Pretty Sights of Paris
In Woody Allen’s latest movie Midnight In Paris they say the French capital is enchanting in the evening, but after midnight it is magic. However, outside of the world of cinema the city is actually phenomenal 24/7.
The city of revolution and love is a catwalk in which it’s sartorially savvy residents strut, becoming the envy of every fashionable wannabe.
Oozing charm and grace, the Parisian’s are proud of their city – and so they should be – and their resounding patriotism makes it hard for you not to be captivated by its beauty both old and modern.
The story of Paris’ life and soul is narrated through its architecture. The iconic Arc de Triomphe, taking centre stage in Place Charles de Gaulle, is not only a symbol of Napoleon’s victories but a memorial honouring those who fought and died during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. Beneath the monument lies the famous Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.
Arc de Triomphe is part of Paris’s Axe historique, a large perspective that runs to the Louvre, the obelisk of Luxor (a gift from Egypt to Paris in 1833) in the Place de la Concorde and the Arche de la Défense, which dominates the business district. If you want to check out all the main historical sites then simply follow this tree-lined road.
From the ancient to the future, Paris encompasses it all. While Notre Dame is a supreme masterpiece of gothic art, legendary architect IM Pei’s pyramid installations are an icon for the Louvre, itself a palatial treasure trove home to some of the world’s most famous artefacts including the Mona Lisa and the Aphrodite statue.
Oh, there’s also the Eiffel Tower, considered by many natives as an eye sore, it’s also one of the most photographed monuments in the world and when illuminated in all its glory at night it’s a testament to Paris’ nickname – the City of Lights.
However, what makes Paris shine like a star is not so much the literal neon signs that dominate the city but its style scene. Every week is fashion week here and the Champs Elysees, dubbed “the highway of French grandeur,” is where all sartorial tastes are catered for. A hub for designers you’re spoilt for choice with Celine, Chanel, Dior, Jimmy Choo and Louis Vuitton all inviting you to flex some plastic.
From haute couture to haute cuisine, Michelin star restaurants abound but for the true Parisian experience sit in a cafe, watch the world go by and savour every moment of the spellbinding city.
While you’re there...
Take in some art
OK, Paris has many galleries and seeing them all could take up your entire hols, so just make a beeline for its most famous. After the must-see Lourve head to the cultural hub that is Centre Pompidou. With over 50,000 works and multiple temporary exhibitions it will have something to suit all tastes. And if the art work doesn’t impress, which we doubt, the architecture of the famous building certainly will. www.centrepompidou.fr
Be a culture vulture
A random fact, but apparently around 4 to 7 million of France’s 62 million residents possess Arabic roots. The Arabic World Institute building is one of Paris’ most beautiful contemporary constructions. The southern exterior was designed by architect Jean Nouvel who’s renowned for his intricate lattice work. Inside, there’s a permanent collection that spans millennia of Arabic art, invention and design.www. imarabe.org
Walk through Montmartre neighbourhood, and eventually you’ll arrive at colourful quaint streets and local stores. Continue under the large steel viaduct and you’ll arrive at the maple-dappled paths of Montmartre Cemetery. This may sound odd but in this avant garde resting place lies some of France’s most celebrated writers and artists including Edgar Degas and Gustave Moreau.
Where to stay:
Paris Le Parc Trocadero Hotel (www.marriott.com, +33 1 4405 6666)
Situated between the Eiffel Tower and Champs Elysées, this boutique hotel is a true Parisian jewel. Combining contemporary beauty with Old World charm, it’s as enchanting as the city itself, cultivating the soul of its exceptional outdoor courtyard through the newly renovated, luxurious interior. Though upscale in service and amenities, there’s no pretences.
Rachel McAdams and Owen Wilson fell in love with the city when filming Midnight in Paris.