Visiting Paris is a cherished dream of every art and culture lovers. The romantic city with its design and architecture that reminisces the renaissance era has an everlasting appeal that draws tourists from all over the world.
Tourists come to this city and fall in love with it and face the basic questions – where to start, what to see, what to miss and where to end. Because Paris has so much to offer that no matter how long we stay, there’d always be something to regret about.
Paris is no such a place we get to visit very often. So, when we attempted to cover the best part of it in 3 days, needless to say that we had to leave the city with so many regrets – the regrets of missing some must visit places, the regret of visiting some not so interesting places and the regrets of not planning ahead. Let’s talk about them one by one:
#1 Missing the night view of/ from the Eiffel tower: Visiting Eiffel tower was a dream came true for us. The views from the top level (Sommet) were astounding. But when I happen to see the Eiffel tower at night from a distance, I knew I missed something. The tower looked marvelous with lights illuminating its entire structure. Unfortunately that was my last night and I wasn’t carrying a camera with me.
Visiting Eiffel tower during the day is a must as it will provide you with a panoramic view of the city. But, equally breathtaking is the night view of this city of lights. One must not also miss the view of the illuminating tower and capture it in frames.
#2 Visiting Louvre museum without proper study: Wish if I had known that Mona Lisa is not the only great work of Leonardo da Vinci! Wish if I had read about the works of Michelangelo and other great artists! Wish if I had read Dan Brown’s Da Vinci code before visiting the Louvre!
So, when I visited this world famous museum I directed myself towards the paining of Mona Lisa like the majority of the tourists. I spent around 3 hours in the museum among the world famous creations without appreciating and even knowing them. Louvre has actually so much to offer for the art enthusiasts that one must need some prior study about the museum before the visit to make full use of the opportunity.
#3 Attending a dull Lido dance show: We attended this show expecting to see something about French culture (that is what most of the tourist expect). On the venue we found about half of the audiences from our subcontinent. Staging a statue of Buddha at the centre, the performers dressed in a blend of Indian and western outfit, danced around it in a fusion of Indian and French style. In the end it was neither French nor Indian. It was simply uninteresting and ridicule of two great musical cultures. It would have been better to head for the famous opera house Palais Garnier instead. The reason – first it is one of the greatest designer buildings of Paris, even older than the Eiffel tower and second, you can expect to see something authentic in an opera house.
#4 Oh! The gardens, where are they: Not many people visit Paris because of its gardens. But leaving Paris without visiting its magnificent gardens will definitely leave you with some regrets.Tuileries Gardens or Jardin des Tuileries, as it is locally known, is a sixteen century royal garden located at the heart of Paris (near Louvre museum). The original design of the garden made by the renowned gardener of that time Andre Le Notre is still being kept intact. Jardin du Luxembourg is another such aristocratic garden frequented by tourists and a popular picnic spot. This 17th century park has beautiful lawns& flower beds, a pond known as grand basin, statues & monuments, fountains and so many things to keep one engaged for a day!
#5 The tour is incomplete without….:Notre Dame de Paris. This pre renaissance cathedral was built in the 13th century in French-Gothic architecture. Though it is one fourth of the height of the Eiffel tower, climbing up 387 steps to the top of its two towers and view Paris from the other side of the Seine is an experience to remember. Missing a visit to this architectural beauty is like missing a part of French history.
#6 Shop… till you realize it’s too late to stop: Shopping in the world’s fashion capital must be an indulgence. But it is for the rich and the famous, not for the tourists like us. I realized this after spending half a day of shopping. Nowadays the same brands are available all over the world with very small variations in price. So, why waste your precious time in the stores when you have lot more things to see and do. Pick a souvenir and head for a more fun activity like wine testing instead.
So, what we actually did there:
It was in fact a tight schedule with so many activities packed up in just 3 days. Yes, we did enjoy so many things. The cruise through the historic Seine River in the evening with light amber sunshine lighting up its banks with magnificent buildings and landmarks still lingers in mind. The panoramic view of the Paris from the sommet of Eiffel tower is unforgettable. We visited the Versailles Palace and listened to the story of French revolution from our guide. Visited the Disneyland and had the fun rides. But at the end, it was too hectic for us and we visited so many other attractions of Paris which I can’t properly remember!
So, if you are about to visit Paris for the first time, my advice would be to think and plan ahead. Do not put too many eggs in the basket as they might break down. Relax, taste the local food and wine, enjoy the local culture and visit the attractions at your own pace. However, the bottom-line remains that if you do not have a keen interest on art and culture, Paris will not be of much delight to you.