Paris, the capital city of France is, quite simply, the city to go for romance. The city of lights projects a strong ambiance of romance, and this romantic feeling is evident in all parts of Parisian life, ranging from the endless chains of cafes dotted around the metropolis, authentic French cuisine, local poetic parks and gardens, the French language (and its romantic accent), and, of course, magnificent Parisian architecture. I had flown in from Hong Kong to Paris on Air France, and had a deliberate 16 hour stopover in the capital city. After landing at around 4.30am at Paris CDG, I decided to head over to enjoy the city for the whole day before heading onward towards London in the evening. Oh and of course, being completely jet-lagged with my body operating on China time helped to stay fresh and awake.
Unlike other busier metropolises, such as London or New York, life is laid-back in this city of over 8 million people. As one takes a metro journey from Charles De Gaulle Airport to the city centre, one cannot resist appreciating the sight of a typical native French gentleman wearing a French beret and playing a harmonium; or a young couple kissing passionately on the metro against the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower - yes, this is Paris, the city of romance!
Paris - for fashion and food!
Lined with internationally branded chic boutique shops selling designer wear and chocolates, the elegant boulevards of Saint-Germain-des-Près, on the left bank, are a must for any tourist, irrespective if you are on a romantic trip or a business trip. For times immemorial the area has been a favourite hotspot of gifted writers and thinkers, such as Jean-Paul Sarte, Ernest Hemingway and Albert Camus, who spent endless days whiling away their time writing, drinking fine coffee and people-watching. Nowadays, Saint-Germain-des-Près is an area renowned for shopping - luxury shopping! Paris's equivalent of London's Mayfair or Primrose Hill, Saint-Germain-des-Près has built a strong reputation for being the most sought after expensive area, and a favourite with French and International A-listers for some ridiculously hot shopping.
Interspersed along the boulevard are home-design showrooms, boutiques', cafés, local bakeries, and Parisian chocolatiers. The exceedingly comfortable thought about being in Paris is that, after a long day walking and sight-seeing, one can always take a brief respite along one of the many cafes or eateries on any street in the city.
Take a stroll!
An evening stroll along the banks of the Seine, or around the Louvre and the Jardin des Tuileries is, of course, not only free but also healthy, and très romantique! Even if you are on your own on business trip take a walk with your camera along one of the many streets of the Marais neighborhood, during the day or evening; it can provide some stunning insight into the local Parisian culture, beauty and history. For the romantic at heart another place to explore can be the artistic area around the Montmartre.
Visit the Eiffel Tower
This spectacular symbol of France was first constructed for the Paris Expo in 1889, and since then has become an ideal place to go. During the daytime it is beautiful but is even more so in the evening. Why not try a delicious meal at either of the tower's two restaurants and enjoy the beautiful view at the same time! Altitude 95 is on the 1st floor, +33(0)1 45 55 20 04; and the Le Jules Vernes Restaurant is on the 2nd floor, +33 (0)1 45 55 61 44. It is highly recommended to reserve at least a few days in advance as it's something of an accomplishment to get a table here.
Can't miss the Champs- Élysées!
The glamorous Champs-Elysées is the place where you'll find most of the city's dining, shopping, museums, beautiful gardens and maybe even some Hollywood celebs, known to frequent the avenue! The Arc de Triomphe, overlooking the unmistakable Champs-Élysées, was commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1806 as a tribute to the country's military victories. It houses some of the world's most treasured sculptures of the Napoleonic battles, a terrace, and a hall. A visit to the top is worthwhile on any day of the week to get panoramic views across Paris- you'll be exposed to a sea of splendid stone architecture.
Architecture of Arc De Triomphe, and Champs Elysees
Notre Dame de Paris
Eiffel Tower and River Seine
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