PARIS PLANNER DAY 1/2

Explore Paris with insight recommendations by the editor and co-founder of NOMADSofORIGIN Magazine. From the Louvre to Tour Eiffel, this is your best-route itinerary for a weekend getaway to the French capital

Words: Aleksandra Georgieva

16 February 2020

“Paris is always a good idea.” -Audrey Hepburn

 

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Art masterpieces, romance and one-of-a-kind architecture guard the vibrant streets of Paris. Classic and contemporary aspects of life complete each other in almost everything the city indulges. From its renowned food scene to the unique museums, exquisite boutiques, lively boulevards and iconic sightseeing treasures a trip to Paris can keep you occupied.

Margaret Anderson, an American art and literary editor, once described Paris as the city where everyone loves to live. “Sometimes I think this is because it is the only city in the world where you can step out of a railway station—the Gare D'Orsay—and see, simultaneously, the chief enchantments: the Seine with its bridges and bookstalls, the Louvre, Notre Dame, the Tuileries Gardens, the Place de la Concorde, the beginning of the Champs Elysees—nearly everything except the Luxembourg Gardens and the Palais Royal. But what other city offers as much as you leave a train?”

 

One of NOMADSofORIGIN Magazine’s editors visited the French capital city to give you insight tips on creating a travel itinerary. This is our guide to exploring Paris to the fullest in a couple of days.

Paris, France. Photography: AC Almelor

If you are planning a Paris vacation in advance, chances are you’d have the Louvre somewhere at the top of your list. Unfortunately, you’d be far from the only one sharing the same agenda. Each year around 90 million people arrive at the French capital to visit the same hot-spot tourist locations and the queues alone can steal over half the time of your precious getaway.

 

Take your time to admire the glass shine of the Louvre Pyramid. Notice the complexity of the design and the surrounding museum building, which seemingly guards the courtyard at the Louvre Palace. There widows treasure art masterpieces by some of history’s most renowned sculptors, painters and artists. Let that thought sink in for a bit before you keep on exploring the City of Romance.

 

North of the Louvre is the Palais Royal, built as a residence for Cardinal Richelieu. The peaceful gardens offer visitors a sense of tranquillity amid the busy cosmopolitan capital, but if your time in Paris is limited, we recommend you skip straight to the Tuileries Garden. It is located between the Louvre Museum and the Place de la Concorde public square.

The Louvre for example dedicates an entire room to Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa alone. Yet, museum visitors often leave without having had the chance to go past the crowd and witness the painting up close. Here is an insight tip to avoiding the hours-long queues and crowds: city events. Marathons, cycling races and pretty much any similar out-of-the-ordinary dates or celebrations are your new best friend. Not only do such events gather the locals, but they also attract Paris visitors, giving you a green light to entering some of the most popular museums, art galleries and exhibitions not only in Paris, but in the world.

Take your time to admire the glass shine of the Louvre Pyramid. Notice the complexity of the design and the surrounding museum building, which seemingly guards the courtyard at the Louvre Palace. There widows treasure art masterpieces by some of history’s most renowned sculptors, painters and artists. Let that thought sink in for a bit before you keep on exploring the City of Romance.

 

North of the Louvre is the Palais Royal, built as a residence for Cardinal Richelieu. The peaceful gardens offer visitors a sense of tranquillity amid the busy cosmopolitan capital, but if your time in Paris is limited, we recommend you skip straight to the Tuileries Garden. It is located between the Louvre Museum and the Place de la Concorde public square.

Image by Serge Kutuzov

Louvre, Paris, France. Photography: Serge Kutuzov

The construction of the Tuileries Palace began in 1564 by commission of Catherine de Medici. In the vast gardens, known as Jardin des Tuileries, she welcomed the high society for soirees.  The gardens were abandoned when the French court was moved to the Château de Versailles. Napoleón made the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel a connection point to the Tuileries Garden and the Louvre. Today the walk past the sculptures, fountains and the enclosed Tuileries Palace walls is among the most adored activities by tourists and Parisians alike. The tree-lined avenue is a must-see in a lifetime and ORIGIN Magazine’s highly recommended French destination to visit.

 

The next stop in your trip will be right before your eyes as the Tuileries Garden leads straight to the second largest public square in Paris. Place de la Concorde withstood some turbulent times throughout history. It was designed between 1757 and 1779 and named Place Louis XV, celebrating the king’s health. During the French Revolution, the name was changed to Place de la Révolution, and the location served for public beheadings by guillotine of over 1,200 citizens, among which were King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette.

 

Today Place de la Concorde is the home to the giant 3,000-years-old Egyptian obelisk from Luxor, which pops up in every tourist Paris-to-do search. The obelisk was offered by the Khedive of Egypt and placed at the centre of Place de la Concorde during its renovation (between 1836 and 1840). Visitors of the square can also admire Rome-influenced fountains and the Crillon – one of the oldest and most elegant Paris hotels. What Place de la Concorde is truly unique for is the view it offers. From one side you can see the Tuileries Garden and the Louvre in the background, while the opposite direction overlooks Champs-Élysées and Arc de Triomphe.

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Champs Élysées, Paris, France. Photography: Melanie Pongratz

L'Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile, Paris, Fr

L'Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile, Paris, France. Photography: Emily Bentley

The centre of Paris is known for offering visitors walking distance sightseeing locations with beautiful scenery and architecture along the entire way. Champs-Élysées is one of the most famous commercial streets in the world. The 1.9 km (1.2 miles) long avenue connects Place de la Concorde with Arc de Triomphe. Champs-Élysées was created in 1640 as a tree-lined avenue, translating from Greek mythology to “Elysian Fields” – resting place of Greek gods. After renovations and extensions, today Champs-Élysées is globally renowned for its high-end stores, chic cafés, cinemas, elegant restaurants and glorious offices.

 

The Arc de Triomphe is situated at the higher part of Champs-Élysées. Napoleon commissioned its construction in 1806 to celebrate the victories of the French army under his rule. One of the most emblematic symbols of Paris, the monument took 30 years to build, standing at 50 metres height and 45 metres width. The Roman-inspired Arc de Triomphe is two-century-old. It survived past the victory parades celebrating the end of both World Wars in 1919 and 1944 respectively. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier lays at the base of the Arc, representing the loss of French soldiers during World War I. Those, who decide to take the 286 steps to the top will find themselves a view of the connection point of Paris’ twelve avenues in one spot – Place Charles de Gaulle.

 

If you had followed the Paris trip planner so far, chances are the day is slowly turning into night. Exploring the small streets and hidden alleys from the Arc de Triomphe will take you to the most-visited attraction in the world with over 7 million visitors a year.

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France, ORIGIN MAGA

The 324m. tall Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel) was built in 1889 as designs were approved by architect and engineer Gustave Eiffel. While you may be tempted to visit the monument during the day, but if you are on a tight schedule, we highly recommend going past dawn. The shining lights illuminating the night as the tower raises above you will add a special, almost magical, sense of romance to your evening. This is also among the best times to go up the tower. Buy tickets online to avoid queues and keep in mind that although the stairs admission ticket is cheaper, if you do not take the lift, you can reach only to the second floor of the otherwise 1,665 steps to the top. A little-known fact is that during World War I the radiotelegraphy centre of the tower was used for intercepting enemy messages.

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France. Photography: Paul Gaudriault

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