Today’s Travel Tuesday destination is Paris, France, courtesy of the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die Page-A-Day calendar.
It’s impossible to be objective about Paris, possibly the most beautiful and romantic city in the world. The architecture, manicured green spaces, bridges over Seine, café life, and joie de vivre of its soigné citizens all conspire to make the City of Light an elegant and timelessly exciting place to visit.
1. Arc de Triomphe: The largest triumphal arch in the world (163 feet high and 147 feet wide) was erected by Napoleon in 1806 to commemorate his imperial army’s victories. It’s the site of France’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and at the top it has a viewing platform and multimedia exhibit allowing you to inspect the arch’s glorious sculptures and friezes up close.
2. Basilique du Sacré-Coeur: Gleaming white and with a 272-foot-high central dome, the outside of the cathedral is almost confectionary. Inside is one of the world’s largest mosaics, depicting Christ with outstretched arms. The view from the dome is breathtaking; on a clear day you can see for almost 20 miles.
3. Tour Eiffel: Possibly the most recognized structure in the world, the Eiffel Tour was built as a temporary centerpiece for the 1889 Universal Exhibition. Today, it’s the symbol of Paris, providing a view of up to 40 miles from its observation platforms. On its second level at 400 feet, Alain Ducasse’s restaurant Le Jules Verne gives new meaning to the term “haute cuisine”; should your budget not match those heights, dine on the first level at 58 Tour Eiffel.
4. The Louvre: Once the largest palace in the world, now one of its largest art museums, the Louvre is home to the Mona Lisa, the armless Venus de Milo, I.M. Pei’s controversial glass pyramid, and some 400,000 works of art—35,000 of which are on permanent display. Stretching for half a mile along the northern banks of the Seine, the palace was initially a medieval fortress and was expanded into a luxurious royal residence.
5. Notre Dame: A “symphony in stone,” according to Victor Hugo, the Cathedral of Notre Dame is the historic, spiritual, and geographic heart of Paris. Its foundation stone was laid by Pope Alexander III in 1163, and construction was completed nearly two centuries later. A 422-step climb to the top of the north tower provides close-ups of the bestiary of gargoyles, the 13-ton bell Emmanuel in the south tower, and a magnificent 360-degree view.
Read more on 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and the calendar line here.