When you turn 23, you think you’ve made it in life. You may have been working for a few years, and are no longer just a young graduate. You may feel a little more settled, but you’ve got the World at your feet
When I turned 23, I went to Paris in France, with my then boyfriend. Paris is often rated as one of the World’s most romantic destinations, and many choose to propose there.
This didn’t happen for me, and it is not what I wanted, at that at that time of my life. Instead, we were content on eating baguettes, and crepes and exploring the sites of the city.
My first trip to Paris was at the age of 15, during a school trip. We went to the
highly over rated Euro Disney, and saw the typical sites, but I have vague memories of what I saw. I returned with a friend a few years later, and experienced my first taste of backpacking, and staying in a hostel. For my 23rd birthday, my boyfriend whisked me off to Paris on the Eurostar from London, for the day, as a total surprise (I thought I was getting on a train to Cambridge, until I was presented with a guidebook for Paris – I was like a child at Christmas, as it was around that time, I discovered how much I loved being in other places).
Here are some snapshots from my time there, back in 2009, with some tips on what you can do with just one day in the French Capital.
The Eiffel Tower, is one of the most recognised landmarks in the World, and is the most visited, paid attraction in the World.
There are many replicas all over the World, from China to the US. It was completed in 1889, and named after the engineer who designed an built the tower.
It can be seen from many areas of Paris, and at night it lights up the city.
You can visit from 09.30 to midnight in the summer, and the cost of getting a lift (elevator) to the top will cost you 15 Euro 50 Cent (this is set to increase to 17 Euro come September 2015). You can easily walk to the first or second floor and get the lift to the top, or just walk it all (which is what we did).
The views from the top are pretty sweet.
The Champs Elyses (pronounced SHAH~ZAY/LEE/ZAY) is an almost 2km long boulevard, famous for its cafes, shops and theatres. Many designer shops are located here.
There is a great view from the Arc de Triomphe, which is located, essentially on a round-about (just make sure you take the underpass to get there – many tourists try to dodge the traffic and get injured, but don’t risk it!)
You can visit inside the Arc de Triomphe and get great views from the top. When I visited it cost no more than a few euro to climb up. Nowadays (prices as of July 2015), it costs 9.50 Euro (adults) or 7.50 Euro for students (ID required). It is really pretty though. You can stop and watch the World go by for some time.
The Cathedral of Notre Dame (referred to often, as Notre Dame), is a beautiful Cathedral and building; and well worth a visit. Built in between 1100’s 1300’s and later restored between 1845 and 1991. A stunning piece of architecture.
You may have heard of Notre Dame from the Disney movie, the hunchback of Notre Dame. There are a number of chimera statues around the outside, that look like little gremlins, guarding it.
The Sacre Coeur is a Roman Catholic Church, and one of the more modern, historic buildings in Paris, with its completion date being in 1914. The Church sits up a hill, and offers good views over the city. Beware of a number of scam artists, who try and con your from your precious Euros on the steps with anything from offering to take photos and not giving your camera back unless you pay them, to selling cheap tack that you don’t need, and will probably break.
Don’t let that put you off though – it is a beautiful building, and worth a look around.
I have said it countless times before, but cities surrounded by water, or those near the sea, just delight my heart. They often fill me with a sense of peace and calm. If you want to get away from the busy city; take a stroll along by the Seine – a great way to unwind, eat a crepe or two, and just rest. The river is 776km long (but you are unlikely to walk all of that, of course). However, you can come across some of the 37 bridges that cross over it.
Moulin Rouge in French means, Red Windmill, and this place is famously known as the birthplace of the can-can dance. If you have time you can go and catch a show here. We weren’t around in the evening, so instead went and posed outside it.
The Louvre is mostly famous, as a museum for the fact that it holds the Mona Lisa, painted by the well known artist, Leonardo di Vinci. The museum itself is a wonder of its own, with a striking design, on street level. Fountains outside the pyramid structure dance in the sun – it is a great place to relax and eat lunch, after your museum tour.
If you have never been to Paris before, and are worried about how to get around; don’t! Paris is a very walkable city. Failing that, it has a very reliable metro system, which is really easy to use.
I haven’t been back to Paris since 2009, nor France, but I think it is somewhere I need to get to again. I loved Paris, and hold many special memories of it, and my time with my boyfriend at the time. It will forever be the city that reminds me of young love.
Photo credit: Photos in which I appear, where taken by Chris King, all others belong to me.
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