and groups. Though dedicated to peace and brotherhood, the building owes its birth on the site to the misfortunes of war and violence. Continue reading “Sacré Coeur, Paris” »
Looking like a cross between a hyper-modern factory joined to a low-rise office building, it accurately reflects its contents. The red, blue and green pipes on the rear are only one example of the tradition busting goals of its makers. The architects goals were to ‘turn the building inside out’, and they’ve largely succeeded. A low glass box that looks like the scaffolding is yet to be removed, the modern heir to Bauhaus displays air-conditioning ducts and metal stairs on the exterior.
Known to Parisians simply as Beaubourg (after the neighborhood), The Centre National d’Art et de Culture Georges-Pompidou is a museum of modern art rivaling the best in New York or London.
As you stand underneath the structure (though given the traffic in Paris, never in the center, unfortunately) you’re overwhelmed by the massive stone. Here it’s easy to imagine Napoleon’s armies marching triumphantly down the boulevard and through the opening.
Though less artistic than its older cousin of Porte Saint-Denis, the Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile is the more famous and far larger. Set atop the hill of Chaillot it forms the center from which radiates a dozen busy Parisian avenues.
There are in fact several “Arc de Triomphe’s” in Paris. A large arch with two thick towers surmounted by a large horizontal section has been a popular architectural feature since the time of Louis XIV (the ’14th’) in the late 17th century. Continue reading “Arc de Triomphe in Paris” »