I thought there was nothing more fitting than writing my first piece about my favourite place in the world: Paris. Why is it my favourite? Get comfy, and let me tell you about just a small snippet of wonderful and amazing things you can see and do there.
To start off with, arguably the most famous landmark in France, if not the world, is Le Tour de Eiffel, or the Eiffel Tower. No matter how many times I re-visit this city, this spectacular 324-metre high piece of iron never fails to take my breath away. The best time to go and visit it is undeniably at night, when she’s lit up with a multitude of colours, flashing and showing off for the tourists. You can buy a chocolate crepe from one of the many surrounding vendors and sit on a park bench almost underneath and revel in her glory, or you can pay the 14 Euros and take the elevator straight to the very top!
There are three different levels of the Eiffel Tower, two of which can be walked up (it is an abundance of stairs, and not for the faint-hearted), and you can look around Paris and see for miles. Up on the top floor, you can purchase an enormously overpriced (plastic) glass of Champagne and pretend you are one rich, elegant lady. If you’re lucky enough to go there in winter, not only are the queues shorter, but Paris turns into a winter wonderland and you can head on back down the ground level and grab yourself a steaming cup of mulled wine to wander the streets with.
After this, if you’re ready for another vertical adventure, find your way to the Arc de Triomphe. I’ve been to Paris many times before, but had only climbed this on my most recent visit in December – I couldn’t believe it took me so long! Yes, it is a harder task as there are no elevators and the stairs and narrow and windy, but once you reach the top-floor, it is absolutely worth it. An overhead view of the Arc de Triomphe shows you that all of the streets radiate away from it, like the Arc is the body of a spider and the streets are the legs. When you’re on top, you can see down on all of the streets individually, including the Champs-Élysées, and get a heap of different snapshots of Paris.
It’s pretty spectacular down on the main floor as well, as the Arc is a monument to all of the fallen French soldiers and their names and the battles they fought at inscribed in every pillar. There is an eternal flame and a tomb for an Unknown Soldier beneath it.
The Arc is also the centre of a hugely busy roundabout, the best way to enter is an underground passage accessed from the other side of the road.
If you have had your site-seeing/adventure fix for the day, you’ve walked the streets and bought your mini Eiffel Tower key rings, stuffed your face with chocolate crepes and attempted to speak a little French at a restaurant, then I suggest you jump on a train in the direction of the village of Versailles. This is where Marie Antoinette lived, and is not to be missed on any visit to France.
No words can do this huge Château justice, with an inside tour showing you the ancient colour co-ordinated rooms in pastels that you rarely lay eyes on these days. And the grounds, well, they are something else. It can take over an hour to walk from one side to the other, and as opposed to the Eiffel Tower, this is something better seen in summer! The ginormous green trees and a huge lake with a feisty goose that might just peck your fingers for a taste of your pastry!
Written by Madelin Baldwin