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Paris City Guide

Gary Hill

Visitors: 216

Paris has a population of more than two million people and is one of the most famous and most visited cities in the world.

Paris has been at the centre of political, artistic and cultural life in France for more than two thousand years - dating back to the times when the Roman Army ran France and called it Gaul. Paris dominated most of Europe - and large parts of the world too - in medeival times.

In the 1800's many of the Paris slums were demolished - replaced by the grand avenues and long boulevards that make the Paris cityscape famous today.

Famous sites in the city include;

The Arc de Triomphe - situated at the end of the Champs-Elysees, and surrounded by one of the most amazingly chaotic road junctions anywhere in the world.

The Centre Pompidou - named after a previous president of France, this unique building houses one of the best collections of modern art to be found anywhere in the world.

The Eiffel Tower - an iconic structure for France and indeed for the world. Do make sure to visit the Eiffel Tower if you come to Paris - and try to find time to go up to the top in one of the elevators. The views are breathtaking.

The Louvre Museum - home of many, many famous works of art including the Mona Lisa but it also houses a huge collection of other artworks and statues. It was first build in 1190 but has been extended and modernised regularly since that time. It's most recent famous addition has been the glass pyramid designed by the architect I. M. Pei. The large upright pyramid is mirrored by a smaller inverted pyramid which is designed to allow light deep into the building.

Notre Dame Cathedral - situated on an island in the River Seine this gothic cathedral has dominated the Paris skyline for hundreds of years. Made famous for it's hunchback tale it is one of Europe's most important church buildings.

Other sites and places to see include the Musee d'Orsay and the chateau's at Versaille and Fountainbleau on the outskirts of the city.

It's not difficult to get around in Paris. Much of the city can be explored on foot and the metro or subway system is excellent. The metro provides probably the cheapest way to get around the city. The metro lines also overlap with the overground train lines of the RER - which serve the outer districts and also areas further afield. If you only want to go a short distance - or want a change from travelling on the underground metro - then jump on a bus. There are also a fleet of popular night time buses called the Noctambuses. Taxi's are expensive but handy when the metro closes at night.

Paris is a great city to visit and is a must see for anyone on a tour of Europe

Gary Hill is a travel writer based in Scotland. You'll find great tips and advice for planning your vacation in europe - his favourite country is Spain and at present he lives in Barcelona.


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