Some of the world's most famous women reside in this one-time royal palace in Paris. But you'll have to fight the crowds to see them. The Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo are just 2 of more than a million masterworks that form the collection at the Louvre, one of the earth's grandest art museums. With its modern, glass, pyramid-shaped entrance by I.M Pei, the Louvre borders the River Seine.
On the right bank of the River Seine, Paris’s Louvre Museum was actually once a royal palace, and before that, a fortress meant to protect against marauding Vikings in the 12th century. It became a museum in 1793. Even if you aren’t a museum-goer, you owe it to yourself to see the world’s most famous work of art, Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa,” housed here.
Make your triumphant entrance into the City of Light when you visit the Arc de Triomphe, one of Paris’s most impressive landmarks. Built to commemorate the casualties of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, it will leave you equal parts somber and joyful. From there, who knows where Paris might take you?
Take a shopping tour of Paris.
What’s not to love about Paris in the spring? Chasing away the grays of winter, the City of Light is blanketed with shades of pink and purple as trees and gardens bloom anew. Sidewalk cafés bustle, the banks of the Seine teem with Parisians out for a strolls and even the Eiffel Tower looks refreshed. Pack a picnic lunch with savories from an open-air market and find a spot in one of Paris’s many parks to enjoy. Romance is in the air!
One of Europe’s first examples of urban planning, the “Place Royale” was one of the continent’s first residential squares and the oldest in Paris. Stroll in and out of the shops and cafes that line the quiet arcades around the central Louis XIII Square, or take a detour by house 6, where Victor Hugo, author of The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Miserables, once lived; today, the apartment is a museum where you can view Hugo’s books, drawings and more. Fun fact: The square was once a frequent location for duels!
Journey to Place de la Bastille in the heart of Paris, and you’ll find yourself in the shadow of history. It was here that the notorious Bastille fortress -- used by many kings of France as a prison -- refused to cede power. But on the fateful day of July 14, 1789, it was stormed by a mutinous crowd, triggering the French Revolution. Feel that spirit of liberté, egalité, fraternité as you walk the square, brimming with a colorful scene of open-air markets, a marina filled with lounging seafarers and the July Column-- a monument that stands in remembrance of a later call for liberty.
It used to be the Ponts des Art, which crosses the Seine and links the Louvre on the Right Bank with the Institut de France on the Left, was like a gallery, portraying bona fide works by up-and-coming artists. Somewhere along the way, though, Cupid called: Overnight, this comparatively modern bridge became a pilgrimage for paramours. Today, find it barnacled with padlocks, inscribed with the initials of wistful lovers. A trend for the ardent, couples in love can affix their lock, throw the key into the river … and seal their deed with a kiss.
Enjoy one of Paris’ most scenic nighttime walks -- a stroll from Les Invalides over the Pont Alexandre III bridge. Start in the city’s 7th arrondissement, where by day you can explore Les Invalides, a neighborhood home to a host of military and historic museums and monuments dedicated to France’s military history. As the sun sets, stroll over the Pont Alexandre III bridge and marvel at the grand design of the single steel arch, adorned with ornate lamps, cherubs, nymphs and winged horses. The bridge may even look familiar, having been used as a backdrop in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris and Adele’s “Someone Like You” video.
Parisiens like to promenade at the end of a day, unwind with friends or family with an appetite piquing stroll, good conversation, deep thoughts, a bit of fresh air, and, of course, a spectacular view. As if part of a scene from a postcard, people from the City of Lights appear around dusk along the walkways of the River Seine. Overlooked by the Notre Dame, as city walks go, they don’t get much more inspiring.