I finally came to Paris – the city of light, fashion, culture, romance and delicious kitchen. It is not only French, but true cosmopolitan capital. For decades it fascinated visitors with its sights and it still did not lose its fame. Millions of tourists make it year by year one of the most visited world destinations and now I was there too.
I wondered where to begin your walk through Paris? I thought that maybe it would be the best to begin with croissant and French breakfast in a café, with them the morning gets the real local feel. The best point from which I could start from is Ile de la Cité, an island on the river Seine on which Notre Dame de Paris, one of the main symbols of Paris, is located. A legend says that the bishop had a vision about the most beautiful city cathedral and that he drew it in the mud near the future building site, on a place where the old church was destroyed. Imaged and accomplished in the 12th century, this cathedral turned out to be a true gothic masterpiece. The towers were built in the 13th century and the cathedral was completely finished in the middle 14th century. During the history, it survived many adversities and revolutions when it was partly destroyed and robbed. In the 19th century began the restoration, mostly thanks to Victor Hugo who wanted for the world to see what a precious part of world cultural heritage is Notre Dame. The word about its beauty and unique sculptures spread quickly over the whole France, and it got its popularity mainly with Hugo’s novel “Hunchback of Notre Dame”. I saw 5 bells in the cathedral, one of them named Emmanuel which represents the biggest and heaviest bell in Notre Dame. It is 13 tons heavy and it is located in the South tower, while the other 4 are set in the North tower. The importance of Notre Dame for the city is also reflected with the Point zero, the main starting point from where all the distances of the roads in the city are measured and it is located on a square in front of the cathedral. Walking around I saw Sainte Chapelle, a wonderful church with blue arcs and colored stained glass which shows its splendor the best on a sunny day. There is a legend about this church too which says that this church was built in order to guard in it Christ’s crown of thorns and a part of the cross.
After crossing on the right bank of Seine, I reached the center Georges Pompidou, a building full of different colors and pipes that border out the main construction and that turned upside down the modern architecture. A bit further there was Palais Royal, a palace that today serves as one of the main French institutions, the Constitutional Council of France.
On the other side of the street is the Louvre, one of the biggest museums in the world. This was something I had to visit. More than 8 million people visit this outstanding museum each year and in it this museum is kept, probably the most controversial painting nowadays, Mona Lisa. History of the building begins in 12th century and the remains of that period can be seen even today. This building was upgraded, especially in the 14th and 16th century when it was the royal residence and I was eager to see Napoleon’s chambers which are opened for visitors. I entered the museum through one of the glass pyramids in the yard appointed in the 1980’s and 1990’s, which also became a trademark of the Louvre. The museum was officially opened in 1793, during the French Revolution and at the time it had about 700 artifacts. Today, it has so many artifacts (more than 380 000), that a part of them is transferred to the neighboring museum d’Orsay. I this astonishing museum I saw some of the world’s most popular arts of work such as Mona Lisa, The Virgin and Child with Saint John the Baptist, Van Gogh’s self-portrait, Moulin de la Galette, Liberty Leading the People, The Seated Scribe and many, many more.