Visiting Paris for the first time  

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We will be visiting Paris at the end of the July and we will be grad to share with you our impressions as first-time visitors of this fabulous city. In the next posts we will present our plan for the 7 days stay in Paris giving basic information about major attractions we plan to visit. We will be mainly interested in museums, architecture, sculpture, bridges, the French culture, shops and many other things we will discover in Paris.

First day in Paris (22.07.2009)  

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The first full day in Paris started with an early visit to Notre-Dame Cathedral. At around 9.00 AM we were among the first visitor inside this magnificent Gothic Cathedral.

After visiting the interior we decided to enjoy the view of Paris from the Notre-Dame Tower. Because the Tower opens at 10.00 AM we still had some time to take photos and wander around. It really worth climbing 400 stairs because the view was splendid and so we had the chance to see the major attractions of Paris from above.

The Gargoyles were there guarding Notre-Dame from possible enemies.

We continued the walk to the Square Jean XXIII and then we went to see the Marche aux Oiseaux which is near the Metro Station.

Then we passed near Palais de Justice and then visited Saint Chapelle and we were lucky because it was a sunny day so the stained-glass windows were impressive.

The afternoon was reserved to the Marais area. We started from Hotel de Sens, Hotel Beauvais and when we were on the Rue Francois Miron we noticed a sort of gallery. The lady from inside invited us to visit the place and we went down and there we could see Abbey The House of Ourscamp. This cellar served as a warehouse for the monks of Ourscamp.
We then wanted to pass by Hotel de Ville. In our way we stopped and admired St Gervais - St Protais.

Centre George Pompidou was our next destination but first we passed Tour Saint Jacques and we decided that one climb was enough for today.

We dind't spent that much time inside Centre George Pompidou because modern art isn't really on our list of interests. We visited Saint Merry Church which is very close to Pompidou.

The place we were so excited to visit was the l‘Atelier Brancusi which is a reconstruction of his studio which contains different sculptures. Among the most famous works are The Endless Column, Sleeping Muse, The Kiss, Miss Pogany.
We then went to The Forum les Halles, which we expected to be a not safe area and it was indeed like that. It was full of police officers walking around making sure that everything is alright. After that, we visited Church Saint-Eustache, which is another Parisian gothic gem. We also noticed near by the Bourse the Commerce.

The day ended visiting the Passage Grand Cerf.

It was indeed a lovely day and we were delighted that we managed to visit so many places on a single day

First evening in Paris (21.07.2009)  

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The trip to Paris was wonderful and we visited almost all the places we have planned. We have great memories about our visit and we want to share them with you.
On the first day we arrived at 6 PM at the Hotel Republique des Halles which is very close to Metro station Jacques Bonsergent. The room was nice, clean but quite small. We didn't spent that much time in the room except from showering and sleeping so it was exactly what we were looking for.
We decided to take a walk on the Champs Elysees until we arrived close to the Arc of Triumph.

It was around 8 PM and we decided to take the metro to the Palais Royal Musee du Louvre.

We then continued our walk on Place du Carrousel until we arrive on the Quai des Tuileries. From there we had a splendid view of the Musee D'Orsay and also of Tour Eiffel.

We wanted to get a closer view of Tour Eiffel so we took the metro to the Trocadero station. It was full of people on the Place of Palais Chaillot and we took some photos and decided go get back to the Hotel. We knew that we will came back in the following days to the Tour Eiffel in the daylight.

Paris here we come!  

Posted by europe-city-guides

After days of searching, reading, planning we finally agreed upon a 7 day schedule for our trip to Paris. As it will be our first visit to Paris we plan to start seeing the major attractions but also some quit and interesting places we have read about. We'll also have the chance to be in Paris at the end of the Tour de France so we plan to see the cyclists near Concorde on the Voie Georges Pompidou.
One day to go and we'll be in the City of Lights!

Hôtel des Invalides  

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1. Hôtel des Invalides

This was the first military hospital and was build from 1671 to 1676 by Louis XIV. The dome crowning the church is the work of Jules Hardouin-Mansart, and is a perfect symbol of the splendor Louis XIV wanted under his reign. Today the harmonious Classical façade is one of the most impressive sights in Paris with its garden and tree-lined esplanade stretching to the Seine.

Opening hours: daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm (5:00 pm in winter)
Price: € 8,5 (This ticket gives access to the Musée de l'Armée, Napoleon's Tomb, the Contemporary Expositions, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and to the Musée de l'Ordre de la Libération)
Metro: La Tour-Maubourg, Varenne

2. Dome Church of the Invalides

The Dome Church is a masterpiece of French classical architecture and its decoration was given to the finest artists of Louis XIV (Charles de la Fosse, Jouvenent, Girardon) who also worked at Versailles. After Louis XIV’s death plans to burry the royal family here were abandoned and it became a monument to Bourbon glory.
A popular tourist site today, The Dome Church is the burial site for Napoleon Bonaparte and for other several military officers who served under him.
Opening hours: From 10am - 6pm (from April 1st to September 30th)
From 10am – 5pm (from October 1st to March 30th)
Price: € 8,5 (This ticket gives access to the Musée de l'Armée, Napoleon's Tomb, the Contemporary Expositions, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and to the Musée de l'Ordre de la Libération)

3. Musée Rodin (77 Rue de Varene)

Musée Rodin was opened in 1919 in the Hôtel Biron and surrounding grounds. In return of a state-owned flat and studio, Auguste Rodin left his work to the state nation. Some of his most celebrated sculptures are on display in the garden (The Thinker, The Gates of Hell) and the rest n the indoor exhibition (The Kiss, Eve).

Opening hours: 9.30 a.m. to 5.45 p.m. (April to September)
9.30 a.m. to 4.45 p.m. (October to March)
The museum is closed on Mondays.
Price: 10.00 € (museum+exhibition+garden)
Metro: Varenne

4. Pont Alexandre III

This bridge was built between 1896 and 1900, in time for the Universal Exhibition and it was named after Tsar Alexander III who laid the foundations stone in October 1896. It is decorated with lampposts and sculptures of cherubs and nymphs and on each end of the bridge there are large gilded statues. The style of this bridge reflects that of the Grand Palais, to which it leads.

5. Grand Palais

6. Petit Palais

Trocadero & Eiffel Tower  

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1. Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower, named after its designer, engineer Gustave Eiffel, is the tallest building in Paris (324m). The first and second levels are accessible by stairways and lifts. The structure was built between 1887 and 1889 as the entrance arch for the Exposition Universelle, a World's Fair marking the centennial celebration of the French Revolution.

Opening hours:
From June 13 to August 31,
Elevators 9:00am to 00:45am, Final lift up at midnight (11:00pm for top floor)
Steps 9:00am to 00:45am, Final admittance midnight

Elevator entrance tickets (to second floor) 8.00€ (adults), 6.40€ (youth), 4.00€ (children)
Elevator entrance tickets to top floor 13.00€ (adults), 9.90€ (youth), 7.50€ (children)
Stair entrance tickets (to second floor) 4.50€ (adults), 3.50€ (youth), 3.00€ (children)

Metro: Trocadéro, Passy, École Militaire

2. Place de Trocadéro

The Palais de Chaillot, also named Trocadero, was designed in Neo-Classical style for the 1937 Paris Exhibition. The Palais de Chaillot is above all famous for its spectacular view on the Eiffel tower, but it also worth a visit for its museums, specially the Navy museum with ship models spanning three centuries of naval history.
Metro: Trocadéro

In the east wing of the Palais de Chaillot you can visit Musée des Monuments français (Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine). Here you can find three-dimensional models of great French cathedrals and also casts of French architecture from the 12th to 18th centuries.

On Avenue Albert de Mun you can find Aquarium du Trocadéro which is home to over 500 species of sea creatures, including seahorser, clown-fish, stonefish and some spectacular sharks and rays.

3. Champ de Mars

The gardens stretching from the Eiffel Tower to the Ecole Militaire were originally a parade ground for the officer cadets. It was for the Universal Exposition of 1889 that the architect Jean-Camille Fromigé re-designed the Champ de Mars by reducing it from its original 42 hectares. Today, the Champ de Mars is a vast lawn area with wide walking paths crossing the lawns.
: Ecole Militaire

Tuileries Quarter  

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1. Louvre Museum

The Musée du Louvre is the most visited museum in the world and it houses over 35000 objects from the 6th century BC to the 19th century. The collection is divided among Egyptian Antiquities; Near Eastern Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities; Islamic Art; Sculpture; Decorative Arts; Paintings; and Prints and Drawings.

Opening hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day except Tuesday, until 10 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday evenings.
The Pyramid and Galerie du Carrousel entrances are open daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., except Tuesday.
The Passage Richelieu is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., except Tuesday.
The Porte des Lions entrance is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., except Tuesday and Friday.
Price: €9 for full-day access to the Louvre, except for temporary exhibitions in the Hall Napoléon. It is also valid for the Musée Eugène Delacroix.
€6 (from 6 p.m. to 9:45 p.m.) This ticket provides access to the Louvre, except for temporary exhibitions in the Hall Napoléon, on Wednesday and Friday evenings.
Plan: floor plans
Metro: Palais-Royal-Musée du Louvre station.

2. Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel

Built by Napoleon in 1806-1808 as an entrance to the former Palais de Tuileries, its marble columns are topped by solders of the grand Armée.
It is part of the so-called Grand Ax of Paris which consists of the Grande Arch de la Defense, the Arc de Triomphe at Etoile, the Champs-Elysees, the Obélisque de Luxor at the Place de la Concorde, the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel and continues on to the Louvre.
Metro: Palais Royal Musée du Louvre

3. Jardin des Tuileries

These formal gardens were once the gardens of the old Palais des Tuileries and were redesigned in French formal style by André Le Nôtre, the celebrated gardener of King Louis XIV, the Sun King.
The gardens include several fountains, two large basins, numerous sculptures and two museums, the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume and the Musée de l'Orangerie, which displays Claude Monet's large water lily paintings.

4. Place de la Concorde

The original place was built between 1754 and 1763 and was called the Place Louis XV. Between 1793 and 1795 it became the Palace de la Révolution and held in its center the guillotine that executed Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette, Danton, Robespierre and many others. The name symbolize the end of a troubled era and the hope of a better future.

5. Place de la Madeleine

The place de la Madeleine was created on the same time as the Madeleine church, which was designed in its present form as a temple to the glory of Napoleon’s army. A colonnade of 20 m high (64ft) Corinthian columns encircles the building and supports a sculptured frieze.
The edifice is impressive, colonnades guarding the entrance, but the real attraction of the area is the stores that surround the church.

6. Place Vendôme

At origin this place served as a monument to the glory of the arminies of Louis XIV. The present column was erected by Napoleon, inspired by the Trajan's Column, to celebrate the victory of Austerlitz.

7. Palais Royal

Palais Royal was at first the the home of Cardinal Richelieu and then it passed to the Crown on his death and became the childhood home of Louis XIV. After the Revolution, the palace became a gambling house and now it houses the Conseil d'État, the Constitutional Council, and the Ministry of Culture.
The palace is not open to the public, but you can visit the courtyard and the garden. The courtyard, known as Cour d'Honneur, is dominated by a large sculpture by Daniel Buren, installed in 1986.

Metro: Palais Royal Musée du Louvre