Paris is multifaceted and there are numerous ways of discovering it. Here are my suggestions:
1) The Lourve Museum: “the former residence of the kings of France, has for two centuries been one of the biggest museums in the world. Its collections are spread over 8 departments : Near Eastern Antiquities, Islamic Art, Egyptian Antiquities, Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities, Paintings, Sculptures, Decorative Arts, and Prints and Drawings dating from the Middle Ages to 1848.” (ParisInfo.com)
Must See Works of Art:
“Mona Lisa” by Leonardo da Vinci (1503-1506). “The most famous painting in the world, Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa (aka La Gioconda or La Joconde) with her mysterious smile and cutting-edge illusionism for the early 1500s. This masterpiece has been on display at the Louvre since 1797. Millions make the pilgrimage to Paris to see the real thing each year.” (Business Insider)
“Venus de Milo” (c. 130-100 BC). “This Hellenistic sculpture of the goddess of love was discovered on the island of Milo (or Milos). The exquisite Classical workmanship of this period set the standard for Western art as well as its endless obsession with the body. Nowhere is the beauty of the female form more evident than in this incredible masterpiece.” (Business Insider)
“Consecration of the Emperor Napoleon I and Coronation of the Empress Josephine in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris on 2 December 1804” by Jacques-Louis David (1806-1807). “The renowned French Neoclassical painter Jacques-Louis David captures all the grandeur of the Napoleonic reign. Packed with celebrities, including Pope Pius VII and the painter himself, this monumental work is 10 meters wide by 6 meters tall—a magnificent record of French history.” (Business Insider)
“Raft of the Medusa” by Théodore Géricault (1818-1819). “Based on a true tabloid-like tragedy of shipwreck and cannibalism, Théodore Géricault painted this icon of French Romanticism at the age of 27. The blood and gore depicted here was based on Géricault’s tireless study in morgues. Of course, everyone then (and now) had to see the painting in the flesh.” (Business Insider)
2) The Eiffel Tower: “An unmissable monument and symbol of the capital, the Eiffel Tower stands 324 m tall, weighing a total of 10,100 tons. Created in 2 years, 2 months and 5 days, it was erected for the Exposition Universelle of 1889 and celebrated its 120th anniversary in 2009.
You can ascend the Eiffel Tower by stairs or lifts. On the 1st floor you will find shops; on the 2nd you will be tempted by the delicious meals on offer at the famous Jules Verne restaurant, 125 m above ground, and finally on the 3rd floor you can stand alongside the clouds and take advantage of an exceptional 360° view!
There is also a viewpoint indicator on the 3rd floor of the Eiffel Tower.” (ParisInfo.com)
3) Notre-Dame Cathedral: “The Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, is the most visited monument in France. It was built in the Middle Ages, at the far end of the Île de la Cité. Work started in the 13th century and finished in the 15th century. Badly damaged during the French Revolution, the cathedral was restored in the 19th century by the architect, Viollet-le-Duc. Its many visitors come to admire its stained glass and rose windows, the towers, the steeple and the gargoyles. They can also discover the Notre-Dame treasury and try and climb the towers to enjoy a panoramic view of Paris. In 2013, Notre-Dame is celebrating its 850th anniversary. For this occasion, many events have been organized and the cathedral will renew its heritage of campanology with the arrival of eight new bells as well as a new great bell. On the cathedral’s parvis, a bronze star inscribed ‘zero kilometre’ indicates the centre of the country in terms of road distances.” (ParisInfo.com)
4) The Arc de Triomphe: “Situated at the Place de l’Etoile, overlooking the Champs-Elysées, the Arc de Triomphe is the biggest arch in the world. It was commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 to celebrate his victory at Austerlitz. The architects Chalgrin, Joust and Blouet all worked on the monument. The sculptures were designed by Cortot, Rude, Etex, Pradier and Lemaire. Beneath the arch is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and each evening at 6.30pm its flame is rekindled. From the top of the monument, visitors benefit from a panoramic view of Paris, during the day and at night, and two viewpoint indicators. A museum retracing the history of the Arc de Triomphe, situated within the structure, completes the visit.” (ParisInfo.com)