Paris is one of the most culturally rich cities in the world. Set along the banks of the river Seine, a large part of the city forms a part of the UNESCO World Heritage site. Paris is more than often referred to as the most beautiful city in the world. It is also famously called as the most romantic city of all times. Since time immemorial, Paris has been a hub of culture, style, art, fashion, design and food.
As a tourist, one will always be fascinated by the architecture and beauty of the city. Its collection of restaurants, art museums and shopping districts will always be a top haunt for every tourist. Here is the top ten things one must do while in the glorious city of Paris:
Bastille Day: Paris, as with all of France celebrates its national day on the 14th of July. It is a national holiday – La Fete National – otherwise referred to as the Bastille Day in English, marking the public siege of the Bastille during the French Revolution. The day is celebrated with much pomp and fanfare all over the city with several events being held all over the city, most notably the Bastille Parade, which is held on the Champs-Elysees. The parade could be considered as a much grander version of the Republic Day Parade of India with the army, tanks etc. marching in full regalia and also includes a fly past by the French Air Force. The day ends with the Bastille Day Fireworks which is a must watch for every visitor
Visit Art Museums: The French have always patronized art. So, it is not surprising that it is the home of the world’s largest museum – The Louvre. With over 35,000 objects of display spread over a floor space of 60,000 square feet, the building itself is as long as 3 Eiffel Towers placed horizontally. It is in itself enough to take up an entire day of sight seeing. The museum houses artworks and sculptures from the pre-historic era, the Renaissance and is the home of the most famous portrait of all times –The Mona Lisa. Apart from the Louvre, there are several other museums like Rodin Museum, Musee d’Orsay etc.
Eat and Drink: France is the home of one of the most sophisticated cuisines and is also the birthplace of the finest wines of the world. The French cuisine is considered as one the finest culinary experience for the palate while the French Wines have always been a connoisseurs’ delight. Paris has more Michelin Star restaurants than any other city in the world and so becomes a must to delve into the world of the fine-dining while in Paris.
Scooters, Walks and Skate: Paris has a large number of monuments present in the city and renting a car to visit these monuments in not recommended. The traffic in Paris makes it incredibly difficult to move around the city and the best way to actually enjoy the city is probably by walking. Walking allows one to get the real feel of the city and its people and is the best way to soak in the culture and the architecture. The city government has taken up a step to make the central districts completely car free and so it becomes almost inevitable to walk. Also since the central district is home to the most grandiose of buildings, walking around is the best way to see and photograph it to one’s heart desires. If walking is difficult for you, you can always rent a scooter at cheap rates. For the more adventure loving, skating on footpaths is legal in Paris and also because they are easily available at cheap rates.
French open: The Roland Garros has been host to one of the world’s greatest tennis tournaments held in clay court, namely The French Open. Of late, the quality of tennis has improved in leaps and bounds and it has been drawing in spectators from far and wide. It generally takes place in the month of May, amidst light showers, which add for a picturesque atmosphere to the wonderful sport. Visit it, not just for the sport, but also to explore one of the finest tennis museums of all time.
Fete de la Musique: With the end of French Open, Paris sees a burst of celebrations Fete del la Musique takes place every year to mark the summer solstice on the 21st of June. The entire city celebrates music with free concerts taking place all over the city, which goes on till 1 am in the morning with some lasting even longer. For amateur singers and bands this is an excellent platform with every type of music being played from Rock to punk to classical. Just before this festival, Paris celebrates Rendezvous au Jardin which sees gardeners from all over the city meeting up showcasing their floral collections.
Cinema en Plein Air: July seems to be the season of celebration for Paris. Cinema en Plein Air is an open-air film festival, which takes place in Paris. Movies are screened in the largest open-air screen in all of Europe. The collection of movies includes everything from the main stream to the parallel. There is something for everyone to watch and people flock with their picnic kits to come watch the cinema while enjoying the pleasant outdoors.
Nuit Blanche: On every first Saturday of October, the entire city celebrates an all-nightlong art festival. The entire city is lit up in an artistically and most museums and galleries remain open for the entire night and allow visitors free of charge. Art installations are placed all over the city and numerous concerts, social gatherings and performances are organized all night long.
Fashion Week: Paris is the hub of world fashion industry with some of the biggest names of the business being French. Paris Fashion week is organized twice a year. It is a part of the big four fashion weeks of the world. Every fashionista has dreamt of attending Paris Fashion Week and it is a must for every tourist to get a glimpse of the biggest names of fashion showcasing next big thing of style. It is also a good time to shopping as numerous sales are organized all around the city. If you feel the haute couture is a little heavy for the pocket, then a visit to the local flea market – for some excellent bargains is a must.
Culture: Lastly, what good would any trip be if one cannot soak in the culture of the place? Paris is one of the most cultural cities in world with an extraordinary history. Learn French and meet as much as local people as you can meet. Many families love hosting tourists for a small payment and will take them out for sightseeing. This is a brilliant way to experience Paris. Also visit talks, art shows and galleries to meet with artists. Every street is in itself a work of art. For those who like a bit of intellectual banter, they can participate in free discussions held in Café Philo.