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Friday, June 20, 2008

Paris[France]


Paris - France
The poet Heinrich Heine wrote of Paris: "Living is so fine, so sweet on the banks of the Seine in Paris," and Ernest Hemingway described it as a "moveable feast." No other European city is so exuberantly loved as Paris and none other provides such an escape from reality. From a major appearance at the opera, through a picnic by the Seine, lunch at Brasserie Lipp, to sunbathing on the steps of the Sacre-Coeur, this city provides pleasure in abundance. The low, protected islands on the Seine tempted the Celts in the third century BC to settle in the heart of present-day Paris and the Romans too later appear to have found Lutetia Parisiorum as an ideal place for a settlement. The invading Franks started the rise of the city in the third century AD and in the tenth century it became a royal residence and acquired its principal role at the heart of France even after Louis XIV moved his court to Versailles. With a population of more than one million, Paris was at the very center, of the French Revolution. The city on the Seine is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world with its art and culture, but also its haute cuisine and haute couture.
Many visitors want to spend some time on the Boulevard St. Ger-main-des-Pres, or perhaps in heated existentialist debate in the Cafe de Flore. The area, that was formerly a monastery, attracted artists and writers and the arts are celebrated here with a unique diversity of galleries. Many visitors want to spend some time on the Boulevard St. Ger-main-des-Pres, or perhaps in heated existentialist debate in the Cafe de Flore. The area, that was formerly a monastery, attracted artists and writers and the arts are celebrated here with a unique diversity of galleries. It is impossible not to fall in love with Paris. The city's people are stylish and flirtatious, its architecture seductive, its restaurants and nightlife devoted to the pursuit of pleasure and its streets are scattered with dreams.
There is no 'best time' to visit Paris; in every season the city is always alive. Summer days are spent lazing on the banks of the Seine, sipping coffee at a sidewalk café, or idling in one of the city's many gardens or forests. In autumn afternoons the brisk walk from the Eiffel Tower through the Parc du Champ de Mars and up to the glittering Champs Elysées is accompanied with a carpet of leaves crunching underfoot. Winter nights induce a warm glow ice-skating in the outdoor rink at the Hotel de Ville, and in spring the passions of performers fill the air outside the Pompidou Centre and the nose is tickled with the subtle scents of flowering gardens.
There is an otherworldliness to this city, where beauty and elegance are favoured over purpose and practicality. Centuries of urban development have the appearance of having being mastered by a single hand with a strong sense of balance, contrast and aesthetics. The views from the Eiffel Tower or Sacré Coeur reveal hundreds of iconic attractions for the snapshot visitor, but the best way to see this city is by tucking your map back in your pocket and allowing yourself to get lost on its streets and avenues, discovering the city for yourself. However long you spend in Paris, on departure you will know you are sure to return.

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