“[Paris] changes faster, alas, than a mortal’s heart”- Charles Baudelaire
Happy Valentines Day! On this day of romance, where better to venture to than Paris, the city of love?
There are several reasons that people consider Paris to be the city of love. Many attribute this name to its amazing architecture, fountains, flowers, art, etc, but the real reason goes back over 200 years. When our great-grandparents wanted to go to Europe, the easiest place to visit that did not speak English was Paris. Additionally, French is one of several languages including Spanish and Italian that are known as “Romance” languages and are descendants from the Latin language.
Paris itself has an interesting history as it has been home to several wars and revolutions. Paris was founded around 250 B.C. by a Celtic Tribe known as the Parisii. It was eventually taken under control by the Romans and expanded considerably as a result.
As a monarchy, Paris saw several large and influential royal dynasties including the Capetians, Valois and the Bourbons. Perhaps the most famous King, however is Louis XIV who ruled as an absolutist, meaning that he had absolute control. Louis XIV made a lasting imprint on Paris with the construction of his Palace at Versaille.
Paris also has stunning architecture. Two prime examples are the Eiffel Tower and the Lourve Museum. The Eiffel Tower, locateed on the Champ de Mars, was built in 1889 and has become a global icon. Originally built as the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair, it stands 1,063 ft. tall. As for the Musée du Louvre, it is the most visited art museum in the world. The museum, which opened in 1793, holds Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and is built out of a Glass Pyramid.
Paris, the city of love, has a very interesting history, but it also has something for everyone. Enjoy the following profile, and let me know what you think.
Nickname: The City of Love
1. Eiffel Tower – Go at night for dazzling light displays and for smaller crowds. The global icon of Paris is one that you will not want to miss on your trip to the city of Romance.
2. Musée du Louvre – Whether or not you go into the museum, the glass pyramid is the real attraction. A true feat of architecture, the pyramid sits atop the museum. If the lines aren’t too long for you, however, you should venture into the the museum, which holds masterpieces such as the Mona Lisa. Before you go, read Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code so you can trace Robert Langdon’s path through the museum.
3. Père-Lachaise Cemetery – The largest cemetary in the world is also the most visited, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors a year. The cemetery offers visits to graves of those who have influenced Paris’ history and is home to three WWI memorials. Don’t be creeped out by the idea of visiting a cemetery, this one is home to beautiful nature trails, flowers and stone statues.
1. Have good manners – “A polite formality governs daily life in Paris. Say “bonjour” (good day), “merci” (thank you) and “au revoir” (farewell) even when buying bread. Address strangers (including waiters) as “monsieur” or “madame.” Shake hands when introduced to someone. Parisians do les bises (one, sometimes two, kisses on each cheek) when meeting people they know; it’s a bit of a faux pas to try that with people you have just met, unless they kiss first—just follow their lead.”
2. Dress Code – “You’ll be surprised at how casually (though stylishly) most Parisians dress, but you’ll need a suit and tie for some of the more upscale restaurants.”
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