Updated: Feb 26, 2021
Austrian architect Adolf Loos once suggested in 1910 that "For architecture to be art, it must be about memory." The Eiffel Tower is one of the most significant pieces of architecture in the world and today is a symbol of great artwork because of the memory that it embodies in the hearts of those who remember it.
Paris is one of the most romantic and elegant cities in the world that every person knows that they have to visit at least once in their lifetime. Known as the "City of Lights" both literally and metaphorically, Paris represents the city that houses thousands of lights around it's city and the strength of it's scholars and intellectuals during the Age of the Enlightenment.
But if you only have 48 hours to discover the heart of Paris, where should you go? The underground metro is a convenient mode of transportation to reach key attractions and the Hop on Hop off Bus also saves time and takes you to many of Paris’s top claimed attractions, allowing you to decide your own tour pace. One of my enduring memories was a funny one indeed; I noticed a balcony fight regarding a couple along Paris’s most famous streets in which the emergency crew was involved while riding the Hop on Hop of bus. Another minor difference that I noticed compared to London was that the emergency vehicles were smaller and many people jay walked because of the narrow streets, which was quite intriguing. Despite all these memories, one of my favourite memories in Paris was going to the Place de L’Opera, where I purchased a tote bag that I still carry today. As a host to the 2024 Olympics, Paris continues to accentuate it’s dominance on the world stage by creating and constructing modern and cutting edge architecture that bears more prestige to this prestigious city.
Paris has a history of over 2000 years and began life as a fishing village at its historic center at Île de la Cité, where today the Notre Dame cathedral stands. Conquered by the Romans and Emperor Ceasar in 500 BC, Paris later gained independence as a nation. The French Revolution in 1789 and later World War 2 caused dents in it's identity, however Paris maintains it's image as a charming city known for art and culture.
No list for Paris would be complete without the famous Eiffel Tower, symbolic all over the world when Paris first built it in 1889 for the World’s Fair, and it continues to draw attention and national pride to French design and ingenuity. A symbol of French pride and liberation in 1944 after the fall of Hitler and the modern champion of various causes around the world such as Breast Cancer awareness, the Eiffel Tower today plays a great communications and strategic role for France on the world stage.
2.Place de L’Opera
The 1970 Opera house was built for Emperor Napoleon the 3rd and is located at the heart of Paris next to iconic shops and boutiques. It is known as the most famous opera house in the world, with an expansive interior and ornate decorations.Outside there can be found people singing and playing various instruments to the ongoing crowd, including the famous "Let It Go". The interior is decorated with 30 types of marble from 8 different countries which you can notice when going into the various rooms. Naturally I was attracted to this place because I played violin for 10 years in the high school orchestra and wanted to see the grandeur of a place that housed the world's most celebrated musicians. I also purchased a iconic leather pink bag from L’Opera, bringing more significance to this location.
3. Île de la Cité and Notre Dame Cathedral
Representing the historic heart of Paris, this region is connected by the Pont Neuf bridge and is considered the birthplace of the modern city of Paris. Opened in 1345, the Notre Dame Cathedral is considered to be one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture and is known around the world for its grandeur, size and portal in movies and television. Burnt by fire in 2019, this cathedral is currently being been rebuilt, hopefully in time for Paris’s time to host the Olympics in 2024.
4. Dining Traditional French Cuisine
Traditional french cafe culture and dining culture call for their own culture and norms, so be sure to check out the famous macaroons and pastries at the flagship shop of Ladurée and order the famous duck plate Foie Gras at dinner. Authentic french restaurants line various streets and hide themselves along the cobbled alleyways, so explore the decadent cuisine of the French when you can.
5. Louvre Museum
Home to the world’s greatest art collection including the Mona Lisa, the Louvre is the world’s largest art museum, with work that spans the ancient civilizations to the 19th century. Originally built as a fortress in 1190, it was reconstructed in the 16th century to serve as a royal palace and was finally opened in 1801 by Napoleon Bonaparte, who created the foundation for the Louvre to create an international museum for France with works from his military campaigns and commissions. Napoleon’s contribution included works from Belgium, Italy and others and expanded after his reign and today is known for housing works from various eras and ages.It is great to brush out on art history first before coming to the Louvre, therefore you can dedicate your time to specific pieces of artwork.
Paris is shopping heaven and is known for being the origin of top designer and luxury brands such as Chanel, Saint Laurent and others, so be sure to save up and shop on the prime streets of Triangle D’or and Boulevard Saint Germain. If your looking to see the authentic collection of designer brands, than there is no better place to do so than in the origin of the brand, where special collections and history coexists together. If your looking for authentic deals and memories, than L’Opera is great place to start.
2. Learn a bit french
It always impresses the locals when you can speak their language, so buying a quick French basics book will only help you understand the local culture more and help you blend into Parisan culture.
3. Keep your belongings safe
Paris, as much it is glamorous, is also a double edged sword in that especially surrounding high traffic areas, you should keep your belongings safe and close to you due to the popularity of thieves. There are also some neighbourhoods that are not very safe, so be sure to study neighbourhoods in Paris before you go.
Chelsea Reviews: 4/5
Paris was one of the most delightful cities in Europe that I visited because of the personality of it’s shops and architecture,from the ornately designed Place L’Opera to the french renaissance architecture reflected on the various buildings and on the crosswalks. Every city has a history with some bloodshed, as one can vaguely remember the French Revolution and the horrors of the Guillotine where many were executed for their beliefs. However, revolutions only make a city more defining and resilient to atrocity as it seeks to move forward and develop and new name for itself; that is what Paris did with the Eiffel Tower to try to rebuild its brand, a legacy that it still continues to this day. I loved the shopping the curated selection of boutiques, cafes and different shops to everyone’s different taste. The significance of Paris is still resonant and it attracts millions of visitors each year to its streets of romance, character of thought and philosophy, and element of renew everyday.