PARIS: Paris, France's capital, its iconic landmarks, impresses millions of tourists and a pride of Parisians for centuries to come. A historic city, bedecked with memories of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, French Revolution, invasions by Romans, Prussia, Nazi Germany and many more. The city is known for its cafe culture and designer boutiques.
We took an opportunity to visit the dream city, Paris exclusively for couples in romance only. Me and my wife landed at Paris Roissy Aéroport - Charles de Gaulle Airport on bright evening in the first week of July. We took a taxi from airport waiting in a queue at a fixed price of Euro 50 to Best Western Hotel Ronceray Opera in Eastern area of Paris. While negotiating through evening traffic, my jet-lag diminished at the first glimpse of the Paris skyline. The taxi winding through centuries old streets, bedecked with café and restaurants. It was awesome!
In half an hour, we checked in at a bed and breakfast hotel at Boulevard Montmartre. Boulevard Montmartre is one of the four grands boulevards of Paris and constructed in 1763.
Our evening began at an open-air restaurant joined by friends and colleagues who also arrived Paris for a three-day meeting of media rights group Reporters Without Borders/ Reporters sans frontières (RSF) with its headquarters in Paris.
In the evening, mingling with thousands of tourists from all over the world, many of them glued to large LED screens watching live the 2018 FIFA World Cup Football in Russia, semi-final match. Intermittent screams, laughter and exasperation were in the body language of the Parisian and tourists as well.
The northern hemisphere sun beamed its rays to light-up Paris in the evening. At 9:35pm I looked at the wrist watch and thought the clock hung-up due to jet-lag. I asked the young lady waiter at the restaurant, when is the sunset in Paris? She looked at the restaurant clock and said in another 15 minutes. It was like late afternoon! At 10pm, I understood that darkness has engulfed Paris streets.
Paris, is a major European city and a global centre for art, fashion, gastronomy and culture. Its 19th-century cityscape is crisscrossed by wide boulevards and the River Seine, is classified as a UNESCO Heritage Site.
Beyond such landmarks in the centre of the city include the 12th-century, Gothic Notre-Dame cathedral, the Gothic Royal Chapel of Sainte-Chapelle, the Eiffel Tower, constructed for the Paris Universal Exposition of 1889; the Grand Palais and Petit Palais, built for the Paris Universal Exposition of 1900; the Arc de Triomphe (Triumph) on the Champs-Élysées, and the Basilica of Sacré-Coeur on the hill of Montmartre.
Paris received 23 million visitors in 2017, measured by hotel stays, with the largest numbers of foreign visitors coming from the United States, the UK, Germany and China. It was ranked as the third most visited travel destination in the world in 2017, after Bangkok and London.
At Eiffel Tower, I noticed a battery operated three-wheeler good for six people and a sign saying visit to major tourist spots at a fixed price of Euro 80. After brief parley with fellow mates, we boarded the tour vehicle. The young guide, whose parents migrated from Morocco and studied history, was a brilliant tour operator. The friendly guide gave ample time to walk around the place, take photography and of course describe in very good English the history of each site.
While driving through city centre, he also described the history of the streets and boulevard. He also agreed to drop us at the hotel, which save the hassle to buy metro ticket and find ways to reach the hotel. We paid an extra 20 bucks for the additional ride. He was very glad, possibly he did not expect an extra bucks.
Eiffel Tower, the most visited site, was constructed from 1887-89 as the entrance to the 1889 World's Fair, it was initially criticised by some of France's leading artists and intellectuals for its design, but it has become a global cultural icon of France and one of the most recognisable structures in the world. The Eiffel Tower is a wrought iron lattice tower. It is named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower.
The Louvre, or the Louvre Museum, is the world's largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris, France. The former historic palace, housing huge art collection, from Roman sculptures to most famous Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" painting. Landmark art museum with vast collection, is visited by 8.1 million visitors.
A glass and metal pyramid at Louvre, was designed by Chinese-American architect IM Pei, surrounded by three smaller pyramids, in the main courtyard of the Louvre Palace in Paris. The iconic glass pyramid is the entranceway into a lower-ground exhibition area.
The Notre-Dame Cathedral or simply Notre-Dame, is a medieval Catholic cathedral. The cathedral is widely considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture.
Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe (Triumph) de l'Étoile is one of the most famous monuments in Paris, standing at the western end of the Champs-Élysées at the centre of Place Charles de Gaulle. The iconic triumphal arch built to commemorate Napoleon's victories.
The Avenue des Champs-Élysées is an avenue, 1.9 kilometres long and 70 metres wide, running between the Place de la Concorde and the Place Charles de Gaulle, where the Arc de Triomphe is located.
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, commonly known as Paris Sacré-Cœur Basilica and often simply Sacré-Cœur, is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Paris, France.
Place de la Concorde
The Place de la Concorde is one of the major public squares in Paris. Measuring 8.64 hectares in area, it is the largest square in the French capital, at the eastern end of the Champs-Élysées. An 18th-century plaza with Egyptian obelisk was a major public square, scene of executions, decorated with fountains and statues.
The Bastille was a fortress in Paris, known formally as the Bastille Saint-Antoine. It played an important role in the internal conflicts of France and for most of its history was used as a state prison by the kings of France.
Paris, is where no skyscrapers supposed to be built! After the end of French colonialist regime, the growth of industrialisation, business, trade and commerce after second World War, the economic trend took France into new heights in Europe's competitive market. The demand for a commercial district was on high demand, The politicians, agreed to have skyscrapers built at La Défense far away from Paris, but visible in the horizon of Paris city limits.