Paris is iconic as the capital of sophistication, and most of us can tick off a list of famous landmarks with ease. However, it’s not just the big, popular places that you want to look at in Paris. The quaint shops, museums, public gardens, back streets, cafés and all the other places in the town give it its character and uniqueness. You can discover these places for yourself en route to the famous landmarks to make the trip to France more special.
The Notre Dame cathedral is one of the most famous cathedrals in the world and is a fine example of Gothic architecture at its best. Situated on the Ile de la Cité on the river Seine, it took almost 200 years to build, which is almost as long as the gothic period actually lasted! To see more examples of Gothic art and religion mixing together, take a trip to the 13th century church of Saint Chapelle on the same island and the Conciergerie.
The Pantheon was originally commissioned by King Louis XV as a church, but by the time it was completed, religion was very démodé, so it became a temple to commemorate the memory of various French heroes and historical people. The Pantheon is in the Latin quarter of Paris and is surrounded by the Cluny Museum, the Church of Saint Severin and the University of Paris.
The Montparnasse and district of Saint Germain include Jacques Lemercier Luxembourg palace, the abbey of Saint Germain-des-prés and Perrault’s Paris Observatory. Down from this you’ll find the Louvre and the Royal Palace- possibly the most iconic sight in this part of Paris. The Louvre is the most visited museum in the world and contains a range of art and items from all periods of history- making it a very interesting visit.
Walking down the tree-lined Champs-Elysées you’ll arrive at the Arc de Triomphe, commissioned by Napoleon after his victory at Austerlitz it contains the names of all the dead from the revolutionary wars, and since 1920 has been a monument to the unknown dead of the two world wars.
Obviously no trip to Paris is complete without seeing the Eiffel Tower! From the top of it you can see all around Paris and the views are stunning. Take a photo of yourself in front of the iconic monument and look back in a few years time and smile. Nearby you can visit is Les Invalides museum and the final resting place of Napoleon.
Other highlights include the Paris Opera, the Paris catacombs, the Basilica of the Sacre Coeur and the Pere Lachaise Cemetery- where Oscar Wilde is buried along with many other famous figures.
Getting around Paris is easy, and like London the metro (Le Métro) is the best way to get to places. The entrances to the metro platforms are art in themselves, and are one of the most commonly photographs parts of Paris! As with London the platforms can get very busy, but the trains are frequent, so if one is too crowded another will be along shortly. The bus and train services are also very reliable and quick, though the metro is the best way to really get a feel of Paris.
The ferry port closest to Paris is the port of Caen, Brittany ferries operates a direct Channel ferry route between Portsmouth and Caen. When traveling from Dover Calais would be the port closes to Paris.