Paris rests peacefully on the River Seine and is the most populous city in France. It is the nation's capital, and absolutely overflowing with a vast array of cultural attractions, historic museums and fine dining establishments. The city has many nicknames, such as "the City of Love," but most locals know it as "La Ville-Lumière," or the City of Lights due to an abundance of progressive thinkers based in Paris during eras past who helped transformed the world's collective consciousness during the Age of Enlightenment.
Paris has been the home of countless visionaries, artists, musicians, chefs, philosophers and designers throughout the millennia, and is known by many as one of the premier cultural centers in all of Europe. Guests who venture to Paris are sure to find a wealth of exciting attractions and charm meandering throughout this city's many parks, winding side streets and historic districts.
The Art of Paris
Boasting an extensive history, Paris has been the birthplace of numerous artistic movements and world-renowned artists. The city contains a vast collection of museums within its borders that are scattered throughout many districts - which are known in Paris as arrondisements. These facilities house some of the most influential works in the world, and present visitors with a never-ending itinerary of art to behold.
Musée du Lourve
This museum resides along the northern bank of the Seine, just a few short blocks from Notre Dame Cathedral in the heart of Paris. It is perhaps the most well known art museum in the world, and houses a collection of work that spans across many generations. Throughout the facility's historic galleries, patrons will be able to view works like the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, the Code of Hammurabi, Liberty Leading the People and many others. As one of Paris' most popular attractions, the Lourve is almost always crowded. Guests should arrive early in the morning to ensure that they are able to see everything the museum has to offer without being encumbered by vast mobs of tourists.
Another spectacular museum contained within Paris' city limits is the Musée d'Orsay, which houses masterpieces from contemporary artists born after 1820. Adorning the walls of this establishment, visitors will find breathtaking works from artists such as Cézanne, Rodin, Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Courbet, Millet, Renoir, Klimt, Munch, Giacometti and so many more. This is the largest collection of Impressionist artwork in the city, ranging from the earliest paintings by Manet to the late Neo-Impressionist styles of Seurat. Most art historians would consider the artists featured in this museum to be the forefathers of all modern art, which makes walking through these galleries a truly educational and enlightening experience.
Musée d'Art Moderne
If the styles of the Antiquity and Impressionist movements seem a bit dated, stop by the Musée d'Art Moderne to browse the collections of modern and contemporary art. This museum is said to contain the best selection of modern works in Europe, and is only topped by the Museum of Contemporary Art in New York on the world-wide scale. The many galleries and exhibits feature pieces by internationally renowned artists, including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Jean Metzinger, Amedeo Modigliani, Giorgio de Chirico, Robert Delaunay, Robert Rauschenberg and many others. Gaze upon the work of modern masters, who've perfected their expressionistic strategies over the past century and manifested their brilliance into that many pieces scattered throughout the facility.
The city of Paris traces its roots back more than 4,000 years, and presents a wide array of significant landmarks that have been masterfully constructed. Enjoy the distinct architectural styles of ages past, or marvel at the ingenuity of more modern engineering. The city presents visitors with attractions around every turn, so try not to blink!
The Cathedral of Notre Dame
This historic structure has stood on the Île de la Cité for more than 850 years, and was constructed in the French Gothic architectural style that featured one of the earliest manifestations of the flying buttress. The stone walls have become gray and weathered over time, but once displayed vibrant colors after the building was completed in 1345. Exquisite stained glass windows, extensive crypts and one of the world's finest organs are all housed within this massive structure, and present guests with the opportunity to take in the Old World craftsmanship that has made Paris famous.
Palace of Versailles
This magnificent palace was once the home of French monarchs, beginning with King Louis XIV in the mid-1600s, and contains some of the most breathtaking design features you'll find in Paris. French royalty were known for their extravagance and exceedingly luxurious lifestyles, and the Palace of Versailles is the embodiment of Parisian aristocracy. The facility currently functions as a museum, but it has also been the location of political functions and diplomatic gatherings in more recent years. Visitors must remember to bring a camera to capture some of the pristine architectural designs and decor in areas such as the Appartement du Roi, the Galerie des Glaces, the Chapels of Versailles and L'Opéra. Tourists who make the trip to the château of Versailles will be hard pressed to find a structure more lavish and exquisite anywhere else in the World.
Père Lachaise Cemetery
As the largest burial ground in Paris, Père Lachaise Cemetery features extensive green space that covers more than 100 acres and contains the remains of some of the world's most influential figures. The grave sites found throughout this facility range from simple headstones to elaborate mini-chapels dedicated to the memory of French elites from the past few centuries. Some of the most notable individuals whose remains lie beneath the soil in the Père Lachaise Cemetery are Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Théodore Géricault, Frédéric Chopin and countless others. Guests who take the time to meander through the grounds are sure to come across an array of interesting tombstones, monuments and a few tragic stories.
Dining in Paris
French cuisine has been considered the best in the world for centuries. After all, the restaurant was invented here. There are several world-class dining options here, but to capture local life - head straight to your local cafe or bistro for a coffee and croissant. To name one would be almost blasphemous, so instead a little advice: Don't be afraid to try new dishes, delicacies and, of course, wine during your trip to Paris. Keep and open mind and an open mouth, and you'll discover magnificently flavorful cuisine that delights the palate on every level.