24 Hours in Paris

La Tour Eiffel with the Seine River in the foreground. Paris, France. Summer 2012.

La Tour Eiffel with the Seine River in the foreground. Paris, France.

  If you were lucky enough to be in the city of Paris for one full day, what should you absolutely do? Tip #1 - purchase an all-day Metro pass so that you may enjoy the city sights. Here is our TOP 5 must see/do in this beautiful city:   1. The Eiffel Tower The obvious leader of this list, a close-up view of the most iconic structure in France is worth every second of your time. First stop - take the train there to the Bir Hakiem stop. You will only have to walk about 2 blocks before you arrive at the base. Standing over 1,050 ft tall, this iron engineering feat has been around for hundreds of years (painted every 7 years with dark brown paint). When it was first erected in 1889 as the entrance to the World Exposition, it was rather unpopular and came quite close to being torn down. Named after its engineer Gustave Eiffel, it boasts an observation deck and is a radio broadcasting tower. Depending on when you visit (if it's crowded or not), you can take the challenge of climbing up to the top. The prize: a breath-taking view of all of Paris. I would pass up on eating here as it's quite expensive and also not worth your valuable time. 2. L'Arc de Triomphe & the Champs-Élysées
L'Arc de Triomphe. Paris, France. Summer 2012.

L'Arc de Triomphe. Paris, France.

Next stop on the metro - The Arc de Triomphe. The Arc de Triomphe is one of the most famous monuments in Paris. It stands in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle, at the western end of the Champs-Élysées. This 160ft tall monument honors those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars. The names of all French battle victories and generals are inscribed on it. Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. From the time it was built, (starting in 1806 and ending in 1836), it set a precedent for historical monuments with patriotic messages across the globe. Guided tours are available starting at the base of the Arc. However, I'd skip this. Take tons of pics and start walking down the Champs-Élysées. It's one of the most famous streets in the world. With it's 1.2 mile tree-lined stip of eateries, cinemas and luxury retailers, it's also one of the most expensive pieces of real estate in the world. Walk, watch and let your eyes wander. A quick stop into a patisserie like Paul's will add to the experience. (No time wasting sitting at restaurants.) 3. The Louvre
Outside the Louvre entrance. Paris, France.

Outside the Louvre entrance. Paris, France.

After about 40 minutes of walking, you will arrive at The Louvre. It's is one of the world's largest museums, and a historic monument in Paris, France. (You can also take the Metro along the Champs-Elysees if you get tired of walking...) It is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the 1st arrondissement. As of 2008, the museum's collection is divided among 8 curatorial departments: Egyptian Antiquities; Near Eastern Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities; Islamic Art; Sculpture; Decorative Arts; Paintings; Prints and Drawings. Before visiting, it's important to do your research as there will not be time to see everything. If the Mona Lisa painting is on your list of things to see, there will almost certainly be a line. Note - the museum is closed on Tuesdays. The cost is about 15 Euros for full access though there are a few ways you can obtain free admission.... 4. Notre Dame
The Towers of the Notre Dame. Paris, France.

The Towers of the Notre Dame. Paris, France.

A short 15 min walk over from the Louvre, you will enter the Latin Quarters district. The Notre Dame will be a few blocks down on the other side of the Seine. This is a world famous historic Roman Catholic cathedral and is widely considered one of the best examples of French Gothic architecture. It is also among the largest and most well-known churches in the world. Another cool fact is that Notre Dame, under construction from 1163-1345,  was among the first buildings in the world to use the flying buttress (arched exterior supports). Even more delightful is getting a chance to enter the church. The line may be long, but it moves very quickly. Inside, priceless religious idols, statues and other works of art. 5. Latin Quarters End your tiring day right here in Paris' happening locale. There's lot of retaurants and a vibrant nightlife here.. Feasting on a fine dish of rabbit, duck or cuisses de grenouilles (frog legs) is a perfect way to end your first Parisian world-wind tour.. So there you have it. If somehow after this intense schedule you have additonal time, I'd enjoy a riverboat cruise down the Seine and return to see the Eiffel Tower at night.. Bonne Vie!

Written By: Nik Trekker

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