Paris, the cosmopolitan capital of France, has the reputation of being the most beautiful and romantic of all cities, brimming with historic associations and remaining vastly influential in the realms of culture, art, fashion, food and design. Dubbed the City of Light (la Ville Lumière) and Capital of Fashion, it is home to the world’s finest and most luxorious fashion designers and cosmetics, such as Chanel, Christian Dior, Yves Saint-Laurent, Guerlain, Lancôme, L’Oréal, Clarins, etc. A large part of the city, including the River Seine, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city has the second highest number of Michelin-restaurants in the world (after Tokyo) and contains numerous iconic landmarks, such as the world’s most visited tourist sight the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Louvre Museum, Moulin Rouge, Lido etc, making it the most popular tourist destination in the world with 45 million tourists annually.
It’s hard to find words to do justice to Paris, although visitors and travel writers have certainly tried. The capital of France for 1,000 years, Paris is simply the city against which all others are measured. Sophisticated, stylish, romantic, gastronomic, cosmopolitan… the list goes on.
The city’s people are stylish and flirtatious, its architecture seductive, its restaurants and nightlife devoted to the pursuit of pleasure and its streets are scattered with dreams.
The iconic views from the Eiffel Tower or Sacré Coeur reveal hundreds of attractions for the snap happy visitor, while mime artists and characteur painters dwell in the tourist crouds.
Louvre Museum – Arguably the world’s most famous art museum, the Louvre’s most popular piece is Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa.” It was established in 1793, and is one of the oldest museums in Europe. Its collections spans from the birth of great civilizations up to the 19th century. A whopping 5.7 million tourists visited the museum in 2002.
Centre Pompidou – The funky and hip Centre Pompidou features a wonderful collection of modern art within its creatively designed building. It also features a cinema, concerts and children’s activities. The Centre attracts 5.5 million visitors annually.
Sciences at de l’Industrie – This fun, hands-on science museum attracts 2.5 million visitors each year, with its cool exhibits on anatomy, biology, you name it.
Musee d’Orsay – This museum may not be the massive size of Louvre, but its Impressionist collection is among the best in the world. The museum is housed in a former rail station, and has the atmosphere and personality to match. The Musee d’Orsay attracts 2.1 million visitors annually.
Arc de Triomphe – Climb to the top for one of the best views of Paris. No, it doesn’t go as high as the Eiffel Tower. But since the city is relatively flat, the vantage point at this height is actually better. The arch brings in 1.4 million visitors each year.
Sacré Coeur – The ‘sacred heart of jesus’ Basilica is located at the summit of the butte Montmartre, the highest point in the city.