Earlier this year I made a pact with myself that anytime I travel I would make sure I really take in the sights and sounds of the city I travel too. My first travel after the pact was to the beautiful city of Paris As soon as I stepped into the city after a cab ride from the Charles De Gaulle airport, I totally understood why Parisians had a sense of pride and aura of superiority. If you came from a country that had a rich heritage with dated but still state of the art architectural buildings then you would have a sense of pride.
I had to make a plan quickly I had only 3 nights to spend and I intended to maximize it and ensure I get value for my money (in case you do not know Paris is really expensive)
The first rule in travelling to a new place is to ensure you are in a good location; this could make or break your trip. I had chosen a hotel right at the center of the theater district; it was 2 minutes walk from the metro, theaters and restaurants. It was also about 20 to 30 mins walk to the major monuments in Paris and that is what I did, I walked to most of the monuments, the beauty about walking is you really get a sense and a feel of the city.
My first stop was at the Fontaine Saint-Michel (St. Michael Fountain). This is one of Paris most monumental fountain; it sports an impressively huge bronze statue of archangel Michael in all his glory with his sword ready to strike a creature. The year the dedication of the monument was written in Roman Numerals inscribed on a marble plaque and I had to take a couple of minutes to remember my Roman Numerals and alas I figured it out the monument was dedicated in 1860. I was in awe of the intricacies and the details of this monument but I had just started.
My second stop which was a walking distance from St. Michael’s Fountain was Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris (Notre Dame Cathedral). The construction of the cathedral started in 1163 and it took about 100 years to be completed. This massive gothic architectural building is overwhelming not to say the least, with its stained glass, 28 statues of the Judean Kings, the gargoyles and the grotesques and its sheer size making it one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Europe. I was wondering to myself the last the cathedral was used as a place of worship and to my utmost surprise when I got into the cathedral, they had started evening mass and whilst the mass was going on tourists were moving quietly around the cathedral. It also made a good backdrop for a Facebook profile picture.
I have seen a lot of pictures, videos of the Eiffel Tower but nothing prepares you for this magnificent iron structure. The tower was built for the World Exhibition in 1889 held in celebration of the French Revolution in 1789. The fact that the tower was built just for the exposition and it was meant to be dismantled is grandiose in thought, intent and actualization. Ironically the tower was meant to be dismantled after the exposition and despite the outcry from contemporary artist to pull it down. The tower still stands today and frankly, I speak for many when I say that I cannot imagine a Paris without the Eiffel Tower.
The icing on the cake for me was The Louvre. It is the museums of all museums. If you are an art aficionado and you have never been to the Louvre then you should be stripped of the title. This is one of the largest and the most important museums in the world. It would take you years and years of visit to go through the vast and diverse collection of pre-20th-century painting, sculpture and arts. It houses the Venus Di Milo, the Nike of Samothrake, the Dying Slave by Michelangelo and of course Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. It was a whole day’s visit and I had not scanned through one tenth of the museum and thank goodness I rented the audio-visual guide it really was the best decision I made.
Paris is a city that must be experienced. There is everything for everyone, if you are a foodie, visit the city and relish in the French cuisine arguably one of the best in the world, they take their food as serious as they take their art. If you are a connoisseur of fine wine, then you should have visited Paris yesterday. If you are a lover of arts, need I say more.
I need to start planning my next trip and stop writing about Paris…Au revoir!
Mayokun Aduwo is an avid traveler and a full time HR professional with IBM and is based out of India. When she is not busy with corporate deadlines, she is busy exploring the world, literally. This is a personal account of her travel tales.