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Paris Travel Guide

“I love Paris in the springtime, I love Paris in the fall, I love Paris in the winter - when it drizzles, I love Paris in the summer - when it sizzles. I love Paris every moment, every moment of the year…"

The immortal words and voice of Ella Fitzgerald echo the sentiments of many a traveller to this beautiful and intoxicating city that is Paris, one of the cultural capitals of Europe. Its incredibly rich history punctuated by megalomaniacal kings, haughty queens and bloody revolutions, its contemporary mix of haute couture and haute cuisine, its self-professed intellectuals and guardians of high culture colonizing street cafes, its Seine river playing host to serenading lovers, its heady bohemian festivals and its quintessentially cosmopolitan sensibility – make Paris one of the most exciting cities to be in anywhere in the world.

Like bustling London, Paris has the same intensity, the same sense of time speeding to catch up with demanding lifestyles that take working and partying equally seriously. Like London, Paris too is dominated by impressive Gothic and Renaissance architecture that lend these cities their distinctive atmosphere. Again, like London, Paris has a river – the Seine - that cuts the city in half and gives life to both banks. Also, like almost any other European capital, Paris wears its history like a proud badge and guards it jealously like a family heirloom. But there is no denying the fact that Paris does all of the above with a certain flair that is difficult to imitate. Parisians like to enjoy themselves, and unlike many other places in the world, they have centuries of experience in honing their spontaneous joie-de-vivre into a fine art!

As far as world-famous landmarks go, Paris has one of the largest collections, so if you choose your paths with foresight, they will be littered with architectural gems. From Marais in the east to the Eiffel Tower in the west, from the Pantheon to the Notre-Dame Cathedral, from the Sacre Couer to the Obelisque, Paris extends itself to every traveller, whether a first timer or an old hand.

If Paris is enchanting during the day, after dark this City of Lights is nothing short of magical. It is said that the soul of Paris lives not simply in its impressive structures, but in its quiet boulevards and parks filled with birdsong, its patisseries and boulangeries, its bustling markets and quaint shops tucked away in back alleys, its secret music clubs and jazz bars.

Take the time to see this Paris too, and as Hemingway wrote, your memories of Paris will become a ‘moveable feast’ that will stay with you for the rest of your life.

Did you know that Paris was known as Lutetia (a Latin word meaning simply ‘Midwater Dwelling’) in ancient times?

Arrondissements are what the districts of Paris are called and the city has 20 of them. Remember they follow a spiral pattern in clock direction with no. 1 arrondissement being on the right bank and housing the Louvre – so don’t be surprised if you find no. 8 adjoining no. 1!

Check out the Smallest House in Paris is in Quai Voltaire – it is barely one meter wide!

Tip: Incase you are short on time in Paris, a good way of seeing the sights is to take a cruise on the Seine as almost all the main sights are on the banks of the river.

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