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Paris

Thursday, October 9, 2008
Paris, France's capital city, is on the River Seine in the country's north. It is a city that stimulates the senses and is the essence of all things French. It has wonderful wide boulevards, grand monuments, great works of art and at night, lights give it a magical look. Paris has over 30 million visitors a year.

In a city of outstanding attractions, the Arc de Triomphe stands out. It in the centre of Place Charles de Gaulle (also known as Place de l'Étoile) at the western end of the equally famous Champs-Élysées. The triumphal arch honours those who fought for France, particularly during the Napoleonic wars. Inside and on the top of the arc are the names of generals and wars, and underneath is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. From the top, more than 50 metres from the ground, you can contemplate Parisian life and the city's world-famous architecture.

The Eiffel Tower is one of the world's most recognisable structures. The iron construction is the tallest building in Paris and has had more than 200 million visitors since it opened in 1889. From then until 1930 it was the world's tallest tower, until the Chrysler Building in New York temporarily took that title.

In 1957 an antenna was added making it about 320m and recent work done to the antenna has it standing at precisely 324m. The first floor is at 57.63m, the second floor is at 115.75m and the third floor is at 276.13m. There are 1665 steps and two elevators are there if you don't fancy tackling the stairs!

One of the great attractions of Paris is its food and wine and every neighbourhood has weekly produce markets with an astounding array of fruit, vegetables, cheese, poultry, meat, fish and non-food items. It's almost a necessity to visit one to get a peek at local daily life. Every day there is one operating somewhere in the city.

Batignolles Market in the 17th arrondissement opens every Saturday and specialises in natural and organic foods. You can buy the most delicious picnic lunch to enjoy in one of the many parks. If you adore cheese, the choice is staggering. Not all about food, there are vendors selling clothing, wine, and if you fancy, mare's milk.

Once you've tasted a true French crêpe, there is no looking back. They originated in Brittany in France's north-west, but crêperies are found throughout the country. Depending upon your mood, you can choose sweet or savoury — or maybe both!

The enticing aroma of batter on hot griddles is everywhere in Paris, particularly in the 14th arrondissement. Ingredients are endless — salty Breton butter, Swiss cheese, ham, mushrooms, béchamel, apple, cream, ice-cream and thick, rich chocolate. Not all on the one crêpe mind you!

Paris wears the uncontested crown of Fashion Capital of the World. Whether it's clothing, leather ware, jewellery, accessories or cosmetics, no-one comes within cooee.

The Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré is a relatively narrow street and is one of the most fashionable streets in the world. Virtually every major global fashion house has a presence there and it simply oozes style.

Successful Western Australian designer Michelle Jank calls Paris home and is pinching herself that she is selling her third season in Paris. Michelle began drawing before she could walk and always showed a deep interest in fashion and drawing. She has been a model, as designs jewellery and clothing sought after by fashion-savvy clients, including Cate Blanchett. In her spare time in Paris, Michelle loves nothing more than visiting boutiques, jewellery stores, perfumeries and lingerie outlets.

Paris by night is truly fabulous. Lighting makes the most of everything you have seen by day, and a night cruise along the Seine is surely the icing on the gateau.

Location

Paris, the romantic capital of France.

Cost

Trafalgar Tours has nine-day Paris and Provence tours starting at $2676 per person twin share. Airport transfers, accommodation, coach transport, breakfast and farewell dinner included.

Paris Visite is an excellent way to discover the city and avoid queues. Passes can be purchased in advance and are on sale at all metro, RER and SNCF stations, the Orly and Charles de Gaulle airports, in some Parisian hotels, and from many tour operators abroad. They can be valid for one, two, three or five days for zones of your choice. For zones one to three they cost around $8.50 for one day, $14 for two, $19 for three and $27.50 for five. For zones one to six they are around $18 for one day, $27.50 for two, $38.50 for three and $47 for five.

Emirates has flights to Paris.

Fares from:

  • Perth $2040
  • Melbourne $2267
  • Brisbane $2277
  • Sydney $2285
  • Adelaide $2908

Valid for sale until November 15, 2008 for travel until February 28, 2009. Conditions apply.

Prices correct at October 9, 2008.

For further information

Trafalgar Tours
www.trafalgartours.com
or see your local travel agent

French Tourist Bureau
Level 13, 25 Bligh Street
Sydney 2000
Ph: (02) 9231 5244
www.franceguide.com

Emirates
Ph: 1300 303 777
www.emirates.com

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