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Hi, I'm Barbara!

I'm passionate about travel. Here I document my adventures, provide helpful tips for how to plan your dream vacation, and offer insights from my 30+ years as a professional travel agent.

Bab’s Guide to Paris: Crème de la Crème

Bab’s Guide to Paris: Crème de la Crème

Today I'm launching a special edition series that will give you a quick and easy breakdown of the most important sights to see and things to do in my favorite cities. You can expect some historical information, some modern travel tips, locals-only insider info, and more!

Parisian Origins

Paris was originally called Lutetia. The Celtic people, who were called Parisii, were originally settled on the Ile de la Cite, a natural island on the Seine. In 360 AD, the name was changed and renamed after the Parisii people.

Paris is called La Ville Lumiere, or the City of Lights. This is because Paris was the first city to have gas street lights. When the lights were illuminated, it was one of the most exquisite views people had ever seen. Paris is still considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world to this day.

The oldest bridge in Paris is called Pont Neuf – meaning New Bridge. It dates back to 1604. There are a total of 37 bridges in the entire city of Paris!

City Must-Sees

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There are five Statues of Liberty in Paris with one that faces her sister in America standing in New York Harbor.

The most visited monument in the City of Lights is not the Eiffel Tower – it’s actually the Notre Dame Cathedral!

The Catacombs are underground tunnels beneath the city streets. One of the tunnels you will definitely want to see starts at the Champs-Élysées and leads to the Arc de Triomphe.
Insider tip: you should use this tunnel instead of trying to cross the boulevard!

Outside of Central Paris is the Père Lachaise Cemetery. It is one of the most visited cemeteries, containing the graves of Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, Chopin and countless other famous names.

Little Known Facts

The Eiffel Tower was only supposed to be a 20-year-long exhibit. It was originally built for the 1889 World’s Fair, but became the symbol of Paris and has been so ever since.

There are 1665 steps to reach the summit of the Tower. There is an elevator to bring you to the second level, allowing you to save some time (and breath!) and reach the summit after visiting the lower level first.

The metro system in Paris does not have automated doors. Passengers must manually open and close the doors to the train cars.

Most people are unaware of a hidden elevator that will take you to the very top of the Arc de Triomphe. Look for it in the hidden steps under the arch at street level.

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Museum Fever

The Louvre

This is the largest art museum in the world. It was originally built in the 12th Century as a palace for Phillip II, and is now the permanent home of some of the most well-known pieces of art and history. Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and John the Baptist, Vermeer’s The Lacemaker, and Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People are just a taste of what awaits visitors.

Musée d’Orsay

This railway-station-turned-museum contains a vast collection of Impressionist paintings. Among these are Vincent van Gogh’s self-portrait and Starry Night; James Abbott McNeill’s Whistler’s Mother; The Ballet Class by Degas; and Renoir’s Bal du Moulin de la Galette.

Musée de l’Orangerie

Here you’ll find one of Monet’s most well-known works, Water Lilies.

Musée Rodin is dedicated to the works of French sculptor, Auguste Rodin. Among the most iconic pieces housed here are The Thinker and The Gates of Hell.

Musée d'Art et d'Histoire de Judaisme is home to the largest collection of Jewish art and history in France.  

Centre Georges Pompidou is where the Musée National d'Art Moderne is located. This is the single largest museum of modern art in Europe.

Musée National Picasso is solely dedicated to showcasing all the various pieces of artwork created by Spanish artist, Pablo Picasso.

Planning Your Excursion to the City of Love

Whether you want to experience Paris the way Parisians do, or you want a jam-packed tourist extravaganza, there's no better way to ensure you get to see and do everything your heart desires than to work with a travel agent. Luckily for you, Paris is one of my specialities! Call me at 770-740-9099 or email me at bdiener@cruiseplanners.com today to start planning your Parisian affair! 

Bab's Guide to London: It's a British Thing!

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