Paris Tour Guide
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Long ago, in the midst of the 3rd century BC, a Gallic tribe known as the Parisii settled on the banks of the Seine River. It was here that the foundations of the Paris we know today began to take root. The Romans arrived in the 1st century BC, establishing a town called Lutetia on the Île de la Cité, and it thrived as a bustling trading hub.
As the centuries unfurled, Paris weathered countless trials and triumphs. In the 12th century, the iconic Notre-Dame Cathedral rose to the heavens, a testament to Gothic architecture's splendor. During the Renaissance, the city became a center of art and enlightenment, hosting luminaries like Leonardo da Vinci and nurturing the spirit of the Renaissance.
The 18th century witnessed the tumultuous years of the French Revolution, as citizens stormed the Bastille and forged a new era of liberty and equality. The 19th century brought us the grandeur of the Eiffel Tower, a symbol of French ingenuity.
Two world wars shaped the city's destiny in the 20th century, yet Paris emerged resilient, nurturing its culture, art, and romance.
Today, the City of Light is a treasure trove of history, art, and cuisine. Its streets whisper tales of revolutions, its museums house timeless masterpieces, and the Seine flows through it all.
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Top Historical Places
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Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe provides great views of the Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Élysées, and the surrounding city. It is worth seeing Paris from this vantage point. There is a small museum located near the top where you can take a quick break from your climb. Once rested, head to one more set of stairs to get outside to see a 360 degree view of the city. There is a nice photo opportunity here where you can get a picture with Eiffel Tower in the background. Don't forget to explore the outside of the arch when you're back down at ground level. The detail in the construction is amazing. The tomb of the unknown soldier is also located under the arch.
The Eiffel Tower is one of the most well known landmarks in the world. Any stop to Paris should start here. Your kids will love seeing the tower up close and the view from the top is fantastic. The tower is over 1000 feet tall but the surrounding buildings are limited to 121 feet. This gives you the feeling of being on top of the world as the city spreads out all around you.
You should purchase tickets ahead of time, especially on weekends. If you don't mind climbing stairs, consider skipping the long elevator lines and getting a very unique perspective of tower by climbing up to the second floor.
One of the top attractions in Paris, the Louvre is the largest, and arguably most impressive, art museum in the world. Its collection was first established in the 16th-century, as the private collection of King Francis I. One of his works was the famous Mona Lisa painting.
You can easily spend a full day here and not see everything. If your time is limited or you think your kids will get bored, then I recommend finding the things you want to see ahead of time and go in with a plan. You can cover a lot in an hour or two if you go early when the crowds are light.
The Notre Dame de Paris is also called the Notre Dame Cathedral. Its name really means Our Lady of Paris. It took almost 200 years for the church to be completely built. The groundbreaking took place in 1163 and it wasn’t finished until 1345, more than 650 years ago. It is one of the most well-known churches in the entire world and is very much admired by architects.
Unfortunately, a recent fire has destroyed much of the cathedral. You'll still want to walk by this magnifisent building as you explore the city.
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, known as Sacré-Coeur, is the second most visited monument in the city. Sacré-Coeur sits on the summit of Montemarte, the highest point in the city. From here, you can see all of Paris. The view from the top of the dome is second only to the Eiffel Tower.
The path through the park that goes up to Sacré-Coeur can be busy with vendors trying to sell you things. You will be approached by people selling bracelets and other crafts. Some of them can be very aggressive. It is best to talk to your kids about this before you go so you, and them, can be prepared when they try to stop you.
Sainte-Chapelle, or Holy Chapel, is a royal chapel located along the River Seine in Paris. The Sainte-Chapelle was built within the medieval Palais de la Cite, which was the residence of the King of France until the 14th century ended.
During the French Revolution, much of the Sainte-Chapelle suffered damage. Most of the relics were dispersed throughout the country or were damaged and destroyed. Fortunately, about two-thirds of the original stained glass remain. If you're in Paris on a bright sunny day, the stained glass windows are amazing to see inside.
The cost is 10€ per person. Sometimes there is a short line to get in. Plan about 30 minutes for your visit.
As a military general, I conquered much of Europe in the early 1800's defeating the Austrian, British and Russian armies. I went on to become the first emperor of France reigning from 1804 to 1814.