Strolling down the famous avenue 'des Champs Elysee' in the evening is wonderful. It's street-side cafes are packed with people and they, along with the boulevard, ooze with style.

Perfume, patisseries, boulangeries and international brand-name stores line the super-wide pavements.

Only black and white signs used to be allowed by law but now super-sized, full-colour advertising hoardings are commonplace along the world's premiere shopping street. You get the feeling that even the multi-national companies are lucky to be here and jump to whatever tune this well-heeled boulevard demands.

The street is a focus for the traveller to begin the walks and/or 'Metro' (underground) rides to the sights of this great city.


The underground called the 'Metro' is the quickest way to move around Paris and you can purchase 'dix billets' (10 tickets) to start you off on your excursions.

Walking is the second best way to get around because the city is captivatingly alive and you can find a lot of interesting spots by cruising around the various suburbs.


The Louvre (Musee du Lourvre) is the home of some of the world's most famous work of art, The Mona Lisa, which people line-up in great numbers to see. Many other paintings by the great masters, sculptures and other artistic treasures abound along the Louvre's halls - minutes turn into hours, hours could turn into days if you have any hope of seeing it all...

It is best to go to the Louvre early in the morning to avoid the long queues of people (as you can see here), but it's well worth any wait. You enter the museum/palace complex through the glass pyramid and go down the underground concourse level where the cavernous museum shoots of in all directions like a large airport. There is a central information desk and a cafe or two. Once you have your bearings you can begin exploring. The Louvre is huge!

Not only is the former  Napoleonic palace big but you will be amazed at the size of some of the paintings...some are 30 feet wide and 15 feet high - in heavy gilt frames (heavy as in 2 foot wide gilt framing!).

Out in front of the Louvre are the almost as famous Tuileries Gardens and across the Place de la Concorde is the Avenue de Champs Elysee. Even the Louvre Metro substation, Rivoli Lourvre has been turned into a miniature gallery.

The first thing you notice entering Paris is your heart skip a beat when you see the familiar icon of a needle-like structure that breaking through the skyline -The Eiffel Tower, or in French - Tour Eiffel.

Built for the World Exhibition in the early 1900's it looks more like a masterpeice that would carry the pride and vision for a time beyond the present. You feel like you are next to NASA's future space station when you are beside it. The tower is much bigger in reality than you expect and, pardon the pun, towers over you like a skyscaper.

Riding up to the first and second levels is fun, with old steel stairs, well used, rubbed clean and filagree steel-boxed elevators. There is so much SPACE on those levels, filled with people darting back and forth to appreicate the vast cityscape from its different angles.

The elevator ride to the top on the other hand is scary because you can see through the walls. The super structure gets thinner and thinner as you go higher and higher!

The views from the top of this monument are breath-taking and closer to an image you would shoot from a helicopter ride. The geometry of the town planning of Paris is clealy visible and you can spend minutes staring in one area absorbing the movement and layout of the vibrant city.

The Arc de Triomphe, the world famous Parisian icon, can be clearly seen and stands at the top of 'des Champs Elysee' It stands in the centre of a circlular roundabout which 12 great avenues radiate out from.

Even more stunning is the overall relationship you begin to begin to appreciate between the buildings in Paris, and not only their stunning beauty, and their outer influence and relationship with other manmade landmarks throughout Paris.

The 'Grande Arche' is a good example - pure science fiction in its size and beauty.

It sits on an enormous concrete pavilion (or 'tarmac' would be better because you feel like this is the space airport where you can board to visit another planet), not only in harmony with the mirrored oblique designed buildings around it but also in a perfectly straight line facing the 'Arc de Triomphe'...not sitting next door...

(if you look in the V on the right between the buildings on the left hand picture you can see the faint 'Arc de Triomphe', the picture is taken from the top of the steps of the 'Grande Arche' looking back)

... but rather...on the distant horizon!

'Sacre Coeur' is a Metro ride away from the 'Grande Arche' and is another of those buildings that moves your heart when you see it because it is so familiar in history books at school that you just have to stop and stare.

The beautiful three domes that make up the roof are cathedral, watched over by champions on horse back, sit at the top of a grass hill. It's well worth joining the press of humanity to hike up, or take a gondola cable-car. People from all over the world congregate outside, admire the view of Paris and reflect.

Monmartre - the famous artists' market- is right next to the 'Sacre Coeur' and hosts crowds of people and artists bidding for a model in the crowd to sketch, shouting lines like "Q'uel bon tete!" (what a great head you have!) to get you to pose and pay a small sum for the resulting sketch.

Napoleon's palace with the gold domed roof and The Moulin Rouge are also great sites to see. Paris is full of these exciting places and you will probably find a dozen more that have not been mentioned...enjoy!


A wonderful place to get a reasonably priced meal can be found in the district called 'Saint-Michel' where vendors from a variety of backgrounds and cultures cook both traditional French delights, Mediterranean to Middle Eastern food that you can eat at indoor or outdoor tables or take away and eat at the spot of your choosing in the beautiful Paris areas. It is a stone's throw from the Seine (river) and Notre-Dame cathedral.

Saint-Michel has intriguing castle-like buildings with gargoyles and cobblestone streets and is packed with people browsing the displays of vegetables stacked in rows ready for Kebabs to be grilled. It also has theatres like the one shown in the photo above and great atmosphere.

Boulangeries, patisseries and other food vendors and restaurants are numerous and it is the thrill of small walks around the neighbourhood to find them. On the Champs Elysee you can experience the famous 'Royale' at McDonalds. Be ready to order and practice your French 'thank you's' and 'please's', it will be appreciated by your waitress or waiter.


Some of the great shops on des Champs Elysee are the Virgin record store which is a few storeys-high full of CD's and all sorts of music. You can pick up a set of headphones and listen to a CD of choice and enjoy the plusating atmosphere inside.

There are perfume stores on 'des Champs Elysee' and also newsagents where you can buy something to read while you are having coffee. Public toilets, however, are scarce so "spend a penny" when you can!

The Louvre has gifts you can purchase as mementos of your trip and if you make it to Monmartre you can purchase a portrait of yourself or something else on the spot. Once again, the thrill of walking around the different neighbourhoods can find you the interesting shops.


Hotel Tim is a good place to stay with facilities inside your room (it is not the custom in France to necessarily have a toilet inside your room, it may be in the foyer on the floor you are on). Also, you may be surprised, although it is becoming more familiar now in the western living, to find a 'bidet' next to the toilet, this looks like a toilet but is not and cleans you rather than using toilet paper.

There are numerous hotels in the Paris area and any travel agent can recommend good ones. Sometimes it is cheaper to book them through the internet.

Copyright nztrip4u Limited, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003
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This is a test to ensure it wraps correct --coup,TAUPO

This is a test to ensure it wraps correct --coup,TAUPO

This is a test to ensure it wraps correct --coup,TAUPO

This is a test to ensure it wraps correct --coup,TAUPO

This is a test to ensure it wraps correct --coup,TAUPO

This is a test to ensure it wraps correct --coup,TAUPO

This is a test to ensure it wraps correct --coup,TAUPO

This is a test to ensure it wraps correct --coup,TAUPO

Copyright nztrip4u Limited, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003
Fly from New Zealand to Paris via the United States; or fly to another European country there; or to England,-Dover is a popular port, then take a boat to the French coast (usually at "Calais") then a bus to Paris; or ride the train from England through the "Chunnel" to Paris.
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Copyright nztrip4u Limited, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003