Paris, the city of love! But just how 'love'ly is Paris, and for those that havn't been before, is it all that it's cracked up to be?
Now I'm not a huge fan of France myself, not for political or prejudice reasons, I just spent a few childhood holidays there, and never really connected to it all (probably because the English people in the holiday camps weren't the most cultured…surprisingly)
So onto Paris itself, and I have to say seeing it for yourself will change all your perceptions of this great city. No picture, or any kind of edited imagery, will prepare you for the amazing experience that this truly magical city just keeps giving. Every corner you turn and street you stumble upon shows a consistency of character like no other city I've ever been to. You'll end up walking about for hours and not realising, as you become immersed in this bustling metropolitan, with the Eiffel tower reigning above the cityscape watching over its kingdom.
I suggest you spend at least a day or two just wondering. Although a place of huge proportion, Paris is a relatively easy city to navigate around. This is largely due to the great landmarks that map out the city. All main streets seem to lead into a giant roundabout or square of some kind, so even though you may end up in the same place a few times, just changing direction will take you further round Paris.
There are a few key spots in Paris that are definitely a must-see. Of course you can't visit Paris without visiting the Eiffel Tower. The tower is colossal; merely standing underneath this giant structure makes you feel minuscule. For just €13 you can ride to the top and see the whole of Paris. Visit Gustave Eiffel's office; see a panoramic 360° of Paris, then make your way to Le Jules Verne restaurant for a truly exquisite meal. The history of the Eiffel Tower itself is an amazing story and even if you aren't interested in history, it's fascinating to learn about. At night the Tower is lit up blue, and on the hour it sparkles white lights, elevating your mood…truly magical.
Another fantastic piece of architecture is the Arc De Triomphe, A mammoth archway in the middle of one of Paris' busiest roundabouts. Another beauty at night, the arch is lit up and stands tall and very majestic. Crossing the road is a bit of an issue but possible to do, however the real test is driving round it. If you're lucky enough to have a car in Paris, you will face lots of mopeds and probably hear a few horns when you finally discover where you're meant to be going. The Arc roundabout is one of the toughest and there are no traffic lights or lanes and seems to be no rules either, you will find yourself just stopping half way across to let others onto the road and before you know it you're cutting across 5 lanes to turn off, at what you'll later discover to be the wrong turning. I'd recommend walking.
Onto accommodation and nightlife, and I have to say the city seems to release the tension wires of the working day and invites you to party hard, or just relax with a coffee and the stars.
My favourite destination venue would have to be Le Show Case underneath the brigde Pont Alexander III, near to the tower. A rather exclusive club it features a huge bar, private booth seating, a stage for acts to play and a dance floor you could host a pride festival on. Great music and fantastic lighting will make your night last forever. Not only a great club but in a prime location to end your night on the hour to watch the lights from the Eiffel Tower glisten as you dance through the streets of Paris, back to your hotel, collapse and surrender yourself to the night.
Talking about hotels, the Hilton Arc De Triomphe is probably one of the nicest. A cosy hotel tucked away in the shade of the Arc itself, the Hilton will make your stay comfortable, and complete the beauty of the city. Relax in your room, or join the Parisians for a drink in the bar, with cool lighting and a comfy lounge it's the perfect way to end a day spent shopping.
Another brilliant hotel is the Hotel Paris, on Avenue de Suffren, located practically beneath the Eiffel Tower, and giving you the picture perfect scene to wake up to in the morning. The hotel restaurant is fantastic and a great compliment to French cuisine.
Lastly, are the rumours true? Is Paris really the most romantic city in the world?
Well as you might expect I'm sceptical with claims that cause an expectation that may not be fulfilled. However, I challenge anyone who doesn't feel warm and fuzzy after spending a weekend in Paris. The pure essence of Paris will have you envious of anyone who resides there and you will most definitely want to if not will go back over and over. I love the contrast between the busy roads and the relaxed attitude of the Parisians sat casually in coffee shops, just watching the world go by. Overall Paris is truly a magical city and one that must be seen to be appreciated in all it's glory, a city true to its 1860 roots, Paris remains largely unchanged, and for that reason it makes for a perfect getaway, whether it be a weekend or a fortnight.