Continuing my articles about places I have visited without needing to fly, here is a post about staying in beautiful Paris. Paris is a city that I have been to many times. Originally I caught the ferry from Dover to Calais and these days I get there by train.
Travelling by EuroStar is very efficient from London and Paris’ Gare du Nord station is just two hours and fifteen minutes away. I usually find myself in the buffet carriage throughout this journey, often during the twenty minutes that the train spends whizzing through the tunnel, deep under the English Channel.
Paris is magical to me because it is filled with wonderful memories. I took a group of close friends there for a special birthday and have also been there to celebrate New Year before.
Here is my list of five reasons why you should take a trip to the enchanting city of Paris:
France is a country which used to have a royal family but now has a president instead. Paris has many leftovers from its regal past, including such beautiful buildings as the Palace of Versailles.
On the day that I went there it was incredibly busy and we were on a bus tour so I opted to look around the magnificent gardens rather than spend time inside the building. The gardens were expansive, packed with fascinating fountains, statues and floral displays. Of course the palace is not only a previous seat of kings and queens but also the venue where they agreed a settlement at the end of the First World War (The Treaty of Versailles 1919).
As soon as I got to Paris I wanted to do a bus tour of the city and take in some of the incredible views. Open top buses are brilliant because you get great pictures (when the weather is good) and can pop some earphones on and listen to an audio tour at the same time.
I believe the bus tours move around four quadrants of the city and I recall covering most of the important sights such as the Arch de Triumph, Notre Dame and The Louvre.
There are also plenty of boat tours daily which leave from various sites around the city. I have done a boat trip almost every time that I went to Paris and learned something new every time.
3) The Eiffel Tower
This incredible structure is what most people associate with Paris. Standing 324 metres high, the cast iron marvel first opened in March 1889 to the public. It is layered like a wedding cake in tiers and you can choose how high you want to go.
Last time I took the endless stairs to the first level and then caught the lift the rest of the way to the top. As well as being an excellent viewing platform for the whole city, there is a sense of achievement when you reach the top, able to reflect upon the historical significance of this landmark.
4) Disneyland Paris
It would be wrong of me to mention the French Capital without a reference to the nearby Disney resort. Having never been to any Disney parks before, I was so happy to visit this one on a cold February day. It was full of magic and intrigue and left me wanting to come back for more.
My favourite part of our brief visit to Disney was the amazing firework display at the end of the evening. Somehow the Disney imagineers manage to create a series of video projections that celebrate Disney movies from throughout the ages, all inter-spliced with colourful fireworks and set to a rousing Disney score.
Paris is a wonderful setting in which to enjoy some fascinating museums. Going to the Louvre is a must-do activity but remember that it is always closed on a Tuesday. Such an expansive place is hard to explore in just one session.
Having viewed the Mona Lisa portrait and many other delightful painting and statues, I also had a lovely time taking in the incredible architecture.
Another brilliant museum is the Musee D’Orsay which has collections of paintings including those by Monet and Renoir. It also has a variety of sculptures and furniture from different historic periods.
I feel as though I could talk about Paris all day long. In fact I may end up following this article with a future one about some of the lovely features that I have yet to mention. Here is another article that I wrote about a visit by train to Luxembourg which also involved changing trains in Paris.
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