A first visit to Paris can be overwhelming. We’ve always seen the City of Lights in movies, magazine articles, spread across the Internet. So when we step on Parisian soil for the first time the feeling is that we’re living an unbelievable moment. Everything seems like a dream.
I was in Paris some time ago — well before this blog has become a reality — and when I think about the places that marked me, six are clearly at the top of my preferences.
Of course. No wonder that the Eiffel Tower is the welcome card of the city. The monument was created by Gustave Eiffel for the 1889 World Exhibition to mark the 100th anniversary of the French revolution and still attracts thousands of visitors every year.
To ride the elevator to the top you’ll have to pay 11 euros to reach the second floor, or 17 euros for the top floor. And for the more adventurous, there are stairs, which can be used up to the second floor, paying only 7 euros.
The view is amazing, but what struck me the most was being lying on the grass, underneath the tower, when the lights came on… we were in August at that time and it looked like Christmas!
Notre Dame Cathedral (photo: Tristan Nitot)
Another classic, much in part because of the novel by Victor Hugo, which was later revised to the movie: “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”.
The interior of the cathedral is beautiful, but the gothic style of its exterior, the gargantuan hanging from the facade, seems to come to life at any time.
And if we think that it was there that took place the coronation of Napoleon Bonaparte or the beatification of Joan of Arc, Notre Dame is definitely a must to visit.
Le Sacré-Coeur (photo: David McSpadden)
Speaking of churches, there may be those who do not agree with me, but… the Sacré-Coeur can actually be my favorite!
The basilica is located in Montmartre, also known as the Hill of Martyrs, and was originally designed by Paul Abadie, and the work continued with six other architects until the monument was completed.
If the exterior is beautiful, with a magnificent view over the city, inside the architectural details and lighting effects leave us breathless.
And because we are in Montmartre, how about a stroll through one of the most bohemian neighborhoods in the city?
Restaurants, small cafes, painters in the street, not to mention the cabarets like the Moulin Rouge.
The ideal place to spend an afternoon with a cafe au lait and an éclait … or two! 😉
Ah, Disneyland Paris … forget you have 20, 30, 40, 50 years. When we step into Disneyland our inner child is released and starts running all over the place. Mickey Mouse, Minnie, the Chipmunks, Captain Hook, all wonderful!
Not to mention all the attractions! I confess that when I was there Space Mountain was one of the most popular attractions, but today many other gather thousands of people every day. And that reflects into the queues, of course. So it takes a lot of patience, but the experience is worth it.
I just remembered that I found myself waving to Snow White and Cinderella at the parade at the end of the day… But don’t tell anyone. 😉
To visit the Palace of Versailles you have to leave Paris and drive about 40 minutes or, as I did, take the train at the Montparnasse station.
The first impression we have when we arrive at the palace gates is that at any time we get to see the musketeers and members of the court of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette start filling the main square and the gardens.
You can purchase a ticket to visit all areas of Versailles, but when I was there I chose only the palace (15 euros), which took me through the various rooms, including the chambers of the Dauphin and Dauphine, and also the fabulous Hall of Mirrors.
The good thing is that the ticket includes an audio guide (available in 11 languages) that takes us on a detailed tour. Perfect!
And if you visit Versailles until October 30 this year there are several shows happening almost every day. Just check the calendar.
These are just six of the places that marked me on my first visit to Paris, but many others are worth visiting.
And what about you, have you ever been to Paris? What was your favorite place? Share in the comment box, leave tips, suggestions, etc. I want to read all about it!
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