The radio commentary and televised matches for Roland Garros this week made me reminisce on my travel experiences in Paris. I have been to city twice in the past five years, and though it hasn’t been my favorite, I always had good memories.
Paris is a city of superlatives. It has been dubbed the most beautiful and romantic city in the world. It also has been called one of the most expensive places to live and visit. A latte will set you back around US$5, hotel accommodations can range from a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand a night. Somehow though, the tourists do no seem to mind because they still come in flocks. Tourism has always been part of the city’s economy with good reason. It is full of sights and attractions to satisfy any traveler’s interest, but those visiting for the first time should not miss these three icons of the city.
3 Parisian Iconic Attractions You Should Queue Up to See
The Eiffel Tower
Considered to be one of the Wonders of the Modern World, the Eiffel Tower is perhaps the most recognizable attraction in Paris and certainly the city’s cultural icon. Created for the World’s Fair in 1889 to commemorate the centenary of the French Revolution, it was considered a marvel of engineering because of its innovative design and exceptionally quick turnaround for completion. It was built by Gustave Eiffel and completed in just over two years. Visitors can ascend on foot, or take lifts that will take them to three different viewing levels. There is a small room dedicated to the history of its construction as well as a few world-class restaurants. The views from the observation decks are phenomenal, particularly on a clear day. With over six million visitors annually, it is holds the rank as the most visited paid attraction in the world.
- Nearest Metro: Trocadero, Pont de l’Alma, Passy, Bir-Hakeim, Ecole Militaire
- Admission fees: starts at 10.50 euros
- Opening times: 365 days, 9-midnight 15th June to 01 Sept, Easter weekend, and other spring holidays; 11pm all other dates of the year
The Louvre does not need an introduction. It is considered by many, as the best art museum in the world and rightly so. Its collection is astonishing, with over 35,000 works of art occupying an area of 60,000 square meters. One visit will not be enough to cover all the masterpieces it houses. The building itself is also a work of art. Most of what we see today is from the 17th and 18th centuries, but it started out a fortress way back in the 12th century. It was transformed into a royal château in the 14th century and served as the official residence of the Valois and Bourbon families before it officially became the Louvre we know of today. Grab a spot near the infamous pyramid and enjoy a picnic on a nice day. It is one of the best places to people watch in Paris.
- Nearest Metro: Palais Royal, Louvre – Rivoli
- Admission fees: starts at 12 euros
- Opening times; M, W, R-Sun, 9-6pm, W-until 9:45pm, closed on Tuesdays and on the following holidays: 1 January, 1 May, 25 December
The Cathedral of Notre Dame
Home to the archdiocese of Paris, Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the largest and well-known cathedrals in the world. It is famous for its stained glass windows, pipe organ, bells, and architectural design. The cathedral was built in the 12th century but was not completed until the 14th century. It has seen several historic events since its inception, including the coronation of Napoleon as emperor. The cathedral suffered severely during the French Revolution. It was vandalized, looted, and its interiors desecrated. It took several years before the first set of restoration began and continue onto this day. Climbing the 387 steps to the top of the South Tower is quite arduous, but you will be rewarded with a 360-degree view of Paris that is rivaled only by those from the Eiffel Tower and Sacre Coeur. Organ concerts will resume every Sunday starting this October.
- Nearest Metro: Cite or Saint-Michel, Hotel de Ville
- Admission fees: Free
- Opening times: Open every day from 8a-6:45p M-F, 7:15p Sat & Sun
- Mass schedule: 8,9 (except summer), 12pm, 5:45pm, 6:15pm, M-Sat, Sunday: every hour starting at 8:30-12:45pm; all services are conducted in French