Taking a Holiday in Paris
Paris really does live up to its nickname, “La Ville-Lumière” (“The City of Light”). The gateway to Europe for many Britons and a sparkling jewel on the banks of the river Seine, its open spaces and broad avenues entice the visitor to explore on foot, with the scent of flowers and many shady walks in summer. But the nickname ‘City of Light’ does not just refer to the improvements made by Napoleon III in the 19th century, when he swept away many mediaeval streets and buildings to open the city up and make it healthier, grander and more accessible.
Nor do I refer to the city at night, beautiful and vibrant though it is with its illuminated buildings and notably the light show given by the Eiffel Tower. It is worth noting here that you can take a bus tour of the city at night, which I’d recommend if the weather is fine and especially around Christmas time when the city is lit most extravagantly.
The idea of illumination goes a little deeper than open spaces, of course. Paris holidays are a must for lovers of art and antiquities. Many brilliant icons of the art world are represented in its museums: Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Monet, Rodin, Delacroix and Picasso, to name but a few. Being an art lover and an artist myself, I just had to visit the Louvre, home of the famous Mona Lisa and many other incredible works of art, and the towering spires of the cathedral of Notre Dame, which has recently had a set of new bells to mark its 850th anniversary.
If you have children, and I do, Disneyland isn’t far out of Paris on the eastern suburbs – about 30 km from the city centre, and well worth a day trip.
For those in your party who are looking for something a little more elegant, take a stroll down the Champs-Élysées, arguably one of the most famous (and expensive) streets in the world, with its clipped horse chestnut trees and bordered by such buildings as the Théâtre Marigny and the Grand Palais.
The road encompasses to the end by ending up at the Arc De Triumph – one of the historic landmarks of the world which was built to represent the struggles that this mighty city had at the hands of many a war. With so much taking place within the confinements of this city there is little surprise that this city is littered with historical references, and buildings which have their own story to tell.