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David in Paris
David in Paris
The colourful district of Montmarte
Forever the city of love
David in Paris

David in Paris

Thursday, July 29, 2004
The heart of love, the tender kiss and the Eiffel Tower all add up to the city of romance. Yes, you will fall in love with Paris.

Paris has been written and talked about so much it almost teases people to find something new to say about it. Paris has possibly more landmarks than any other city in the world — Notre Dame, the Eiffel tower, the Champs-Elysses, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, the Seine, the Left and Right Banks and countless others. A visit of one or two days would not even whet most appetites. It is a city which demands time.

In his recollections of Paris in the early 1920s, Ernest Hemingway wrote, "if you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast".

Paris is divided into 20 arondissements which spiral out from the centre of the city.

When the Eiffel Tower was proposed for the 1889 World Fair, Paris' artistic and literary elite vehemently opposed it. However, the 320-metre tower was eventually built — and was then almost ripped down in 1909. However, the beauty of its construction soon captured the hearts of Parisians and it's now impossible to picture the city without it.

Montmartre is on a hill 130 metres above Paris and grandly takes in all the city. It was a centre of activity during the 1871 Paris Commune and at the end of the 19th century became the centre of artistic life. The bohemian area attracted artists such as Berlioz, Utrillo and Picasso, who lived, worked and played there until after WWI, when it all moved to Montparnasse.

The Lapin Agile was a favoured gathering place for artisans and also attracted pimps, eccentrics, down-and-outs, students from the Latin Quarter, anarchists and the inquisitive bourgeois.

Many still visit Lapin Agile and sit at wooden tables which have been carved with initials over many decades. A modern-day Montmartre attraction is the 40-square-metre le mur des "je t'aime" ("wall of 'I love you'"). The 511 tiles have "I love you" written more than a thousand times in 300 languages. It is a symbol of peace and love.

Luxembourg Gardens is a wonderful 25-hectare oasis on Paris' Left Bank. It has flowers and fountains, chess and tennis, children's attractions and lots of lovers. The 17th-century palace was built for Queen Marie de Medici, modelled on Palazzo Pitti in her native Florence.

Lo Sushi Pont Neuf is the place for those looking for love. Apart from serving delicious meals in a fun setting, there are 62 computers installed around a rotating sushi bar. You can log on, eat, check the weather and e-mail other people in the restaurant with the possibility of arranging a meeting.

Every Friday night (except when the roads are wet), the city comes alive with thousands of Parisians on rollerblades. They follow a 25km circuit, which changes every week, in a good-humoured atmosphere. They even have a police escort to stop traffic!

Pari Roller is a non-profit organisation promoting roller skating as a leisure activity, sport or means of transportation. It is free and open to anyone who can control their speed.

One of the latest trends in Paris is a massage with your meal. No Stress Café arranges 15 minutes of tableside shiatsu treatments in a casual bistro atmosphere.

To look down on all of this from above, visit Parc Andre Citröen and board the world's largest tethered balloon. The Eutelsat balloon lifts passengers 150 metres for a view from a unique angle.

Invest 40 centimes in the events magazine Pariscope and be daunted by the thousands of offerings of entertainment. Check the ones marked libre (free) and just turn up. Passionate volunteers run the venues and it is a good idea to come early (and leave a little tip in the basket as you leave).


Paris, city of light and capital of France


CIT World Travel Group offers a range of accommodation in Paris, starting at $150 a couple a night. Three-hour Paris Express sightseeing tours start at around $49 per person.
Qantas flies three times a week to Paris, starting at $1786 from Perth, $1919 from Adelaide, $1932 from Darwin, $1984 from Sydney, $1963 from Melbourne and $1977 from Brisbane, per person. Prices include charges/taxes and are current at time of writing but may vary at time of booking. Seasonal surcharges and conditions apply.

More information

CIT World Travel Group
Ph: 1300 36 1500

The Wall of "I Love You"
Square Jehan Rictus
Place des Abbesses
75018 Paris

No Stress Café
2 Place Gustave Toudouze
75009 Paris
Ph: 33 1 48 78 0027

Lo Sushi Pont Neuf
1 rue du Pont Neuf
Ph: 33 1 42 33 0909

Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau

French Tourist Bureau
25 Bligh Street
Sydney 2000
Ph: (02) 9231 5244

Qantas: 13 13 13

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