There’s no better place to start reliving the early history of Paris than by visiting the events which occurred at the Seine River, one of the most beautiful and important spots in the “City of Lights”. This body of water was – and is still now considered to be the lifeblood of the city.
Life in Paris used to be confined to a small island in the Seine River which was called the Ile de la Cité. With the Cathedral Notre-Dame de Paris and the Palais Royale, the Ile de la Cité was considered to be the religious and political center of France during those days.
2,000 Years Ago: A Look Back at the Early History of Paris
Did you know that the history of Paris spans more than two centuries? During ancient times, the Paris that we know of today is called Lutetia or Lutece. It was during this time that the city was conquered by Julius Caesar. Again, Lutetia was considered to be the region’s center under the Roman rule – which lasted well into the Middle Ages.
It was during the Middle Ages that the history of Paris really took shape. Aside from being a religious and political center, the building of the Sorbonne University leads to the city earning another tag: as being an intellectual hub.
In the middle of the 1300s, its people or the Parisians declared themselves independent with the leadership of Etienne Marcel.
From the late 1700s to the late 1800s, the city played host to some of the key actions of the Parisian people. First, there was the storming of the Bastille in 1789. The second was the revolutions that occurred during 1830 and 1848.
Then in 1871, Paris was under siege for four months during the Franco-Prussian War until the country of France surrendered.
The city was given a brief respite when the Germans were prevented from reaching Paris during the First World War – but they did manage to occupy the city during the Second World War from 1940 to 1944.
So when exactly did Paris flourish to be the artistic and unique tourist’s dream spot that it is today? It was during the La belle époque period when music, fashion and the arts in the city thrived.
Today, about 6 million tourists flock to see the Eiffel Tower on an annual basis. When you combine this figure with the other tourist spots which attract visitors to Paris from all parts of the world, it is no wonder why “The City of Lights” has become a unique, and charming vacation destination that is full of history at the same time. The colorful early history of Paris makes the city one of the most interesting capitals in Europe.
If you really want to get to know the French capital, you should spend a week in Paris. You could choose to experience Paris in style. But while that is an option, staying in Paris apartments could also save you money. It may even make your Paris travel more memorable.
Surely the days would be filled with visits to the museums and lunch among the popular restaurants in the city. But for a week in Paris, you might also want to drop by old and yet charming cafés for breakfast or just for coffee.
7 Days in Paris
If you are going to spend a week touring Paris, remember to bring a good pair of walking shoes and enough clothes appropriate for the weather. And for unlimited access to public transport, consider buying the Paris Visite transport pass. This will come in handy as you travel from one part of Paris to the next.
You should also get a Paris Museum Pass. This pass will get you in the Louvre, the Museum of Modern Art, the Musee d’Orsay and all the other major museums during your Paris travel. And of course, anywhere you go a map of the city would always come in handy.
You could start your day with breakfast at the Le Mouffetard where pastries and sweet bread is something you should have while in Paris. You may also enjoy eating at the Le Pain Quotidien where you either enjoy freshly baked Belgian goods baked at their tearoom or order to go.
Having a full stomach, you could explore this part of Paris. If you just continue walking down the road of Rue Mouffetard, you will see the busy Paris markets. You will also observe that you will now be in the middle of the university and the academe life of Paris.
In the marketplace, you would observe the small stores of wine, cheese, and other specialty products. All around you are the courtyards and the passageways.
If you’ve got your map you would easily find the Pantheon, a place where great French thinkers used to hang out. From there you would be able to see the Eiffel Tower and the Luxemburg Gardens.
Then you could also visit the Sorbonne University. It would only take a few minutes walk and you will be at one of the oldest universities in Europe. Around it, you could explore the old and small bookstores and Paris movie theaters.
You could finish the rest of the day at the same pace and continue touring the city the rest of your Paris travel. There are yet more sights to see. So, just enjoy them and feel the life in your week in Paris.
Paris is one of the most exciting cities. It’s certainly one of the most romantic cities in the world. That’s why people go there to visit and even to fall in love again. More than just the romance, there is a lot to see in Paris. Even a weekend in Paris weekend would get you to many places. You should plan your Paris weekend before you get there though.
Book at a hotel where the action is. If your passion is fashion, book with Astor Saint Honore Hotel where Champs Elysees is just walking distance. Holiday Inn Paris Republique is also within the area of the beautiful sights.
THE TWO DAYS TOUR
Two days would be enough to tour both sides of Paris. One thing you should not forget to bring is a map of the city.
You can easily navigate Paris either by public transport or even on foot. You could start your Paris weekend from the most popular choice, the Eiffel Tower. You could go to the top whether day or night and see all sides of Paris.
Then, perhaps you’d enjoy Arc de Triomphe just as much, where you would get history and nature altogether. You would get another view of Paris from Champs Elysees to various important spots in Paris.
Spending a weekend in Paris would not be complete without shopping. Going to Champs Elysees would certainly be a treat with all the Paris fashion houses, shops, and cafes located right at the heart of the boulevard.
If you are a fan of Picasso or if you just love to see art, you would certainly see his works to your heart’s content at the Musee National Picasso. If you go to the Hotel Sale where this museum is you will see not just his works but his collection of the works of Rousseau and Cezanne.
If you truly love the arts, you should not miss this opportunity to visit the Musee de Louvre. The architecture itself is a site to examine. And more than anything, you should take note of the fact that it hosts The Mona Lisa.
Going the Opera Garnier should be listed in your itinerary if you want a true Paris performing arts experience. The venue by itself is something you should see. But if you plan to watch the opera, you should make reservations well in advance.
Of course, if the family wants a more contemporary weekend in Paris, you cannot go wrong with Disneyland Paris. You and your family would enjoy the various theme parks and the rides there.