Why Paris

What do you think of when you think of Paris? Incredible food? Romance? World class museums and art? Fun?  When you visit you will quickly realize that Paris is one of the most beautiful and interesting cities in the world. From taking a leisurely walk along the River Seine, climbing up to the top of the Eiffel Tower just to glance at the horizon at sunset or grabbing a crispy croissant on your morning walk, once you experience the charm of Paris you will never want to leave.

Cruising down the River Seine in Paris at night

Cruising down the River Seine

Paris Past

Let’s start with some history of how this fanciful city began. Founded by the Gaul’s of the Parisii tribe, who were Celtic Senone’s, boatmen and shrewd traders around 250 BC.   Paris actually started out as a small fishing village. It came under Roman rule after being conquered by Julius Caesar over 2000 years ago. Originally named Lutetia, later it was renamed Lutece.

The budding city became an important trading center filled with palaces, roman baths, theaters, temples, amphitheater and even a forum for the traders. (You can view the ruins of a Roman forum even today.) Abandoned after the collapse of the Roman Empire the local inhabitants who decided to stay and tough it out, built a fort on the island, and named it Ile de la Cite’. Although Emperor Julian the Apostate reigned only for 2 years in 363 BC, it was under his rule that Paris finally received her name.

Although Paris has had a tumultuous past, it’s the modern city that beckons tourists from all over the world. Where else can you wake up to the most amazing fresh-baked, flaky croissants and pastries, or walk through a room in the Louvre Museum, which houses the original ramparts of the original city. Stroll along small Parisian streets lined with unique shops, historic buildings, and sidewalk cafés filled with people trying a steamy aromatic Parisian Caffe.

The City

Renaissance, Baroque, and Gothic buildings, sport world-famous statues, and notice how the windows are framed with colorful geraniums and summer flowers. Chubby cheeked brass cupids hold 3 bulbed lampposts, glowing in the evening sky giving way to a very romantic scene. The Eiffel Tower puts on quite a light show around 9 p.m. nightly, no wonder Paris is known as the City of Lights!

 

Eiffel Tower Light Show

A great light show at night at the Eiffel Tower. True Paris ambiance.

If you love to shop or you are an avid Fashionista, Paris is loaded with chic shops and fashion shows to keep you busy for weeks.

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Luxembourg Gardens

Luxembourg Gardens is a nice retreat from the hectic city life. Stop by a small market to pick up a few picnic items and trot on over to the gardens. Parisian families and lunch break workers go there to enjoy a little leisure time. The large central fountain that sits in front of the Palace you can smile watching children with their handmade or rented toy sail boats as they urge each other on to see who will win a race. All the while parents are busily chatting with each other sitting in one of the many chairs set out under nearby billowing trees. If you want a little quiet where you can admire some amazing art walk over to Medicis Fountain about a minutes walk from the Palace.

 

Sacre’ Coeur Basilica

There is actually a hill in Paris and it houses the very large Sacre’ Coeur Basilica which looks out onto the City. Many tourists miss this spectacular church on their first visit. If you have abundant energy you can hike up the 1000 or so stairs up to the top or take a cogwheel to arrive up top in minutes. The panoramic view of Paris is one you will not soon forget. (Especially if you have your camera handy.) The mosaics in the main section are stunning and the Pietro downstairs in the mausoleum very thought-provoking. Then take the walk from the Basilica to Montmartre. You will pass by a small café lined square filled with Artists selling their works of art. Shops in small historic buildings guide you down the streets back into town.

 

Sainte Chapelle

Sainte Chapelle just a few short years ago was missed by most visitors to Paris. Take a short detour around the corner from Notre Dame to see this Gothic cathedral. Originally built as a private sanctuary by Louis IX, the chapel has 15 vibrant panels of stained glass with colors that still cannot be replicated to date. Sunsets will intensify the colors of the stained glass.

The Moroccan decor adds to the ambience of the room with multi-domed ceilings drenched in smokey blue and white stars. Marble columns with shiny inlaid tiles lead up to golden flumes of tiny archways to the ceiling. The intricate hand carved archways that direct you to the main altar are delicate and precious. Sainte Chapelle also houses part of the Thorn Crown from Jesus Christ’s crucifixion.

Paris Day Trips

Paris is also the perfect location to use as a home base. Versailles is a short 20-minute rail ride away, the Normandy beaches are about a 2-hour drive, and the Loire Valley showing off manor homes and castles is an easy day trip. Other excursions to think about would be to see Chantilly a smaller but less crowded version of Versailles and Giverny where artist Monet painted some his most popular works.

You can even go across the border to Bruges also known as the Venice of the north. It’s well worth the 2 1/2 hour train ride. Another worthwhile train ride just 2 1/2 hours from Paris also is Mont Saint Michel. One of the most fascinating Abbey’s in Europe not just for the historical attributes but its built on a small island with a natural fortress created by the sea.

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Why?

So, why would you want to visit Paris? It’s unlike any other city in the world, there is something new around every corner. The food is remarkable, and although you still might run into a less than friendly local from time to time, Paris is a city that must be experienced at least once in your lifetime. So, what are you waiting for? Start checking out airfares and hotels and make plans for an unbelievably memorable vacation!

 

Find out how to rent a bike and tour Paris on your own here

36 Comments:

  1. I have to agree that visiting Paris is a memorable event. I’ve been twice now, and I still haven’t seen everything I’d like to. But there is something new to discover around every corner! It was fun to read your post, see your photos, and re-live my own memories of Paris!

    • twotravelfanatics@gmail.com

      Thanks Tami! It seems you can always find something new and interesting each time you visit Paris, maybe that’s part of the reason we love the city so much.

  2. Paris is one of the first international places I ever went, so I’ll always have a special place for it in my heart. Will never forget my first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower!

  3. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a big fan of Paris. Love that you also include day trips to get out of the city. I do think it would be a great spot to explore more of the area from.

    • twotravelfanatics@gmail.com

      It does make for a great home base if you want to see the Northwest or interior parts of France. There are some wonderful uncrowded places to explore in every direction.

  4. While Paris wasn’t for me, I do love the post, and can see myself going back and enjoying it for sure. I guess it depends where you end up within the city!

  5. I spent a week in Paris and I still can’t get enough of it.

  6. Love this! Makes me sentimental for Paris! Never realized how close Normandy is..I’ll have to look into visiting there next time I make Paris my home base. Thanks for the post!

  7. I like this post, cant wait to go back to Paris and go to some of the things we missed!

  8. Paris is certainly unlike any other city. I also really appreciate that under and behind all of those fantastic city monuments, there are also tons of neighborhoods and unexplored corners of the city. You really can spend a lifetime here and never see it all!

  9. There is so much to see and do in Paris that I think it is a city that can never get old – and is the perfect base for day trips to Normandy etc. I love sitting at the Sacre Coure to watch the sunset over Paris and feel a sense of joy every time the Eiffel Tower starts to light up and twinkle in the starlight. It’s just magic!

  10. Paris has never really been on my travel radar. I just feel like it would be so flooded with tourists. Is there a good time to go when there are fewer people??

    • twotravelfanatics@gmail.com

      Yeah I get that about the crowds. But in reality we don’t really notice it so much when we are there except at the major attractions like the Louvre and Eiffel Tower. Off season with less tourists would be late fall November and beginning December then also February to late April is good too.

  11. So many beautiful reasons to visit the City of Lights 🙂 These are great suggestions of places to visit outside of Paris. Although, I do think Paris has so much to offer in it’s own right. Sitting at a cafe and watching the world go by is one of my favorite things to do in Paris! Love Paris and great post.

  12. Sacre Couer has always been one of my favorites in the city. It’s so majestic up there on the hill, overlooking the entire city. I do think of Paris as a food mecca. So many amazing restaurants.

  13. I only visited Paris over a short 4 days, but it was absolutely fantastic!! Gorgeous shot from your river cruise, I’ll definitely have to try that next time – in addition to one of the day trips you mentioned 🙂

  14. Paris has a unique charm and elegance. It bewitches you and ensures that you return again and again, such is its beauty. Whether it be a serene cruise on the Seine or a panoramic view of the city from the Eiffel tower, Paris does not fail to charm you.

  15. I just got back from Paris, it is such an incredible city. It’s impossible not to love Paris.

  16. Beautiful pics. I haven’t been in 20 years and I’m surprised when I hear the negativeness from others about Paris…it’s a place I’d like to visit again in the near future.
    Frank (bbqboy)

    • twotravelfanatics@gmail.com

      You probably have not been there in 20 years because you and Lissette are too busy discovering the whole world! But yeah, I completely get what you are saying about the negativeness of traveling to Paris. My opinion is that there is something for everyone there but I guess some travelers also feel its been a little too promoted.

  17. I love Paris! And they are right, you cannot go wrong with Paris. 🙂

    • twotravelfanatics@gmail.com

      I wholeheartedly agree with you JP! Not that I’m partial to the city or anything… 😀

  18. Wonderful reasons for “Why Paris” but if you ask a child she or he might say the Disney world. 🙂
    May be you can add that to the list.
    I say so because my reason to visit Paris was that for my kids. 🙂

    • twotravelfanatics@gmail.com

      You sure have that right, give a kid a choice between a famous city or Disney and they would probably choose Disney every time! So yes, that’s a great idea to add Disney Paris to the list. Thanks Indrani!

  19. I’ve been to Paris twice now and loved it both times. Next time I will definitely try and venture out a little though and do some day trips. I’d especially love to visit Mont Saint Miche!

    • twotravelfanatics@gmail.com

      Day trips will definitely add to the Paris experience if you have the time. If you make it to Mont Saint Michel don’t miss the culinary experience of having an omelette at La Mère Poulard, its iconic! Mont Saint Michel is an unforgettable excursion.

  20. When I think of Paris I think that is one of the most popular places in the world and I still have not visited. You have a nice list of suggestions and many sound very desirable. Someday I’m sure I will have some fun there but until then, I’ll just live through your travels. 😉

    • twotravelfanatics@gmail.com

      Thanks Melody. If and when you get to Paris I want to hear all about the foods you will be trying out there. As a top foodie it will be interesting to hear about your discoveries. You will be like a little girl in a candy shop there!

  21. AHHHH yes! I can’t wait to go to Paris, and you’ve just made me SO much more excited. Thanks for the post!

    Crystal recently posted… Budget guide for New Zealand; North Island

    • twotravelfanatics@gmail.com

      I can’t wait to hear what you think when you finally make it to Paris Crystal. I know you will experience it in ways no one else does!

  22. Sainte Chapelle will go on my list the next time I end up in Paris. Four times there, and I never even knew this place existed until now! I also like how you included some suggested day trips to do from Paris. I don’t think many people realize that France is the same size as Texas, so you really can see quite a bit of France just being based in Paris for two weeks.

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