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Friday, February 16, 2007

Top 5 things to see in Paris

1 - Eiffel Tower
This is the obvious choice for the first thing you should see in Paris. It would be unimaginable to visit Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower. You must go there both during the day and the night. Go to the top of the tower during the day but do expect to spend an hour in line. The quickest way to the top is to take the stairs to the 2nd level (if you feel fit enough) and then buy tickets for the elevator to the top. Tickets to the summit cost 11.50 Euros. The top is worth the wait in line as the views of Paris are spectacular. The best place to take pictures of the Eiffel Tower is from the Trocadero across the river from it. Take your night pictures from here too. The Tower does live up to the hype.

2 - Arc de Triomphe
This is the second most famous monument in Paris and it would be madness to leave Paris without seeing it. The Arc is much bigger than expected and it is spectacular to walk under. If you are a fan of classical architecture then you will be amazed by the sculpture work on the arc. Erected to celebrate Napoleon's victories in Italy, the arc has several sculptures of Napoleon being adorned by Greek Goddesses. If you are willing to spend enough money, you can even go to the top of the arc and get a beautiful view down Champs Elysees.

3 - Chateau de Versailles
Only an hour train ride from Paris, I would extremely recommend people to visit Versailles. I have not seen any residence which was more beautiful. This truly looks like a palace fit for the kings. The palace is huge and looks spectacular. The gardens are extremely vast and the whole trip would take you the better part of a full day. This was the highlight of my trip in Paris and I was so glad that I decided to go there. For those who decide to skip it, you don't know what you have missed!

4 - Louvre
The Louvre has become central to all Da Vinci Code enthusiasts and the crowd around the Da Vinci paintings are very large. But still, it is worth seeing the Mona Lisa live, just to say you have seen it. It is over hyped but the rest of the Louvre is amazing. The whole palace itself is a work of art, from the ceilings and the moldings to the small fixtures. The artwork is tremendous as well, including numerous famous paintings and artifacts. The Egyptian collection is fairly large and there are exhibits from all around the world. There are many Gothic art and manuscripts, but my favorite was the gigantic "Coronation of Napoleon" painting.

5 - Cathedral Notre Dame
If you want to experience rue Gothic Cathedrals, they don't come better than Notre Dame. The humongous size and the ornate architecture is beautiful. The flying buttresses gave a unique look. You can also take a tour to the top and see the gargoyles just as Quasimodo the hunchback did in Victor Hugo's book. The view from the side of the river is amazing.

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