Paris Travel Guide

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Paris Travel Guide

Paris Local History

Paris was founded towards the end of the 3rd century BC on what is now the Ile de la Cite by a tribe of Celtic Gauls known as the Parisii. Centuries of conflict between the Gauls and Romans ended in 52 BC. Christianity was introduced in the 2nd century AD. In 508 AD, Frankish king Clovis I united Gaul as a kingdom and made Paris his capital, naming it after the original Parisii tribe. Paris prospered during the Middle Ages. In the 12th century, construction began on the cathedral of Notre Dame. The Sorbonne opened its doors in 1253, the beautiful Sainte Chapelle was consecrated in 1248 and the Louvre got its start as a riverside fortress around 1200.

The Renaissance helped Paris get back on its feet at the end of the 1400s, and many of the city's signature buildings and monuments sprang up during the period. Louis XIV ascended to the throne in 1643. During his reign, he nearly bankrupted the national treasury with battling and building. This led to an uprising of Parisians on 14 July 1789 and the storming of the Bastille prison, kick-starting the French Revolution.

Paris was occupied by the Nazis in 1940 and remained under Germany's control until 25 August 1944. After the war, Paris regained its position as a creative hotbed and nurtured a revitalised liberalism.

Paris Attractions

Top Attractions

Catacombes - In 1785, Paris decided to solve the problem of its overflowing cemeteries by exhuming the bones of the buried and relocate them in the tunnels of several disused quarries, which lead to the creation of the Catacombes. Here you will find themselves 20m underground, working your way along corridors stacked with bones.

Cathedrale Notre Dame - This is the heart of Paris. Notre Dame de Paris is a masterpiece of French Gothic architecture, but has also been Catholic Paris' ceremonial focus for seven centuries. The cathedral's immense interior, a marvel of medieval engineering, holds over 6000 people and has spectacular rose windows.

Musee d'Orsay - This spectacular museum displays France's national collection of paintings, sculptures, objects d'art and other works produced 1848-1914, including the fruits of the impressionist, postimpressionist and art nouveau movements.

Sainte Chapelle - The most exquisite of Paris' Gothic attractions, Sainte Chapelle is found within the walls of the Palais de Justice. The chapel is illuminated by a veritable curtain of luminous 13th-century stained glass, the oldest found in Paris.

Les Halles One can shop forparfums and leather bags and be satisfied with genuine products as long as one is willing to pay for the purchase.
submitted by Cecilia, 13/05/08

Paris Shopping

Parisian shops are one of the top attractions the city has to offer. Some of the most entertaining and tempting are the small cluttered shops which sell local products, ranging from pottery; to clothes; food; books; wine; and antiques.

The most distinctive and unusual shopping possibilities are found in the 19th century arcades of the passages of the 2nd and 9th arrondissements. The main shopping district, Les Halles, is where you'll find the submarine shopping complex of the Forum des Halles. Here you'll find everything you could ask for, from music through to designer clothes.

Paris Activities

Parc Asterix - Found in Plailly, north of Paris. A Via Antiqua shopping street leads to a Roman town where gladiators play comic battles and dodgem chariots line up for races. In the Gaulish village, Panoramix mixes his potions, Obelix slavers over boars, Asterix plots further sorties against the occupiers, and the dreadful bard is exiled up a tree. All sorts of rides are on offer; dolphins and sea lions perform tricks for the crowds; there are parades and jugglers; and restaurants for every budget.

Cirque Diana Moreno Bormann - Located at 9 bd du Bois Lepretre. This is a traditional circus, with lion tamers, elephants, zebras, acrobats, jugglers, and trapeze artists. Performances are held on Wed, Sat and Sun at 3pm throughout the year. Entrance costs from $11, and children under 4 free.

The Jardin d'Acclimatation - Found in the Bois de Boulogne, by Porte des Sablons. The garden is a cross between a funfair, zoo and amusement park, with temptations ranging from bumper cars, go-karts, pony and camel rides, sea lions, birds, bears and monkeys, to a magical mini-canal ride, distorting mirrors, a huge trampoline, scaled-down farm buildings, and a puppet theatre.

Paris Parks & Gardens

Parc de la Villette - Found between avs Jean-Jaures and Corentin-Cariou, this park offers the Cite des Sciences, various satellite attractions, wide-open spaces to run around or picnic in and a series of ten themed gardens, some specially designed for kids.

Jardin des Halles - 105 rue Rambuteau, right in the centre of the city. This park is a great place if you want to chill out. A whole series of fantasy landscapes fill the park. There are also adventure games for children on Wednesdays and Saturday mornings.

Paris Restaurants and Bars

Paris Restaurants

Les Fontaines - Located at 9 rue Soufflot, this old and traditional family-run brasserie has a warm and genuine welcome. The cooking is in the same spirit, with honest French meat and fish dishes, or game in season. Main courses cost €14–19.

Au Bistrot de la Sorbonne - 4 rue Toullier. This restaurant serves traditional French and delicious North African food at reasonable prices. It is popular with the locals and students. The restaurant has a nice, bright, muralled interior. $14 lunch menu and evening menus from $18.30.

Les Degres de Notre-Dame - Found at 10 rue des Grands Degres, this restaurant offers reliable, inexpensive and substantial French food. It has a good-value lunch menu at $14. This is a great place to have some lunch, while watching the city rush on by.

Au Jardin des Pates - 4 rue Lacepede. This restaurant serves delicious homemade pasta only, but made with all manner of freshly ground organic grains, and served with wonderful flourishes and garnishes. It is very popular with locals and tourists alike.

Paris Bars & Clubs

Batofar - Found at quai de la Gare, this is an old lighthouse boat moored at the foot of the Bibliotheque Nationale. It offers brilliant line-up of DJs from all over the world spinning techno for the most part. This is the best place if you're looking for a not-too-expensive club for a night out.

La Locomotive - 90 bd de Clichy. This huge high-tech nightclub has 3 dance floors: one for techno; one for rock; and one for rap. This is one of the most popular clubs in the city, and is the place to go if you're looking to party all night long.

Mustangs - Located at 84 bd du Montparnasse, this bar is a good place to end off a night out. It is popular with a younger crowd, with a friendly atmosphere. They serve Tex-Mex food, cocktails and beer. The frozen margaritas are recommended.

Paris children's activities

Parc Asterix - Found in Plailly, north of Paris. A Via Antiqua shopping street leads to a Roman town where gladiators play comic battles and dodgem chariots line up for races. In the Gaulish village, Panoramix mixes his potions, Obelix slavers over boars, Asterix plots further sorties against the occupiers, and the dreadful bard is exiled up a tree. All sorts of rides are on offer; dolphins and sea lions perform tricks for the crowds; there are parades and jugglers; and restaurants for every budget.

Cirque Diana Moreno Bormann - Located at 9 bd du Bois Lepretre. This is a traditional circus, with lion tamers, elephants, zebras, acrobats, jugglers, and trapeze artists. Performances are held on Wed, Sat and Sun at 3pm throughout the year. Entrance costs from $11, and children under 4 free.

The Jardin d'Acclimatation - Found in the Bois de Boulogne, by Porte des Sablons. The garden is a cross between a funfair, zoo and amusement park, with temptations ranging from bumper cars, go-karts, pony and camel rides, sea lions, birds, bears and monkeys, to a magical mini-canal ride, distorting mirrors, a huge trampoline, scaled-down farm buildings, and a puppet theatre.

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