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Travel adventures: Paris, from arc to tower

On November 30, 2020

BY SARA MITRAKOVIC / VN STAFF WRITER

People dream of going to Paris, the famous City of Love.

After being there twice, I’m still not sure about that nickname.

My parents took me there when I was 3 years old. The two highlights were going to the top of the Eiffel Tower and visiting Disneyland.

A few years ago, my aunt got married and moved to Paris.

My younger sister was up for the adventure, so I bought us plane tickets and we were on our way to visit our aunt and our new cousin, who turned 2 before our visit.

It was the end of July 2019 and that summer was one of the hottest ever.

One of the popular stereotypes about Paris is that this city differs from any other city in France.

People in Paris act differently, and the fact that it is a major European city and a global center for art, fashion, gastronomy and culture definitely affects peoples’ perspectives on it.

Apart from Paris, I’ve only been to one other city in France and that is Marseille. From the past experience, I can say that the two cities have totally different vibes.

My sister and I were using the train as our main source of transportation.

Paris might seem like a huge city, but you can really see the most iconic landmarks in just a couple of days while experiencing the city’s energy on foot.

We don’t have Starbucks in Slovenia, where I live, so when my sister saw Starbucks in Paris, just across the street from the well-known Moulin Rouge, we had to stop and buy something.

French people are not great at speaking English. It is, in fact, very likely that there will be some challenges in communication if you don’t know any French at all.

Much to our surprise, an employee at Starbucks was very good at English and the three of us ended up taking a selfie to remember this fun moment.

Usually the first thing people imagine when someone says “Paris” is the Eiffel Tower.

I personally don’t find the structure as exciting as the story about it.

Constructed for the 1889 World’s Fair, the Eiffel Tower was originally built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution.

However, a vocal group of Parisians insisted the structure not be built, calling it a “useless and monstrous” eyesore that would taint Paris forever.

Of course, the tower turned out to be the most-visited paid-admission monument in the world with millions of people ascending it most years.

The downside is that it is costly to ascend, and the waiting time is usually at least a few hours.  

If you are at the Eiffel Tower, this landmark won’t be part of your view of the city.

This is why I would recommend walking to the Arc de Triomphe from which you can get a much better 360-degree view of Paris, including the Eiffel Tower.

Our favorite couple of hours in Paris were, without a doubt, sitting on the steps of Montmartre, listening to the street musicians while everyone else joined in singing.

Paris is a crazy busy city. Owning a car almost doesn’t make sense because the traffic is always dense, parking is hard to find and expensive and it takes forever to get from one part of the city to another.

And just when you think you’ve seen the city in its full power, there’s a whole other experience that comes after the sun sets.

Nightlife in Paris reminded me of Las Vegas, especially at the red-light district.

A great thing to take advantage of at dark, though, is Trocadero Square.

It is a gathering spot for street artists who bring the area to life at night.

From Trocadero Square, you can see the Eiffel Tower sparkling every full hour, starting at sundown with the last “show” at 1 a.m.

Paris is an expensive city with a fancy taste, but it is fun to visit for a couple of days and there’s always a lot going on.

Apart from daily activities and a not-so-modest nightlife, Paris also has some outstanding art and architecture to check out.

Besides the most popular Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre Museum is a great spot to visit, as is the Center Pompidou. a

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