Paris

Paris has almost exhausted the superlatives that can be reasonably applied to any world-class city. Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, ave des Champs – Elysees at sunrise, at sunset, at night, in the snow – have been described innumerable times, as have the River Seine, and the subtle differences between the Left and Right banks. But what writers have rarely been able to capture is the magic of strolling along the broad avenues that lead from impressive public buildings and exceptional museums to parks, gardens and esplanades.

Eiffel tower

Hotels in Paris

Paris has more familiar landmarks and aspects than just about any other city in the world. as a result, first-time visitors often arrive in the French capital with all sorts of expectations: grand vistas, intellectuals pontificating at street cafes, romance along the Seine, naughty nightclub revues, rude people who won’t speak English but who will rip you off. To be sure, if you look hard enough, you’ll find all those things. But another approach is to set aside the preconceptions of Paris and to explore the city’s avenues and back streets as if the tip of the Eiffel Tower or the spire of Notre Dame weren’t about to pop into view at any moment.

8 Paris Highlights

  1.   Center Pompidou – enjoy the renovated center’s new video area, expanded exhibition space, cutting edge cinema and spectacular rooftop view;
  2. Louvre – visit one of the new collections along with old favorites such as the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo;
  3. Musee d’Orsay – marvel at this beautiful museum’s incomparable collection of impressionist art;
  4. Ste-Chapelle – admire the Holy Chapels sublime stained glass on a sunny day;
  5. Notre Dame – attend an organ concert;
  6. Marais – check out the stately hotels particuliers (private mansions) by day and the throbbing bars and clubs after dark;
  7. River Seine – enjoy it on foot from the banks or on an evening cruise;
  8. Bercy  -see what’s happening in the south east with its new national library, Bercy Village lovely park and floating clubs and restaurants.

Orientation

The city of Paris is relatively small:approximately 9.5 km by 11km. Not including the Bois de Boulogne and the Bois de Vincennes, its total area is 150 sq km. The chapter gives you three ways to find addresses mentioned:by arrondissement, by map refference and by metro station.


Arrondissements – Paris is divided into 20 arrondissements (districts), which spiral out from the center clockwise like a conch schell. Paris addresses always include the number of the arrondissement as street with the same names in different districts.

Map & Map references – The exact location of every museum, hotel, restaurant, exchange bureau etc mentioned in this chapter is indicated on one of the color maps. Each address includes the reference number of the relevant map, usually just before the telephone number. The most useful map of Paris for sale is the 1:10000 scale Paris Plan published by Michelin.

Metro stations – There is almost always a metro station within 500 m of wherever you want to go in Paris, so all offices, museums, hotels and restaurants mentioned here have the nearest metro stop written immediately after the contact numbers> Metro stations usually have a useful plan du quartier (map of the neighbourhood) on the wall near the exits.


Eiffel Tower area

Paris  most prominent and recognizable landmark, the Eiffel Tower, is surrounded by open areas on both banks of the Seine, which take in both the 7e and 16 e arrondissements. There are several outstanding museums in this part of the Right Bank. The Tour Eiffel faced massive opposition from Paris artistic and literary elite when it was built for the 1889 Exposition Universelle (World Fair), marking the centenary of the Revolution.It was almost torn down in 1909 but was spared for purely practical reasons: it proved an ideal platform for the transmitting antennas needed for the new science of radiotelegraphy. It was the world’s tallest structure until the Chrysler building in new York was completed in 1930. The Eiffel Tower, named after its designer, Gustave Eiffel, is 320m high, including the TV antenna at the very tip. This figure can vary by as much as 15cm, however, as the tower’s 7000 tonnes of iron, held together by 2.5 million rivets, expand in warm weather and contract when it’s cold. When you’re done peering upwards through the girders, you can choose to visit any of the three levels open to the public.

Triumphal Arch

Popular with the aristocracy of the mid 19th century as a stage on which to parade their wealth, the 2 km long Ave des Champs-Elysees was after WWII takn over by airline offices, cinemas, car show rooms and fast food restaurants. In recent years, however, the municipality US $48 million investment to regain some of the 72 m vide avenue’s former sparkle and prestige has paid off and the Champs Elysees is a more popular destination than ever.In the late July it plays host to the final stage of the Tour de France bicycle race.

                                                                                       Sorbonne

Paris most renowned university, the Sorbonne was founded in 1253 by Robert de Sorbon, confessor of King Louis IX, as a college for 16 impoverished theology students. Closed in 1792 by the Revolutionary government after operating for centuries as France’s premier theological school, it reopened under Napoleon. Today its main complex and other buildings in the vicinity, house most of the 13 autonomous universities that were created when the University of Paris was re-organised following the violent student protests of 1968.

Accommodation in Paris

Paris has a very wide choice of accommodation options available and,unlike London and even New York, they cater comfortably to all budgets in most sections of the city. When calculating accommodation costs in the French capital assume you’ll spend close to 40EUR per person per night in a hostel and at leas 60EUR for a washbasin  equipped double in a bottom end hotel. Bear in mind that in budget hotel rooms without en-suite shower or bath, you may be charged from 5 to as much as 10EUR each time you use the hall shower. If you cant go without your daily ablutions it is often a false economy staying at such places.

Hotels – Paris may not be able to boast the number of cheap hotels it did even decade ago, but the choice is still more than ample, especially in the Marais, around Bastille and near the major train stations off the Grands Boulevards. Places with one star or the designition NN ( Nouvelle Norme), which signifies that a hotel is awaiting its rating but assures a certain standard of comfort, are much of a muchness and are usually beyond our powers of description. Remember: the consideration at these places is cost not quality.

Paris most opulent and famous five star hotels are located in the 1er arrondissement. Hotel Costes – Jean-Louis Costes eponymous 83 room hotel, which opened in 1995, offers a luxurious and immoderate home away from home to the visiting style mafia. Outfitted by Jacques Garcia in camp Second empire castoffs, it’s the current darling of the richly famous. Hotel de Crillon – The colonnaded, 200 year old Grillon, whose sparkling public areas are sumptuously decorated with chadeliers, original sculptures, gilt mouldings, tapestries and inlaid furniture, is the epitome of French luxury.

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