Who doesn’t know about the main sights in Paris? Of course, the most famous is the Eiffel Tower, but one should not forget about the Arc the Triomphe or the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre.
Ok, so obviously let’s start with the Eiffel Tower! I’m not going into the history of the tower here since I think everyone knows how to use google and read wikipedia. Instead, I’m going to tell you how my (I think it was my second) experience getting up the tower was.
Fist of all, be prepared for the fact that you may have to get into a long line for the tower. We had to wait approximately 30 min. just to get to the first elevators. But we had perfect timing, since the sun was already setting and when we arrived at the top level we were able to see such a beautiful sunset over Paris, it really was worth the long wait.
We first started with the first level, however. There is a souvenir shop and a restaurant here, Le 58 tour Eiffel. This level is quite large, with quite a few shops and even a cinema auditorium. Beware of pickpockets though! There are a lot of them, especially on the tower. I’ve read in the newspapers recently that they are getting quite out of hand, even having fights on the tower (luckily, we didn’t see any).
Here, once again, you can get in line for the elevators to the second level. And again, it was quite a long line, we had to wait almost another 30 min here. The second level has another restaurant, the Jules Verne, and it has one Michelin star as well as 16 out of 20 Gault-Millau points. Since we were planning to have dinner at another Michelin star prized restaurant (see here), we didn’t bother to stop and see what is in the menu here. We tried to get to the third and top level (another line for the elevator, but this time just about 5 min waiting) in time for the sunset. And guys, it was really worth standing in line so much.
Simply beautiful, isn’t it? We stayed here, taking pictures and cuddling each other in the cold air, enjoying the beautiful view over Paris. Aaaah romance…
Also, on the top level you actually get to see the office of Gustave Eiffel, the engineer who created, drafted and built the tower. It has been faithfully restored and shows three wax figures depicting Mr. Eiffel, his daughter Claire and Thomas Edison sitting in the room, trying out a new invention called the phonograph.
After the sun was gone we went down the tower and made our way to the Arc de Triomphe. BTW, I made a very stupid decision before the trip to bring only my high heels with me. It’s Paris right? The city of fashion and glam! And cobble stones apparently too! Since we were walking around the city visiting all kinds of museums and then standing in line for so long, my feet were already quite tired. I was determined however to get to the Arc de Triomphe, even if I had to hobble my way there (which I pretty much did).
The building itself was built between 1806 and 1836 and has stunningly beautiful reliefs inside. Apparently it was Napoléon I. who gave the order to build it as a glorification of his victory in the battle of Austerlitz. There is actually a stairway which leads to the rooftop of the Arc de Triomphe, only 284 steps, yes, I counted. I almost died getting up, thinking that my feet would kill me, but there were a few japanese tourists behind us and after hearing them say something like “Wow! Look at those heels! She’s really getting up the stairs in heels like that!”, I’d rather die than give up. Stupid vanity. But my shoes were really cute though.
This trip was actually the first where we booked a room via airbnb. We had a really cute little room in Montmartre, quite close to the last main sight that I want to talk about. This one is my favorite, maybe because I like churches, cathedrals and basilicas.
The Basilique du Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre is located on the hill Montmartre and it was built in the 18th century. It was inspired by the Hagia Sophie in Istanbul and it is definitely one of the most beautiful of all religious places I have visited so far.
I found out that in the evenings a lot of young people like to gather around the basilica to have a few drinks on the stairs or in the park. I think that’s pretty cool, something you wouldn’t find in Germany probably.
If you ever go there (or another religious place) please, PLEASE, respect the place! Do not talk loudly or run around in a church or temple or basilica or you-name-it and do not take pictures with flash, it is really rude and disrespectful. Really not cool.
Do you have any favorite sights in Paris? Please share them with me, I’m going to put it on my list for the next time I’m visiting Paris.