Celebrated all over the world (including a cheesy reproduction in Las Vegas), Paris is one of the world's greatest cities. The top three travel wonders from among the Gallic treasures appear below. Start with Part One to get the entire story of Paris.
3. Notre Dame Cathedral
Immortalised in Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the cathedral is considered one of the finest Gothic buildings in the world. Providing a stunning vista of Paris from its twin towers, it is a masterpiece of balance and symmetry. Perched on an island in the Seine in the very centre of Paris (and the origins of Paris), its interior boasts three stunning stained-glass rose windows while an army of ghoulish gargoyles look down from above. A square in front of Notre Dame represents the “zero point” for road distances in France.
2. Eiffel Tower
One of the world’s most recognisable buildings and the icon of Paris, the Eiffel Tower provides a great view of Paris from its top floor. For some time, the tallest building in the world (displacing the largest of Egypt’s pyramids), it stands tall among the flat, consistent architecture of the Parisian centre (buildings are limited to 20 metres in height). It is set in a beautiful park area and is complemented by the statues and fountains of the Trocadéro Gardens.
A staggering collection of 35,000 art works, from Egyptian and Roman antiquities to the 1800s, is impossible to see or comprehend in one visit in this stunning building which moved from being the world's largest palace to the world's largest art museum. Running along the Seine for half a mile, a small brochure highlights the "must-see" items from among the multitude of rooms, including arguably the world's most famous painting in the Mona Lisa (La Gioconda) and the world's most famous sculpture in the Venus de Milo. The entrance is covered by a striking glass pyramid.
Also worth checking are Napoleon's over-the-top tomb in the Hotel des Invalides, the rococo wonder of the Opera Garnier (check the ceiling out), the magnificent Rodin Museum (including The Thinker), the eerie Catacombs and the ornate tombs of the famous at Père Lachaise Cemetery.
Whatever your favorite Parisian travel wonder, this is a city with something for everyone. Stellar food and drink in the character-filled cafes, a rich cultural history, identifiable monuments from many ages, fiercely proud people, chaotic traffic and this overwhelming feeling that you are wandering in a dream, Paris is a city you'll always want to return to. This top ten only touches on the many pleasures and travel wonders that Paris offers.
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