By Guest Blogger, Marie N.
Tips and Tricks for Discovering Paris
Paris is the beating heart of Western civilization. Some people would claim that this honor belongs to London, but one can easily argue that, while London is indeed the heart of industrialization, Paris is the cultural center whence the traditional Western culture had come. Today, it stands like a gaudy monument to the aesthetic and architectural achievements that can hardly be compared to anything, or, for that matter, anywhere in the world. Every cosmopolitan globe-trotting traveler should visit this city at least once, and here are tips and tricks for discovering Paris.
Know the broad strokes
The city of Paris boasts countless museums and cultural hotspots, but it is the very city, the endless, intricate cobweb of streets, that represents the historical museum in and of itself. The city on the river Seine is, roughly speaking, divided into two gargantuan zones – Rive Gauche and Rive Droite, each beginning on the banks of this magnificent river and extending seemingly endlessly into the urban mist. The Right Bank, north of the river, used to be a zone reserved for aristocrats, while the left bank represents the Parisian heart of bohemia, where students and struggling artists used to dwell.
Today, the northern side is home to luxury shopping, alluring ateliers of artists and a melting pot of multicultural communities. Of course, it is not as simple as it used to be – the city has become appropriately larger over the centuries, so it is divided into roughly 20 neighborhoods that, once you look at the layout from a bird’s perspective, spiral clockwise. Curiously enough, this makes the shape of the city resemble a snail shell.
Sort out the priorities
As a newcomer to Paris, you definitely need to sort out your priorities when it comes to the landmarks you need to see. Now, before you even look at the map of the city and start deciding on where to go first, there are several attractions that should definitely top your list – the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame de Paris, The Louvre Museum, and the Champs-Élysées. After you see these four legendary locations/landmarks, your next set of destinations can be completely arbitrary and they are left to your imagination.
Introduce a comprehensive structure to your visit
The Paris is simply too big, overwhelming and rich in all things beautiful to be savored during a single visit. Without a proper touring “structure” to your visit, you’ll likely end up engulfed in chaos of uneven days. This is why it is absolutely crucial to introduce a comprehensive structure to your touring – which is why reliable and affordable Paris tours are so helpful.
Walk around your neighborhood
Depending on where you are situated during your stay, the exploration and discovery of interesting places in your neighborhood can prove to be a truly surprising and delightful endeavor. Remember, there is hardly a single corner of Paris that doesn’t offer something utterly charming or interesting. Have a long walk around your neighborhood and see what surprises come your way.
Rely on alternative sources of inspiration
We live in a time when the only thing that separates us from endless information is the tips of our fingertips. Use your digital device and a local Wi-Fi access to cross-reference the matters that interest you with your immediate environment to find exactly what you want to see. There are countless alternate sources of inspiration that can turn your visit into a magical experience. For example, you can dig through Instagram accounts to discover Paris.
You can also direct your attention to numerous neat online guides to discover the best Paris has to offer without going through the hassle of listening to tour guides that are embroiled in a shouting contest with the traffic.
It is not a surprise to anyone that, once they set foot on the busy street of Paris, they find out how packed with tourists its sidewalks are. The city is a destination where rivers of people from every corner of the world coalesce and create a vibrant urban landscape that can only be rivaled by the streets of New York City and Hong Kong.
This is why a visit to its most legendary hotspots can be in equal measure mesmerizing and overwhelming, but if you feel as if the influx of impressions is overloading you, remember to turn around the less frequented corner and enter the rustic and idyllic alleyway that appears to be from a different place altogether. The city of Paris is filled with little oases of comfort and tranquility – you only need to seek them out, tips and tricks not needed.
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