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Paris - Capital of France

The French capital is one of the world's truly great cities, a metropolis that lavishly satisfies the desires of tourists and business people alike and manages to retain a standard of living that makes becoming a Parisian so alluring.

Despite English rule between 1420 and 1436, a series of French kings brought about the centralisation of France, with Paris at its cultural, political and economic heart.

The compact centre is easily navigable on foot, with the efficient and comprehensive Métro system always on hand to ease tired limbs. The lifeblood River Seine splits the city neatly in two and the useful arrondissements (districts) system neatly carves Paris into manageable chunks.

The best time to visit the city is, of course, during the famous Paris spring between April and June, when the days are sunny but not too hot. The autumn and winter months are another good time to come when there are smaller crowds and snow is a rarity, but there really is no bad time to visit one of the world's truly great cities.

www.paris.fr/portail/english/Portal.lut?page_id=8118

Top 10 things to do in Paris

Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower, built during 1887-1889 on the Champ de Mars beside the Seine River in Paris, has become a global icon of France and is one of the most recognizable structures in the world.

Named after its designer, engineer Gustave Eiffel, the Eiffel Tower is the tallest building in Paris. More than 200,000,000 people have visited the tower since its construction in 1889, including 6,719,200 in 2006, making it the most visited paid monument in the world. Including the 24 m (79 ft) antenna, the structure is 324 m (1,063 ft) high (since 2000), which is equivalent to about 81 levels in a conventional building.

www.tour-eiffel.fr/teiffel/uk/

Arc de Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe is one of the most famous monuments in Paris. It forms the backdrop for an impressive urban ensemble in Paris.

A symbol of the French nation, it links old and new Paris, standing on the highest point of the line running from the Louvre to the Grande Arche de la Défense.

Beneath the Arc is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from the First World War. Interred here on Armistice Day 1920, it has the first eternal flame lit in Western and Eastern Europe since the Vestal Virgins' fire was extinguished in the year 394. It burns in memory of the dead who were never identified (now in both World Wars).

arc-de-triomphe.monuments-nationaux.fr/en/

Basilique du Sacré-Coeur

The Sacré-Cœur Basilica, a Roman Catholic basilica, is a popular landmark in Paris, France, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The basilica is located at the summit of the butte Montmartre, the highest point in the city

Sacré-Cœur is built of travertine stone quarried in Château-Landon (Seine-et-Marne), France. This stone constantly exudes calcite, which ensures that the basilica remains white even with weathering and pollution.

The basilica houses a mosaic in the apse, entitled Christ in Majesty that is among the largest in the world and the entire complex includes a garden for meditation, with a fountain. The top of the dome is open to tourists and affords a spectacular panoramic view of the city of Paris, which is mostly to the south of the basilica.

www.sacre-coeur-montmartre.com/us/index.html

Musée du Louvre

The Musée du Louvre is the largest national museum of France, the most visited museum in the world, and an historic monument. It is a central landmark of Paris, located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the 1st arrondissement (neighbourhood). Nearly 35,000 objects from the 6th century BC to the 19th century are exhibited over an area of 60,600 square metres (652,300 square feet).

The Louvre Palace is an almost rectangular structure, composed of the square Cour Carrée and two wings which wrap the Cour Napoléon to the north and south. In the heart of the complex is the Louvre Pyramid, above the visitor's center. The museum is divided into three wings: the Sully Wing to the east, which contains the Cour Carrée and the oldest parts of the Louvre; the Richelieu Wing to the north; and the Denon Wing, which borders the Seine to the south.

www.louvre.fr/llv/commun/home.jsp?bmLocale=en

Notre Dame de Paris

Notre Dame de Paris was one of the first Gothic cathedrals, and its construction spanned the Gothic period. The cathedral is located on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris.

The name Notre Dame means "Our Lady" in French, and is frequently used in the names of Catholic church buildings in Francophone countries.

Take a trip up tower to see up close the gargoyles and chimera built by Viollet-le-Duc in the 19th century and the 17th century Emmanuel Bell, then visit the crypt under the square in front of the cathedral which is one of the largest archaeological crypts in all of Europe.

Access to the cathedral is open and free of charge every day of the year, during the opening hours.

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www.notredamedeparis.fr/-English-

Palace of Versailles

Louix XIV settled on the royal hunting lodge at Versailles and over the following decades had it expanded into one of the largest palaces in the world. By moving his court and government to Versailles, Louis XIV hoped to extract more control of the government from the nobility, and to distance himself from the population of Paris.

Consider taking an audio guide tour of the chateau, available in several languages from various reception points within the palace and grounds. The day pass price includes the audio tour.

You can tour various parts of the palace and see furnished rooms and artifacts from the time, and the palace gardens are also open to the public

en.chateauversailles.fr/index.php?option=com_cdvhomepage

Musée d'Orsay

The museum building was originally a railway station, Gare d'Orsay, constructed for the Chemin de Fer de Paris à Orléans and finished in 1900.

The Musée d'Orsay collections are rich and multi-disciplinary: painting, sculpture, decorative arts, architecture and photography. Its masterpieces by Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, Van Gogh, or Courbet, Rodin and Carpeaux, have brought it an international reputation, as well as recognition for its expertise in the history of art in the second half of the 19th century.

www.musee-orsay.fr/en/home.html?s=0

Jardin du Luxembourg (Luxembourg Park Gardens)

Luxembourg is the garden of the French Senate, which is itself housed in the Luxembourg Palace and is the largest public park in Paris.

The garden is famed for its calm atmosphere. Surrounding the pond are a series of statues of former French queens. In the southwest corner, there is an orchard of apple and pear trees and the théâtre des marionnettes (puppet theatre).

www.pps.org/great_public_spaces/one?public_place_id=39

Latin Quarter

The Latin Quarter of Paris is an area in the 5th and parts of the 6th arrondissement of Paris. It is situated on the left bank of the River Seine, around the Sorbonne University.

Famous for its small windy streets, historical buildings, lively atmosphere and many restaurants and bistros, the Latin Quarter has always been dominated by the University of Paris, La Sorbonne and hence acquired its name from the early Latin-speaking students.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin_Quarter,_Paris

Moulin Rouge

The Moulin Rouge is best known as the spiritual birthplace of the modern form of the can-can dance. Built in 1889 it is iconic structure is world known for having a red windmill on its roof.

Today the Moulin Rouge is a tourist destination, offering musical dance entertainment for adult visitors from around the world. Much of the romance of turn-of-the-century France is still present in the club's decor.

www.moulinrouge.fr/home-flash-gb.html

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Temperature & Rainfall Guide for Paris

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Great Airfare Deals to Paris

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