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Paris; it's considered to be one of the most romantic places in the world and is ever-popular as a tourist destination. A great choice for a short break or long-weekend, there's a dizzying array of sights and places to see and it may seem like there's never enough time to take it all in.

While it's certainly impossible to take advantage of all the attractions the city has to offer in a short space of time, this article has come up with a selection of five of the attractions you have to see if you're in Paris.

It's seems virtually impossible to escape the landmark with which Paris is most commonly associated; every film with a scene in Paris has it looming in the background, walk anywhere resembling a tourist destination and there's people with bunches of models on a key chain trying to sell you a miniature version of it; I'm talking, of course, about the Eiffel Tower.

Built for the World Exhibition in 1889, the Eiffel Tower rises 300 metres out of the ground and stands out in the Paris skyline, visible from all over the city. Seeing the Tower up close reaffirms like no other attraction that you are in the French capital and demonstrates just what a feat of engineering it was.
A magnificent iron framework made up of around 12,000 pieces of prefabricated iron fit together with something like 7 million nails. For those that don't suffer vertigo or get easily bored with queues you can head to the top and get a view of Paris that's unrivaled.

Another of Paris' most famous attractions and one of the most visited museums in the world is the Louvre. Nestled in the heart of Paris in the 1st arrondissement on the banks of the Seine, the Louvre displays around 35,000 works of art including some of the most famous pieces in history with the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and Winged Victory amongst its collection.

While you may well have seen the Louvre on television, postcards or in magazines, until you've seen it in person there's no way to appreciate the size of the gallery. Occupying a staggering 60,000 square metres, the Louvre sees around 8.3 million visitors a year through its equally iconic Pyramid entrance and underground lobby which also serves as one of the strangest places to find a shopping centre. Beware, though, if you plan on seeing the Mona Lisa, there's a bit of a queue and taking in the entirety of the collection is something that could set you back a whole day at least.

If you're still in the mood for art then it's worth taking a stroll to the Musee d'Orsay (that's Orsay Museum) on the left banks of the Seine and it's collection of French art dating from 1848 to 1915. Built in the Gare d'Orsay, the railway station architecture allows the museum a unique layout with a long, high, ceilinged ground floor gallery perfectly suited for the sculptures it contains. This author suggests a bit of time should be spent taking in the model of the Opera House interior and the miniature Paris through the glass floor in front of it.

The Orsay Museum is home to a breathtaking collection of impressionist masterpieces including works by Vincent Van Gogh (Self Portrait, Starry Night Over the Rhone, The Siesta), Manet (The Luncheon on the Grass), Cezanne, Monet, Whistler (including the famous Whistler's Mother) and many more with sculptures by Paul Gauguin and Degas' famous studies of ballet dancers' movement.

If you make it up the stairs to the collection of impressionist art, be sure to take a look through the large clock and enjoy another great view of the city, on a clear day you can see straight across to the Sacre-Coeur Basilica - another of those sights you should see.

Set in the Montmarte district known for its many artists, the Sacre-Coeur Basilica (which translates as Basilica of the Sacred Heart) was completed in 1914 after a pledge to build a church if Paris emerged unscathed from the Purssian war and as a moral condemnation of the sins of Paris with a basilica true to Christian traditions. The architecture stands as a contrast to the more Romanesque stylings of the city and looks more like an Eastern temple.

The outside of the Sacre-Coeur Basilica is an example of excellence in architecture and the, free to enter, interior is no exception. When you emerge, though, be warned that on a summers day the sudden hit of daylight may leave you squinting for while across yet another jaw dropping view of the city below as the basilica sits atop a hill. The highest point in the city, the butte Montmarte is no small climb even for those in prime health. Give more than a thought to the lift service and save your legs.

Another and perhaps more famous of Paris' religious buildings is the Notre-Dame Cathedral. The religious heart of the city, the Celts had a sacred ground here, the Romans used the site to build a temple to worship Jupiter and a Christian basilica was built in the 6th century with work on the Cathedral beginning in 1163 and finally completed in 1345.

The first cathedral to be built to such a scale, the Notre Dame Cathedral is a huge testament to faith at 128 metres long with two 69 metre tall towers and a 90 metre spire which was added in the 19th century. While many of the cathedral's famous sculptures and gargoyles were destroyed during the French Revolution many remain and the Cathedral was restored between 1991 and 2001.

As imposing as the Cathedral's frontage is, there's no way to prepare for the size of the interior. Walking into the Notre Dame is like walking into an aircraft hangar. The impact of which is something you can't experience from a postcard.

There's plenty to see and do in Paris and, when your feet have tired from walking the streets there's plenty of coffee shops and cafes to rest and take stock in over a crepe and coffee.

Patrick is an expert travel researcher and writer currently researching Manchester Airport Parking, Manchester Airport Hotels and Airparks Gold Manchester

Article Source: Things To See and Do in Paris

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